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I'm Really Not This Dull, or, Irons in the Fire

My posting rate has been abysmal for the past week or so, both here and on my other blog. Here, dear readers, is a formal apology. I’ve been drinking from the RedMonk firehose, and there hasn’t been much chance to do otherwise. Or, put in another way, I’ve finally found something I like as much as blogging ;>

In the spirit of declarative living and open source analysis, here’s some quick and dirty items I’ve been thinking about recently. It’d be great to spin up conversations on all of these topics with anyone and everyone interested.

Writely and the Simplicity Epiphany

Recently I’ve been concentrating on writing a report on the M&A action du jour. At Steve‘s suggestion, I started using Writely. Brandon sent that along to me sometime ago, but being behind a fire-wall at that time (where you’re always paranoid about sending data across those walls), I wasn’t in need of a collaborative, web-based word processor.

So far, so good. I’m liking it except for that fact that Apple-Back Arrow doesn’t always work to go to the beginning of the line. Keystrokes are a must for any power use of a text editor, so they’ll need to sort that out.

What I like most about it is it’s sheer simplicity: there’s only so many fonts, styles, and formatting things that Writely does. I don’t need to dig through mammoth menus to ferret out the good stuff.

As I commented in my links today, I’m looking forward to putting together some thinking about Writely, JotSpot’s Tracker, and WikiCalc re: MSFT Office and OpenOffice. That’d be an interesting piece not because of a feature-by-feature comparison, but because I suspect the two groups of apps would have conflicting cultural assumptions: simplicity vs. the kitchen sink.

Enterprise Agile

My pet project is to start documenting how Agile Software Development is actually practiced in large organizations. I’m religious about the fact that Agile works with small teams that have complete autonomy and responsibility, but I’m very apprehensive about the ability for large organizations to create the environment needed for Agile to flourish. I don’t doubt that it can occur: rather, as with Writely vs. Word, there are fundamental cultural differences that preclude simplistic bake-offs.

At the moment, I’m fishing for experiences, data, and thinking. Research as they call it, I believe. I’ve started up a handful of good discussions — including what seems like some original thinking in the marketing and bizdev area from a former BMC co-worker — but I’d love to start even more. As I mentioned last month, I’m hoping start some conversations at BarCamp Austin as well.

The VM as Multi-lingual Platform

If you’ve listened to the recent episodes of the Podcast, you might have picked up on a trend Charles and I have been discussing: the idea of using the Java VM as a platform for multi-lingual programming. That is, thanks to the efforts of communities like Rhino, JRuby, JPython, and others, you can run all sorts of dynamic languages inside/on top of the VM.

What this means is that instead of treating the OS as a platform (*nix or Windows…choose you poison), you can use the VM. More importantly, just as Java’s success was due in no small part to it’s ability to pull over all the C/C++ coders, the future success of dynamic languages could also pull over the Java crowd with this “VM as platform” idea.

Of course, I have no doubt that this idea is anything new. Wide-spread adoption of it, on the other hand, would be the thing.

Small Time Open Source

On last week’s Podcast (a warning: that podcast doesn’t have an explicit iTunes tag on it for nothing), Charles discussed his millionaire to make his current project (due out in March) commercial instead of open source. His basic position was that given his lack of rock-star status or previous millionaire success, he can’t really afford to give away his code. Hopefully one day he could sell services, consulting, or get a revenue stream in some other way, but without funding of some sort of a reputation that guarantees doe-flow, he’s definitely in a CREAM situation when it comes to the business model for his 3 man, micro-shop.

Along those lines, there’s a fair amount of exploration and thinking to do about the open source sweet spot: when does it make sense to open source a project vs. sell it. And, sure, there may be some intersections between the two.

As Baus — another indie programmer, as it were — said in a comment on the podcast:

Nobody has really explained to me how to make money on that. I’m sitting on quite a bit of code here, and I’m tempted to release it as open source, but I can’t figure out how that benefits me.

The problem with the OS model is there are a few rock stars that make it big and a ton of roadies that do all the work, but barely make enough to buy a development box.

Hey! I’m in Austin, and I’m Hungry!

Did I mention the fact that I’m in Austin? I’ve already had the chance to catch lunch with a couple people, and I’ve been lucky enough to line up a few more people (though I need to firm-up a time with Charlie).

But, consider this an open invitation to lunch for all you people in Austin. Lunch is my favorite meal of the day, and eating along with interesting people makes it so much the better. I promise I’ll keep both the Coté Information Extraction Probe or RSS Kool-Aid Fountain on low unless requested otherwise ;>

Feel free to email me at [email protected] or contact me otherwise (check the sidebar of the blog for plenty of methods).

Categories: Agile, Ideas, Open Source, Programming, The Analyst Life.

Comment Feed

4 Responses

  1. Interested in "writing up" agile in a large enterprise I think I can assist. You should also talk with the folks at Capital One and Fidelity.

  2. Cote- Welcome to the interesting (yet strange) world of industry analysis. Before I type my next sentence, let me provide the disclosure: while I've taken a couple of briefings by these guys, they aren't my client. That said, have you talked to the folks over at rally software development ( they offer tooling for the coordination of agile projects, and they can probably connect you with some enterprises. here's their blog: -brenda

  3. James: thanks for the tips. You’re definitly on the short list of people to talk with 😉

    Brenda: Thanks for the welcoming. I have Rally on that list too. At my previous job (BMC) we were one of the first (if not largest) users of rallydev. I snagged time from the people onsite when I could, but sitting down with them now would be even more helpful. Hopefully I’ll find my way up to Denver soon (to visit Steve), and I might have time to meet with them face-to-face. Otherwise, there’s always phone land 😉

  4. I have quite a few grey hairs trying to get our team at BMC using Agile. I’d be happy to share my experiences.