The Program

Business of Software 2016 runs from 12-14 September 2016.

This is the current schedule, expect talks, great food, great people, workshops and great networking. Please note, subject to change.

Schedule

The Business of Software Conference USA Program

Pre-Conference | Registration and Reception – Sunday 11th September 2016

13:00

BoS Photowalk

Rain or shine, on September 20, we’re heading out on the town! Look for John Knox (picture/@windaddict on twitter) and Betsy Weber (picture/@betsyweber on twitter) in the lobby of the Seaport Boston Hotel at 13:00.

Interested? More details and FREE ticket here.

19:00

Registration and Pre-Conference Reception

Welcome to BoS! Avoid the rush to register on Monday morning by collecting your details and having a drink with us on Sunday evening. We’re looking forward to seeing you.

Day One – Monday 12th September 2016

07:30

Breakfast and Registration

Welcome to Business of Software Conference USA. Register, pick up your bag and take on fuel.

09:00

Lessons Learned in 17 years Building and Exiting a $ Billion SaaS Business

When Gail became CEO of Constant Contact 17 years ago, she had to persuade venture capitalists that selling anything to SME/SMBs was possible, let alone an online service – THIS WAS THE LAST MILLENNIUM!

It wasn’t easy to make it work (see her previous Business of Software Conference Talk – ‘The Long Slow, SaaS Ramp of Death‘. Over this time, the business grew to over 1,400 people, went through an IPO with a market cap of over $1 billion and attracted more than 650,000 small business customers (that were impossible to market to). In November 2015, Constant Contact was sold to Endurance Software for $1.1b. One of her legacies to the software industry has been proving you can build a profitable business in the SMB space. Today, SME/SMBs are a recognised and attractive market segment for software companies and significant amounts of venture funding is available to go after it.

Gail considers some of the things she has learned about marketing and serving SMB customers, about the software industry and about leadership along the path to a scale business. She will also share her thoughts behind the ultimate sale of the company, something she describes as good for customers, for employees and for shareholders, even if it was a bittersweet process for her personally.

Speaker

10:00

Morning Break – Day One

Coffee, conversation and reflection.

10:30

How we Almost Messed up Trello

Michael will talk about some of the things he got wrong building Trello and discuss, in conversation with Paul Kenny, the reasons things went wrong as well as what was done to get it right.

Speakers

11:30

Perks vs Culture – The Ping Pong Table Fallacy

Promise will discuss why perks are just the tip of the culture iceberg. A sustainable business culture is only possible if you consider what is below the surface first. It’s too easy to confuse perks – 401k, travel, free food – as the mark of a good culture. The reality is perks are meaningless without deep thought about the behaviours you encourage within your workplace – an ownership culture, transparency of performance and compensation, clarity about what it takes to win and building winning habits amongst your team. Culture is reinforced by strong leaders with a willingness to address some of the daily things that stop us from letting emotional triggers preventing us from building a great company.

Speaker

12:30

Lunch and Networking – Day One

Meet your fellow attendees and speakers for a relaxed lunch and/or join a table for a focused discussion on a topic of your choice.

14:00

What I learned in a Decade at Hubspot

Hubspot, the company he co-founded in 2006 has grown over this time to become a publicly listed company with over 1,000 employees, revenue approaching $200 million and a market cap that makes it a public unicorn. Dharmesh will share some of the things he got right as a technical founder but more importantly, will consider some of the mistakes he’s made that challenged his assumptions about how to grow a big ass software business. What would he like to have answers for now that will help him in the future?

Speaker

15:00

Lightning Talks – Day One

Just a person, a platform and a point of view. The best Lightning Talks are fresh, funny and make you think about something new.

Speakers

15:20

Afternoon Break – Day One

New ideas are thirsty work. Break time.

15:45

Afternoon Breakout Session

12 Tasks of BoS

17:00

The Lost Art of Meaningful Content and Clean Marketing

(Or, 7 things Britney Spears can teach us about astrophysics, number 6 will leave you speechless).

The web is being filled with pointless content that barrages our senses, overwhelms and distracts us and reinforces the new norms of sub-mediocrity. And this contentless content is amplified and regurgitated through social media, email marketing, streamed webinars and sometimes even conferences.

It’s time to take a stand against the banal and pointless pollution. We can do so much better.

Speaker

18:30

Monday Night Party at Laugh Boston

We’re at the best bar in town for great food, great conversation and great entertainment.

Day Two – Tuesday 13th September 2016

08:00

Tuesday Breakfast

Welcome back. Day two starts with a good breakfast and a chance to catch up with anyone you missed last night.

09:00

How to Build a Customer-Driven Product Team

Every company claims to be ‘customer-driven’. They’ll have framed posters on the wall – “Solve for The Customer.” None of that means anything unless you actually make the structural decisions to ensure it. Why is hiring people who are customer-driven the key to a successful product team? David will explain how to structure product teams to increase employee retention and customer focus. What does a feedback loop directly between the engineers and customers look like? Roadmaps solve for the company not the customer. What solves for the customer is non-stop testing and continuous improvement. Introducing unnecessary process can create barriers to customer centricity. What processes should you incorporate? What metrics should product teams and engineers be guided by?

Speaker

10:00

Morning Break – Day Two

Coffee, conversation and reflection.

10:30

Purple Squirrels and Other Lies

Purple Squirrel (n) used by recruiters to describe a job candidate with precisely the right education, experience, and qualifications to fit a job’s multifaceted requirements. “Your perfect candidate is as rare as a purple squirrel”.

In recent years, title inflation has exploded. We’ve seen new definitions for old titles and many new titles have been created. In product management, we’ve got product managers, product marketing managers, product owners, program managers, product strategists, product line managers, portfolio managers, and more. The more prescriptive your requirements, the less likely you are going to find the perfect person. The same applies across every function in an organization.

Steve explains why you should reconsider the areas of expertise needed to build a successful team. Identify contributors with a more limited skill set, but with specific strengths. Adapting processes to the strengths of your team can be a better approach to scaling a startup or optimizing an existing business. Six types of expertise are necessary for a well-rounded product team. They are rarely found in a single person but that doesn’t matter.

(PS. They are: Business, Market, Technology, Domain, Process, and Operations.)

Speaker

11:30

Beyond MVP – Scaling Lean

We’re all familiar with the Lean Startup by now but many people ask how ‘lean’ can apply to larger organisations. Ash Maurya will talk about how lean can scale beyond MVP and the funding team. Weaving concepts from business modeling, lean startup, and systems thinking (theory of constraints), Ash will show why lean can be such a powerful tool in the growing company’s toolbox.

Speaker

12:30

Lunch and Networking – Day Two

Meet your fellow attendees and speakers for a relaxed lunch and/or join a table for a focused discussion on a topic of your choice.

14:00

Don’t Let Your Past Limit Your Future – The Transition from Training to Product Business

Almost everyone running a consulting, training or agency business, however successful, will admit at some point that they wish they could run a product business. Why don’t they?

Speaker

15:00

Lightning Talks – Day Two

Always a highlight of Business of Software Conferences. 15 Slides, 30 Seconds each. Your Topic. Our Stage.

The slides progress automatically for what tends to make 7 and a half minutes of highly entertaining but very informative presentations.

 

Speakers

15:30

Afternoon Break – Day Two

New ideas are thirsty work. Break time.

16:00

Why a SaaS Pricing Company Gives Its Software Away for Free

ProfitWell is a free product that gives companies access to their subscription financial metrics. It was spun out of Price Intelligently, the Boston-based pricing company that collects customer data to help companies understand how to set the right price for the right product targeted at the right customer. Using the ProfitWell story as a case study, Patrick will walk through how to develop a pricing strategy that’s right for you and relies on making sure you understand your ideal customer. He’ll also walk through how freemium can actually be an exceptionally powerful tool for your growth.

Speaker

17:00

Some of the Things Great Software Companies Do That You Don’t Have To

Rob will share the three mistakes he made that almost killed his company as he grew it from a bedroom in Sydney, Australia, to an operation in four countries employing over 200 people. He never took funding for ServiceRocket but realised that building a board he was afraid of would be a key part in helping the business grow.

ServiceRocket exists to help software companies ensure that customers use their products, a proven route to ensuring repeat business. He will share some of the mistakes that even the best software businesses make in getting their customers to use the software they’ve purchased. You don’t have to make the same mistakes. Rob will share a few tips you can implement today to ensure your customers are successful, happy users.

Speaker

18:00

Summary, Close, Self Propelled Networking Dinners

Summary and close of day two.

Self propelled attendee dinners.

Day Three – Wednesday 14th September 2016

08:00

Wednesday Breakfast

Last lap, and you’ll need to refuel.

09:00

Scaling to a Billion and Beyond

Scaling: Ninety percent of all startups self-destruct – mostly because they scale too quickly.

Speaker

10:00

Morning Break – Day Three

Coffee, conversation and reflection.

10:30

Robots are Extroverts, Algorithms are Introverts. What do We Need to Know About AI?

We expect AI and Machine Learning to have a significant impact on the jobs we do – Forrester estimate 16% of current US jobs will be done by AI by the end of the decade (while creating 13.6 million jobs, this still reduces the workforce by 7%). AI represents a significant opportunity for software businesses to embrace innovation within the industry that will destroy some businesses and provide a competitive advantage to others. Jana considers where AI is now, the problems that it can solve and what companies need to know to start claiming the benefits. What do you need to get started with machine learning and AI in your own organization?

Speaker

11:30

Your Company Should be Your Best Product

Since Basecamp was founded in 1999, it has pioneered a different way of doing things, a different way of working, a different approach to doing business.

Speaker

12:30

Thank You, Farewell and Your Lunch To Go

The end of the day (unless you’re staying for a workshop). Swap contact details, make your follow up plans and go use all the ideas you’ve learned.

13:00

Wednesday Afternoon Workshops

You’ve heard the talks, now apply your new way of thinking in practical workshops.  Choose from:

Workshops close by 16:00.