Software development tools and drive

Now I am not a developer, but I have worked closely enough with Business Analysts, Project Managers and Developers to be intrigued by an Australian company called Atlassian. They provide

issue tracking, collaboration and software development tools

that support Agile development, integrate with Google Apps + Studio and Sharepoint and have a wide range of customers from Adobe, BMW, and Boeing to Johns Hopkins University and Yahoo!

I like the look of their issue tracking and project management tools in their JIRA product.

In yesterday's post I reported what Dan Pink believes drives people. In his video he cited Atlassian's novel approach to providing autonomy and engagement. Once a quarter the firm gives it's employees beer and cakes and 24 hours to work on any of the products they have in the software portfolio so long as they show the output of their work at the end.

This 'let me get out of your way approach' by management results in significant bug fixes and innovations to their product line.

No connection.

Take money off the table....

....and what motivates us is autonomy, mastery and purpose. According to a talk given by Dan Pink at the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures [ sic ] and Commerce (RSA).

Paraphrasing Pink, employees want to have an overall purpose and when the profit motive is unhitched from the purpose motive 'bad' things can happen. I had most experience and understanding of this point. He states that people want to feel that they are making a contribution.

I was quite enthralled with his thoughts on autonomy and mastery. He states you can expect better engagement with more autonomy. Makes sense. Employers should get out of the way of their employees. I have been conscious of this but in a different way - maybe we used to call this 'empowerment'?

And mastery - it's obvious really. He cites the case of people spending hours of their free time learning the guitar. You do it, because it's fun, because it's a challenge and because you get better at it.

Apple bigger than Microsoft

Sorry if I am late to the party here, I was on vacation and went 'off the grid'. So what did I miss? AFP reports that

Microsoft ........................ had been overtaken by rival Apple as the world's biggest technology firm in terms of market value

and goes on to to explain

Microsoft shares shed 4.07 percent on Wednesday to close at 25.01 dollars, dropping its market capitalisation -- the number of shares outstanding multiplied by the stock price -- to 219.18 billion dollars. Apple shares lost 0.45 percent meanwhile to close at 244.05 dollars, giving the company a market value of 222.07 billion dollars.

Makes me happy.

Daring Fireball

I have just started reading this rather good blog in the last week or so. Daring Fireball is written and produced by John Gruber and covers design, technology and Apple geekery amongst other subject matter.

What struck me was the economics of producing a professional blog. The site is sponsored and advertising goes for $3,500 per week and sold exclusively to a single buyer. All but six of the weeks up until the end of August have been sold. I don't know what Gruber's track record is for selling his advertising, but if we assume he sells 40 weeks a year that's $140K.

Aside from that, Gruber runs a subscription service where members get exclusive access to RSS feeds of the site content. Membership costs a minimum of $19/year. Gruber states that he has over 150,000 members. I make that $285,000. So for 'simply' producing a great blog site we are looking at an estimated gross income of $425,000 per year.


Getting the message across

A colleague forwarded me a website of a family member that runs his own business as a writer. I like the design, simplicity and directness of his site.

Less is more, but plain English needn’t be plain. People love words that speak to them: warm, intelligent, compelling. Real.

Reading and writing has changed. We skip, scan and click through streams and torrents of language, conjure up text with our thumbs, and filter-feed on the news we choose. So saying what you mean has never been more vital.

Thomas Heath worked for Websters International and Dorling Kindersley before becoming a geography teacher. Since becoming a full-time writer in 2005 he has worked for Marks and Spencer, The Guardian, Sony and a wide range of other clients.