This is a list of books currently on my To Read shelf... literally. I do not suggest or anti-suggest any of them at this time as I haven't read them yet.
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In the past ten years, I've been involved with a number of startups in roles ranging from Jr developer following a few smart people to CTO when suddenly I'm expected to be the smart person. In addition, I've passed on more "opportunites" than I can count.
To be fair, some opportunities are amazing. They've been put together by sharp people with deep domain understanding and powerful industry contacts. Coming from the right person, these cause me to stop and ponder. Coming from the wrong person, they don't distinguish themselves until much later.
On the flip side, you have... well, you have these people:
Next week I'll be sitting - and speaking! - on a panel at American University on starting your own business. There are a number of different startups and entrepreneurs on the panel representing a range of different stages of a startup. The main purpose is to expose American University students to the D.C.
startup community and also provide them with the opportunity for
internships and possible future jobs.
The best thing... the subtitle for the event is "Starting Your Own Business - The Trials & Tribulations".
As moderator, we have Robert Neelbauer (JobMatchbox.com) who organized the event and invited me onto the panel.
At CxCC - "Central by" for the regulars ;) - last month, I started pitching people on the idea of an entrepreneurial coup of sorts...
If you're not aware, the Mid-Atlantic Business Plan Competition is underway. It's not just underway, it's rolling with full steam towards the big day: 26 April 2008. That day is the no-holds-barred deathmatch of entrepreneur vs entrepreneur. There are presentations in the morning, a round of eliminations, and then the culmination of the entire contest... the finalists get to present in front of a public audience affectionately called the STARTUP SMACK DOWN.
And that audience should be the local DCTech community.
Over the weekend, a fellow DCian and friend - Jimmy Gardner - asked a simple question that I've been kicking around for a while. Since he put it so eloquently, I'll use his words:
There is obviously a lot of good things happening here in the DC area with regards to our local tech community and some of the startups that are being born out of it. But I can’t help but feel that many of us here have developed a bit of a complex, whether we know it or not.
This was just a couple days after Aaron Brazell aka Technosailor said something else that sparked my interest:
As a group, us software developers can be reactive. Generally we learn things the hard way. Every one of us has a story where we accidentally dropped the wrong database or deployed the wrong code to production or only got part of the garbage file from the Gibson...
How many of you have ever gotten a call in the middle of the night along the lines of "omg!? the site/system is down!? customers are dying!"
Once the problem is fixed and people calm down a bit, the logical question is asked:
How can we prevent this from happening again?
Or "Wait a second.. what is that burning smell!?"
Now that things have calmed down a bit with WhyGoSolo, I'd like to give a bit of my perspective...
Whenever you launch a site, there are going to be problems. Some are going to be tiny and only detectable by the handful of people actively working on it. Others are going to be so large that you briefly consider giving up technology and living in a tree. Regardless, they all need to be dealt with... so the questions become: How and when?
In my book, there are three types of issues and each requires a different response:
First, there are tweaks. These can be spelling errors, broken images, bad punctuation, or a variety of other things. These are not functional things at all. These probably aren't preventing people from using the site. They're probably not breaking things. More than anything, they just annoy your users (or your boss) and hurt the credibility of your site.