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Business of Software 2008 - Pecha Kucha

Business of SoftwareI'm starting a series of blog posts from the Business of Software conference that I attended last week in Boston. If you are part of a small technology business (software, hardware, etc.), especially if you are an owner, I'd highly recommend that you attend this conference next year. It's small, 250 or so people, and everyone is interested in business. It's not a lot about technology, but it's inspiring and exciting to talk about business with lots of people looking to build their businesses.

I had no idea what this was about, though I'd read the description. It encouraged you to submit 20 slide, getting 20 seconds for each, for a total presentation of 6:40. Sounded hard, wasn't sure what I'd present on, so I decided to watch.

The list of Pecha Kucha contestents was wide and varied and each had different messages. Each had their slides automatically advance every 20 seconds and they should see their slide on a monitor in front of the audience (down low) along with a countdown timer. Still their ability to make the presentation move with the slides was hit and miss.

The first presenter was Alexis Ohanian, and he obviously practiced and rehearsed his presentation as he was having his lines (many of them funny), timed out very well with the slide changes. He went for a humorous presentation, somewhat making fun of how to build a company. He had roaring applause and I think that this tact makes the most sense.

Jashon Cohen, on Agile Marketing wasn't bad.

Larry Port - Launching with no money was pretty good as well, and had good ideas.

Bob Pritchett - He tried to be funny, talking about firing someone when you needed to, but it didn't work out. It was a blend of serious and funny.

Lou Franco - Evaluating your engineering funnel, I was starting to tune things out here.

Jack Zoellner - On the fact that people matter, too serious and not funny enough. 

Johnathan Mercer - A very dry, math filled presentation. Timing wasn't great.

Steve Holdenberg - On sales, it was a little too serious and didn't work out well. His timing wasn't great.

Let me be fair to say that I enjoyed the first 3 or 4 and they were pretty good. The first presenter was obviously much better than everyone else, and that meant that things went downhill, but still the pace was quick and it was neat. There is tremendous pressure to talk for 20 seconds a slide and if you don't believe it, try it at your desk sometime. It's tough. Kudos to everyone for giving it a try and I'm somewhat challenged, excited, and nervous about giving it a shot next year.

I think 8 was too many to run at once. It would have been exciting to have one or two go in between a few sessions, and then give us a break. I'd also ask for a audition so you can schedule them in a good order. The hit and miss aspect of it means that people might not really enjoy some of them and you want to balance that out. I think auditions would also help in choosing the people to compete.

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Steve Jones is the editor of SQLServerCentral.com and visits a wide variety of data related topics in his daily editorial. Steve has spent years working as a DBA and general purpose Windows administrator, primarily working with SQL Server since it was ported from Sybase in 1990. You can follow Steve on Twitter at twitter.com/way0utwest


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