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Business of Software 2011 Workshop sessions – if you are registered, please vote!

If you are registered for Business of Software 2011, we want to let you choose which workshops we should run in the afternoon breakout sessions. If you haven't registered, what are you waiting for?

Please register your preferences using the SurveyMonkey form here.

We have lots of configurable space at Business of Software so we have some great options to set up workshops and discussions of various sizes that should mean that you get to spend some time talking and learning about some things that you really care about with other people who care as much. Please indicate which of these workshop sessions you would most like to attend by the 9th September – you can identify four. We will then take your preferences, juggle the space and the timing of the workshops in order keep as many people happy and interested as possible.

We will then ask you to sign up to attend one workshop scheduled for each session. If you wanted to make an additional suggestion for a workshop that you would like to lead, please send a note ASAP with a workshop title and 100 word description so that we can add it to the list. The sooner this gets done, the more likely it will be that folks will get a chance to sign up.

Workshop 1. Writing Game Changing Copy for Websites and Landing Pages. Rob Walling.

The best copywriters understand their prospect's mindset and craft an engaging story that doesn't feel like marketing garbage. People hate being sold, but they love to buy. This session will focus on how you can make buying the obvious decision for your prospect. In this workshop you'll learn the fundamentals of engaging copy, apply several copywriting techniques to your product or service, and emerge with a proven framework for improving your bottom line through game changing copy. Workshop moderator – Rob Walling is a serial entrepreneur and author of Start Small, Stay Small: A Developer's Guide to Launching a Startup. He blogs at SoftwareByRob.com about building self-funded startups and runs the Micropreneur Academy, an online learning community of like-minded founders designed to get a startup from zero to launch in six months. Walling runs 11 one-man technology businesses and has been building web applications professionally for 11 years.

2. Customer Relationship Management for AppOwners. Des Traynor.

Software owners are disconnected with their customers. Sure you can buy drinks at a conference or hand out 64MB pen drives now and then,but it's not a real relationship. If you ask an app owner to introduce you to ten of their best customers, most would struggle, grimace and then get a developer to break out SQL. Imagine trying to run a bar, convenience store, hairdressers, hell any service with that level of apathy to the folks who pay your wages. It shouldn't be surprising that your customers are willing to jump ship the second they hear of a competitor with a shiny new homepage. You never cared about them, why should they care about you? This workshop teaches you how to greet your users, how to get to know them and establish a relationship that will last through downtime hiccups, buggy iPhone apps, and accidental emails. A relationship built on real communication, real contact, and genuine consideration. We'll explore how to greet customers to your software, how and when to check in with them, how to encourage and reward loyalty, and how to measure the impact of all these activities. Attendees leaving the workshop will be freed from the thrice yearly email blasts, and will be focussed on delivering a compelling customer experience, one that increases retention and referrals. This won't be a botched walk through gamification & sign up hacks, it will be a truly useful and practical guide to how you can change your companies attitude to your users. Workshop moderator – Des Traynor is the Customer Experience designer at Intercom. He is an accomplished writer on start-ups and growing businesses on the popular Contrast blog, and is a regular conference speaker at events such as Future of Web Apps, MIX, CS Forum, MidwestUX, and many others.

3. Setting up and managing a software project with Subversion and Trac. Beau Adkins.

If you are running a software business, you deal with code. There are some great, free tools available to manage this important asset for you, but unfortunately some people in the field do not use them. Some people may not know how to get started, or which tools to use, or how to use it once it is set up. This talk intends to answer all of these questions. An attendee will receive simple step-by-step instructions on setting up a Subversion server for source code version control integrated with Trac for web-based ticketing. In addition, attendees will learn subversion best-practices for checkins, branching, and releasing. Workshop moderator – Beau Adkins, CEO of LightPoint Security

4. The Future of Brands. Erik Pelton.

The proliferation of social media, mobile applications, websites, blogs and keyword advertising mean that the interaction between customer and brands continues to grow and multiply. Each day it becomes is easier and cheaper to create or to destroy a brand. This workshop will discuss ideas for building strong brands today that feature input and output from reviewers, marketers, users, fans and more on a variety of platforms. We will discuss the power of brands to create emotions, passions,and user contributions and will review several examples including Apple, The Gap (a failed logo redesign last year) and Old Spice. Anyone with a brand; anyone marketing via website, blog, or social media, should attend this workshop. Workshop moderator – Erik M. Pelton. Attorney with 10 years experience working with brands and trademarks; blogger; creator of Apptorney® iPhone app for intellectual property professionals.

5. Zen And The Art Of AdWords Maintenance: from exploited to predator in three simple steps. Dave Collins.

Mistake #1: Most companies believe that theirAdWords accounts are reasonably efficient.

Mistake #2: Most companies believe that AdWords is a no-brainer; that with a smallish budget you can't go wrong.

Mistake #3: Most companies believe that their AdWords accounts do not waste money and opportunities.

Most are very, very wrong. Zen and the art of AdWords Maintenance will look at the three steps required to turn your account from exploited to predatory. It probably won't change your life, but can transform your AdWords ROI beyond words. Workshop moderator – Dave Collins, SoftwarePromotions

6. 40 releases a year? No sweat. Peldi.

Peldi will share some tips and tricks on how Balsamiq release updates to their software almost every week, with a big smile on their face. Topics include the obvious continuous integration, unit and integration testing topics, but also the more elusive "premature design is the source of all evil" mantra, which helps us split the work in little chunks and build community in the process. Workshop moderator – Giacomo 'Peldi' Guilizzoni is the founder and CEO of Balsamiq, makers of Balsamiq Mockups, a fun little wire framing tool for programmers, UX experts and yes, even business types. Balsamiq has been a bit of a poster child for anew wave of tiny but ambitious bootstrapped tech startups, netting over $1.6Min sales in the first 18 months of operation and gathering rave reviews. Peldi is a champion of the "radical transparency" trend that's sweeping the Internet, through his posts on the popular Balsamiq Blog.

7. Applying Business Model Thinking. Alex Osterwalder.

Practical application of some of the issues discussed in Alex's Business of Software talk. Workshop moderator – Swiss based Alex Osterwalder is a gifted communicator and the author of 'Business Model Generation', a book about business models that has sold over 120,000 copies. In the words of Fast Company Magazine in naming Alex's book one of the Best Books for Business Owners in 2010, "In Business Model Generation, Osterwalder encourages owners to plot out their business model using something he developed called the "business model canvas." It forces entrepreneurs to communicate their business model visually, which Osterwalder says sharpens their thinking and allows them to get what's in their head onto a canvas for others to see and contribute to. Once your vision has been exported from your head onto a canvas your employees helped to create, you'll have a business that can grow without you calling all the shots — which is the essence of a sellable company. This is by far the most innovative book on how to think about putting together a business."

8. Technology hiring/building a development team & the challenges of technical recruiting. Corey Reid.

Corey Reid, ChiefCat Herder at FreshBooks, will lead a discussion on the difficulties of hiring developers, DBAs, QA folks and other technical professionals. How do you find these people? How can you evaluate them? What will attract them to your company and make them want to work for you? Share your frustrations, learn new techniques, and discuss your theories on what works and what doesn't. Required reading: Joel's "Guerrilla Guide To Interviewing" Workshop moderator – Corey Reid, Freshbooks

9. Changing Horses Midstream. Chris Byers.

This workshop is about the difficulties and leadership opportunities that come from changing key leaders in the midst of a startup. Formstack was only a few years old when the founder had a great opportunity to create a new social media startup and move out of town. This left the original, semi-bootstrapped plain jane has some revenue company to find a new leader. I'll talk about the challenges I faced coming into a company with a pre-defined culture, finally gaining my own platform (thanks Spolsky for your 2010 talk) and redefining culture and the direction of the company. Changing leaders doesn't have to be the end. Workshop moderator – Chris Byers, Formstack

10. Underground tactics to grow your newsletter subscribers to over 100,000. Noah Kagan.

11. Practice your pitch. Ricardo Sanchez & Zuly Gonzalez.

We will invite 4 screened startups that will be given 5 minutes to 'pitch their idea', followed by 10 minutes of open & honest feedback from entrepreneurs who have been there before. We will select the startups to pitch before the date of the event and are currently seeking experienced entrepreneurs who can offer their time and experience to all the workshop attendees.

12. How to Near-Guarantee Marketing Results. Nemo Chu.

For some, marketing is like rolling dice. It doesn't have to be. I'll reveal my recipe for acquiring 3000 customers in 1.5 years for a new B2B app. The recipe is inspired by key principles in social psychology, lean startup thinking, and agile methodology. Workshop moderator – Nemo Chu, Ambassador at Bloomfire

13. Raising money or selling companies. Jason Cohen.

Dealing with investors or outs (it's a similar process), especially for geeks and boostrappers. Workshop moderator – Jason is the founder of WPEngine, the WordPress hosting company that makes websites fast, scalable, and secure, with tech support who live, breathe, and even debug WordPress. Previously he founded and sold Smart Bear Software (software quality tools, mainly peer code review) and co-founded and sold ITWatchDogs (server room climate monitoring devices). He's known best for the blog and podcast http://blog.ASmartBear.com about startups, marketing, and geekery.

14. Where it Really Hurts: Finding the Pain of Your Present and Future Customers. Elizabeth Ayer.

Most people can't explain their pain to their doctor, let alone a software guy. But if you don't find out where it really hurts, your products will lack a compelling edge. Come get some ideas about how to get the right people to talk to you, and how to steer the conversation away from software specifics. Workshop moderator – Elizabeth Ayer, Red Gate Software

15. Market Sizing Action Plan. Elizabeth Ayer.

Market size estimation is the foundation for most business cases, and shaky analysis can undermine your whole argument. This session will present an example and look at its strengths and weaknesses. Workshop moderator – Elizabeth Ayer, Red Gate Software

16. Balancing Short-term and Long-term investments. Elizabeth Ayer.

Urgent problems always seem to win out over longer-term investments. In this session, we'll talk about practical strategies for finding the right mix and sticking to your investment decisions. Workshop moderator – Elizabeth Ayer, Red Gate Software

17. Planning for scale. Patrick Foley and Aaron Schaap.

After you’ve proven your business model, you want to know that your technology can grow as quickly as your business grows. While you don’t want an over-engineered solution, you do need to think about scalability early or else your technology will be an obstacle at the most inconvenient times – when you are experiencing your greatest successes. How do you plan for scale? And what about The Cloud, doesn’t that fix everything? This interactive session will discuss scalability strategies at a level that every business person needs to understand in order to have meaningful conversations with their technology experts. Aaron Schaap is CEO of http://elevatorup.com and http://downstreamapp.com and has significant real-world experiencing scaling applications, mostly using open-source software. Patrick Foley is an ISV Architect Evangelist for http://microsoft.com and has worked with numerous companies building scalable applications.

18. How to Crowdsource Customer Support with Q&A Sites. Nemo Chu.

Our Software powers over 3000 Q&A sites, some of which belong to software companies. They think, "Golly gosh, wouldn't it be nice if our users helped solve each other's problems without us getting involved?" I've seen how companies pull this off (and don't pull this off), and I'll provide a blueprint for companies looking to go down this path. Workshop moderator – Nemo Chu, Ambassador at Bloomfire

19. Inventing Purple Cows (or how to create Smart Ideas from nothing). Richard Muscat, Red Gate Software.

Seth Godin and Guy Kawasaki have done a great job convincing us that we need "purple cows" that "make meaning". But how? And how can we be certain our big idea will work? This workshop ambitiously claims to do just that: build you your very own pet Purple Cow. This is *not* your regular old brainstorming session. It's a fun, motivating journey that takes you from a user to a product. You will go away with a process that you can easily repeat back home; one that is focused on building certainty in ideas rather than on running away from risk. Workshop moderator – Richard Muscat, Red Gate Software

20. SEO and Online Marketing. Patrick McKenzie, (@patio11)

21. What do people do to keep their business _online_? Dirk Paessler, CEO of Paessler The Network Monitoring Company

In this workshop we will talk about what your peer workshop participants do to keep their your business running! We don’t want to be in the customer’s way: How do they make sure that a customer can send you money for your product at any time, 24/7, 365 days a year? Of course step one is to simply monitor our website, shop, downloadsites? But what else do you do?

Even more monitoring: Do you keep an automated eye on your shopping cart process, your automated logfile download and analysis, your build process, your unpaid invoices, your daily cash flow, your maintenance rate, your support ticket count, your data center room temperature, etc.? Do you have a dashboard of the vital parameters of your business?

Hosting: Where/How do you host your website? How do you prepare for disaster or total failure of your hosting company? Do you dare to use the cloud (and are you prepared for cloud failure)?

Payment: What payment methods and what payment processing companies do you work with?

Usability: Are you testing your sign-up/download, trial and shopping process with people who have no idea what they are doing?

Support: Do you offer 24/7 phone/email support? Or just 8 hours on business days?

22. Workshop: Software Product Management – Maximizing investments. Ernani Ferrari

Learn how to maximize scarce resources and investments in software products. Get key drivers to streamline communication and processes in you organization and along with clients and partners. Understand

  • The software management cycle
  • Traps software companies fall into
  • The importance of systematic product management
  • The objectives and necessities of the product management process
  • The product management organization – approaches; product manager’s role and profile
  • The eight key-information areas for research, mapping and analyses

Address key concerns with whom played as a product manager and director for many years and has implemented the process several times.

Ernani Ferrari, Chief Consultant of Mondo Strategies and author of the book Product Management for Software – Simple Processes for Great Results, the Mondo Strategies Guide of Metrics and Software Indicators (this one not available in English) and several articles related to software management. Ferrari brings 27 years of experience in IT, 14 as executive in some of the largest enterprise software companies in the world, having worked in 16 countries of North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific and South America. Frequent speaker, helper to software associations and coach to software company’s CEOs, Ernani has worked with over a hundred software companies and provided consulting services since 2005 to companies like Microsoft, IBM, Totvs, Sonda and dozens of other large, medium, small and start-up companies, from North America and Latin America, focusing the three key-areas for the international software business: strategic planning, software & business processes, and internationalization.

Ferrari is a business administrator with masters in Production Management and in Marketing from Fundação Getúlio Vargas, the most respected management school in Latin America. His previous experience includes companies like Volkswagen, Ford and Boehringer Ingelheim and the production and delivery of enterprise software to over 70 countries in 26 languages.

23. Workshop: Internationalization & Localization – Expanding software markets. Ernani Ferrari

Ernani will share his experience and guidelines about internationalization and localization of software:

  • Planning for internationalization – reasons to go across borders; approaches and requisites to make it happen; planning objectives; absolute needs to play internationally.
  • Choosing your markets – critical factors to enter a new market; applicable business models; and requirements and special-care topics.
  • The localization process – the characteristics of localizations; what has to be localized; and the several aspects to be considered and addressed.
  • Key-phases for an internationalization roadmap.

Questions brought by the audience will be discussed with Ernani, who has worked around the globe.

Ernani Ferrari, Chief Consultant of Mondo Strategies and author of the book Product Management for Software – Simple Processes for Great Results, the Mondo Strategies Guide of Metrics and Software Indicators (this one not available in English) and several articles related to software management. Ferrari brings 27 years of experience in IT, 14 as executive in some of the largest enterprise software companies in the world, having worked in 16 countries of North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific and South America. Frequent speaker, helper to software associations and coach to software company’s CEOs, Ernani has worked with over a hundred software companies and provided consulting services since 2005 to companies like Microsoft, IBM, Totvs, Sonda and dozens of other large, medium, small and start-up companies, from North America and Latin America, focusing the three key-areas for the international software business: strategic planning, software & business processes, and internationalization.

Ferrari is a business administrator with masters in Production Management and in Marketing from Fundação Getúlio Vargas, the most respected management school in Latin America. His previous experience includes companies like Volkswagen, Ford and Boehringer Ingelheim and the production and delivery of enterprise software to over 70 countries in 26 languages.

24. Sales Skills. Paul Kenny.

25. Rewarding & Motivating Sales People. Paul Kenny

26. How to present a workshop at Business of Software 2011 in Boston that really only exists for the sole purpose of being the longest titled workshop pitch in the entire Business of Software Conference beating those Canadian ninjas at Freshbooks by several words. Jeff Steinbeck.

Please register your preferences using the SurveyMonkey form here.

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