Dharmesh Shah

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Why You Should Attend Business of Software 2008 In Boston

By Dharmesh Shah on July 20, 2008

If you read this blog, there's a pretty good chance you're somehow involved in the business of software.  By that, I mean you are trying to (gasp!) make money in the software business.  If that's the case, I can't think of any better place to be this September than the Business of Software Conference being held in Boston on September 3-4. 

Some Reasons Why You Should Be At Business Of Software 2008

1.  Joel Spolsky will be there.  Well, he's not just going to be there, he's one of the organizers along with Neil Davidson, the CEO of Red Gate Software. 

2.  Seth Godin will be there.  Seth is a brilliant marketer.  Doesn't get more brilliant.  And, if you're in the business of software, you really, really need to understand marketing.  If you're not reading Seth's blog, you should be.

3.  Jessica Livingston will be there.  Jessica is the author of "Founders At Work", which was an exceptionally fun and insightful read.  Parts of it gave me goose-bumps (yes, I'm that strange).  If you're both a software person and a startup person, you need to read her book. 

4.  Jason Fried of 37signals fame will be there.  Jason's on my list of "most pragmatic entrepreneurs ever".  He was kind enough to let me interview him for my graduate paper at MIT back when I was a student.  All around swell guy.  Oh, and you haven't already, you should absolutely read "Getting Real".  Now it's even free.

5.  Richard Stallman will be there.  Yes, that Richard Stallman.  This should be one interesting discussion.

6.  Eric Sink will be there.  Eric is (in my mind), the software guy's software guy.  Immensely articulate and thoughtful.  Eric's aptly named "Eric Sink On The Business Of Software" is one of the books on my startup reading list.

7.  Mike Milinkovich will be there.  He's the executive director of the Eclipse foundation. 

8.  Steve Johnson of Pragmatic Marketing will be there.  Steve was a big hit at last year's conference.  If you want to understand why, just watch the video from last year.

9.  Tom Jennings and Paul Kenny will be there.  Tom's a venture capitalist and Paul's all about sales.  I'm guessing a few of you are looking for capital or looking for customers.

10.  People like you will be there.  People that are in the business of software.

Note, the above is not a complete list of speakers. 

Oh, and by the way, I've been selected so speak at this year's conference as well -- but please don't hold that against them.

All in all, Business of Software 2008 promises to be a great event.  Something I'd travel to come see, if I didn't live in Boston -- which I do. 

By the way, if you're going to go, you can save $300 by registering before July 22nd. 

Hope to see you there.

Topics: Event
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Embarassingly Gushing Praise for TechCrunch And The New CrunchBase API

By Dharmesh Shah on July 16, 2008

For those that are nauseated or otherwise troubled by gushing praise of tech blogs, please click away now.  I will not be offended.

I'm an avid reader of the TechCrunch blog.  In their own words, it's a blog "dedicated to obsessively profiling and reviewing new Internet products and companies."  If you're in the startup world, and aren't reading it, you probably should if for no other reason than the fact that your peers are reading it, and it'll get cited often.  It's uncomfortable when I hear someone at the office say "Hey, did you read that article in TechCrunch about..." and because I've been stuck in meetings for 2 hours and am too polite to read blogs on my Blackberry during meetings, I have to say, "no...umm...I've been in meetings for the last 2 hours". 

Anyways, you get the message.  I heart TechCrunch.

Now, fast forward a bit, and lets talk about CrunchBase.  CrunchBase is a user-editable structured database about companies, people and products in the tech world.  It's a great complement to TechCrunch.  The site is well thought out, gets the job done and actually has a pretty good data set.  It's useful.

On to the news that drove this article.  The nice folks at TechCrunch just released an API for CrunchBase.  I'm an API kind of guy.  As the developer of the reasonably popular Website Grader, a free website analysis tool, I am always on the lookout for new data I can feed into the Website Grader algorithm to make it even more useful.  The CrunchBase API is likely going to fit the bill.

So, here are the reasons I l am bestowing about TechCrunch the embarrassingly gushing praise:

Reasons I Love The CrunchBase API:

1.  Simple Invocation:  Invoking the API is simply a matter of accessing a URL containing the company or product in question.

For example: http://api.crunchbase.com/v/1/company/hubspot.js

2.  Simple Output:  The data comes back in JSON format. This is great for use within Javascript, but even for other languages (PHP, Java, C#, etc.), it's relatively trivial to take the JSON output and convert it into some other format.  One tip for the TechCrunch folks would be to add a parameter to the API URLs to request output in different formats (like XML).  But, no biggie.

3.  No Registration, No Limits:  In an uncommon show of cluefulness, the nice folks at TechCrunch have made it supremely easy to get started.  You don't have to register, request access to an API key or developer account, and there are currently no governors or limits on consumption.  That's pretty cool.  Gutsy, but cool.

4.  Communication:  To top off all of this awesomeness, the TC folks have really gone out of their way to accept input from the community regarding the API.  The blog article announcing the API has 59 comments right now.  14 of them are responses from the TC folks -- including Michael Arrington himself.  TC also setup a Twitter account.  I "followed" them, send out a tweet and was immediately tweeted back with a response to an idea I had for improving the API.

Having said all that, the one critical feature I think they need to add is better search through the API.  But, they've already said they're looking into that.  

So, with all that I'd like to congratulate Michael and his team at TechCrunch for an awfully with-it approach to their business.  For those of you that I'm gushing like a teenager with a crush -- you were warned.

If you're a web developer and have an idea for building something cool on top of the CrunchBase API, drop me a line.  I'd consider funding it and contributing it back to the community.

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