I missed it last year, but I just booked my flight for the Business of Software 2008. It's being held in Boston on September 3rd and 4th. I'm flying in on Tuesday, arriving at 4pm, dropping my bag off at the Hotel (I'm going to be at the Seaport) and then grabbing a cab over to Fenway Park for the Baltimore/Boston game.
I've been to Boston quite a few times, even rowed in the Head of the Charles, but I never saw a baseball game there. I've walked around Fenway, so this will be a treat, possibly even more than the conference itself.
Neil Davidson, co-CEO of Red Gate, my employer, started this conference last year with Joel Spolsky and I thought it was a fantastic idea. I had planned to go last year, but then had some conflicts with my wife's schedule and was just dreading travel after flying to the UK over the summer. When I saw he was putting it on again this year, I was begging quite early to come. I offered to blog during the event, and must have done a good job since I talked my way in to this year's event. I'm still not thrilled with the traveling, but I am excited to to go Boston and I'm looking forward to the event.
I've worked for 2, technically 3, software companies over the years. First was JD Edwards, then they were purchased by Peoplesoft, and now Red Gate. However in each case the business of software wasn't my business. For the first two companies I worked in the internal IT group, managing production servers and people as I did for most of my career. Now I talk to the software people at times and we try to work with them on software releases, but we don't do a lot in terms of what the software business means.
All my other jobs were producing software for the internal company to use or for our clients to use in a controlled environment. So much of the technical issues with widespread clients, as well as the sales and marketing efforts of shrinkwrap companies is lost on me. Or it wasn't necessarily. I've learned a few things from working with people over the years at SSC, but for the most part I'm a novice.
When I was younger I wanted to write software. I've written various utilities and pieces of software for myself and others, but wasn't great at it. Over the years I've learned that you don't have to be great, and that you need to be effective and market well. I've also learned that support calls are a pain and I haven't wanted to get into that business. Over the years we've debated about various pieces of software that might make sense for SSC to sell, but we never got anywhere on things since our primary business was building a community.
I think software is a hard business, and there can be a lot of hassles, but as I watch one of my business partners try to sell his software company, I rethink that there might be something to building software. Especially as we have a programmer and other resources and could potentially build something profitable.
So I'm interested to see almost everyone at the conference. From experienced software developers like Joel Spolsky and Erin Sink to Richard Stallman's unique view to the marketing and money people that will be there. My goal is to grab lots of notes and then think a lot about what the business is like.
If you want to come, ping me and we'll definitely meet up for a beverage of choice.