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November 30, 2005

Searching within Podcasts

There's finally two ways of searching for your favorite topics within actual podcasts:

Podzinger.com lets you jump to the point in the podcast where your search term was found; but it has a much smaller index and requires RealAudio.

Blinkx.com has a much larger index, but you have to listen to the entire podcast to find the info you're interested in.

Here's a test on each for "Getting Things Done" (Note the quotes):

Podzinger-GTD  and blinkx.com

Finally, there's a good writeup on both on Wired.

November 28, 2005

Ten Rules for Web Startups

Evan Williams, who created Blogger and sold it to Google has a great post out for micro-ISVs and startups of all size.

His advice in a nutshell: be narrow, different, casual, picky and user-centric and start tiny. And keep a committed balance through GTD.

Link: evhead: Ten Rules for Web Startups.

November 12, 2005

Two common MasterList Professional questions...

Q.  Is there a way of setting an order (numerical) to the Tasks, so that they will remain in the sequence needed? 

A.  Yes –  there's a special field called the to do order field. If you click the Prioritizer button, it will show you that field on whatever tab you are and then the Prioritizer. In the Prioritizer you can drag to put tasks into the order you want, or see the other tabs in the prioritizer.

The Prioritizer makes it easy to define what order you want to do a project in, or what order you want to set for your Current tasks.

MLPPrioritizersnip

Q.  Is there a way of rearranging, resizing, reformatting the columns in the grids that display tasks and checklists.? 

A.  Yes – The Current, MasterList, Project, Project Overview and Checklists tabs each support as many different custom views as you want. Just click the "View" dropdown next to the view name, and create new views based on your present view, or from scratch. View Properties on that menu will let you set which columns you see in which order, fonts and sizes, and more.  

MLPViewsnip

November 10, 2005

Pandora: This is too cool!

If you absolutely have to have your music to code, Discover Music - Pandora, is just too cool for words. Over 5 years ago, The Music Genome Project started an incredibly ambitious project: analyze the music by 10,000 musicians to define the DNA of music.
DNA of Music? Huh?
What makes you like a certain piece of music, say anything Peter Gabriel has written? If you knew, and you could database that, and then database a few hundred thousand other pieces of music, you could tell me what other music you'd like and get it right with a very high level of accuracy.

That's Pandora. 20 songs so far, all good or great, some from other artists I like, but some from people I've never heard of ("Cake?, who dat?").

Now put a web 2.0 interface on it, let people either pay for it or see ads and listen for the avalanche....

Very Cool. Highly recommended.

++++
2 hours later... I'm proofing the .pdf of chapter 2 of my forthcoming book, and its time to create a new channel in Pandora. Time for a Dave Brubeck channel. Second song that Pandora finds for me is Hastings Street Bounce by Pepper Adams: I've never heard of Pepper Adams, but it's exactly what I like when I'm in the mood for Brubeck. Too cool for words: I'm in love!

November 09, 2005

What's your Local Max?

If you're a Micro-ISV, or still programming for someone else and only dreaming about starting your own company, Seth Godin has a post for you today: Understanding Local Max.

Simple idea, lots of implications. Whatever peak you've gotten to with your productivity, profession or product, there's another, higher peak over yonder. But you're going to have to go though some uncomfortable territory to get there.

November 04, 2005

Micro-ISV Tip #17: The Other Microsoft

Like a lot of very large multinational companies, there’s two very different Microsofts out there, and micro-ISVs can definitely benefit from learning about and connecting to what I call “the other Microsoft”

Besides all of the technical evangelists, development advisors and support engineers located in and around Microsoft’s corporate headquarters in Redmond, Washington, USA, there’s the Other Microsoft in Phoenix, Arizona and Alpharetta, Georgia and Columbus, Ohio. And there’s the Other Microsoft in Argentina and China and even Auckland, New Zealand.

The Other Microsoft is just as committed to the goals, values and bottom line as the Microsofters who work in Microsoft office buildings, eat Microsoft food, live in Microsoft suburbs and drop their kids off in the morning at Microsoft daycare. Absolutely!

They are just a wee bit more approachable, a wee bit more used to making their own decisions, and if you are lucky, a wee bit more interested in you.

Nigel Parker, Development Advisor, Microsoft NZ Ltd.

I came across Nigel Parker, and Darryl Burling when I went looking to put a human face on the Other Microsoft. Nigel was kind enough to spend a chunk of his Saturday (my Friday) responding to questions from 10,000-odd miles away.

Q. In what sort of ways do you evangelize Microsoft to developers in New Zealand?

A. In New Zealand the Developer & Platform Evangelism team is small and multifaceted. We have distinct roles within our group focusing of all the different components of the industry. We have focus on Academia, Community & Professional Developers, Independent Software Vendors, Web Hosting Organizations, IT Professionals, Architects, Business Decision makers and Citizenship initiatives.

Although we are proponents for Microsoft technology we are furthermore proponents for the innovation that drives the IT industry to change the way we work and live. One of the activities that I drive in New Zealand is rolling out early adopter programs to Independent Software Vendors. This enables those companies to get support in building their applications on our new platforms well before they ship. Those customers get the ability to make suggestions and change our platform to fit their real world requirements!

The process of matching passionate individuals to exciting technology is really rewarding. My MSN messenger just flashed up with a message from a customer "Dude thanks so much for the Expression Studio nomination. I've got an email from the PM [Prime Minister] to kick the process off.

“It's greatly appreciated... I'm extremely excited... expect to see some great evangelism from me in the future with it... UI and Design is a major passion of mine!”

Q. Do you have any sort of local developer events?

A. Of course! Every year our team organizes Tech.Ed. Tech.Ed is the premier developer event in New Zealand. For the last few years this event has followed a global pattern and been a sell out. Over the space of a week we trained 700+ Students, 2000 Developers with 77 Speakers (from all over the world), 8 Tracks, 128 Sessions and 1 Big Party.

In addition to Tech. Ed twice a year we run a Microsoft Connect event that spans 3 cities and is well attended by close to 5000 professional developers. Microsoft Connect is traditionally a free or minimal charge event that has greater reach to the regions than our Tech.Ed event. As a team we also sponsor New Zealand based user groups that support Microsoft technology. Last year the .NET user groups of New Zealand combined to create an incorporated society (http://www.dot.net.nz) to facilitate growth and manage programs including seminars, workshops, web casts and support mailing lists. Our team has committed to provide three Microsoft based speakers each year to tour and talk at these user groups.

Q. Any advice you'd give to a New Zealand developer interested in starting their own self-funded company?

If you are a New Zealand developer interested in starting your own self-funded company don't look past the business incubators (http://www.incubators.org.nz)!  Microsoft New Zealand and Incubators New Zealand, unveiled at Tech Ed, a NZD 3.5 million technology sponsorship package that will provide 100 incubator companies and 16 incubator organizations with access to software technologies to support their business ambitions. This sponsorship package is being distributed amongst both technology and non-technology based start-ups.

Prior to the Incubators New Zealand program Microsoft helped create KiwiStartup (http://www.agitavi.com/kiwistartup/english/) an initiative where Microsoft, HP, Vodafone and TelstraClear all joined forces to provide technology resources for New Zealand start-ups that want to pursue a technology based innovation or initiative.
The Microsoft NZ Partner page (http://members.microsoft.com/partner/nz/) has a heap of resources and links that you should take a look at. This partner portal page gives you a vast array of tools and information for building products and businesses that leverage Microsoft technology.

In terms of getting access to these tools and resources, the first thing you need to do is to sign up as a "Registered Member". This is the first step in getting into the Microsoft Partner program. You can do this at https://partner.microsoft.com/global/program/levels/registeredmember/. The partner program gives you access to some great tools including channel builder which allows you to look at organizations overseas and in NZ and see what their specialties are. This creates a forum for communication that you can leverage to open new channels for your product or business. As you move up the levels in the partner program you gain more access to channel builder and other resources.

Once you've done that you can sign up to the ISV Empower program at https://empower-isv.one.microsoft.com/isv/programguide/. For 810 NZ dollars, per year for a maximum of two years, you get a Visual Studio Professional 2005 with MSDN Premium Subscription media kit with 5 user licenses. There are some requirements you must meet when you sign up - these are listed on this page. One of the main requirements is that you must commit to developing a resalable product that will support for one of the specified MS products while you are a member.
In addition to these programs, consider getting a business plan together - don't make it too big - just two pages to start with.

Key things to think of:

• What will I sell?
• What business problems does it solve?
• What is the problem you are fixing?
• How will you sell this to customers?
• How will you charge for the product?
• Consider a sales model (subscription, product, maintenance, etc)
• How will you support the product?
• When will you get cash flow positive?
• How will you grow the company?
• How will you allow for investors to invest?
• What will the company look like in 12, 24 months? 5 years?
• How will you get out?

The main reason to have a business plan is so that you can set goals and think about outcomes. It will probably change from month to month but just keep writing it down - you'll be surprised how many times you'll be asked for it.

November 02, 2005

Read/Write Web

Looking for a few choice blogs to watch to keep an eye on the Web 2.0 thing? Richard MacManus who hails from Wellington, New Zealand is doing a very good job indeed of summarizing all the players as they appear on this stage. Well worth reading.

Link: Read/Write Web.

November 01, 2005

In case you don't read To-Done.com...

... you should!

Here's a quick roundup of posts I've done there recently, in case you missed any and are in the mood for a quick jolt of productivity advice:

A really useful list.

One of the things I like about the web is how somebody you heard of saves you globs of time. Phil Bradley in the U.K. has compiled a great list of online sites that answers the question "I want to". Like:
* Share my photographs with other people
* Add podcasting to my site
* Take notes online
... and a couple of dozen other good topics.

Also poke around Phil's site for other very useful things.

Link: I want to - a page of utilities that help you do stuff you want to.

ToDoOrElse?


  • Who?
    Bob Walsh, (Author, managing partner of Safari Software, Inc. a micro-ISV)
    What?
    Exploring the intersection between Getting Things Done and building a micro-ISV.
    Where?
    Live from Sonoma, California USA.
    When?
    Once or so a workday.
    Why?
    Because there's a way to get everything done, I just know there is!
    Micro-ISV?
    Micro Internet Software Vendor, a self-funded startup company: See mymicroisv.com for information and resources.

Also:


  • Micro-ISV: From Vision to Reality
    At Amazon.
    Buy as an ebook.
  • (begun Jan. 3, 2006)
  • Search todoorelse.com
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