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Business of Software conference news

Avangate Announce Their 2013 Business of Software Conference Scholarship Winners

Avangate, the leading Customer Centric Commerce solution provider trusted by thousands of Software and Cloud Services companies to grow their business worldwide, today announced the recipients of its Business of Software Conference Scholarship. The three winners - InternAvenueMochadocs, and Weekdone - will receive free passes to the Business of Software conference and the opportunity to attend a networking dinner with software industry leaders held during the event.

“At Avangate, we recognize the importance of innovation to the software industry and we are committed to accelerating growth for software companies at all stages,” said Carl Theobald, CEO of Avangate. “We offer this scholarship contest for young companies to access the information they need to validate their growth strategies and widen their business network. It’s always difficult to pick winners from the group of applicants, but this year’s scholarship recipients really stood out for their solid products and clear vision for the future.”

All of the scholarship winners are software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies, but each focuses on a different aspect of business. Intern Avenue is a hire-matching platform which helps employers to find and differentiate quickly between candidates, while Mochadocs makes it easy for businesses of all sizes to manage and fulfill contracts. Finally, Weekdone helps managers and teams track their productivity to identify strengths as well as areas for improvement. Each company is taking a creative approach to meeting a defined business need and stands to benefit greatly from the Business of Software Conference.

“We’re delighted to welcome the Avangate scholarship recipients to the Business of Software Conference in Boston next week. They have selected interesting, innovative companies, but more importantly three interesting entrepreneurs who share so many of the values with our attendees from around the world.” said Mark Littlewood, Director of the Business Leaders Network and Business of Software. “The scholars are always enthusiastic participants and have so much to offer back from their own entrepreneurial experience. We know scholarship recipients make valuable connections and create a solid foundation for growth. I am personally delighted that the scholars represent the geographical diversity of BoS attendees coming from the UK, Netherlands and Estonia.”

In addition to presenting scholarship recipients with the opportunity to attend the well-known Boston conference, Avangate will organize a networking dinner to connect the new companies with leading experts in the software industry.

To learn more about how Avangate can grow your software and SaaS sales, read an overview of the Avangate commerce solutions.

About the Business of Software Conference, 28th -30th October, Boston, MA

Business of Software is the conference for people who care about growing great software businesses. It’s a safe haven for ISVs who want to talk, listen and learn from each other about growing long-term, sustainable, profitable software businesses. Our attendees run growth businesses and entrepreneurial business units in companies that work in all types of organizations – through enterprise software, web, mobile, SaaS — from around the world. (Half of last year’s participants were from outside the USA). Business of Software is about sharing ideas for building better software businesses. More information can be found atbusinessofsoftware.org.

About Avangate

Avangate is the leading customer-centric commerce provider that enables companies to increase their online sales across touchpoints, manage subscription billing, and grow their distribution channels to profitably scale and enter new markets. Avangate’s scalable and integrated solutions include a full-featured, modular and secure eCommerce platform, a partner order and revenue management solution, as well as a constantly expanding worldwide affiliate network.

More information about Avangate can be found at avangate.com

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Old laptop. New laptop. Stickers. T-shirts.

This is my old laptop. It goes to some of the best conferences in the world.

Old laptop

This is my new laptop. If you want to cheer it up, feel free to bring me a sticker.

New laptop the Apple Pie

In similar vein, I saw Peldi earlier this summer and he wore a continuous cycle of StackExchange, Balsamiq, Red Gate and Business of Software T-shirts. People came up to him on the beach asking where they could download software from such incredible institutions.

My daughter asked him why he  wore the same T-shirts and he replied they were the only ones people had given him.

Italy 2013 Paul Kenny 014

 

Italy2013 Peldi 001

 

Italy2013 Peldi 008

He isn’t the only technology influencer who is happy to war a nice promotional T-shirt so why not bring a couple along and find someone that will do your marketing for you on the other side of the world?

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The Storify of Business of Software Conference 2013, 28-30th October 2013, Boston, MA.

Selected social media and pictures from Business of Software Conference 2013.

Tag any media #BoS2013 to be included.

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[View the story "Business of Software Conference 2013" on Storify]

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Tech events in Boston in week of Business of Software Conference 2013

Thanks to Trever Lohrbeer at Lab Escape, for a neat run down on other technology events going on in Boston around the Business of Software Conference that starts next week in Boston…

“Unfortunately, with closing my biggest deal ever & buying a house in the past month, life has not let up enough for me to prepare for BoS properly this year.” [We SO know that feeling...]

I had wanted to write an article about activities people could do pre/post BoS. I don’t have time for that, but I figured I’d write you and pass along the info in case you want to work it in somewhere.

Before BoS, we have:

Fantastic FREE geek unconference. I’m flying in Friday night just so I can go to this before BoS.

After BoS, we have:

Giving away $1 million to the winning startups who’ve gone through one of the largest accelerators in the world, many of which are software startups. Amazing networking, plus you get to see the finalists pitch their companies. Plus this year’s MC is Aasif Mandvi from The Daily Show and the keynote is George Whitesides, CEO of Virgin Galactic. Not cheap ($199 for most companies), but worth it.

I’ve been twice before and one of the best unconferences I’ve ever been to. It now has 1,000+ attendees. Again, amazing networking, inspiring & educational content. I’ve both hosted & attended sessions, and I always learn a great deal. Attendees tend to be entrepreneurs, investors & creative thinkers around Boston.

Held in the Cambridge Innovation Center every Thursday, Venture Cafe always has smart attendees & sometimes educational presentations. Free beer & wine while you network and mingle with other entrepreneurs and like-minded people.

Other events happening that week are listed on Greenhorn Connect or VentureFizz.

Unfortunately, it’s probably too late for those who have booked their flights. But for people who will be in town anyway because they chose to come early or stay late, the ones listed above are all great events. I’m flying in on Friday and staying for almost two weeks to attend all the great events and catch up with people. I’m planning on attending all the events I listed above, and am happy to introduce other BoSers to the people I know in Boston at these other events. Just tell me people to look for the fedora. :-)

I’m looking forward to another year at BoS. I’ve been feeling my excitement building this past week. Keep sending those great e-mails, and see you up in Boston next week!

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4 keys for 'Products and promotions that people really, actually love' (c) Dharmesh Shah

Over at Hubspot, Dharmesh has been thinking about some of the key pieces of advice he’s found at Business of Software that really make the difference to how he approaches product development and promotion. It’s a great post and a great summary (full transcript below). If you want to really get to grips with these principles, I recommend watching the talks as a whole: Kathy, Joel, Rory and Don all give practical tips on how these insights can be used for your business.

A word of advice: these are long talks, and could disrupt your working day. If you would prefer us to email them to you for later consumption, just leave your details in the form below and we will make sure you get them, plus a notification when the talks from BoS2013 are published on this site.

Make the user awesome instead of competing to be perceived as awesome.” – Kathy Sierra, Serious Pony
As soon as you think someone is seeing what you’re doing, you start to care more about it.” – Joel Spolsky, Stack Exchange
If you think creativity is expensive, you should try logic.” – Rory Sutherland, Ogilvy Group
Design products for who your users are, not who you want them to be.” – Don Norman, Nielsen Norman Group

Here is what they mean to Dharmesh and the team at Hubspot (you can see the original post here):

‘As many of you know, creating remarkable content is a hallmark of both HubSpot as a company and the inbound marketing movement. But as a proud “geek” myself and someone who has also spent a fair amount of time writing code, I’m a strong believer that best-in-class companies need both remarkable products and promotion that their prospects, leads, and customers don’t just tolerate, but actually really love.

I’ve been fortunate to join many people who care about this very topic at the Business of Software conference here in Boston over the last five years, so to celebrate my sixth year with this esteemed group of people, I pulled together some of my favorite pieces of advice from panelists past and present on how to write code and content your customers truly love.

“Make the user awesome instead of competing to be perceived as awesome.” – Kathy Sierra, Serious Pony (Tweet This)

The first piece of advice comes from a woman I deeply admire and who has a lot of fans in and around HubSpot. Kathy notes that while trust in advertisements is down, trust in recommendations from friends and colleagues is up (inbound marketing for the win!). And yet, what this trend has created is a massive crowd of companies and brands competing to be perceived as awesome. This sounds, at face value, like a well-intentioned and successful business strategy, but as Kathy points out in her address last year, trying to achieve the perception of awesome is a fierce and bloody battle with very few winners.

Kathy advocates a different route entirely: creating applications and experiences that are so inherently valuable and simple that users extract value within the first 30 minutes. I was particularly struck by the wisdom of this insight during a recent West Coast trip: Part of the genius of companies like Dropbox and New Relic is that their user experiences are so sticky and intuitive that the time between “getting started” with Dropbox and “benefiting” from Dropbox is minutes, if not seconds. It’s that threshold, as Kathy notes, that all of us should be aiming for each day as we build our products.

“As soon as you think someone is seeing what you’re doing, you start to care more about it.” – Joel Spolsky, Stack Exchange (Tweet This)

Joel runs Stack Exchange, which has cultivated a community of 22 million users, making it one of the most popular websites on the internet. This is no small feat, but when asked about the success of Stack Exchange’s platform, Joel references not just the code, but also the culture that has engendered such excitement for an answers-driven destination.

One of the insights from his talk last year that I particularly enjoyed was the notion that first impressions send signals to your users and website visitors that indicate whether the site is relevant for “their people.” For example, if you’re seeking out high-level physics insight and the first item you see on an answers site is about where to find an apartment, chances are you will leave within seconds.

Identifying the signals you can send to visitors and prospective users that they are in the right place and that they have found a community where they can either actively participate or simply get a quick answer they need is core to Stack Exchange’s business model. As a result, the company focuses on guiding principles and governing rules that facilitate the quality of those first impressions, and their users benefit daily from these decisions. Product managers and marketers alike should take that advice to heart: What signals does your homepage send about relevance for the community you’re seeking to attract and grow?

The second relates to badges: Joel correctly points out that most people respond incredulously when asked if they would behave differently to get a seemingly meaningless internet badge. However, he references cultural anthropology and human psychology by noting that everyone, regardless of whether you are online, offline, young, old, a developer, or a doctor, behaves differently when they believe someone else sees what they are doing.

When someone is observing your behavior, shoes, work, contributions, or intellect, you take more pride in it — this is as true of toddlers as it is for those of us who wish to be viewed as helpful or intelligent on Stack Exchange. As a result, badges and other forms of social proof and rewards aren’t for show: They reinforce the vision that Stack Exchange users aren’t just providing Q&A fodder, they are also responsible for creating “a permanent useful artifact for the internet’s benefit.” Give people a mission that matters, and the right users will care enough to contribute, collaborate, and correct clearly defined cultural norms.

“If you think creativity is expensive, you should try logic.” – Rory Sutherland, Ogilvy Group (Tweet This)

I’m a huge fan of logic and data-driven decisions. But, I’m also a huge fan of Rory’s insight that rationality goes “dangerously unpoliced” at many organizations, and that most of the world’s great businesses are rooted in a really exceptional human insight. Rory’s talk at the 2011 conference reminds each of us that it’s not just about having a product that is “better” than something that currently exists. In fact, Rory is quick to note that marginal improvements on one dimension often fail miserably.

There are always going to be thousands of alternatives to your product available, but all of our market perceptions are shaped by heuristics. To that end, entrepreneurs, developers, and marketers alike cannot lose sight of the fundamentally human component of a value proposition. It is not enough to be a bit better, different, or more expensive — it’s about how you frame those differences in terms of their associated risks, benefits, and value that resonates with your customers.

The danger of rationality should resonate and move all of us. It’s very easy to talk yourself into or out of anything with data, including what your customers want. Often, if your product or services are not meeting the needs of your current install base, this gap will not emerge immediately, but rather show when people vote with their wallets by moving on from your company months or years later. In particular, SaaS platforms like ours rely upon long-term relationships with customers to pay back the investment of acquiring them.

It’s not good enough to think big, push creative limits, or revisit the drawing board when things are bad or customers complain. The world’s best companies combine creativity and rationality to solve real human problems, upgrade people’s lives in new and meaningful ways, and continuously evolve to meet the needs of their customers.

“Design products for who your users are, not who you want them to be.” – Don Norman, Nielsen Norman Group (Tweet This)

I can personally attest to how important a reminder this particular tenet is from Don Norman. At HubSpot, as most of you know, we sell inbound marketing software that allows companies to attract and engage with prospects, leads, and customers by leveraging an integrated system that combines blogging, SEO, social media, analytics, and email tools. We take our own medicine, so we use our tools to engage with our audience daily via blogging, social media, and email marketing.

This is all wonderful, but it sometimes leads us to believe that our users are just like us: that they know, understand, and have seen the incredible value of inbound marketing. For business owners and marketers who use our product every day, we need to be realistic about the demands on their time, energy, efforts, and wallets, and our product must be designed and delivered in a manner that reflects how customers actually engage with our product every day.

I’m a big believer that, in addition to adding remarkable features, this exercise should also include removing features that are counterintuitive or no longer add value: Simplicity matters, and walking a mile in our customers’ shoes can’t just be a poster or a vision board. Don’s advice is a great example that building for an idealistic user base can leave you playing to an empty room. Design for real people and you’ll be rewarded with real results.

This year, Kathy’s talk at the Business of Software conference will focus on “Unfinished Business,” and I think that’s a great place for me to conclude here. The reality is that outstanding product design, remarkable marketing, and exceptional user experiences rely upon an ongoing commitment to greatness. The startup and software worlds rarely reward one-hit wonders — our user bases rely upon us for constant innovation and insight to make their lives easier, simpler, and better.’

BoS talks to your inbox.

Join over 11000 of the best informed tech entrepreneurs in the world and subscribe to the BoS mailing list to hear:

When new BoS talks are published
Reminders so you never miss a bargain rate again
Who will be speaking and what great things are happening at the next edition of BoS
Scholarships and special offers for BoS members

 

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