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Ask Slashdot: Best Practices For Starting and Running a Software Shop?

st0nerhat Re: Use standards now (176 comments)

Exactly. If a company is in business, then it means they made mostly correct decisions up to now.

about 2 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Best Practices For Starting and Running a Software Shop?

st0nerhat Re: Advice from a software entrepreneur (176 comments)

I hate replying to my own posts. Just wanted to apologize for the horrible formatting.

about 2 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Best Practices For Starting and Running a Software Shop?

st0nerhat Advice from a software entrepreneur (176 comments)

I started a business right out of school with just a vision and my CS degree. We are still in business today, 10 years later. The secret to success for me was twofold: * I went into business with two equal partners. They compensated for my weaknesses and were able to provide initial sweat equity for the business. There are also some do or die trials early in a startup and its easy to give up if it's just yourself but harder when you would also be letting your partners down. * We had a strong network of mentors who connected us with potential customers. I read a number of the comments in this thread and I have some thoughts: * You don't need a full business plan. You can pay someone to write that to get VC if you need it down the road (worked for me). However you do need a plan. How will you finance initial development? Can you name your first customer? How large is the potential market? What is the minimum viable product? * You absolutely can run a software business without having ever been employed in a software company. I figured it out. It's not an easy road though. * You must be an excellent salesman. If you are not, pick a partner that is or you are going to be handicapped. I've seen so much crapware sold for big bucks because the salesperson was talented. I also believe salesmen are born, not raised.

about 2 months ago

Ask Slashdot: How Do You Sell an Algorithm To Venture Capitalists?

st0nerhat There are different kinds of VCs (205 comments)

Not all VCs are alike. If you are pitching to a group, some may be more interested in your business acumen while others will be more interested in your technical ability to stay ahead of the competition. VCs usually have more options with a business with great tech but poor management than one with great management but poor tech.

about a year and a half ago

Ask Slashdot: Is There a Professional Geek Dress Code?

st0nerhat Just add a blazer (432 comments)

I vintage or casual blazer over your bear-o-dactyl t-shirt and jeans will have the desired effect without making you look like a suit. You can also easily take it off or put it on depending on who you are dealing with over the course of the day.

more than 2 years ago

New Analyst Report Calls Agile a Scam, Says It's An Easy Out For Lazy Devs

st0nerhat Re:Agile is not Easy (491 comments)

Agreed. Agile really was designed for frontend applications where the majority of the work is in the user interface. Games, web sites, iPhone apps are great candidates for Agile/Scrum. But I would never Scrum a prison door controller or a missile guidance package. Some things you have to get right once or not at all. Secondarily, Agile is not a one-size-fits-all. A consultant cannot set up the process for an existing team. Every company takes the form and modifies it to produce better outcomes. Sure the book-Agile is bad, but I love the Agile we run in my shop.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: How Do I Stay Employable?

st0nerhat Some advice (708 comments)

1. Contracting: Assuming you are in the states, be prepared to give 30-40% of your earnings back to the government. As a self-employed person, you get taxed twice, once as business income, and then again as personal income. This is why contractors typically charge $80-120/hr. They only take home $50-72. Also, don't expect our "business friendly" government to help you out in the insurance department either. If you can qualify, you may be looking at $1000+/mo to insure your family.

On top of all that nonsense, you still have to find work, and it's unlikely to be steady. You may have a huge flood of work, and have the opportunity to work 60-70/hr weeks and make a huge payday, or just as likely, you may have to float yourself for 3 months on what you've saved up. Your best bet here is to get into a software niche and build up a loyal staff. This will not only provide steadier income, but also allow you to hand pick people that you enjoy working with.

2. If you get along with people and have leadership skill, then yes. You should know by now whether people tend to take their lead from you or not.

3. An MBA is a great way to network with other people who are aiming towards executive-level positions. This will pay off in 3-5 years as some of those people land those positions and you can ride their coat-tails, or they can ride yours if you are the lucky one.

4. I'll let others take a crack at that.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Open Source Multi-User Password Management?

st0nerhat KeePass (198 comments)

KeePass satisfies all of your criteria:

  • Open Source: It uses an OSI-certified license.
  • Multi-user: You can throw the database on a Samba, NFS, etc. share and it will merge changes between different users that have the DB open at the same time.
  • Secure: Supports multi-factor authentication.
  • Linux-based: Works with Mono.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Making a Tablet Run Only One Application?

st0nerhat iPads are easy (260 comments)

If you are using iPads, besides enabling parental controls, you might also want to prevent access to the home button. I've seen this done at a few well put together installations. A few pieces of plexi-glass and some silicone adhesive will do the trick. If you use some other opaque framing material, you can even make it look like you paid many more thousands of dollars for custom technology.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Re-Entering the Job Market As a Software Engineer?

st0nerhat Have a strong narrative (435 comments)

Make sure you have a compelling narrative in your cover letter about why you left the field and why you want to come back to it and stay in the field for the long haul. I tend to overlook gaps in skill and employment if the person Im hiring won't waste my training investment and they have a background that is complimentary to the team I'm building.

about 3 years ago


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