Breaking the ice – table sessions at BoS 2008

As well as top speakers, excellent content and free beer, there’s one more thing you’re going to get at Business of Software 2008: mild social anxiety.

We’re going to try out an idea that Seth Godin blogged about, and split people up into groups of 10. Each group will get allocated a table and a topic to discuss.

That means that we’re going to need 30 – 40 topics for people to discuss, fewer if we allow multiple tables to use the same topic.

Seth suggests entrepreneurship, shoe collectors and whining about the economy. If you’ve got any other topics you’d like to discuss at Business of Software 2008 then post them here. I’ll send a copy of Meatball Sundae, Seth’s latest book, to a couple of people who come up with the best suggestions.

Post here …

25 responses to “Breaking the ice – table sessions at BoS 2008”

  1. markee says:

    There must be a slot for ‘The worst types of customer inquiry’ in there…

  2. markee says:

    Or even Customers to avoid…
    (General types rather than specific names!)

  3. Vikram says:

    Some topics like:
    1.Results only work environment
    2.Web 2.0-Is it dead commercially?
    3.Working in a Global Workforce and workplace.
    4.Personalisation,productivity,collaboration-New age of working in IT services
    5.Best companies best practices and commonality which made them successful.
    6.Who is a 22nd centrury global IT leader-is it you the consumers or companies?

  4. Topic suggestion:
    How do you read RSS feeds?
    How many feeds are you subscribed to? How do you read them: Skim all posts? Read selectively? Read everything? Why do you read feeds the way you do? If you don’t, why do you choose not to?

  5. Mark, Vikram and Dominik – thanks for the suggestions. Keep them coming …

  6. Geoffrey Simpson says:

    1. How to make selling software simple if you are selling a complex solution to an unsophisticated customer?
    2. Is outsourcing customer care a viable option for micro and small ISVs? Tim Ferris recommends this model for a product oriented business in his book “Four Hour Work Week”.
    3. Are there families of software that have become commoditized due to open source and/or a plethora of similar software applications? If so, how can a software application break out of a commoditized realm?
    4. For consumer products, the goal is to get shelf space at Wal-Mart and other retailers. Is there a distribution model similar to Wal-Mart for the software industry? If not, should there be one? (Could the iTunes store be the basis for this type of model?)
    5. With the move of some applications to web based applications, has the industry ignored the interoperability that was a selling point of modern operating systems? Is application integration work more or less important than it was five to ten years ago?
    -Geoffrey Simpson

  7. Why are Yahoo and ebay failing?
    How do you sustain greatness after exceeding 100 employees?
    What do employees really want?
    Is the new workforce a bunch of whiners?
    What are customers’ biggest gripes?
    Does simple sell?
    To VC or not to VC?
    Has blogging run its course as an effective form of communication?
    Is print — newspapers and books — dead?
    Is Apple really all that great?
    Should you counter online attacks against your company?
    Does the free software model work?
    Will we be working in the “clouds” or still on the desktop?
    Does advertising work?
    How do you tell your company’s story?
    Does having a social conscience help a company?
    Do you actually apply stuff from Seth’s books?
    (sorry if I got carried away…)

  8. Matthew Glidden says:

    What’s the management difference between a company that retains 100% of its best engineers and one that retains 50% of its best engineers?

  9. Bruce says:

    The good, the bad, and the ugly of going it alone.
    If you work for yourself, who are you really working for? Is swapping one boss and a salary for an unknown number of bosses (customers) and a variable income really all its cracked up to be?

  10. Tim says:

    1a. Best advice you received about starting your own business.
    1b. Worst advice you received about starting your own business.
    2. Things you wish you knew before “taking the plunge”.
    3. What’s your interview process like for prospective employees?
    4. How do you compensate key employees?

  11. jon alperin says:

    If these are ice-breakers, I’ve used “What was your first car, and what will your next car be?” as good ways to establish commonality and get people talking in a non-threatening way.
    That, and “so if you had to feed all these people, what would you serve?”

  12. Udi says:

    Bootsrapping a business:
    1. How to keep costs low while developing a new product
    2. How to obtain income sources that will still allow you to develop said product
    3. How to be profitable early
    4. How to grow a business without selling your soul to VCs

  13. What rocks your world?
    What’s the best idea you’ve ever had?
    What would be your final meal?
    What song can’t you get out of your head?
    What celebrity do you most loathe?
    Do you care about anybody’s sign?
    Tell your favorite joke.
    Sing your favorite song (or any song for which you can remember the lyrics).
    What place will you never forget and why?

  14. Will Rayer says:

    Some provocative ice-breakers 🙂
    “C# and VB.NET are too complicated for beginner programmers. Discuss.”
    “There will be a McDonalds restaurant on the moon by 2100. Discuss.”
    “World oil production has reached a peak. Discuss”.

  15. Zakir Hemraj says:

    1. How do you motivate IT employees?
    2. How do you track IT productivity in an organization?
    3. What is the future of software development outsourcing?
    4. Small focused web apps (such as twitter) – will they live on?
    5. Will Facebook survive?

  16. Larry Port says:

    Dealing with Trademark disputes (experience and stories)
    Dealing with Patent disputes (experience and stories)
    How did you establish your price?
    Talk about your first sale.
    Of all of the advice and ideas from agile development, which are the ones that you use?
    How do you test at the UI layer?
    Anyone using a mostly remote team? What are some of the best practices?

  17. Carl Schick says:

    1. Must-see sights in Boston.
    2. Is temp-to-perm a good hiring method?

  18. Larry Port says:

    What book, movie, or other work of art that is regarded as great or classic, in your opinion isn’t all that great?
    What do you think of Branson’s plans for Virgin Galactic? Will you be a space tourist?
    What’s the coolest new food or beverage you’ve tried while traveling?

  19. Ian Tebbutt says:

    How about
    1) Business model for open source
    2) Working cross culture, the joys of out sourcing to India
    3) Products that should exist, but just don’t – my favourite is an IDE that highlights/hides code by function, ie whats business logic, error handling, boiler plate, etc
    4) Why is writing good apps so hard
    5) Contract negotiations – how to handle them

  20. Modulesoft says:

    This is a nice posting. I really like this post.

  21. Tim Martin says:

    No one wants to hang on to the sinking ship. How do you know when your current core business/software is dying and you need to move on to the next idea?

  22. Ben Chestnut says:

    Warning signs your company is on the edge of the chasm

  23. Ben Chestnut says:

    What would you do differently if you were the CEO of:
    * Starbucks
    * GM
    * Virgin Galactic
    * Apple

  24. Janet Rolsma says:

    How can you tell when you have a manager who is a problem?
    What attribute of yourself do you think makes you best suited to be an entrepreneur?

  25. Some ideas:
    * Free ways to advertise a software
    * Alternative payment methods
    * Usability mistakes in 2008
    * In-House or Outsourced Payment Provider
    * Content marketing for software companies – success stories
    * Advertising methods – success stories
    * Social networking websites for business
    * Common mistakes at software companies
    * Hot to enter foreign markets
    * Tracking online software success