Microsoft .NET to run on Linux and Mac OS X

Microsoft .NET will finally run fully on Linux and Mac OS X platform and this is a great news.

Visual Studio is maybe the best tool for developers and Microsoft decided to open sourcing the full server-side .NET Core stack, from ASP.NET 5 down to Core Runtime and Framework.

Microsoft is also giving for free Visual Studio Community 2013 full featured edition of Visual Studio, available today.

You can watch more about this here.

Open source links
ASP.NET – https://github.com/aspnet/home
.NET Compiler – http://roslyn.codeplex.com/
.NET Core – https://github.com/dotnet/corefx
.NET – https://github.com/Microsoft/dotnet

Whom to blame for the poor sale?

There aren’t many doubts. It is always the Salesman and there are three reasons for the poor sale:

  1. Salesman didn’t choose the right customer or the right decision maker in the company

    This means that your product is maybe ideal fit for certain customers but the customer your salesman is talking to is not in this group. Also, if the customer says “we will think about it” it means that he already know from the beginning of the year where he will spend his budget and your product in not on his core needs list. If you get an answer “we don’t have a budget” this means that you are talking to the “tech guy” in the company and he is never the decision maker. Financial guy, the decision maker, makes the budget and if he decide that he needs your product he will find the budget (because he created it and other things that he planned to buy will suffer). Never try to sell your product to the tech guy (they understand completely your product, they will love it and they are polite) but they are not the decision makers (they think they are but they are not). You will just lost your time talking to them and avoid beeing sent to tech guy when you talk to financial guy (if you talk in tech terms and he does not understand you then you will be sent to the tech guy – means no sale).

  2. Salesman and Customer did not understand each other

    This is problem when salesman is not able to understand the urgent need that this customer has. Or the customer is not able to present his problem correctly (salesman should be able to overcome this situation). Maybe this customer’s urgent need is not covered by the product that salesman is selling, but it should not be a stopper to make a deal. Salesman will face later engineers in his company with obvious question: “How did you sell something that we don’t have?” but that is the life. It is important that the deal is closed, it will be already built somehow.

  3. Overall value of the selling product is lower than the similar product from the competition

    This is also the salesman error because he is trying to sell some uncompetitive product and he is persistent to do this indefinitely. It is time for him to change the company.

stress-anger-frustration
(source: agbeat.com)

If you are a tech guy (like me) then never talk about your product technical specifications, because you are wasting the customer’s time. Try to understand the real urgent need that this customer has, don’t asked him questions where he can answer simple with “Yes” or “No”. You need to be clever to make him give you the complete statement of the urgent problem that he has and he must do this personally (not by throwing your words into his mouth). When you come to the sale’s meeting, forget the passion about your product and talk at least as possible. Make him talk. Listen carefully.

Even if you like technology the most of everything and like spending most of the time working on your product, you must learn how to sell – no will done this better then you and you can not outsource the sales. In a good company around 50% of all budget is spent on sales activities.

Who will win: Shitty product with great marketing or excellent product with shitty marketing? Always the product with a great marketing.

This is what I remembered from the lecture of Matt Mayfield – “What Engineers Need to Unlearn to Sell”?

Tips and Tricks: Export GoogleMaps as image

You don’t really need to bother with exporting GoogleMaps position into the image because Google created StaticAPI that renders the whole map as image, instead of using JavaScript to make dynamic map.

Example:

<img alt="" src="//maps.googleapis.com/maps/api/staticmap?center=46.056988,14.515536&amp;zoom=15&amp;size=455x350&amp;maptype=roadmap&amp;markers=color:red%7Clabel:S%7C46.056988,14.515536&amp;sensor=false" border="0" />

This will results with this:

Market research sources and links

When you starting a new business you need to find your customer and solve his pain and you need also to invest your time in research to see if your business fits into the market.

marketing-research-words
(source: fastf.com)

Priority tasks before starting your business

  1. Identify your customer
  2. Identify market segment / niches
  3. Take a look and research macroeconomic changes, demographic changes, psychographic changes, technical changes, societal changes, political changes and governament/regulatory chanegs

Useful links that can help you in your research

Want to discuss about your idea?

Contact me freely regarding this topic (or if you have some other question) and I will be glad to give you my opinion (my discretion is 100% guaranteed).

About making strategic entrepreneurial decisions

As an entrepreneur you need to make a lot of strategic decisions and they all share these characteristics:

  1. They need to be decided in a limited amount of time (means fast) and very often under a stress
  2. You don’t know for sure what will be the final outcome as an impact of your strategic decision
  3. These are high-stake and high-risk decisions
  4. These decisions cause a significant allocation of resources (time, money, people, knowledge, …)
  5. You have a lot of different paths to choose but you need to choose the right one (with a limited amount of information)
  6. This is often uncharted territory where you can not use your own experience or knowledge (because it is in unknown domain)
  7. You usually prefer status quo terrain where you feel save rather then uncharted territory
  8. Impact of these decisions will have high impact on your company (your company can flourish or be terminated)

As an entrepreneurship you need to feel making strategic decisions is your home territory. And, yes, you will make mistakes, but this is good, because you will learn along this way.

I am a big fan of Maurits Cornelis Escher illustrations and I choose one that perfectly illustrates the strategic decisions. You can read more about this artist here.

So the question is:

Where this man is headed to?

M. C. Escher

M. C. Escher

Yes, he is going up, but from the different point of view he can go also down (if you look the whole picture bellow). The fact is that when looking only this part of the picture you have limited information and you make the decision like you do. Obvious information can also deceive us to see the broader picture.

M. C. Escher

M. C. Escher

Three inspiring videos to watch

Do you dare to dream?

Science Of Persuasion

Bret Victor – Inventing on Principle

Looking for a dream job? Job interview questions

I have found somewhere these questions, so it is a good opportunity to put this live…

RELEVANT EXPERIENCE

  • What skills do you possess that will help make you successful in this job?
  • Why should we hire you?
  • Have you ever worked in a similar position with another organization, and what did you enjoy most about and least about it?
  • Please discuss some of your past jobs and what you accomplished in them?
  • What prior work experiences have you had?
  • What were your accomplishments in these prior work experiences?
  • Please tell me about the duties/requirements of your last job.
  • Elaborate on one of the work experiences listed on your resume.
  • What did you enjoy most about your previous job experiences? Least?
  • In addition to your educational and professional experiences, what else would you like us to know about you in order to make an appropriate decision?
  • What skills will you bring to the job that will enhance our team or company?

LEADERSHIP

  • What are your major strengths and weaknesses?
  • What did you see as your major strengths and/or weaknesses on this job?
  • What would your last two employers say about you, good and bad?
  • How would you describe your supervisory/leadership style?
  • Who or what had the greatest influence on your life?
  • Describe the difference between motivation and inspiration, and how these apply to you in the work environment.

COMMUNICATION

  • How would you describe your style of communication?
  • Tell me about a time you had to sell an idea to someone else.
  • What do you enjoy doing most?
  • Tell me about a time you had to present information to a large group of people. How did you feel and how successful were you?

WORKING EFFECTIVELY WITH OTHERS

  • How well do you work with others?
  • What are some of the pros and cons of working on a team project?
  • When have you led a team to achieve a specific goal, what were the results?
  • What have you admired in people who have previously supervised your work? What haven’t you admired in these individuals?
  • How would you resolve conflict in a group situation?

DECISION-MAKING

  • Please tell me about a conflict and how you resolved it.
  • Tell me a time you had to make an important decision with limited facts.
  • Tell me a time you had to make an unpopular decision.
  • Tell me about a bad decision you made and what you would do differently?

DELEGATION AND ORGANIZATION

  • How do you organize your day?
  • Tell me about a time you delegated a project effectively.
  • Describe to me a time when a supervisor delegated a task to you when you had a full workload. How did you handle the situation?
  • Describe what your closets and garage look like today.

CREATIVITY AND INNOVATION

  • What changes would you make in your school’s academic program?
  • Tell me about a time you found a new and better way of doing something.
  • What was the largest, most creative project you’ve been involved in to date?
  • Tell me the most creative solution you have come up with to solve a problem.
  • Tell me a time when you had to bring out the creativity in others.

ABILITY TO DEAL WITH ADVERSITY, THINKING AND PROBLEM SOLVING

  • What are your personal goals, and have you achieved them? If not, why?
  • Who was the most difficult person you’ve dealt with? How did you respond?
  • Describe a frustrating experience from work. How did you deal with it?
  • What are some of the greatest personal challenges you have faced?
  • How do you handle rejection?
  • What aspects of your past jobs were most frustrating?
  • What life experiences have given you the greatest reward?
  • Can you tell me about the toughest job you’ve ever had?
  • What was the most difficult aspect of obtaining a college degree?

CAREER GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

  • What are your career interests?
  • What are your standards of success/goals for a job?
  • What are your goals and aspirations for the next three years?
  • What are your long-range goals and how are you preparing to achieve them?
  • If you could create the perfect job for yourself, what would you do?
  • Please tell me about your plans for the future.
  • What work would you like to do that really interests you?
  • What is your timetable for achievement of your current career goals?

INITIATIVE AND FOLLOW-THROUGH

  • What are your greatest achievements at this point in your life?
  • Tell me about your accomplishments during college that make you proudest.
  • If friends/colleagues were to describe you to a stranger what would they say?
  • What do you consider most important when evaluating yourself?
  • What were your most significant achievements?

CUSTOMER SERVICE AND SALES

  • What personal qualities do you bring to this firm?
  • Tell me about when you dealt with an irate customer.
  • What does the term “the customer is always right” mean to you?
  • What’s the best example of awesome customer service you’ve provided?

GENERAL

  • What starting salary do you expect as an employee?
  • When comparing one company offer to another, what factors will be important to you besides starting salary?
  • Please tell me about yourself. How would you describe yourself?
  • Name three people who have inspired you and why.
  • What personal qualities do you bring to this firm?
  • What do you know about our company?
  • Why are you interviewing with us?
  • Why do you want to work in the position you are seeking?
  • What are your expectations of us?
  • Why did you select us?

Scrum and Kanban development frameworks

Just returned from the very interesting lecture (by Dušan Omerčević from Zemanta and Andrej Zrimšek from NiceLabel) about Scrum and Kanban development frameworks here in Ljubljana, Slovenia and I am right now thinking about what I heard there and comparing with our approach, what we are doing in out development process.

What I like is this:

  1. Developers protection from new feature requests while they are in one Sprint cycle. We have this problems all the time (adding new features and breaking the release date agreement).
  2. What was agreed this exactly will be done – no rooms for changes during the one Sprint.
  3. No multitasking, doing one task in agreed time period of time. Focus is about saying no to 1000 things.
  4. Communication, Communication, Communication.
  5. Doing retrospectives  backwards and re-evaluating what was done at the end of each Sprint cycle.
  6. If we set a rule that we will do only 5 bigger tasks in certain amount of time and if top manager come with new task he must choose which one of previous 5 tasks he will remove to make the place for this new task. Really cool, and make them think.

What I don’t like:

  1. I felt during the lecture that lecturers talk really slow, like they don’t care at all about the time and I was worried about their productivity in real company environment.
  2. At the end of the lecture, we have put our questions on the board and they chose 5 questions from 15 and set 45 minutes frameset to go through these 5 questions.
  3. Even it is very useful framework it also looks to me little bit like bureaucracy if not used in a right way (in a way that real programming hours will decrease in organization and also the lines of produced code).
  4. I am not sure how this is suitable for small teams (for example, 3 people).
  5. It is in the humane nature to try to earn highest amount of money for smallest amount of work so I am afraid that people will be happy to have 3-days weekend (if Monday is dedicated for all day meeting and discussion).
  6. There is a Programming, Motherfucker movement that expose this problem more exactly.

Best practice is to take the best from both approaches!

programming-motherfucker

Product oriented companies and why marketing matters

I was involved in one Cloud oriented startup that earns money by selling monthly and yearly subscriptions. Whole team with CEO included were devoted to create technically superior product for their current and new customers but none of them liked to work on promoting benefits of their product, so marketing tasks were not on the priority list. They are all aware that this is the bad thing but none of them was willing to do marketing tasks, so, apparently they needed to hire one good marketeer.

Product grew organically but they were not been able to produce “hockey stick” growth  and they thought that by adding new features it will be enough to make their product more interesting to the new customers.

The reality was the opposite. No matter what they have added it didn’t help them quickly because nobody knew nothing about their product/service (it was not promoted aggressively). It is not bad in general, but it could be so much better.

This happens when company management have only technical background and not marketing background and when everyone enjoy making product technically better. So, they had made a plan: they will finish first one big update and then they will dedicate most off their efforts to the marketing tasks and they hope that this will make the impact on the market.

Product is good, their customers are satisfied but they need to find more customers to make whole thing sustainable business.

These are the tips what you must expect from your marketing manager and his team:

  1. Make marketing team to focus on producing the content (as fast as possible) that will promote the value of your product online – marketing manager and his team need to write blogs, PR articles, case studies, be active on social media channels (Twitter, Facebook), to give useful comment on relevant forums like Quora and on important vertical markets. Measure the impact of all these actions. If marketing department is not producing content fast enough, or they don’t add value to product’s growth you will need to replace them with more efficient team.
  2. Marketing should focus on one vertical market at the time and to create strategy to offer them one package that can be sold easily and that does not require much work of production team (this offer use the features that product already has but nobody know about them except the production team). Attack must be direct and coordinated and management need to measure the success (what we have sent and what we have achieved).
  3. Send offers directly to larger customers that can buy large amount of subscriptions (bigger volume), otherwise marketing costs will grow more then you will earn. Contacting small customers by your marketing team is not profitable so they should be focused on big customers or in promotion of your value for customers through different channels.
  4. Use some other services that push good deals like f6s – you can get a lot of customers from these channels.
  5. Be relevant – comment only on vertical markets that are yours.
  6. Marketing should at the end focus on product improvements and data driven marketing (to tell better initial value for the customer and to focus on better funnelling and gathering marketing stats) but this task need to be done only if they have success in primary tasks.

How do you learn about some interesting stuff?

Basically, there is no rule how we learn but learning process is not linear. The most important thing is our will to learn.

In my case, it is more chaotic process when something grabs your attention and then you disperse in different directions from the starting idea and end up with something completely new that you even didn’t think about. Previous experience, feelings, events from the past make our perceptions better..

If you are able to gather and process all these new things in some useful story then your mind is enriched.

You also come to some interesting things during the learning process that have no connections with the topic you were researching. For example, while I was looking about learning process I came to this:

  • How to transform your browser into the simple Notepad? More explanation by Jose Jesus Perez Aguinaga
  • Answer: Just copy this line into the browser Address field:
    data:text/html, <html contenteditable>

Or maybe, something completely different…

You are working daily on your super interesting online product/service that will sell like a bread but you just need to launch the service on which you were working last two years… What about to start from completely different direction that can save you a lot of time? Find out what people will pay for and then build product that will sell from the first day. If you are able to sell to 500 hundred people something that is 30€ worth you will make the yearly income of 180,000€.

It would be super if you could predict the success like groundhog Phil in Punxsutawney predicts the weather (BTW, great movie with Bill Murray).

Our brain has two working speeds

At the end few interesting quotes about the learning process…

  • Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young. (Henry Ford)
  • You cannot open a book without learning something. (Confucius)
  • Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning. (Bill Gates)
  • I am still learning. (Michelangelo)
  • You aren’t learning anything when you’re talking. (Lyndon B. Johnson)
  • Learning to make films is very easy. Learning what to make films about is very hard. (George Lucas)
  • There’s no learning without trying lots of ideas and failing lots of times. (Jonathan Ive)
  • Just because you are CEO, don’t think you have landed. You must continually increase your learning, the way you think, and the way you approach the organization. I’ve never forgotten that. (Indra Nooyi)
  • The trick in life is learning how to deal with it. (Helen Mirren)
  • He who learns but does not think, is lost! He who thinks but does not learn is in great danger. (Confucius)
  • Learn to say no to the good so you can say yes to the best. (John C. Maxwell)
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