Welcome to 2011!

Happy New Year!

Even though the New Year is ultimately an arbitrary construct, it is nevertheless customary to take the opportunity to reflect on the past year and plan for the next one.  More practically, of course, there are certain business related items (especially concerning taxes) that need to be handled in a certain calendar year, so getting those tasks completed before the end of the year is important.

In our case, we officially take two weeks off around the holidays, especially since very little work tends to get done anyway, other businesses are often running with skeleton crews (or closed entirely), and most of us would rather focus on family during this time, anyway.  However, we still have things to get completed by year end, so leading up to the break, we have a major project meeting (before two weeks without any) and determine which items have to be finished before the break, or during it in the worst case.  Last year (i.e., a couple weeks ago) we were able to determine that certain “capital improvements” were better deferred until 2011, so this year will begin with some disruptions targeted toward better efficiency in the near future.

For my personal task management, I added to the list all of my recurring items (some of which include general categories, such as ‘development’ or ‘marketing’) and methodically eliminated each item by assuring that everything necessary was finished before taking my break.  Alas, one particular (and important) item on my task list actually became two separate items with 2010 deadlines, so my break only encompassed hours, rather than days, of last year.

As the new year begins, on this first business day, I repeated the same process of starting my task list with all of my recurring items (plus deferred tasks), except this time I review each one to make certain that the foundational aspects are handled and to consider any procedural changes for the upcoming year (including delegating or completely eliminating a task).  I am still officially on a break for another week, so I am (personally) using that time to prepare my work environment physically, organizationally, and mentally, for substantially increased development efficiency when I return.

Of course, these are just the tasks that are performed to pursue our ultimate goals.  We also have planned and established a set of goals for 2011, which these tasks are designed to serve, but that will be the subject of my next post.

TTFN (July, 2009)

Ta Ta For Now [22 July 2009 Edition]

In mid-summer, with no particular news from SIC, and my primary development project taking longer than expected to get completed (enough for beta testing), I am going to take a short hiatus. I have plans to improve this blog aesthetically and also have a couple of technical articles already in the pipeline, so I hope the break to be brief (yet refreshing).

One can monitor one of the feeds (RSS or Atom) for my next blog update.

Thanks for reading!

No SIC for me

Thus begins a period of inward focus for us.

At the last minute, I have decided not to attend the Software Industry Conference this year. SIC 2009 begins tomorrow night [Wednesday, July 15] in Quincy [Boston], Massachusetts, but we will not be represented there. Honestly, I was not as inspired to go this year and never quite got around to registering. I did book the hotel, which forced the choice as the cancellation date arrived.

It was a tough decision. I thought about the pros to attending: networking with colleagues, learning marketing techniques from the various sessions, staying in touch with the industry, and having a source of inspiration. We were considering using SIC as a prelude to our quasi-annual offsite meeting, where we discuss the direction of the business and refocus on adjusted goals. Also, according to rumor, this will be the last SIC in Boston, so it would have been a final opportunity to experience that.

However, there was a longer list of cons: many friends/colleagues chose not to attend, none of my clients would be there, none of the sessions even approached “must see” status, and there are no Shareware Industry Awards this year. Perhaps the renaming of the conference to remove that dreaded word, “Shareware”, also removed some of its purpose and relevance. Even the ASP Luncheon held little attraction for me, as the current leadership flounders and takes the organization off track.

Ultimately, though, it came down to total costs. The monetary expense of the conference is not bad at all, and I would have been able to attend with a total expenditure (including travel and accommodations) of less than just the registration for many other conferences. On the other hand, it would have required a commitment of five complete days, not including preparation and recovery time, and I felt that I could not justify that at a time when our projects are not where I want them to be. Had the conference been next week, the decision may have been different, but for now, my time is better spent on development than (potential) enrichment.

I will just have to see Boston under different circumstances.

Chinese New Year 2009

I think that this finally brings the 2009 New Year celebrations to an end.

It is time to really get 2009 started properly now. One way to help one focus on goals is to make those goals public, so here goes:

  • Increase product development significantly (by rearranging priorities),
  • Develop at least three major products/updates for Goodsol Development (for Windows and Mac),
  • Release three more projects that have been in development (for several years) internally,
  • Establish baseline marketing and measurement techniques (on which to build), and
  • Move business operations toward a paperless office environment.

Yes, these five goals are quite ambitious but also realistically attainable. One major release every two months (on average) will keep us very busy, but the roadmap for these is already established. Our development projects are all very different and should be enlightening. The Goodsol projects are building on the technological improvements of last year. Finally, the marketing and business plans have internal support and should, ultimately, improve operational efficiency.

By the way, we could still use a few more beta testers for the upcoming version of Pretty Good Solitaire Mac Edition. Anyone interested can email me directly at beta@sophsoft.com, and I will forward your information.

On the personal side, I will keep my exact goals to myself, but I have been playing competitive soccer and am pleased to be back ice racing again this year. I am currently second in points (in class A1) after having a disappointing day in which I suffered not one, but two DNFs (Did Not Finish) due to peeling tires off of the wheels. It has been a nearly perfect year for ice, so I will be repaired and back up in Chippewa Lake this coming weekend for eight more exciting races.

More ice racing pictures should be forthcoming.