We were so impressed by the speakers at the first day of the Business of Software conference that we wrote up an overview. The next 2 days easily matched the high standard. The talks covered a broad range of topics that somehow all felt relevant to us in some way and I learned a huge amount. I thought it would be useful to write a quick note on one thing I took away from each of the talks – these takeaways in no way give an accurate summary or overview of the talks as they all included a huge amount of enormously helpful information. But in case you missed the conference, I have written something which I found particularly useful or interesting from each speaker on days 2 and 3.
Scott Berkun: The Dance of the Possible
Key Takeaway: Good creative ideas can be difficult to spot when you first hear them, precisely because they are different to other good things you have seen before. The Eiffel Tower was once described as a ‘truly tragic street lamp’.
David Barrett – Product Driven Growth
Key Takeaway: Try getting rid of titles at your company. Your employees should not necessarily being aiming just to progress within the company, but to grow as individuals within it and do something cool with their lives.
Paul Kenny: Turning Software Into Money
Key Takeaway: Beware of sales experts and think for yourself. Every sales problem is different and requires you to think deeply about it. Start by working out your performance markers.
Bridget Harris – Hiring the Best Talent
Key Takeaway: Know what your company’s values are and document them. Hire and fire based on these values.
Mike McDerment: Fear of Competition Saved the Company
Key Takeaway: It is often the small incremental changes to the code base, which you hardly notice adding at the time, that make all the difference to the product. Re-writing a code base can make this obvious.
Josh Seiden: Sense and Respond
Key Takeaway: If you are stuck in ‘analysis paralysis’ and finding it difficult to take the leap and make a major change, make the cost of being wrong as low as possible.
Joanna Wiebe: Copywriting for New School Bizzes
Key Takeaway: It is often said that people do not read online any more, but this is not true. Although people do often read the headline more often than the paragraph, people who are interested in your product will read your copy.
Anil Dash: On Evolving a Mature Software Company
Key Takeaway: Ethics in software is not something that has always been taught but is very important. Good companies make good software and there is a responsibility to stick to a set of values.
Rita Gunther McGrath and Mike Sikorsky: Inflection Points
Key Takeaway: Make sure you have an organisation where people who know important things that can affect the business are able to communicate those things to the people who need to know them, and can do something about them.
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