Jim and Devin walk through the list of technology companies where Jim has worked over the years. We talk about the lessons learned as they apply to PE-owned tech companies in the middle market. We cover decades of computing from Digital Equipment Corporation to Oracle and beyond. Bonus content includes a Rupert Pupkin shoutout and a Regis Philbin impression.
Jim spends an hour talking about Information Security with Evolve Security's CEO -- Paul Petefish. We keep bumping into Pete and his team at 1871 - and figured it was time to talk a little bit about Information Security. Everybody KNOWS that it's an important topic, but how does one get started figuring out where they stand from an InfoSec standpoint?
Jim and Alan talk about a scary subject on our Halloween episode -- Distributed Denial of Service attacks. Two weeks ago the internet experienced an unprecedented DDOS attack against a popular DNS hosting service -- Dyn -- that blocked access to a huge number of popular sites -- eBay and PayPal included. What does this mean for the small business owner -- should you avoid the Cloud altogether? Come have a listen and find out.
We had a great conversation with Kevin Hurley, a recent graduate from Fullstack Academy. Kevin is a high school math teacher who caught the coding bug and decided to switch careers. He's exactly the kind of self-motivated technologist that will thrive our the tech economy. So, if you are thinking about jumping into the tech space, or you're a CTO looking to hire talent from "outside the box" -- then come have a listen. One more thing ... if Chevy Chase is reading this description, we assure him that in this episode there will be NO math.
Jim talks about all things social media with Cappy Popp and John Maver from Thought Labs -- a leading Digital Marketing Strategy company. We've worked with Cappy and John on a number of projects in our portfolio, and they know what it takes to develop a social media strategy. This is the first part of an ongoing series on social media marketing. In this first part we cover the basics of when/why/how you should consider a social media campaign for your company.
Alan and Jim spend a fun hour talking with Zeke Nierenberg, Academic Director/Chicago from Fullstack Academy. Fullstack teaches qualified non-programmers to code using an immersive 13-week program. Our bias going into this conversation was Alan's belief that you can't learn to code in 13 weeks. Zeke managed to school us both with Fullstack's point of view. Come have a listen and and decide for yourself.
Alan and Jim spend an hour talking with Ben Johnson, author of BoldDB and and freelance Go developer. The Go language is a relatively new open source programming language (and platform) started by Google and maintained by a community of developers. The authors promote "Go" as being easy to build simple, reliable, and efficient software. Go is somewhat unique in that it compiles into a native operating system executable that can be easily distributed across platforms (Windows, Linux, Mac OS). Is "Go" the right choice for smaller companies? Have a listen and find out.
Alan and Jim spend a fast half hour talking when you should consider upgrading older pieces of custom (homegrown) software. You don't have to upgrade older software just for the sake of upgrading it -- and converting from an older language to a newer language doesn't make the software any better. The first of a three (or maybe four) part series on modernizing your infrastructure.
Jim and Alan spend an hour arguing about whether you should consider bolting an
application programming interface onto older applications as a path to modernizing them. The conversation meanders into a brief history of application-programming-interfaces without getting too nitty-gritty -- suitable listening for Founders, CEOs and technologists.
We recently had to find a home for a legacy client/server accounting application, running in a location that was far, far away. The software came to us through an acquisition of another company. Our ultimate goal is to migrate the parent and child to a single, unified cloud-based application. In the near term, however, we needed to allow the remote team to access the software as per usual, right alongside the finance team back at headquarters. And, we needed to insure that the software was backed up properly and secure. The solution turned out to be Amazon's WorkSpaces product.
Jim and Alan talk in detail about the Valley of Anguish and how to survive it. All large projects (ERP implementations, software re-writes, data center moves) start out with heady expectations and hardy enthusiasm. Inevitably, as your teams start tackling the stickier issues they slide down into the Valley of Anguish -- all willing to abandon the project and go back to doing things the old way. As operating partners, we've had tons of experience in the valley -- and can help you and your teams survive and thrive -- and come out the other end of the project with smiles on their faces. Also, we talk about Alan's really bad hat.
Alan and Jim discuss DevOps -- the intersection of software development and managing the deployment and operations of software. We provide a simple layman's definition of DevOps and then address common misconceptions and fears. It's not fatal if you are not doing state-of-the-art DevOps or you haven't completed automated the build and deploy process. Instead, we given you a simple set of suggestions for getting simplified DevOps in place in order to limit system downtime and speed up re-starts.
Alan and Jim spend some time talking about tracking events and errors in application software logs. Most companies are at least monitoring their web logs and database error logs these days -- but we'd argue that this is just the tip of the iceberg. With easy access to cloud platforms, cheap computer cycles and disk storage the time is right to up the ante. Capturing user traffic and events at all layers of your application stack can pay big dividends in customer satisfaction, software performance and system reliability.
Jim and Alan spend some quality time talking about the most common technology challenges that we uncover when we acquire a founder owned technology company. This is not a criticism of how these companies are run, but rather a testimony to how much a small team is able to accomplish when they put their minds to it. Given that we buy smaller companies that we end up selling to larger companies -- these are the most technology issues that we need to address during our ownership period. We both have a pragmatic view of how difficult it is to keep all of these systems/processes up to date -- we don't let good become the enemy of great.
Alan and Jim spend some quality time talking about the Shiny New Toy problem (SNTS) in software development. The tendency for software teams to pin their hopes and dreams on leading edge technology that will solve all of their problems -- easier, faster better. We discuss the problem in detail and offer non-technical founders strategies for dealing with SNTS.
Jim and Alan spend a fast hour talking about technical debt. It's everything that a CEO/CFO/COO or Founder needs to know about technical debt -- and how to start paying it down. What causes technical debt? Is technical debt the result of a bad development team? Is it possible to develop a software platform without incurring technical debt? Is the solution to technical debt a complete platform rewrite or can you pay it down without "dry docking the boat"? These are just a few of the questions that we answer on today's show.
Jim and Alan talk about the Cloud. Private clouds versus public clouds. Should you ditch your own server room and move everything to the Cloud? Start small and build ... or go "all in" on the Cloud. Can you control performance and scaling in the Cloud? Relational databases or NoSQL in the Cloud. In case that's not clear at this point, we'll be talking about the Cloud on this week's podcast. Plus, West Wing, NYPD Blue, Kelly's Heroes. Kiefer and Donald Sutherland in Foresaken. Take a pass on "Assassin". Spoiler alert: We're both passing on the trifecta of remakes; Point Break, Roadhouse and Ghostbusters.
Jim and Alan discuss the history and details of exchanging data between companies and applications. Email might be the easiest and quickest technique, but find out what it's not very secure or reliable. Learn about the differences between FTP (not very secure) and SFTP (pretty darn secure) and whether DropBox, Box or Amazon's S3 is a reasonable option. Finally, we end up chatting about Web Services as the modern developer's tool for exchanging data securely, reliably and in Goldilocks sizes (hint: Just Right). Shout outs to Dropbox, Box, Amazon and HighJump. Plus Jim goes one for three in Alan's movie quiz.
Jim talks with Alan, Simon and Tiago about the myth of the full stack developer. Alan plays the role of the database and webservices architect. Simon is the user interface and client-side maven and Tiago is our resident network, security and back-end guru. We ask the key questions -- can any single developer master EVERY layer of the software stack? Should a CEO or Engineering manager expect his/her developers to be knowledgeable about every piece of software? We also learn that Alan hates art and white wine, but likes red wine. Plus shout outs to the Back to the Future trilogy, Poland, La Sardine in the West Loop and Ocean's Eleven.
Jim and Alan talk about the technology trends for 2016. What's on the rise? What technology is falling out of favor? What will be the most hyped technology in 2016? Jim asks the questions and Alan answers them on this latest episode of America's favorite technology-oriented, private-equity-themed, weekly podcast. It's IoT, Elastic Search, MongoDB, RavenDB, Java, Cassandra, Hadoop, Ruby on Rails, Node.js, PostgreSQL, jQuery, Angular, Amazon RDS and even the Apple Watch! Plus, shout out for Carson McCullers "The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter"
Jim spends a fast hour talking with the Developertown crew about all things mobile. Should you develop native iOS and Android applications? Is it better to standardize on responsive HTML5 solutions? PhoneGap vs. Xamarin? These are just a few of the questions that we discuss, plus, shout-outs to Angie's List Founder Angie Hicks and Angela Lansbury. Also, we talk about the Roomba (spoiler alert ... it's awesome).
Jim spends an hour with Developertown's Michael Kelly and Aaron Lerch talking about Ruby on Rails -- why Jim hates it and why they love it.
Alan and Jim talk about the ins and outs of making applications run faster and scale to handle lots of users. We compare the two choices for scaling applications: Vertical scaling (adding more resources to existing machines), versus Horizontal scaling (spreading the load across multiple machines). We also discuss Amazon's AWS and EC2 platforms versus Microsoft Azure.
Devin and Jim catalog all of the software that the ParkerGale team has been using on a daily basis over the past year. We discuss the pros and cons of each, and tell you which apps have been moved to the trash bin.