Seventhman Blog

  1. Which Open Source Software License is Best for You?

    "open source license"Software development is a mystery for many.  You don’t simply need coding skills to build a working application, but you also need to choose the best license for your code.  If you’re doing an open source software project, the more mind-boggling the task can be.  Depending on your needs, the best option is for you to find legal counsel.  I’m not a lawyer; maybe you’re not too.. and this post is not a legal advice either.  While compliance with these licenses look easy, the toughest challenge is choosing which OSS (Open Source Software) license fits your software project – especially when you want to invite collaboration or public involvement.

    Open Source Software in a Nutshell

    The Open Source Initiative is a non-profit organization founded in 1998 who are actively involved in promoting community, education and awareness of the importance of non-proprietary software.  They have defined the way open-source software is distributed in accordance with a set of criteria. In simple words, an OSS license allows the original author of the work to grant collaborators the right to copy, modify and redistribute the source code of the software project.  The original author retains the ownership of copyrights while allowing others to use those rights, so long as it’s within the conditions of the license.  The software IP law is constantly evolving as people and for-profit organizations become involved.

    Open Source Licensing: Knowing the Facts

    If there’s one thing you need to know about Open source, licensing is a key part and there are many types of licenses available as you can see on this list. If people are calling this as ‘free software‘ – know that it means the same thing, as in software released under a specific set of freedoms.  The term is older though, coined by the Free Software Foundation or FSF.  They may have different set of guidelines where the difference is only a matter of context and target audience.  For this reason, you may hear some people use both terms: ‘free and open source software’.  Since the list is long, I will introduce these licenses to you in two types:

    Copyleft – by the word itself, this is the opposite of copyright.  This type of license allows the source code to be shared, used, modified, copied or redistributed so long as you use the same license as the original work.  For example, if you write the software and release it under GNU General Public License – and someone modifies and distributes it, the modified version must be under the same license.

    Permissive – as the name implies, this type allows users to do more with the code.  You are giving people the freedom to use, modify and redistribute but this time, you allow them to add their own proprietary features to the code. A good example of this is the MIT License with applications like jQuery and Rails.  The drawback?  Some people may not want to contribute to help without compensation.

    I barely scratched the surface here but no matter, please don’t call your program open source if you don’t have an approved license to go with it.  You will only confuse people.  You may get in touch with these licensing organizations to get more tips on how to get started.

    Open source is great for those who want to take advantage of talents locally and globally to contribute value to the table.. and learn from them as well.  If done right, this can be a transparent and cost-effective way for you to make money.

  2. Do You Have a Million Dollar Software Idea?

    "software idea"You’ve got an idea. Great!  How do you know if it’s a good one?  There lies the problem among many who are wanting to build a viable software that will sell.  When great ideas are a dime a dozen, so the adage goes, it’s crucial for you to find that million dollar idea (as mentioned on this post from Forbes)  You may have a brilliant idea.. but you want to minimize the risk of getting your startup ready.  If you’re like one of the many who ended up with piles of ideas scribbled on a cocktail napkin, of concepts that never saw the light of day, you’re in for a treat.  I’m here to help you avoid this worst-case scenario where your idea crashes and burns.

    The Myth Busters of Idea Generation

    Just because you’re the boss doesn’t mean you’re always right.  Building your software idea from scratch will start with an awesome coding team.  While adopting the Agile concept of Intelligent Fast Failure where you fail smart, fail small and fail fast so you can succeed faster may help – you have to optimize your ego and take an objective stance in every stage of the software development process.  The key here is to listen to feedback and look at the numbers presented from all the data researched about your idea’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.  In short, make that S.W.O.T. analysis count.  Don’t be tempted to mimic the best out there and play it safe.  If everyone’s doing it,  how can you even offer value to the table?  While no argument is right or wrong, you don’t have to disrupt just to innovate.  Most of the time, the most innovative applications of them all are the simplest to use.

    What is the Market Potential of Your Software Idea?

    It might be a shocker to you that majority of businesses fail within five years of starting up.  After all, you want to come up with a software that sells.  You may be on a bootstrapping mode right now and don’t have the time to do proper market research which can be costly.  The Good News?  You can always ask and collect feedback from social media sites – so long as you do it with style.  If you think that email marketing is dead, you might try to reconsider this option.  The trick here is to tie it up with a squeeze page or ‘launching soon’ page that will collect email signups before you even come up with the finished product.  You may even send exclusive invites.  Your job is not only to create anticipation about your product, but testing which approach will work best.  By the time you’re done, you have already built a list of customers on your wait list.  Or, you can always google trends and take down notes.

    You Don’t Need Coding Skills to Start a Successful Business

    You might have heard a lot of debates on this topic online and there are those who will tell you that knowing every aspect of the software development stage is essential.  But here’s what they forgot to tell you – coding is both a science and art, where the very best of us have taken more than a decade of practicing our craft and yet, we’re learning something new each time.  Coming up with a good idea means making sure that there is a market for it, or else, you’re just be wasting time and money.  You might not agree with me here, but when business ideas fail –  it’s not really because the concept is bad, but the execution is.  Knowing who your customers are and solving their pain points should be your No. 1 priority. Your passion and commitment will be tested.

    There’s a good chance that you might fail.. and then, there’s a greater chance that you will succeed.  Do you need help getting there?  Let’s Talk!

     

     

     

  3. Are You Ready for the Big Data Transition?

    "big data challenge"Much has been said about big data that it feels like a giant black hole pulling you into a world of confusion.  If there’s one thing that business owners and network managers could agree on, it’s this: They’re not ready yet… in facing these big transformations in technology, namely: big data, cloud, security, mobility and data management.  The biggest challenge now is how can you prepare for the future of big data – today?  The government may know everything about people using the internet, but they may also face the same challenges.  How can you really adopt big data solutions to enhance the way you do business?  That’s the bottom line.

    When Talent Scarcity Meets Big Data Hype

    It might surprise you that many are feeling overwhelmed with the surge of unstructured data in their organization and they are struggling to understand how all these petabyte of data can add value to the business.  While many are looking at Hadoop as the core of all the big data efforts, data grows faster in a blink of an eye and dashboards are becoming too complicated for the common user.  Keeping these data is already a huge challenge for data managers and finding someone who can filter the clutter gets more frustrating each day.  Coupled with mixed messages about the big data hype and a small supply of talented data scientists, you begin to wonder if you can still find that ‘sweet spot’ where knowledge and productivity merges.

    The Growing Demand for Big Data Workers Continues

    The next big thing for data professionals is big data – of interpreting data analytics into actionable insights to help improve customer relationships, products, services and eventually, drive new opportunities.  There is a real demand for this talented workforce, but the supply cannot meet it.  Big organizations often look for talents in-house or train their people to learn on-the-job skills by collaborating with those who are offering training courses.  Nurturing your team with the right toolsets and knowledge is just one solution to getting things done.  There’s also the question of what type of cloud technologies should be used to get the most out of these big data initiatives –  whether to go private or public.  Then, there’s the quality of these services and the security of data gathered.  As you can see, everything’s interconnected.. and a failure of one means a failure of all.

    Big Data Challenges: Addressing the Real Issue

    The problem that many businesses are struggling with is not just understanding big data – but how to make it work.  They may even be halfway through their big data plans right now.. and are simply clueless on what and why they’re doing it.  A great data analysis doesn’t equate to great execution.  Still, there’s a huge potential on integrating information of any scale, from any source.  This will call for effective management, from top to bottom.  It’s all about integration – of business and IT, of unstructured and traditional enterprise data.  Problem is, when big data experts are called in to help, managers are often left out of the process.  You can’t expect these data scientists to add value without collaborating with those who make front-line decisions.  The two must work hand-in-hand.  There’s no other way.

    It is only when business and data experts work together that they will come up with a clear strategy that yields results.  Would you agree?

     

     

  4. 5 Smarter Ways of Managing Your Valuable Data

    "data security"In light of the recent NSA spying scandal, I’m curious if your faith in technology has dwindled – especially when it concerns storage of valuable data.  These revelations may have been an eye opener for many business owners to rethink how they treat data privacy and protect themselves from those who would like to access them without your consent.  When the future of how we do work is shifting to mobility, you begin to wonder if all those cloud storage out there are worthy of your trust.  For the same reason that we hear Google announcing that their cloud storage now encrypts all data with strict key access controls, one can only wonder if you’re better off bringing in IT talents in-house into setting up a small server room somewhere.

    Data Security: No One-Size-Fits-All Solution

    If you believe that having a backup of your files and software to a storage device or the cloud makes it totally secured, think again.  Technology impacts our daily life in terms of work productivity, safety and relationships.  If you’re one of those who can’t live a day without email, surely you’ll know how important it is to keep your messages not only private, but accessible when and where you need them.  Somehow, we are codependent on machines to keep a watch for all the information trail we leave behind.  Unfortunately, technology has some loopholes and backdoors for anyone with less than good intentions.  Protecting your data properly is a MUST!

    How Do You Create a Sound Data Storage Solution?

    Whether you opt for on-premise solutions, cloud storage or a combination of both, take time to…

    1. Understand your data – by defining the value of your data, you can clearly outline how you will go about with choosing the best way to store these (online or offline).

    2. Check Credentials – If you’re choosing a data storage provider, make sure that these are highly trusted in the industry to make sure that they give you a highly secured environment for all of your data security needs.

    3. Define Archiving – Create a policy on how data will be managed, where some important data will be retained for years and others, for days or weeks only.

    4. Optimize Solutions – When looking for storage and security solutions, it’s important that you choose the one that will fit your data needs; not the other way around.  If you run a mobile workforce, the more you should look for flexible solutions that can run across platforms – not just those running on desktops.

    5. Calculate Costs – Don’t be tempted to let upfront costs influence your decision in choosing the right provider.  You may be tempted to sign up for that great discount, which may add more cost to you in the long run.  Think of long term here.

    No matter what your choice is, make sure that you can easily retrieve data once it’s been stored.  Having a recovery plan and constantly testing your backup may be your best defense against  disasters.  Besides, what’s the point of archiving it all if you can’t access the right data when you need it?

     

     

  5. How to Sell Your Software Online in 6 Simple Steps

    "sell software"You’ve got a great app or service. Wonderful!  If only you can market it to your target customers.. then, that would be so much better.  How do you sell your software online?  Online marketing is crucial to your success factor and you can get started in so many ways and for the same reason, many cringe on the very thought of doing so.  With new competition popping up all the time, you struggle to find ways on how to increase your chances of getting your product purchased.  If Gartner has predicted that cloud-based business apps and SaaS services will reach $32.3 billion in sales by 2016, how can you join the roster of those who are out there to profit?

    When Traditional Sales Methods Won’t Work

    Don’t get me wrong here, but when it comes to software in the enterprise, traditional means of selling what you’ve come up with won’t work like expected.  One reason for this is that the classic models were based on assembly lines – like building automobiles, manufacturing and so on.  In the world of IT, change happens so fast that just when you think you’re done with step #1, you find yourself scratching your head that you have to redo things all over and start on a clean slate.  Thanks to the internet, your customers are smarter.  They want you to show how you can solve their problems. Simple.  They are also discovering products via influencers, search engines and social media channels.  Chances are, if you get an inquiry, your prospect already knows everything about you and would just like to validate or clarify what s/he has read.

    How Can People Who Hate Marketing Sell the Software They Have Built?

    I believe at some point, everyone got stuck in the how of things, especially when driving growth and sales is concerned.  You probably heard of the word ‘growth hack’ – a popular meme on launching your business to the right audience so you can turn hundreds to millions of them into customers who have the money to buy what you offer.  You’re a software engineer, an entrepreneur, a CEO and marketing is not your expertise.  It’s never too late to learn and you can start with:

    1. Beta Testing – Validate your software and get feedback by launching a squeeze page.  By doing so, you can also invite email signups which you can use for generating quality leads who are interested and more likely to buy.

    2. Free Trial – If you’re just starting out and you haven’t built a solid online reputation yet, you can offer free trial for a limited time for customers to test drive your product.

    3. Freemium Model – You may also offer a free version side-by-side with options to sign up for basic to premium services.  Make sure to make a clear comparison of the features of each.

    4.  Inbound marketing – whatever type of content you wish to share on your website, blog, related websites or social networks.. You have to make sure that you address your customers’ pain points for your product to connect with them in a powerful way.

    5.  Transactional marketing – if you plan to offer a one-shot deal without the need to upsell, you can check out how you can compete on price and feature alone without having to get active in conversations.

    6.  Relationship marketing – I’d rather recommend this even if you don’t intend to upsell.  This is where you engage your prospects and customers in a conversation, building relationships with them in the long run.  This way, you get to increase your influence and social proof over time.

    Before anything else, you must always start with an open mind.  Experiment and mix these six strategies in your hope of generating repeat business and customer loyalty for your brand.

     

    **If you need help in developing your software from idea to completion.. to marketing online, just Ask!

     

     

     

  6. Are You Ready to Embrace Enterprise Mobility?

    "enterprise mobility"Change is coming… to enterprise mobility and the shift is happening in a blink of an eye.  You might say that it’s an over-statement on my part.  The reality is not really far-fetch, thanks to the BYOD movement.  Mobile is the new IT, no doubt.  Back in the 80′s, big companies invested millions on desktop computers because they believed that this will make their employees productive.  Today, everything changed with mobile apps running on smartphones, tablets and somewhere in between.  Going mobile used to be a business cost and now, a means to transform the way people work.  With these said, one can wonder who owns mobility in the enterprise.

    From Cloud Exploration to Cloud Business

    The adoption of cloud within the enterprise is becoming less experimental, evolving into a vital production tool in the workplace.  IT departments are starting to take cloud computing and security more seriously.  From the CIO to marketing departments and business managers, the power-shift is happening.  Almost everyone can now work with mobile applications, thanks to vendors who have listened well and designed something simple and useful for their end-users.  According to a research done by Forrester, business leaders who are making lots of renegade tech purchases are 50% more likely to increase spending.  No matter, we’re seeing a rise in the number of tech-savvy business executives who can now interact more effectively with IT.

    Taking the Management Out of Enterprise Mobility

    There is an emerging discipline within enterprise where people, processes and technology are managed based on the increasing use of mobile devices, computing and wireless networks in the workplace.  While mobility may free business units from the iron grip of IT, there must be balance where managing this revolution is concerned.  While you can play the paranoia game, thanks to the revelations made by ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden, people should be empowered to go mobile without putting corporate data at risk.  One way to do this is to implement a unified network infrastructure that delivers a secured virtual network for its user.  This means having reliable connectivity too.  Also, having a unified architecture approach helps – from routers, servers, wireless access points, security to business apps.  The last thing you want is for your people opting out simply because the company-provided tools didn’t perform well on their devices.

    Should You Mobilize Everything?

    What can empower your team more is through giving them access to their work and personal data – anytime, anywhere on their mobile devices.  The challenge?  Not everyone feels ready for this transformation simply because they think they are wasting money on this investment. Can you really bring in mobility, data security and self-service come to work without risking data control?  This is everyone’s dream.  The solutions available right now in the market may be far from perfect,  but I’m optimistic that we’re finally getting there.  For now, I’d say spend more time researching on how you can create your own work apps, train your people to efficiently use mobility in their jobs, and make sure that everyone knows the value of going mobile.

    Technology has the power to transform or deform your brand.  The choice is totally up to you…

  7. The Science and Art of Building a Great Software Team

    "software team"Just like coding, building a great software developer team is also an art and getting the right people on board is still a work-in-progress for many. It’s not so much about the smartest, the most experienced that counts.. but the right people who will fit in skill-wise and personality-wise.  The last thing you want is for your project to fail simply because your team didn’t work well.  The reasons are many and if you will be honest to admit it, not all of us work well with others.  You might be stuck with such a team right now so the next question is, how can you turn things around to help them become more productive?

    Are You Ready to Shake Things Up?

    There’s a reason that big brands are still sourcing outside help even if they have talents in-house.  Would you agree that diversity is the biggest contributing factor to a project’s success?  Sometimes, you simply need a second opinion (or third, fourth and so on).  If you’re tired of the same old scene where everyone agrees just to get things done, how about encouraging some conflict?  The last thing you want is stagnation.  It will surprise you that when tension runs high, ideas come in an endless supply as everyone continue to raise the bar higher – to come up with something innovative.  You must be lucky if you find a devil’s advocate in your group, of brilliant mind disrupting mediocrity to come up with something amazing.  The problem is, not everyone can identify the outliers from the real artists.

    When It Comes to Successful Software Teams, Size Does Matter

    And to top it off, I’d say bigger is not always better.  While there are varying opinions on what the ideal team size is, anything that’s not double-digit is great to start with.  Hiring small means easily managing less people and faster communication with key people.  Keeping it small is also great for boosting dedication and morale where each person will take ownership of his/her own code.  When you work with a small team, this will also mean that you can afford to pay senior developers more.  We all know that coming up with better codes and designs are best left to those who can make better decisions.  If you can’t really keep it small, I’d say break large teams into smaller teams with leaders on every hub.

    Looking Beyond Agile

    There will always be a gap between software developers who are code-oriented and business people who are strategy-oriented.  While agile is great for trying to improve from the mistakes of the past, you have to look beyond the software development stage for you to create something that equates to great user experience.  Agile may help measure your working software, but the idea is not really user-centric.  More meetings don’t really mean productive meetings.  Talking about the requirement everyday just adds more tension between IT and business.  Instead, each one should understand the business side of things and the end users more.  At the end of the day, software is not just a bunch of codes; it must be usable.  In short, development teams are not only about creating codes, but creating experience too.

    To build a great software is not like building automobiles.  There must be a balance between methodology and the creative process to make it work.

    Truth is, effective teams don’t just happen overnight. You have to put in the human side of things – to trust and protect your team may be the next best step you can take… would you agree?