September 4, 2008

Business of Software - SourceGear - Erik Sink

Erik has founded sourcegear, and has been at it ever since. The first product we used from them was source offsite. It was really useful in the early dasy at macadamian because it made our life much easier when using sourcesafe remotely over a single channel isdn line at the time we were 5 on that 64kb link, no jokes! Thanks to Erik - we didn't go insane because of source offsite. What I learned yesterday was that the only involvment he had in this product was trying to kill it. It's not his code, and he didn't think the product had any legs - 15M later in revenue, it's all water under the bridge. His presentation was about how parenting is similar to the life of a product in a company. All the stages of what our kids go through and the parallel they have in the life of a product. The presentation overal was good, but I can't help but think the metaphore was stretched a little too far. It's a problem I see in us techies doing presentations. Erik is a smart guy, a good software developer, and in his own smartness is pushing things too far to show the model holds up. Enough of the medium, the content was good. for take aways: 1)product manager are about defining how your product is a purple cow, unique and something people will want to talk about. Basecamp from 37signals, for every users they have bought in has gotten five more people use it - that's a strong virus spread! 2)once the product is out - don't be afraid to course correct - you will need to be successful. 3)to cross the chasm - you need to listen to what customers are saying, and non customers alike - they have crazy ideas, pulling you in all directions. One or two of those will be the one getting you across the chasm. 4)value peace and quit for programmers, encourage uninterrupted time, reduce interruptions, meetings.
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