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How #redgate hired 10 geeks in five weeks

In April, I wrote: Right now, we’re running a “Ten geeks in five weeks” project. The major thing that’s holding back Red Gate’s growth is our struggle to hire great people. So Alice, Mark and Nick are going to hire ten people over the next five (now four) weeks. I’m not entirely sure how they’re […]

The second Red Gate million dollar challenge

Are you a micro ISV or do you have a software product you want to sell? We’re setting aside a million dollars to buy the right desktop and web apps. Here’s why, and what you have to do if you want to sell. When I kicked off the first Red Gate million dollar challenge last […]

Freemium and pulling teeth

From the Wikipedia entry on Guignol (the French equivalent of Punch and Judy). My emphasis: “When hard times fell on the silk trade during the French Revolution, he [Laurent Mourghet, Guignol’s creator] became a peddler, and in 1797 started to practice dentistry, which in those days was simply the pulling of teeth. The service was […]

The real reasons why you should be going to Business of Software 2010

According to Mark Stephens, a BoS regular: “The most important reason to go there, however, is that you will find 300 of the brightest people in the Software industry are also going to be there. It is your chance to meet up with lots of other people who might be potential clients or customers, but […]

How to persuade your boss to buy you an iPad

When we kicked off our SQL Response 2 project last June, we decided to rewrite the product from scratch. Early on, the team decided that it would be web based. It would be easier, they claimed, to write cleaner code and create a more modular user interface. They talked about ASP.NET MVC, jQuery and separation […]

Why grit beats talent

Derek Sivers has a great blog post on his fantastic blog illustrating how talent is overrated, and why it’s grit that really counts: “After 15 years of practice, and about 1000 live shows, I was finally a very good singer, at least by my own standards. […] I’m really trying to be a great computer […]

Want to speak at Business of Software 2010?

The Business of Software conference scratches a deeply personal itch. I set it up because I care about building a profitable, sustainable and enduring software business. I wanted to hear from the most eloquent, most experienced and most thought provoking people in the world, and meet people in the same boat as me, struggling with […]

What happened when a software company stopped working for a week #redgate

Just before Easter everybody involved at product development at Red Gate stopped working for a week. The only thing we expected was the unexpected. And we weren’t disappointed. Rather than write up the results, here’s a video that Anthony put together. You can see other videos (including what happened when we locked four people in […]

The Book of Red Gate: how gold was born from mud #10geeksin5weeks

A few months ago, I was stuck in the meeting from hell. Red Gate’s got a moderately complicated web site. Everybody wants to be able to update it how they like, but we need to keep it consistent. Of course, everybody says, consistency is good but only if it’s my way. At the end of […]

Asteroid impact: are you a big lizard or small and furry?

Are you worried about how your software business will cope with the impending end of the world? What? You didn’t know that the world was about to end? You should definitely listen to Mark Stephen’s fantastic talk from last year’s Business of Software conference. It’s witty, it’s insightful and it’s short (under seven minutes long). […]

The problem with releasing early, and releasing often (cartoon)

Rob’s strict adherence to “release early, release often” in all areas of his life was starting to irritate his colleagues

The geek gods are easily offended (cartoon)

My second attempt at a cartoon. I have no idea whether it’s any good or not. If you like it, retweet it … Nigel’s decision to break with tradition and *not* sacrifice a cat at today’s daily stand-up meeting was a brave one.

Twenty percent projects (cartoon)

I’m feeling a bit stuck for material for my blog, so I thought I’d break things up with a cartoon or two. If you like it, let me know (or retweet it). I’ll keep an eye out for the tumbleweed. Here’s the first one. You’ll need to click on it see it properly. “Richard’s 20% […]

#BoS2010 coming up

I’m about to start promoting Business of Software 2010. It’s in Boston, October 4th to 6th. The speakers are going to be fantastic. Here’s a sneak preview of the summary video from last year: (You can see a longer, higher resolution video here). If you want to sneak in before I officially announce registration and […]

What will happen when a software company downs tools for a week?

Three months ago, four Red Gaters volunteered to lock themselves into a converted barn on the Suffolk coast for a week, ate pizza, drank beer and coded. When Alex, Dom, Nagashree and Rob stumbled back into the office, they’d conceived, gestated and birthed SQL Search. Last week, we launched the product – a free tool […]

Ingeniously simple tools … don’t happen by chance

Have you ever wondered what pulling a pint of English ale can tell you about software interfaces? Or are you curious about Steve Jobs's magic ability to create news from a vacuum*? These are just two of the topics our user experience folk (they're the people who design Red Gate's software) have covered in our […]

The rise of the expert

I’m sitting in my doctor’s office. I’ve described my symptoms and he’s asked a few questions. For a few seconds, he seems puzzled. He starts typing at his computer. I shift my chair so I can see what he’s typing into which expert medical database. He’s on Google. This episode from a couple of weeks […]

#codingbythesea – throw four smart people into a house by the seaside and shake

At Red Gate we like to try new things. The million dollar challenge and the accidental incubator are a couple of examples. Combine this with an occasional but nagging frustration at how long it can take to get stuff done nowadays and a curiosity about how much a small team can achieve if we just […]

Business of Software 2009 program

I’ve just posted up the BoS 2009 program (thank you @thatdesigner). You can download it here (.pdf). It’s going to be awesome. There are still some places left. You can sign up here.

Pecha Kucha finalists for Business of Software 2009

This year’s Pecha Kucha finalists have got their work cut out for them. Twenty slides, twenty seconds each, it’s the haiku of presentations. Here they are: Jurgen Appelo, Chief Information Officer of ISM eCompany on “Managing agility: from complex to simple” JD Brennan, Distinguished Technologist at HP, on "The 6.6 minute design school” Daniel Kuperman, […]

Are sales people different from you and me?

"Sales people are different from you and me." "Yes, they want money more." A year – a few months, even – ago, I would have agreed with this. It’s common knowledge that sales people are motivated differently to the rest of us. You need to keep them hungry, drive them with low basic salaries and […]

Ten free student tickets for Business of Software 2009

I've decided to offer ten free student tickets to Business of Software 2009. Here's what you need to do to qualify: Be in full-time education Be a hacker, and show some evidence of this.  E-mail me a link to your blog / an open source project you've worked on / something you've built MBAs etc. […]

Joel’s startup workshop

Joel Spolsky is running a startup workshop in San Francisco after this year's Business of Software conference. It sounds really cool. You can find out more on Joel's blog.

{smartassembly} wins the Red Gate million dollar challenge

Back in April I blogged about the Red Gate million dollar challenge. Red Gate is fortunate enough to be profitable and have money in the bank. We've bought companies in the past, and it felt like a good time to do it again. Finding great companies is hard, and we're lazy, so we set up […]

Last chance to speak at Business of Software 2009

As the title says. The deadline is 1st September. See here for more information.

"The knowing-doing gap" – a book review

“I know kung fu.” In the Matrix, when Neo wants to learn kung-fu all he has to do is upload a fighting module. A few seconds later and he’s sparring with Morpheus in a virtual dojo. Living in a computer simulation and being bred as an energy source for a machine master-race has its disadvantages, […]

The accidental incubator

In one corner of Red Gate, next to the giant mural of the coloured pencils and about 20 feet from where I sit, you’ll find a curious bunch of people: Curious? Why curious? Martin and Conrad are working on a start-up called go-test.it (Martin’s also starting his PhD in the Cambridge University computer labs in […]

“The Web Startup Success Guide” – a book review

Back in 1999, after quitting a job I hated that involved working on products that sucked and with and for (with some exceptions) people I didn't respect, I found myself in the small life boat that was Red Gate, with Simon as co-navigator, a small contracting revenue as a paddle and no hat. Bob Walsh's […]

Want to speak at Business of Software 2009?

We’ve got a bunch of great speakers lined up for this year’s conference (Joel Spolsky, Geoffrey Moore, Paul Graham, Ryan Carson and Kathy Sierra, just to name a handful – the full list is here). There could be one more name on that list. Yours. We’re holding a pecha kucha competition. Interested? Send me an […]

The chasm of total freaking hopelessness

The hardest part of learning something – whether it's quantum electrodynamics, a foreign language or sketching – is getting past the stage of total freaking hopelessness. Read more on my other blog: http://blog.neildavidson.com/2009/07/the-chasm-of-total-freaking-hopelessness.html