Monday, December 29, 2008

Software Executive Producer

So, why doesn't the software industry have the concept of the "Producer"; like the Recording and Film industry? We have taken our concepts from traditional construction and architecture, for terms like Developer, Architect, Project Manager; rather than from more creative industries like Film and Recording, for Producer and Director. Maybe it is time to blend the industries. Macromedia tried to do this a long time ago with their product, now Adobe Director.

Steve Horn sent me this blog posting about a Chief Engineer;

Reminded me of the discussions Steve and I have had in the past about publishing interviews with people in different fields (architects, general contractors, videography/film, television producer, etc.) about their roles and how those roles might relate to roles in the Software Development Life-cycle (Software Product Development).

I remember; I was talking to a client a year or two ago about the need for developing some Flash code. And, when I suggested a couple people to do the work; I said, "that is why there are so many names in the credits of movies"; because if you want "A+" quality work--you need people that are "A+" in each specific area. Just more evidence supporting the need for a Software Executive Producer.

I changed my twitter description to include Software Producer.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Direct Email Business Introductions...

Twitter wasn't long enough for this experience.

So, I just got an email that I was about to respond to from an individual requesting a brief phone call; it was a business introduction; and it was very specific and sent to my email address. I realized after a moment that, oh, they probably got my email from a conference this past summer that I had given my name and email to for networking. Crap! That is why for usersfirst; I have two emails I give out--one for lists (petemail) and one for direct contact--so I can recognize the difference. I need to do that with also.

Here's some advice for email introductions, especially those requesting a phone call, please specify how you got someone's name in addition to why they might be interested in talking with you.

I'm still learning this Internet thing after 12 years of developing for it! I don't ever see it stopping--the learning this Internet thing--that is!

Pete Gordon

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Financial Collapse?

Wow! What a day... keeping up with the financial markets and the craziness this week.

So here is my assessment, of Paulson and Bernanke's Plan (oh and that guy that McCain would fire)... (if you have time--I highly recommend following the links--please don't take my assessment as anything other than my $0.02...I think this is what is going to play out over the next couple weeks)

1. Treasury assess that there is a crisis, T-Bills fall below zero, credit markets freeze, and Treasury, Fed, SEC start pushing through Bill to make thing "right".
2. Once bill passes...Fed prints the money
3. Treasury/Fed reverse auction and buys lowest selling mortgages with the money, or does whatever the Treasury sees fit to do with it.
4. Wall street gets flush with cash from selling mortgages to US Government, more liquidity occurs in the market.
5. 3mo T-Bill rate stays above zero and Banks continue to lend to one another, and companies that are carrying too much debt live to see another day
6. Wall Street makes killer bonuses in 2010...again.
7. US Government saddled with the mortgages, and we'll see if China or Japan wants to buy some.
8. Spin the Wheel of Fortune

Notice I didn't touch on the consumer, or the homeowner...why?.you may ask...because that is secondary to the proposal...this seems to me to be all about Washington and Wall St. Not that it is a bad thing, but it does seem a little rushed. The panic that occurred Wednesday that pushed the T-Bill into negative territory did not last long... people are irrational but they learn from mistakes (sometimes). I do think there is a real concern of stagflation in this market. But, what do I know. I'm just a software guy. At the same time... I see real opportunities globally utilizing the Internet (who doesn't!).

One last point, I think this may be a great political move for Paulson. I think it could give legs to his blueprint for regulatory reform, which I think looks pretty good from the Insurance after just reading the exec summary.

Everybody calm down, and be honest with one another, and get along, and all will be fine!

I'm surprised there was uptick in companies with no debt.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Twitter, Social Software, and the Internet

Ok, so I stepped into Twitter this week. I am kind of overwhelmed, I think it is "blog ADD". But, I am still considering it (how it works, its usefulness, everything). I think it is actually better than blogging for me (maybe I suffer from ADD). It is immediate, limited to 140 characters of text, "easily" accessible from my blackberry (compared to blogger).

Found that BarackObama was on Twitter... here and has ~50,000 followers. That is a strong indicator to the election I believe (note: I am not taking any sides as of yet--and may never take sides in this election--although I did promise my dad if Barak wins I would read his book the Audacity of Hope, that my dad got me). I am just amazed at the following, 2,000,000+ , and the idea of sharing such short thoughts and musings with other people that are (or are not) like minded. I read about ChaCha, and they do human responses to questions, and are doing it on twitter. I sent them a question about restaurants in Pickerington, Ohio... waiting for a response now... will see how well it works. They pay their guides about $0.20 a question, amazing. Some of the public questions/answers I read were not that good, but one about the alcohol level of Leffe was excellent. The question was "how strong is Leffe", and I didn't even know what Leffe was until I read the question and did some research on it.

Twitter is definitely an amazing application of social technology and search. I love the trending charts they have... ... Reminds me of Google Trends, but this is stuff people are communicating to others rather than just searching for. I guess it is the difference between asking a question of the Internet, or making a statement to it (the mind of the Internet).

Much to think about.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

How did you get started in software development?

Steve Horn tagged me to answer some questions about my history with programming. So, here we go, a lot about me and my history in programming; more than anyone should probably care to know.

How old were you when you first started programming?

I guess it was when I was 11 or so in 1984.

How did you get started in programming?

My mom was doing graduate studies in Boston, and had purchased a Commodore 64. We would buy these books with pages and pages of BASIC code to type in and save off to tape . I did that for a while (oh, later, I had upgraded to a disk drive) and then few years later got an Amiga 500. A couple friends had one also, they were getting into CLI, Machine Language Assembly, BBSs, and Phreaking. I dabbled a very little in that, but I was more drawn to the graphic design and animation power of the Amiga. So I played with that and did a few things on my own, and for school projects, and what not. I remember thinking CompuServe and independnet BBSs were kinda cool, but a pain to use.

What was your first language?


What was the first real program you wrote?

I don't know if I have ever written a "real" program. Or, is it that they all have been, "real". I can't find any reference to this one river rapids game that I typed-in on the Commodore 64, and I don't remember the exact name. I didn't do much programming on my own, I felt it took too long. Until I got into the work force in 1997 and worked with David Robertson (amazing programmer) and others to get Intranet to the mainframe connectivity using IBM CICS/TCPIP technology and our own C CGI and then later Java Servlets after I found IBM's Redbook that no one seemed to want to talk about in 1998. They all wanted to sell CICS Connector middleware. Or maybe the first "real" program was the MSDS application I wrote at AEP in Cold Fusion and Oracle then migrated it to ASP and Oracle, and worked with someone else to do the VB TWAIN Scanning of the documents.

What languages have you used since you started programming?

Summary Programming Languages List:

Detailed "Programming Lanagues" List:
BASIC (Junior High School)
Pascal (College)
COBOL (College)
Cold Fusion (is it really a programming language?) (1st Job)
PL/SQL (ORACLE's SQL) (1st Job)
Java Servlets/Applets (1st Job)
ASP (VBScript and JScript) (1st and 2nd Job)
J2EE JSP/Servlets/EJB/custom MVC like Struts (2nd Job)
T-SQL (Microsoft's SQL) (2nd Job)
C# (2nd and 3rd job)
VB.NET (3rd job)
Java and MySQL exposure using SQLYog (3rd job)
Objecive-C (My own crap)
C (My own crap)
Javascript (all jobs, "The sleeping giant of the Internet")
HTML (all jobs)

1st Job = AEP
2nd Job = fourthchannel
3rd Job = doing the start-up company consulting thing in central Ohio (movepoint, aircraftlogs, apneicare)
"my own crap" = VisualMark User Experience Lab

Have not and likely will not touch... PHP, Perl, Ruby, F#, Lisp, etc. I love talking to people about them, and I think they are great, but I don't have the time to really get into them. May play with Python, since it is supposedly one of only three production supported languages at Google (Python, C++, Java). And, TRAC and this Google Calendar Gantt Timeline thing looks so cool; two more reasons to get into Python.

If you knew then what you know now, would you have started programming?
Definitely. I sometimes look back and wish I would have gotten deeper earlier on. You know, into Assembly and what not... but it seems I just don't have the patience. I'd rather build something and see results more immediate. I remember when I interviewed out of college in 1997, I told them I would be happy to do some COBOL for a year or two (thankfully--I didn't have too), but in a few years I was going to be working in "Interactive Television". So, I was "lucky" and "blessed" to be able to get in on the Internet/Intranet technologies right away in 1997 in my career. The Internet is now the center of everything I do. I don't really care too much about programming languages--for me--the Internet--and all of its messy technologies--is "EVERYTHING".

If there is one thing you learned along the way that you would tell new developers, what would it be?

Focus on People not machines, and in focusing on people, be Honest and full of Integrity in everything you say and do, don't be hesitate to talk about what you don't know and are willing to learn, and always look forward to learning from everyone around you.

What's the most fun you've ever had ... programming?

The Mainframe to the Intranet using CICS TCPIP was a blast, the MSDS stuff was a blast, fourthchannel was a crazy roller coaster and a ton of fun. All of them were great because of the technology, the users and the people I worked with! But I'd have to say that the most fun I have is whenever I see the excitement on a user/customer/clients face about how the Internet and software can be used to simplify and better their lives.

Saturday, May 31, 2008


So, I stumbled on Haley House ( through a news article on USA Today about ( And, watched the video trailer about Haley House. about 4 minutes into it... a woman that does farming for homless people (Noon Day Farm) connected with Haley House said.... "dependency is profitable". That statement really struck me, as containing a powerful truth within it. Just look at credit cards, mortgages, materialism, consumerism, and the definitions of "needs" (obviously the definitions of "needs" varies between economies, cultures, individuals) and you will that dependency is profitable. I need clean water, electricity, natural gas, indoor plumbing, cell phone, I need broadband Internet, I need my home/house. Now granted even as I mention these, I guess I don't need them--but they sure are nice. There is a dependency ratio that is used in macro economics for things like social security, maybe we need an individual dependency ratio for items or categories of items.

Oh well, thought the quote, "dependency is profitable" was very intriguing and contains truth. Although, I don't believe you can legislate or force away dependency....
You can only educate, share, enlighten, and support Independence. Thus the value of Free Markets over Dependency Theory.

Here is the full quote from the video...
"It is a complete challenge to the entire system of this country to be self-sufficient. This country only cultivates dependency, because dependency is profitable."

After re-reading the full quote, it is almost insulting. This country DOES NOT only cultivate dependency. But, this country has cultivated dependency--and for that it is wrong! Here is a ethical/moral question for you... "Is it ever moral to cultivate dependence?" "Can you not be evil by cultivating dependence?"

I immediately think of my children... they are solely dependent upon my wife and I (and our family, community to a lesser degree). While I would never say I wish to cultivate dependence in them, I work to cultivate independence...but I also work to cultivate obedience, discipline, love, caring. Final thought, be very careful with the idea of "cultivating dependency". I believe it is a huge insult and ethically wrong to "cultivate dependence".

This leads me to another question of words, I had someone tell me once that in establishing business it was all about "leverage". Is "leverage" dependence? Wo... this is getting into free will and self-interest compared to selfless and altruism. Great topic to discuss over a glass of wine.

Got to love words!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Reading, Software, Selling and Life

Finished "Why does software costs so much" a week ago or so... very good... very informative! Creating teams, collaboration, communication is the most important thing on software projects--not metrics to control developers. Finished Predictably Irrational about the same time. Behavorial Economists is a fascinating role... check out his blog post Medicine: A Lesson In Efficient Markets good stuff about HealthCare and Markets. Still Reading Undercover Economist.

Picked up Spin Selling yesterday, looks to be very intriguing. The story on the end of page 8 and top of page 9... really frustrated me... give me a hint as to the right answer or the solution--not just the problem of how he wasn't succeeding at selling. But the Risk of Mistakes section is great... I love his example of how easy it was to get a $40K sale when there was no risk of others perception on the outcome, and how difficult it was to get a $1500 sale from the same person when there was a risk of perception on the outcome. It confirms for me that sales is all about showing someone how you can help to make them successful, and bring about a successful outcome--in my opinion that is the center of the relationship aspect of selling. Integrity, Trust, the best interest of others. I believe those are the most important aspects of sales and business. I guess that is "Love your neighbor as your self". Which is 50% of the most important aspect of life, in addition to "love God".

Luke 10:27

I also picked up Code Complete, to read with a good business, .net friend (the only person that probably reads this blog--and he really doesn't have too--it is more self-journalling experience--Steve Horn).

We'll see how Code Complete turns out, it seems practicle and focused on Construction--which sounds good.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Price of Oil

So.... ABC News did a story last night... where they said Bush asked Saudi Arabia to increase oil production to lessen the burden on American pocket books ($125+ per barrel of crude oil).... It was $27/barrel back in 2000 when Bush was running for President. What got me was they said two things... one a quote from Saudi Oil Minister.... Mr. Naimi said. “We supplied, to the tune of an additional 300,000 barrels per day, from 1.4 to 1.7 million barrels per day, for our customers in the U.S. So how much more can we do?”

Then they showed an Oil Anlaysts that said it was just a drop in the bucket. I was like, "huh?" that's like 20% increase in production. Turns out... after digging... that that 1.4 is how much oil the US was purchasing from Saudi Arabia and we will now be purchasing 1.7MM... and they produce 9.4M a day. I don't know why the ABC News areticle and the NY Times article above couldn't publish that.... they really didn't look very intelligent saying a 20% increase in production of oil sold to the U.S by Saudia Arabia is not significant, sounds significant to me--until I factor in the goal is to get them to produce enough to lower prices (people say a 1MM increase in production should lower prices about $0.60)... what a fascinating look into supply/demand and the pain people feel, or the gains others feel.

"Bush's national security adviser, said Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi reiterated his pledge to give customers all the oil they want."

One piece I didn't research was the inventory levels. Saudi inventory would be interesting to know... from a quick dirty Google search--I'd guess they don't hold inventory... why bother. Just sell what you produce, and produce what you sell. What about Iraq coming online to produce oil, where is that at? How 'bout these speculators at Goldman Sachs...

Iraq oil production, could reach 3MM bpd this year...

Ok.... all that said... this makes my heart break for the world turmoil over oil.

How 'bout this for an answer.... (ok it is expensive!) how bout these links...

We are getting close!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Multi Touch is amazing... and other musings about Hardware interfaces

I just ran into these examples of Multi Touch large screens being used in the real world... posted on macrumors... being used in CNNs "Situation Room" (or whatever it is called--smile). Amazing! I love the things you can do with that interface.... If you haven't seen the original TED demonstration go here first...

CNN examples...

MacRumors post that turned me on to the CNN videos...

Speaking of hardware user interfaces... I am thinking I want a tablet PC for doing screen sketches (wire frames) and software initial design... was first turned on to the idea, when a friend mentioned his 9x12 wacom, then thought maybe I should get a Tablet PC... HP Compaq TC1100... seems like a good used choice... but they are high demand on ebay... price point probably $450... and the need to upgrade the RAM.... and that's for a 3 year old model...

Now... maybe an Apple Tablet instead... that would be great.... would trade my PowerBook in for that, in a heartbeat.

To bad they don't exist.

Monday, May 12, 2008

HealthCare IT... Google and Microsoft

Microsoft health Common User Interface
Incredible Silverlight Health Interface Prototypes
Who MS is working with UK NHS...

Google's Initiative... which is behind MS's technology focus... there are some talking about the complementary nature of both MS and Google systems and plans.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Blogging about Reading and comments about Software Management

Ok. So I have a blog, that I never post to. Here's a post, about what I'm reading. I picked up Why Does Software Cost So Much? from the library the other day, and I was just reading it, and thought, "I would like to write some of my thoughts down". So here they are.

1. I am surpised this book "Why does software cost so much?" was written in 1993; it is extremely relevant today. I enjoy his reference to Mike Hammer, from BPR fame (page 42).

2. Isn't it true that the obvious non-trivial things are most often the most informative.

True Meaniful Productive = Total Dollar Benefit Delivered By Product / Total Dollar Cost of Building Product

(page 43)

This seems to be related to what Joel S. calls Evidence Based Scheduling.... Tom Demarco from the book stated, "...we need to learn that failure to deliver within our estimate is an estimating failure, not a production failure." This is a good point for a distraction. TRAC already has the "Time Management" pieces built in, estimate time to deliver a ticket, and estimated time remaining. These can be populated on check-in comments using the (spent 1h, rem .5h) syntax (I think there is TRAC module that has to be enabled for the integration to work with Time Management). That being the case, I think it would be great to see TRAC working with the Evidence Based Scheduling concepts, where developers could learn there own "developer velocity", which is the estimated time divided by the actual time. It would be great to see changes to TRAC that would produce a developer velocity. It could be open sourced, and maybe hook into a centralized server, so developer velocities across many projects could be collected--that would be very cool! Maybe link it to odesk and rentacoder profiles; but as soon as you do that--then people would likely begin gaming the system--to get there velocities to show something other than reality... like a perfect "1". I suppose no one would want it to be greater than "1", because then you are saying you always estimate too high, and the closer to "0", you always estimate too low. I also wonder if there is a way to calculate the multiple points of time remaining on tickets (a TRAC concept for defect/issues/enhancements/etc.) into the developer estimating accuracy (I'm sure there is).

Here is an interesting post... I just read.... goes over various Metrics... and uses the term devloper velocity, but doesn't seem to define it.

I definitely think the software industry is getting closer to figuring this stuff out, and the tools are being put in place to assist in accomplishing the goal of increased management/understanding and ultimately productivity of the SDLC or ALM, whatever you want to call it.

It is kinda ironic that I was at a XAML/SilverLight class last week for a few days, and as I was learning about SilverLight/XAML, I felt my productivity go down to zero. Especially, as I was trying to wrap my head around the WPF concepts that have made there way into XAML, where they have very similar meanings to internet and ASP.NET concepts, but different terms are used--I felt my mental model and maybe even my muscle memory wanting to explode.

Oh, yeah, here is what I am currently reading... we'll see how far I get in them.