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Elements of a Sustainable Company

6. February 2009 03:25 by Scott in   //  Tags: , , , , ,   //   Comments (7)

At Start Up School 08, Greg McAdoo spoke about some different ideas on how to get your start up out the door fast.  And what elements you will need for a Sustainable Company. The key points are his, but I try to explain it better.

  • Clarity of Purpose - One must know what your trying to achieve in order to achieve it.  Get some goals in place.
  • Spectacular Market - Once must have a very good market in which to enter. The video market is just now catching on with YouTube, there can be more competitors if it grew large enough and was able to turn it around.
  • Alleviate Customer Pain - Make sure you have something that people want or have been dieing for.
  • Team DNA - You must have the ability to work together with your company.
  • Incredible Product Focus - You must have one or two solid products before you decide to expand.  Make sure the customer is happy with your product.
  • Real Operating Margins - Someone help me out here.  Still trying to decipher what he is saying.
  • Frugality - Spend less, develop more!
  • Inferno with a single Match - Light a fire and make your one product sell like mad!

I hope these points helped, because they are incredibly valuable.

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Heroes Happen in Orlando, Florida with Microsoft

25. April 2008 17:08 by scott in   //  Tags: , , , , ,   //   Comments (6)

So here I am attending the heroes happen conference in Orlando, Florida. I left about an hour and a half early knowing I would get there on time. I was driving down the road and the first toll I come to, they said they won't take a company Amex card. I told them I didn’t have any cash so what happens now “do you take me to jail”? Here I was thinking I would have to pull off the side of the road and be talked to by a cop. Oh-boy, but he then spoke up and gave me a small toll violation sheet that says don't do it again.

I pulled off at the next exit and got $20. So right before I was about to get off at the final exit, I go over this small bridge and a cop was waiting on the other side. Seeing  that I was late, I was trying to make up time by going 77 mph. The thing I didn't know was this 4 lane highway had a speed limit of 55 mph.

Oh boy, I got pulled over and I now have to pay $200 to an Orlando sheriff’s office. So I pull in to the convention center and now running about 30 minutes late and for those who haven't been to the Orange County convention center. It is huge, no doubt about it. So after driving around, I thought I arrived at the concourse, so I got my stuff together and started walking. I asked a staff person where Microsoft was and of course he had to say “not in this building”. Oh boy not again. I get back in my jeep and I find the Microsoft conference. I’m in the home stretch. Not ten minutes goes by and I have LOST MY WALLET! I drive back to the other parking lot to look and don't find it. I decide I’m wasting time and I guess I’ll call all my banks soon to cancel my cards. I go back to the convention center and found out they require $10 for parking. I don't have my wallet and therefore don't have cash. I decided to drive over the curb to get in. I’m not proud of it and will likely regret this for a while, but maybe ill mail the convention center $10. So I’m finally in. I arrive and the developer session is getting ready to start. I grab one of those Microsoft handy dandy lunch boxes and go into the session. So anyone want to donate $200 to my cause? Email me at spoiledtechie (at) gmail dot com.

Microsoft Lunch box

The sessions are brought to us by

Disclaimer: I was expecting to write an in depth article on what I learned, but these sessions were not able to go into learning new things, it was all about what Microsoft rolled out and so my points are brief.

Now on to the session:
They started off with a brief presentation and moved right into the changes with Visual Studio 2008.

Some features they listed off include:

Split view window
The split view allows for both your UI code and the UI display of the page to be displayed. It was one of those wonderful improvements that came with this upgrade.

JavaScript debugging
A big update for JavaScript which can let you go through the code and set breakpoints just like in your code behind page. This along with JavaScript intellisense is a HUGE improvement.

JavaScript intellisense
Just like the intellisense for the code behind page, they now have intellisense for JavaScript. This brings the entire library of JavaScript into our hands instead of looking through a book for them. Amazing!

Framework drilling
This feature allows you to change and upgrade your framework from 2.0 to 3.5 in just a few clicks. It is done by selecting the properties of the solution and clicking on the drop down in the display to select the framework.  Quite impressive.

Ajax control toolkit at
The toolkit now comes with both .NET 3.5 and Visual Studio 2008. Both of which is old news, but still very cool.

Next session: creating an outlook form control.
They talked on how to implement our code into office products. They used a web service for communication along with LINQ. The front end was built with regions and WPF.

They went on to discuss Sharepoint workflow's which looked interesting. They hit on about 20 steps in visual studio 2005 that needed to be completed in order to create workflow's. It looked extremely tedious, but now with VS 2008 It was only 3 steps.

Side note: if you know Microsoft, you know they love blogger's and if you know me, you know I am not the one to hold back. So in this session, they were probably told by Microsoft just what to talk about and probably got a lot accomplished on those topics, but they definitely need to look for better speakers next time that can code and speak at the same time.

Next session: smart client applications.

Presented by Russ Fastino with Microsoft and John Goodyear with aspsoft.

They talked about how to make client applications with a better user experience.

They asked about the weaknesses of what Microsoft is doing with WPF. I had to speak up and tell tem that my MSDN license doesn't allow me to use the Expression Studio. It costs too much for the average developer to ask his boss to upgrade to a better user experience.

Interesting point: WPF is offered in Visual Studio express and that means average developers can code with it and have it rendered.

They then showed off the tech preview for Expression Blend 2008. Awesome stuff. I already played with it and used it, but its always fun to see it again. Expression Blend 2.5 has full Silverlight 2.0 support.

Free Stuff received:
Microsoft Lunch box
Vista Ultimate
SQL Server 2008
Windows Server 2008
Visual Studio Standard 2008

Thanks for reading.

P.S. I found my wallet and $20.00 when I went back to look for it where I got pulled over. Interestingly enough, I found $20.00 in the grass and the wallet on the passenger side of the jeep.

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First day of DevConnections 2008

21. April 2008 12:18 by Scott in   //  Tags: , , ,   //   Comments (38)

I thought I would tell you what the first day was like.  I am writing this at 1:30 am (too much fun and just kind of happened with the amount of knowledge obtained tonight).

I arrived around 5:30pm, running a little late doing errands and saying goodbye to my girlfriend before I left.  I arrived at one of the largest and finest hotels I have seen in my life I think.  On the shuttle from the parking garage to the hotel, I was told that this is the biggest Marriott in the world complete with 7 pools and a water slide.

From there, I checked in and got settled for about 10 minutes until I had to go downstairs for the keynote speaker of the night.  A guy named Norman (forget the last name) spoke on Visual Studio Team system.  I listened to these things and it is more like they are trying to sell you something than educate you on things, but they did provide some great examples.  If you can, imagine one company with a few hundred software applications currently in development and production.  Visual Studio Team System can bring together and allow for the Developers, Managers, Customers, Designers, etc access to each and every application that comes out of the company.  So like the project I am working on, I would be developing in Visual Studio and the customer and my boss would login to a web based portal and review the current bugs, changes, updates, check-in's, nightly builds etc and see what I am accomplishing.  At Microsoft, the Team system they are using is greatly expanding month by month and they have well over 11,000 users with over 1,000 software projects being built.  If my boss wanted to look at my project and see how it is coming along, all he would have to do is log into this web portal and review every intricate detail in my application.  He wouldn't log out either, he would stay logged in and visit another application in the company and see how it is coming along at the same time.  And then the customer would log in, and submit a change request.  That means no more time spent on developing an SCC workflow for change request from the customer!  From there, Team system dives into the testing the application.  Team System can record movements with the mouse and key strokes to have a live maintainable test.  This allows for automated tests to be completed with a save.  So let’s say I build a workflow and it runs for 5 years, but then I make a software change. Instead of making a new test, I would run the old test over night and see if it passes or fails.  Team system then has the intelligence to tell you all the tests that failed and succeeded over night.  It also has an amazing bug tracking tool that can only be built on.  (Getting more tired)

From there, Scott Rizzo came up and talked about SharePoint.  I have only used it as a web portal application, but it has the ability to create a web application with very little development time.  It blew my mind that I could be up and running with a intranet site in minutes that could be flexed out to thousands of users.  SharePoint definitely should be looked into by all companies more.  This one has the power and development turnaround time to beat out all the other intranet portals that have been built throughout the years.  I was impressed.

Free stuff:  So like I said, If I win the Harley, I will give it to my boss.  I have kept up my end of the bargain and so after the key notes we had to visit about 50 booths and get a card stamped to enter it for the Harley. Sure was interesting, because it actually made people stop and look at each product which I must say is pretty impressive.  80% of the floor was taken up by SharePoint add-ons and the other spots were taken by guys that have some awesome controls.

I have about 100 business cards, a free backpack with registration, a few cozies for bottled beverages, a bunch of hand outs, a bobble head that AT&T was giving out (by the way they are throwing a developers party tomorrow night and are pushing big for teaching developers to develop for the AT&T mobile apps), two note taking binders, and I think that is it so far.  Also, I had a chance to win a Wii, but of course I am unlucky.

At the end of the night, a free beer with a ticket and after some pie; I headed over to the computer lab and met a guy named Jason Carlson.  He is speaking about SQL Reporting services which I do fully intend on attending.
So far, I have had a blast and kind of wished there would have been some hard core software guys playing around in the lobby tonight, but I was wrong.  Instead I found a bunch of Microsoft guys to hang out with. (I guess I am somewhat of a farm boy "Fan boy")

Internet is $15.00 a day here also, so Instead I decided to just hook my laptop up to my phone and use its Internet so I don't waste money, therefore I don't think I will be online that much but still will see email on my phone after checking it periodically.  Hope you guys are having as much fun reading as I did type.  Later!

Scott Pio
kick it on

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