Entries from January 2007 ↓

Show Off Your Open Source Knowledge

A few months ago I wrote an article for Work.com titled Choosing a Company to Build Your Software. Work.com is geared towards non-technical small business owners, so the article is less technical than my typical fare, but soon after I published it I received a request from the folks at Work.com for an article on the ins and outs of open source software from a small business owner’s perspective (Should they use it? What applications are best? What are the pros and cons?)

I haven’t had time to write it, so consider this an open call to any SbR reader who wants to show off their knowledge of open source software. Gain credibility! Win Friends! Influence people! Visit Work.com for more details on writing a guide.

If you drop me a line once it’s complete I’ll link to it.

Please Bear With Me

I want to apologize for my lack of posts in recent days. The holidays, a sick child, a traveling wife, and lots of work have all contributed to a major time crunch in my life. Be assured that I’m still alive and have several article ideas I’ll be unleashing upon the world in the coming months.

In the meantime, thanks for your patience…

San Francisco Job Opening :: Senior .NET Developer / Architect

I’ve been talking with a small, profitable company located in the SOMA district of SF and they are looking for an exceptional Senior .NET Developer / Architect who will create the technical vision for their company. And they satisfy almost all of Rob’s Criteria for Keeping Your Developer’s Happy.

Here is an excerpt from the job description:

What the Company Does
We create and maintain a handful of web applications which run 24/7/365 serving customers in 30+ countries. Our flagship product, a web-based timesheet, is one of the oldest hosted web applications.

Why You Want to Work Here
You’ll have the chance to work directly with senior management, influence company strategy (i.e. not just be a slave to sales/marketing/product management), and be able to go out on a limb to try new architectures/technologies. The discussions are lively and we’re passionate about doing good work. Your decisions will affect the performance, usability, and feature set enjoyed by thousands of customers every day.

We offer a full compensation package including paid vacation, health benefits, 401(k), profit sharing, transit subsidy, and personal cell phone & broadband reimbursement. Plus, we offer the chance to work closely with an incredibly dedicated and talented group of people who are serious about delivering great products.

What We Want
We’re seeking a talented .NET developer to design and direct the implementation of our software. The right candidate will be able to weigh business decisions against technical ones and will determine product-definitions and feature sets in conjunction with the rest of the team. This position is about half architecture/design and half actual coding, with some managerial duties, and will strongly influence our engineering process and culture


  • 5+ years of web application development, including high-volume transactional applications
  • 2+ years of .NET-specific development, including ASP.NET, and Web Services (real experience with .NET 2.0 is a big plus)
  • 2+ years of MS SQL Server experience, great SQL skills
  • Some experience with legacy ASP (VBScript)
  • Bachelors Degree or equivalent desired
  • Must be able to work for any employer in the US

If you’re interested, drop me a line at jobs@thenumagroup.com. Include your resume and “SOMA-SBR” in the subject.

Advertisement: RegOnline Online Event Registration Service

My most recent request from ReviewMe is a service called RegOnline, that provides hosted event registration for a per-registrant fee. Judging by my limited research, it looks like this niche is packed with companies vying to manage your event registrations. Services range from soup to nuts management of registrations, lodging, travel, and vendors, to the more streamlined services like RegOnline, that cater to a few steps in that process: accepting a registrant’s information and money, printing name badges, and tracking lodging. There are some additional features, of course, but these appear to be their bread and butter.

What do I like about RegOnline?
I like that their website is simple, and they make it dead easy to learn about their service without a lot of marketing verbiage. Their home page tells me what they do, and includes a link to their pricing. I can’t tell you how much I love seeing their pricing prominently displayed. Several of their competitors don’t have pricing at all on their site, and you have to fill out a form and talk to a sales person to get a quote. Yuck. I should be able to sign up for a free account and find out how much it costs at 3 am on a Sunday morning

What do I dislike about RegOnline?
I found their credit card processing capabilities a little confusing. Their pricing page indicates you either need an existing merchant account, in which case you have to pay a $500 setup fee, or you need to set up a merchant account (they do have a recommended vendor). From my perspective, one of the huge advantages of using an online service is that I wouldn’t have to set up a merchant account. However, when I emailed RegOnline about this, they indicated they do offer a payment processing service for a percentage fee. That service would be a make or break deal for a small-time player like myself, and I think it would benefit them to make its existence more prominent.

One other thing I disliked is that they ask for quite a bit of information to set up an account. When I’m trying three or four similar service, a simple sign-up form can make the decision of whether or not I give it a try.

Let’s be honest – if the question is developing a custom system or outsourcing your event registration, you’d better be running a ton of volume not use a service like RegOnline. With the cost of building a similar service easily in the five-figures, you’d need a heck of a lot of attendees to make back the cost of a custom application.

Feedback on Nine Things Developers Want More Than Money

Nine Things Developers Want More Than Money has continued to generate feedback, both through email and comments left here, on Reddit and Digg. Though most people agree with the overall point, I’ve seen the following sentiment from a few:

“I’ll take the money over happiness any day.”


“This whole ‘developers don’t want money’ meme is a lie.”

If you really believe this, go read Mike Taber’s article For Love or Money. I’ll wait here for you…

All right, now that you’re back I have some bad news that’s probably not news for anyone who manages developers:

You’re not going to pay below market and have happy developers.

Shocking? Probably not if you’ve done any hiring in the past couple years.

But paying below market is not the point of this article.

The point is that paying at or above market does not mean you are going to have happy developers. And when you have unhappy developers, giving them more money is very unlikely to make them happy. So it’s not to say “developers don’t want money” or “developers will work for free if you give them these things,” but “once the basics are accounted for in a job (such as market pay) here are some things that will keep developers happy and working at your company.”

Again, I am absolutely not saying that developers don’t want money. Developers want money just like everyone else! But there comes a point where you have to go beyond that simplistic solution to keep your developers happy and loyal.

Throwing money at a problem shows a lack of creativity. It’s a lot like a price war — if you’re a vendor you never want to compete with another vendor strictly on price because there’s always someone who will go cheaper, and you will eventually become a commodity and lose the game. It’s the same with salaries – there is always a company that will be willing to pay more than you, so you have to offer something they can’t or won’t.

Long-term, offering more of the “nine things” is a far more sustainable strategy than offering more money.