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I did not, in fact, enjoy my trial

When somebody downloads software from our web site we follow up a few days later with an e-mail asking how their trial went. Sometimes people write back. Here's a reply that made me smile. From: ***** [mailto:******@*****.com]Sent: 17 July 2009 19:03To: Red GateSubject: RE: Red Gate Customer follow up I did not, in fact, enjoy […]

My other blog …

I've set up a second blog where I'll be writing about topics other than the business of software. I've already put up a couple of posts. Here's the link: http://blog.neildavidson.com

The graph of goodwill: when to stop listening and start asking

In any sale, you spend a lot of your time listening. You find out what your customer’s problems are, explain how your product fixes them and help him through his evaluation. But there comes a point when you need to ask for something. It might be money, or a favour: for him to talk to […]

How to make giving project feedback easy

In a post last week, Seth Godin explained a problem with giving people feedback about their work. In essence, what happens is this. You say ‘I don’t like your logo / artwork / project plan*’, but they hear ‘I suck’ since the work people do is so tied into who they are. There is a […]

Crossing a river by feeling for the stones

Running a software business is like crossing a river by feeling for the stones. You take one pace, and then a second, and then you search around with your toes for the next stone. You lean on it gently, testing its smoothness and seeing if it wobbles. It it’s a good stone, you slowly shift […]

What are you *really* good at, and who cares?

Last week, Wil Harris spoke eloquently and convincingly about how ChannelFlip launched. Off the shelf software, string, sticky tape, some CSS, plenty of tea and a spare afternoon* was all it took to create and get this top-notch video magazine off the ground. That anybody can launch a successful web site or business is a […]

What do you do if coding is no longer enough?

The first computer I ever programmed was my uncle’s Sharp PC-1211. Keen for me to hone my skills on Forth, away from what he considered the mind-softening influence of BASIC, he soon gave me a Jupiter Ace, the first computer I ever owned. It was 1982 and I was ten years old. These two computers […]

A reminder about the Red Gate million dollar challenge

If you’ve got a micro ISV or software product that you want to sell then we’ve got a million dollars to spend. The deadline for applications is on May 31st. Read more at the original post: http://blog.businessofsoftware.org/2009/04/the-red-gate-million-dollar-challenge.html

Pesky customers, and one way of handling them

  Employee: “Boss, this gentleman’s got a Word document he’d like to print.” Boss: “Damn him. Microsoft? Microsoft?! What sort of person uses Microsoft software? Why doesn’t he use a Mac? Out! Out! Tell him to get out!” Employee: “But he’s the tenth person today who’s asked for that. And we are a print shop.” […]

The 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. In November 2006, Red Gate purchased SQLServerCentral. In the two and half […]

The story behind the Hudson River plane crash reconstruction

If you’re one of the 1.8 million people who’ve viewed the youtube 3D reconstruction of the Hudson River plane crash then you probably think it was a straightforward, runaway viral success. But the truth is different: it’s an illustration of how luck, time, hard work and old media are all needed to create an overnight […]

How to get a speaking slot at a conference

Over the past three years I’ve received hundreds of e-mails from people who want to speak at the Business of Software conference I run with Joel Spolsky. Over time, I’ve reached conclusions about the best ways to get a speaking slot, at this or any other conference. Here are some does and don’ts: Do write […]

The one, two of product marketing

“What’s your definition of marketing?” someone asked me a few days ago. I mumbled something vague and quickly passed the question on to the next person at the table. People get hung up on definitions, trying to understand exactly what is sales and what is marketing and where the lexical boundary between the two lies. […]

Greasing the wheels for persuasion

A few weeks ago I gave a very short speech at the Cambridge University Entrepreneurs society. It bombed. As I was speaking, all I could see was boredom on the ocean of passive faces in the audience. I thought I had done everything right. I had solid content, I had what I thought was an […]

Hot or Not, Part Deux

Today’s guest post is by Simon Galbraith. Simon is co-founder and joint CEO of Red Gate Software. I’ve been a long-time believer that, correctly chosen, professional photography is a key element in marketing. I’ve backed this belief with the money of my company and have approved countless campaigns that involve professionally taken photographs. A couple […]

What do Seth Godin, a thug and a serial killer have in common?

In I.D., Philip Davis’s 1995 film, Reece Dinsdale plays John, one of four undercover policemen sent to infiltrate a group of football hooligans at the fictional Shadwell Football Club. As John starts drinking, fighting and copying the behaviour of the thugs he is monitoring, he slowly becomes one of them.In the final scene, we see […]

Projects from hell – chill or scream?

In June last year, at Tech Ed in Orlando, Red Gate announced that we’d soon be launching an archiving tool for Microsoft Exchange. The beta was weeks away, and we’d release a final version by November. But the signs were already bad – the team was hitting problems and deadlines were whizzing past. The target […]

Is your marketing “Hot or Not”?

Today’s guest post is by Simon Galbraith. Simon is co-founder and joint CEO of Red Gate Software. My company, Red Gate Software, has a photo board. When new people start work, someone from HR takes a photo using a digital camera. That photo is eventually replaced by one taken by a professional photographer. The photo […]

What makes a great sysadmin?

If you're not a sysadmin then the odds are you deal with one. But makes a good sysadmin, and why are there so few great ones? For me, an end user, what distinguishes a great sysadmin from a merely competent one is attitude. Technical skills are easy, problem solving ability is harder, but it's great […]

Taking the road less travelled by

Back at the beginning of 2003, Red Gate was doing well: our products were selling, we were profitable, and life was good. Our SQL Comparison tools – version 2 – were popular and, I thought, fully baked. There was very little more we could do with them. Sure, they were a bit slow, there were […]

BoS digest: there are no absolutes. Ever.

Malcolm Gladwell is getting a bit of a kicking right now. It’s all my fault. Well, your fault too. All of us, in fact. We all love it when somebody takes the bitter complexity of the world, breaks it down, simplifies it, wraps it up in a tasty story and places it in front of […]

About the people behind The Business of Software

About Neil Davidson Joint CEO of Red Gate Software and Founder of the Business of Software conference. Follow him on Twitter. Neil’s Blog. About Mark Littlewood Founder of the Business Leaders Network (TheBLN). Organizer of the Business of Software conference. Follow him on Twitter. Mark’s Blog.

Seth Godin and the gorillas

The good news: Seth Godin – marketing guru, tribal leader and possibly the best speaker I’ve ever heard – is coming to London. The bad news: all the tickets are sold out The good news: I have a spare ticket The best news: Mark of Evil Genius Media, the organizers, has given me permission to […]

Business of Software 2009 – registration open

I was going to write a long blog post about how wonderful Business of Software 2009 is going to be, but then I realised that no matter what I wrote it wouldn't be as compelling as this video that Lerone did of BoS 2008. It's a couple of minutes long, and I think you'll enjoy […]

BoS digest – when good assumptions go bad

Last year, the Zimbabwean division of Barclays bank made one hundred quadrillion Zimbabwe dollars profit. With inflation at 231 million percent and rising, the numbers will soon breach the magic threshold of Z$ 922,337,203,685,477.5807. Why magic? The true geeks among you will instantly recognise 9,223,372,036,854,775,807 as 2^63 – 1, or the maximum value that the […]

BoS digest: an idea for large-scale, real-life networking

How do you take a group of 400 and introduce each person to a handful of relevant people? And get them to know each other, to discuss a mutual topic of interest, and form a bond that will last more than the hour they spend in each other's company? That's the problem I'm facing with […]

Interruption Marketing: Rumors of its Death have been Greatly Exaggerated

I've got a guest post on the Avangate blog where I talk about Napoleon, hemorrhoid treatment, toilet paper and why interruption marketing isn't dead:"As Seth Godin says, you should create purple cows: products that are remarkable. Products that people want to talk about. But no matter how hard you try, your cow doesn’t always end […]

Times are changing

This is a guest post by Bob Walsh of 47hats.com Neil's latest post, BoS digest: why you can't just trim the fat, I thought was a good one, but it neglected the 14th principle of the Toyota Way: Become a learning organization through relentless reflection (hansei) and continuous improvement (kaizen). Put another way, that means […]

Hiring people

I've got a guest post over on Bob Walsh's 47hats.com and although it's aimed at Micro ISVs ready to hire their first person I think points 2 – 7 are relevant to business of all sizes. Here's point number 5: If you’ve never hired for this role before, bring in an expert to help you. […]

BoS digest: why you can’t just trim the fat

I think it was J.K. Galbraith, the economist, who pointed out the problem with trimming the fat in hard times. The image is of taking a slice of bacon and then cleanly removing the fatty rind with a sharp pair of scissors, just leaving the meat behind. In reality, the fat is marbled into your […]



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