Planet FoxPro

October 08, 2015

Alex Feldstein

October 07, 2015

Beth Massi - Sharing the goodness

GitHub Universe & SVCC Trip Reports

Last weekend I had the opportunity to (wo)man the Microsoft booth at GitHub Universe as well as speak at the largest code camp in North America, Silicon Valley Code Camp. Both were great experiences in very different ways.


  • GitHub Universe felt like a rave. The industrial space catered very well to the demographic.
  • GitHub gave Microsoft some really nice placement and a large lounge area (with power) that had a good flow of traffic.
  • As I was projecting this (and selected Linux) a dude with dreadlocks looked up and yelled “.NET is cross-platform!? WTF!?”
  • People seemed genuinely interested in the why we’re open sourcing .NET. I wasn’t trying to sell .NET, I was showing how we’re working in the open on a cross-platform .NET and that seemed to resonate. Maybe they’ll take a look. :-)
  • The more I talk with developers on other stacks, the more I realize we all have the same struggles with the whole development process, we just have different solutions.
  • Current .NET devs are hungry for .NET Core & ASP.NET 5 content and are looking for migration guidance.
  • SVCC’s new venue was awesome and Peter Kellner, head organizer and ASP.NET MVP, landed on the Channel 2 news for the first time in 10 years.
  • This is really cool. Package managers visualization, including NuGet.
  • BTW, you can order your own .NET stickers and .NET T-Shirts!

GitHub Universe

FIRST, THE VENUE. This was one of the strangest venues I think I have been to in a long time. Held at Pier 70 in San Francisco, it’s not a bad part of town but it’s not a good one either. I have not been down here since my 20s when I used to go to raves, seriously. To get there I took BART to Embarcadero and then the Muni T-line past AT&T park to 20th. I get off and start walking toward the piers through the very under construction warehouses and roads. Both sidewalks are closed so I’m trying to stay as close to the fence as possible so not to get run over by heavy machinery. I’m starting to worry I’m heading the wrong way when I see a “GitHub Universe this way” sign. WHEW. So I keep walking. And walking. This is weird, I’m just seeing more and more run-down warehouses. Then I spot someone, no two, big dudes in black suits with walkie-talkies. Oh good, I found the bouncers. Where the hell am I? I hope the DJ is good.

When I get to the front entrance it’s a huge industrial warehouse like all the rest I’ve seen, but it’s transformed into a really awesome display. It catered to the demographic very well. Outside they have bike storage along with the coat check. They have wedding-style tents for the catering with a nice outdoor patio. The bathrooms were nice motorhome-style trailers. I register and get a really cool wooden badge. Neat! The keynote is going on in a large space and breakouts (3 or 4) are held in adjacent rooms. I’d say there were about 1000 people here. Predominantly young men, but there were a good amount of women and 40-somthings there as well.


THE MICROSOFT “BOOTH”: We didn’t have a booth per-se, we had a huge space with chairs, couches and power tables. We had a few banners with some of Microsoft’s open source repos listed (yes corefx, coreclr and Roslyn were all there). We had one large demo TV screen. When I arrived we had the Microsoft logo on the screen because it wasn’t really apparent that the space was sponsored by us. Of course, I did plenty of demos as the day went on. The great thing about the space was it was really big and there was plenty of people sucking power from the tables between sessions so we had a pretty good flow of traffic. I didn’t notice any other vendors there in the area so I think we had some really nice treatment from GitHub.


INTERACTIONS: We didn’t have any set scripts or demos, so I often projected our .NET core site and flipped through our repos, showing GitHub :heart: Microsoft and vice versa. Then I started playing with some core console apps and VS Code, deployed to a Linux VM, ran some hello worlds. Jeremy Foster (your local Pac Northwest Developer Evangelist – get to know him!), was showing off some really cool stuff as well like this thing that visualizes package stores, including NuGet, into a mini universe. People would look up from their Macs and stare once in a while, stop talking and smile sometimes. As I was projecting this (and selected Linux) a dude with dreadlocks looked up and yelled “.NET is cross-platform!? WTF!?”. He said the words not the abbreviation J as he almost fell off his chair. At this point a couple people came up and wanted a demo, and the hello world started over. That was fun. People seemed genuinely interested in the why we’re doing this. I wasn’t trying to sell .NET in any way, I was showing how we’re working in the open on a cross-plat .NET and that seemed to resonate. It was really a no-pressure, cool vibe going on all day.



  • “.NET is cross-platform and open source? WTF?!”
  • “Does Windows Server support package managers yet? I went to Linux because it was so easy to install and manage.”
  • “Is that the new Edge browser? It looks pretty cool.”
  • “I'm looking at Azure but I need to store really large music and video files, which storage options are available?”
  • “Is that Windows 10? What does the start menu look like?”

I met a lot of great developers from Dropbox, GitHub, InterWorks, and many small startups doing all sorts of great things and even chartable causes. I met a 25-year old teacher from Ghana that was teaching JavaScript programming, business and marketing there. You could tell he really loved what he was doing there. I met many different developers working on many different technologies. It was great exposure to the wide world of open source. Mike Bartlett, a PM on Gitter, also came up to thank the .NET team for embracing open source and GitHub. He even asked me for feedback to improve Gitter!

I also met Matthew Reily, a .NET developer who came up to me and asked for a picture. Not only is he a .NET developer, he’s also runs a .NET User Group in Oklahoma so we chatted for a while about community. He asked how he could help us. I showed him how to get started with our repos, our contribution guides, as well as gave him my content from my SVCC talk on Intro to .NET Core so he could spread the love. THANKS MATT!


Silicon Valley Code Camp

Silicon Valley Code Camp is the largest code camp in North America typically drawing 3000 attendees. It’s celebrating its 10th year – I have spoken at 9 of them. This year SVCC took place at Evergreen Valley College in San Jose. A new venue and it was awesome. Peter Kellner, head organizer and ASP.NET MVP, landed on the Channel 2 news for the first time! I could tell he was really excited. No, really, that’s Peter REALLY excited. :-)

There are a lot great sessions taught by experts in the community on a variety of subjects and technologies. This year we also had 4 tracks with heavy Microsoft technology influence. It was great to see a lot of Microsoft technologies here this year and the local MS developer relations team, led by Joe Shirey, were all there presenting sessions as well. We also had a large booth with Surface’s, tons of book giveaways and lots of .NET stickers from yours truly and the .NET Foundation.

BTW, you can order your own .NET stickers and .NET T-Shirts! GET ON IT.

I zipped in and out on Sunday for my 10:45AM session: Introduction to .NET Core and ASP.NET 5. The room was full, probably held about 60 people so there was definite interest in this topic which was great. When I asked who were .NET developers, everyone but one person raised their hand (he was an Android/Java developer). So I geared the talk appropriately. Most of the session is me on the command line and in VS Code, but I did show Visual Studio the last 15 minutes or so. What really resonated for this audience were a couple of things:

  • Explaining the “magic” behind Visual Studio: Show the command line steps to build a simple hello world
  • Take some time to explain package managers, project.json, dnu restore, and the deployment options. No GAC & app local deploy was welcomed
  • Take time to explain the ASP.NET in-memory compilation where we’re not building to disk anymore so you can edit C# code, save, and just refresh the browser
  • Build an app on Windows and deploy it to Linux. This got applause. We’re opening a lot of doors for folks.
  • Explain that we’re trying to build an open ecosystem for .NET and support the community for building libraries and components that fill gaps. This is the mission of the .NET Foundation.

Afterwards I did have a couple questions on how to approach a migration from webforms app to ASP.NET 5 as well as their libraries. Migration guidance is important, particularly for porting libraries to core. We’ll get there as we build out our documentation as we head to release. Remember we’re still building this thing! :-) I will be happy to take this show on the road and expand upon the basics of ASP.NET 5 development for the new developers and our current ones.

You can download the deck and demo script I used here:



by Beth Massi - Microsoft at October 07, 2015 10:42 PM

Alex Feldstein

October 06, 2015



A place to list upcoming Visual FoxPro events like conferences, meetings, user groups, open training sessions...
Closest at the top please, and please remove past events.

October 06, 2015 08:49 PM


Editor comments: Philly October--ChristofWollenhaupt
Starting in August 2008, we meet the second Tuesday of the month.

A user group for Visual FoxPro developers in the greater Philadelphia area, including New Jersey, Delaware and the Lehigh Valley. We meet the second Tuesday of each month at 7 PM.

Beginning with the April 2006 meeting, there is a $5 charge per meeting.

Beginning with the July 2011 meeting, we will meet in room 158 at DeVry University, 1140 Virginia Drive, Fort Washington, PA. Beginning with the October, 2014 meeting, we're moving to room 104 at DeVry.

Feel free to bring something to eat and arrive as early as 6:30.

 class= Check out our blog at
 class= We're on Twitter: @VFUGPhilly

If you'd like to speak at our group or join our email list, send a message to

October 06, 2015 08:48 PM

FoxCentral News

Philadelphia VFP User Group meets October 13--Christof Wollenhaupt

Christof Wollenhaupt returns to Philadelphia to do a Southwest Fox preview on his way to Phoenix. He?ll present ?Computer Sensors in Business Applications.? Abstract: Most notebooks have a variety of sensors that were uncommon when Visual FoxPro 9 was released. In this session we cover a variety of modern sensors and devices and how to access them from Visual FoxPro by using some .NET helper code. These devices include the camera to take pictures and the microphone for audio recording, the touch screen to respond to finger input and multi-touch gestures, the GPS receiver to determine the current location, the compass to obtain directions, and the accelerometer to measure device movements. Sensors are useful in many mobile business applications. For instance, you can automatically track time and route of mobile workers. The camera takes pictures that are directly added to the VFP application when entering orders at a client site.

by Philadelphia Visual FoxPro User Group at October 06, 2015 07:54 PM

VFP Philly

Tuesday, October 13: Christof Wollenhaupt presents "Computer Sensors in Business Applications"--note change of room

Our next meeting will be on Tuesday, October 13 at 7:00 PM in room 127, DeVry University, 1140 Virginia Drive, Fort Washington, PA. Note the change of room; this new room is a computer lab and no food or drinks are permitted. You can still plan to come as early as 6:30 and bring some dinner, but you’ll have to eat in the commons area (where the vending machines are located) before coming to the meeting room.

This month, Christof Wollenhaupt returns to do a Southwest Fox preview on his way to Phoenix. He’ll present “Computer Sensors in Business Applications.”

Abstract: Most notebooks have a variety of sensors that were uncommon when Visual FoxPro 9 was released. In this session we cover a variety of modern sensors and devices and how to access them from Visual FoxPro by using some .NET helper code. These devices include the camera to take pictures and the microphone for audio recording, the touch screen to respond to finger input and multi-touch gestures, the GPS receiver to determine the current location, the compass to obtain directions, and the accelerometer to measure device movements.

Sensors are useful in many mobile business applications. For instance, you can automatically track time and route of mobile workers. The camera takes pictures that are directly added to the VFP application when entering orders at a client site.

Bio: Christof Wollenhaupt, head of Foxpert, offers FoxPro and .NET development and consulting services to customers who benefit from his nearly 20 years of experience. Christof is a regular speaker at conferences and user groups around the world, organizes the Hamburger Stammtisch für Microsoft Datenbankentwickler (Hamburg user group for Microsoft database developers), has written for various magazines including a regular column in FoxPro Advisor for more than 10 years, and was a Visual FoxPro MVP from 1997 to 2010.

by Tamar E. Granor ( at October 06, 2015 07:43 PM

Alex Feldstein

October 05, 2015

Alex Feldstein

October 04, 2015

Alex Feldstein

October 03, 2015

FoxCentral News

Last Chance for Web Connection Training at Southwest Fox

 Come join us in Arizona on October 14th and 15th prior to the Southwest Fox conference for two days of intense Web development training for West Wind Web Connection presented by Rick Strahl. We only have a few seats left as our room is filling up, so if you plan to come now is the time to make arrangements. This year we'll introduce a new version of West Wind Web Connection (6.0) and walk through the creation of a server based, MVC style Web application using the new scripting features on day one. On day two we look at building client centric, mobile Web ready applications using JavaScript and Angular JS with a FoxPro Web Connection backend. This training is relevant for all levels from beginners to existing Web Connection and Web experts and is loaded with lots of tips and tricks and best practices as we build a couple of applications from scratch and go through the development cycle. Don't miss out on this opportunity to hone your Web development skiills in an interactive classroom-style environment.

by West Wind Technologies at October 03, 2015 10:32 PM

Alex Feldstein

October 02, 2015

Alex Feldstein

October 01, 2015

Alex Feldstein

Calvin Hsia's WebLog

Examining a crash dump

A crash dump is very helpful for diagnosing a problem with software. It can contain enough information to recreate a debug session, almost as if you’re debugging the problem live on the repro machine. Last time I showed some code to create a crash dump...(read more)

by CalvinH at October 01, 2015 01:45 AM

Chris Sainty

Developing with Docker on OSX

Docker is the talk of the town in recent times. Containerized deployments of micro services are quickly gaining momentum as best-practice architecture for certain classes of applications.

As ever in software development though, understanding how to make a start with these tools isn't easy. Especially if you are working on an existing monolith.

So in this post I will share some basic tips to start using Docker in your existing development workflow, gaining this understanding can be the stepping stone to using Docker in production or in your next project.

October 01, 2015 12:00 AM

September 30, 2015

Rahul Desai's Blog

Announcing UX Design Guidelines for Microsoft Dynamics CRM White Paper

UX design guidelines, a collection of best practices based on real life customer experiences….

Microsoft Dynamics CRM underwent a major user experience (UX) refresh with the release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 and enhanced further in subsequent releases. This white paper will give insight to the key design principles behind this refresh but as importantly how to take best take advantage of them in implementation projects.

The key objectives of this document are therefore to:

  • Illustrate how to use the new features introduced in or after Dynamics CRM 2013 to create a delightful experience to end users.
  • Explain how designing solutions for versions in or after Dynamics CRM 2013 should differ from designing solutions for CRM 2011

Announcing UX Design Guidelines for Microsoft Dynamics CRM White Paper – Microsoft Dynamics CRM Team Blog – Site Home – MSDN Blogs

by Rahul Desai at September 30, 2015 09:16 PM

FoxCentral News

West Wind Web Service Proxy Generator 1.40 released

 West Wind Technologies has released an update to the Web Service Proxy Generator, which automates the process for creating FoxPro clients to complex SOAP 1.x Web Services. The tool makes calling Web Services as easy as calling methods on a generated FoxPro proxy class. This update is a maintenance release that adds a host of updates for wwDotnetBridge to facilitate interaction with many more new .NET types including, structs, long, char, byte, Single, DbNull and more. This release also updates the documentation with new examples and a new, easier to parse display theme. The Proxy Generator is available as shareware and registered users can simply re-download the registered version for a free update.

by West Wind Technologies at September 30, 2015 06:36 PM

Alex Feldstein

September 29, 2015

Alex Feldstein

September 28, 2015

Rahul Desai's Blog

Microsoft acquires FieldOne, global provider of field service management solutions for the enterprise

Another one acquired back in July 15…..

FieldOne is a great fit for Dynamics CRM adding to our extensive customer service capabilities – which includes chat, knowledge management and self-service functionality from Parature which we acquired in January of 2014.  Like Parature, FieldOne is offered to customers as a cloud service. It’s built on Microsoft technology for fast integration, it already works great with other Microsoft productivity offerings like Office 365 and SharePoint, and has cross-platform capabilities meaning it can work on different devices enhancing the mobile experience which is so critically important in field service management. FieldOne was built from the ground up to leverage Dynamics CRM, and this means that our customers can take advantage of its capabilities right away.

Microsoft acquires FieldOne, global provider of field service management solutions for the enterprise – The Official Microsoft Blog

by Rahul Desai at September 28, 2015 08:38 PM

Microsoft acquires Adxstudio Inc., Web portal and application lifecycle management solutions provider

Another great acquisition…

Packed with compelling features that extend Dynamics CRM to the Web, Adxstudio Web portals are built natively on Dynamics CRM, allowing our customers to easily connect and extend their key sales and customer services business processes online. These portals work with the CRM application easily and naturally for both online and on-premises customers, who can take advantage of this offering right away. Adxstudio portals can also be used along with our Parature Service thanks to native integration with Parature’s rich knowledge management solutions.

Microsoft acquires Adxstudio Inc., Web portal and application lifecycle management solutions provider – The Official Microsoft Blog

by Rahul Desai at September 28, 2015 08:30 PM


Going in for the thrill

Last time, in what seems like my endless march towards documenting SSRS systems in a thorough way, I explained that I was going to go low-level to find out what SSRS artifacts my automation identity did not have privileges to read.  If I didn't know what objects on the server would cause a problem, as I trolled through the server contents to document it, how could I fix those privileges?

I mentioned that the individuals who architect the SSRS system don't like us to go into the base ReportServer tables to do stuff like this.  We're not supposed to.  It's not approved.

But the non-approved way is darn useful.

And, ladies and gents, we're going to do it again.

The only reason I had to know about the privileges for an automation identity was that I was going to use an automated method to call SSRS web service methods on every object, to document each one via the web service API, which is The Approved Way.

Suppose we just don't care?

If we don't mind going straight to the ReportServer tables, we can read all the RDLs directly from the Catalog, in one neat SQL statement - no web service calls required.

Basically, just do this:

use [YourReportServerDB]

select Path,
      cast(cast(Content AS varbinary(max)) As xml) as rdl_xml,
      -- if you prefer non-xml results, use varchar (nvarchar won't work):
      cast(cast(Content AS varbinary(max)) As varchar(max)) as rdl_text
from dbo.Catalog
      where content is not null and type = 2


Et voilà

Sure, that just gives us the RDLs (type=2), but those report definitions are the lion's share of what I was after; from there, parsing out the command texts so that we can find embedded query dependencies is duck soup.  This task is the most critical reason to document SSRS installations thoroughly, IMHO.  (Finding out the rest of the object types' contents from the Content field isn't too hard to figure out in similar syntax anyway, I bet, if you want to do it.)

And, sure it's naughty.  MS would rather we use the web service calls. You can sympathize. We're tracking mud all over their nice clean architected floor.

But going to the base tables of Report Server is a heck of a lot faster and more SQL-friendly. Some days, that just feels good.

September 28, 2015 05:57 AM

Alex Feldstein

September 27, 2015

Alex Feldstein

September 26, 2015

Alex Feldstein

September 25, 2015

Alex Feldstein

September 24, 2015

Beth Massi - Sharing the goodness

Silicon Valley Code Camp Next Weekend! Intro to .NET Core & ASP.NET 5

I am speaking at silicon valley code camp. Please come to my session!  Click here for details.

It’s that time of year again in the Bay Area. Silicon Valley Code Camp takes place next weekend October 3rd and 4th. This time, it’s at Evergreen Valley College in San Jose.

There’s a lot great sessions taught by experts in the community on a variety of subjects and technologies. This year we also have 4 tracks which organize talks on these particular subjects:

It’s great to see a lot of Microsoft technologies here this year and the local MS developer relations team will all be here presenting sessions as well. I’ll be delivering this session in the Web Development track:

Introduction to .NET Core and ASP.NET 5 (10:45 AM Sunday October 4th)
ASP.NET 5 is a completely new Web framework for building modern, cloud-based Web applications that run on the cross-platform .NET Core. In this presentation I will introduce you to .NET Core and ASP.NET 5 and the latest features and innovations. For the first time every ASP.NET 5 app is supported on Windows, OS X and Linux by way of the new cross-platform .NET Core. Visual Studio 2015 also adds support for ASP.NET 5 with an agile cross-platform tooling experience. Come learn about the latest groundbreaking changes in .NET Core and ASP.NET 5!

Those of you who know me know that I don’t come from a web development background. My areas of focus were always desktop, data and Office development. I’m not ashamed to admit it (that much). But since I’ve been on the .NET core & languages team for a couple years, I have been exposed to ASP.NET 5 a ton as the team has been building it out in the open for a while now, along with our compilers and .NET Core. What’s cool, is that I’m starting from almost the beginning with an all new, powerful, cross-platform web stack. I should be able to deliver a good intro session for ASP.NET 5 beginners since I am one too! I will post all the demos and resources afterwards here.

BTW, if you’re not able to make it next weekend, you can check out this session at South Bay.NET tonight!

Wish me luck.

UPDATE: Here’s the deck & demo with info on how to get started -

by Beth Massi - Microsoft at September 24, 2015 04:36 PM

Alex Feldstein

September 23, 2015

Alex Feldstein

September 22, 2015

Alex Feldstein

September 21, 2015



A place to list upcoming Visual FoxPro events like conferences, meetings, user groups, open training sessions...
Closest at the top please, and please remove past events.

September 21, 2015 05:08 PM

Alex Feldstein

September 20, 2015

Alex Feldstein

September 19, 2015

Alex Feldstein

September 18, 2015

Alex Feldstein

Craig Bailey

Telstra Pricing

I’ve been in the US for the last two weeks. Before I left I purchased a Telstra 14 Day Travel Pass. It worked out well, because it ran out when I was at the airport about to head home.

Here’s the text message I got (the second message is the item of interest):

Telstra notification

Basically, since I was a Travel Pass customer I was going to now pay 3c per MB. At this price I’m assuming Telstra still makes some profit.

Which means that if you are a Data Pack customer, and thus forced to pay $3 per MB (ie 100 times as much as a Travel Pass customer) then Telstra is well and truly fucking you over.


The post Telstra Pricing appeared first on Craig Bailey.

by Craig Bailey at September 18, 2015 02:23 AM

Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

Free Office365 Developer Training in October

I’m flitting around the country delivering free Office365 Developer training in October.

At this DevCamp, you will learn the concepts of the new Office 365 API model and go deep into building out an end-to-end example on the Office 365 environment. Microsoft Office 365 DevCamps are free and fun events for developers, by developers. You do not want to miss this.

I’m really looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible and chatting about the great opportunities provided by building on the Office365 APIs and/or extending the capabilities of the Office Clients.



Rego link


9th October


12th October


14th October


16th October


30th October

by Andrew Coates [MSFT] at September 18, 2015 12:47 AM

September 17, 2015

Alex Feldstein

September 16, 2015



A programmer living in Albany, NY and working with FoxPro. I've been helping on since 2002 or so.

My email address is more or less

My ordered wishlist for wiki features, hmmmm:
1. A history link so we can see what changes have been made to a page.
2. The ability to diff current from any prior versions.
3. It looks like the recent changes log will only show the most recent edit of a page. So I'm guessing that's less of a log and more of a query. As a log, users can see what's been a hot topic recently.

September 16, 2015 04:22 PM


Editor comments: some readabilty at start

September 16, 2015 04:18 PM

Alex Feldstein

September 15, 2015

Alex Feldstein

September 14, 2015

Alex Feldstein

September 13, 2015

Alex Feldstein

September 12, 2015

Alex Feldstein

September 11, 2015

Rahul Desai's Blog

Microsoft reinvents productivity with upcoming release of customer engagement solution

Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq “MSFT”) on Tuesday unveiled new capabilities it will deliver later this calendar year with Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016, the latest release of its customer engagement solution. The most comprehensive upgrade ever for Dynamics CRM includes advancements in intelligence, mobility and service, with significant productivity enhancements to help businesses and workers achieve more. More at the link below:

Microsoft reinvents productivity with upcoming release of customer engagement solution | News Center

by Rahul Desai at September 11, 2015 05:11 AM

Alex Feldstein

Craig Bailey

Sitting in Judgement

Imagine you are a passenger in a plane that is starting its takeoff approach. You are accelerating down the runway when the left engine catches on fire. The pilot heroically brings the plane to a rapid halt and commences the emergency evacuation procedures. There is heat, and fire, and smoke. People are panicking.

You are in the plane, perhaps in a middle row, with an exit 10 rows ahead, and 10 rows behind. For the moment you are trapped in the rush to the exits.

What do you do?

The answer: unless you’ve been in that situation before, you have absolutely no idea what you would do.

  • Perhaps you are incredibly calm, clearly recalling the safety demonstration from a few minutes earlier.
  • Or perhaps you are stressing out.
  • Perhaps you are choking.
  • Perhaps you are convinced you are going to die.
  • Perhaps you see that the people ahead are starting to move out of the plane and perhaps you think you may make it out after all.
  • Perhaps you take your shoes off.
  • Perhaps you even grab your luggage.
  • Perhaps you get out and have no idea what you even did, or how you made it out.

Thankfully the emergency that happened in Las Vegas a day ago was contained, and apart from some minor injuries to 14 passengers, no one was hurt. It was a good outcome.

But that hasn’t prevented some quick judgements from the Twitter doucherati, watching from the safety of their arm chairs.

Whilst most observers were praising the pilot’s responsive actions, and celebrating the safe evacuation of all passengers, here’s some comments from others:

Click through to those tweets and read the reply threads too – they get worse. And some even have follow up tweets where they ‘helpfully’ give ‘advice’ about the proper way to conduct oneself when in a plane that has an exploding engine. Thanks! I’ll bet those passengers are so thankful for the free advice they’re receiving.

I can imagine their conversations with loved ones later when asked how they are feeling:

‘well, the day started pretty badly, I was in a plane that caught on fire and had an emergency landing. I made it out safely in the end, but it was harrowing, and I thought for a minute there I was going to die…’

‘…but it’s OK, just after that some people on Twitter who had no idea whatsoever of what happened in the plane very helpfully provided me with an analysis of my evacuation process, and went the extra mile to generously prepare some advice for me to take on board for the next time it happens. So all in all it wasn’t such a bad day…’

The kindness of strangers.

The post Sitting in Judgement appeared first on Craig Bailey.

by Craig Bailey at September 11, 2015 04:12 AM

September 10, 2015

Alex Feldstein

September 09, 2015

Craig Bailey

HubSpot is the Starbucks of Marketing

I had a realisation last night about HubSpot, my agency, and my mindset.

I’m in Boston at the moment, attending Inbound 2015. The conference kicked off yesterday, and I spent most of it in agency training courses (my company is a HubSpot partner agency). We’ve been a HubSpot partner for approximately 2 years now, and although we love HubSpot, most of our clients are still non-HubSpot users. I was prompted to consider why this might be…

HubSpot: The Inbound Marketing Franchise

The realisation I had is that HubSpot is a franchise model of being a marketing agency, and I haven’t embraced that model as yet.

Although from an outside perspective HubSpot is just a software company, in reality their company is much more. They are predominantly a framework for online marketing (branded by them as ‘inbound marketing’) and the software is the glue that beautifully enables that framework.

Franchises are inherently good things. And they are extremely successful in almost every industry, whether it’s food, lawn mowing, legal services, accounting, etc.

For the purposes of this posts I’m going to use a food analogy, and consider marketing agencies to be cafes.

There’s essentially two types of cafes: there’s the owner run boutique cafe, and there’s the chain cafes such as Starbucks.

If you’ve been running a marketing agency (or digital agency, or online agency, or however you want to refer to it) for a while, then you’re the cafe owner.

  • You probably started with a specific skill (mine was SEO, yours might have been web design) which made you the head barista of the cafe. You make a great coffee.
  • You have staff that help with other areas (eg Facebook) who are helping to grow the light snack side of your cafe.
  • You work very hard in the business and you get a bunch of referral customers.
  • You love your cafe, and look forward to getting there each morning
  • You have plans to grow your cafe operations – perhaps opening new stores one day
  • Your cafe probably has one cash register…

None of this is bad. In fact it’s wonderful. It gives you purpose, and your customers love your custom coffee blends.

But there’s a tension building. Because you’ve seen the chain coffee shops popping up and you’ve been impressed by the software they use to run their POS terminals, inventory tracking, and customer reward programs.

In fact, you’ve been so impressed with their software that you’ve actually started using it in your own cafe.

And it’s started to make a difference to things. You can see what customers are ordering the most, how they interact, and you’ve even started ‘engaging’ with them further and increasing repeat business. You can see a lot of potential here.

In fact you even attend the annual conference of this big coffee chain and sign up to be a partner.

As part of being a partner you learn that the coffee chain has a comprehensive framework for seamlessly running their chain stores. It’s an entire framework for running every single little part of the business. And it is very successful.

Getting stuck

But back at your own cafe you still want to keep most things the way they’ve already been. Sure, you’ll add a few of the learnings from the coffee chain partner conference, and perhaps you’ll start promoting some of their coffee ideas to your customers. But overall you’re keeping things mostly the same.

And that’s why you are stuck.

In many ways, if you were starting from scratch today, it would be much easier. Just embrace the whole Starbucks franchise and you are on your way. You’d likely be more successful in a short space of time than the artisan cafe owner will ever be.

But if you’ve been a cafe owner for a while, its a big step to take. There’s going to be lots of changes. Your daily activities will change. Staff may need to be changed. Your customer base will definitely change. And that’s scary. It’s uncomfortable. And easy to avoid for now.

Time to decide

You can’t be both a custom cafe and a Starbucks at the same time. You need to decide and pick one. And if you decide to be a Starbucks then you need to embrace the inevitable changes. You’ll lose some of your customers – the ones who had specially tailored, unique coffees that no one else had. And you’ll miss them.

So, where to next?

This post is a note to myself. Just writing this down is getting it clear in my mind.

At the moment I’m thinking through the next steps for my agency. Where we want to go, who we want as clients, how we want to grow.

And this tension is key for me. On one hand I want to be the head barista, but on the other I want to be the franchise owner. There are difficult decisions ahead as I work through this. What’s best for me, my staff, my clients.

But there’s also a huge amount of relief just writing this – I finally understand the tension. And the clear positive out of all this, is that I realise the choice is totally mine.


Epilogue: What is Quality Anyway?

There’s tons of problems with the analogy above of course, especially for Australians like me.

1: The obvious problem is that Australians are coffee snobs and consider Starbucks coffee to be (using the technical term): shit. But for the sake of this post you need to ignore that personal taste bit – otherwise it’s going to totally distract you from the main point I was trying to make above.

Aside: But is it really shit coffee?

Seth Godin reminded us last night that quality is defined as ‘meeting specification’. So, if you think a particular coffee is low quality (to put it kindly), then you really need to ask what the specification was. Because your specification might be different to other people’s. This has to be the case – how else could you explain why Starbucks has been so successful everywhere except Australia?

The key would be to get the specification right for Australia.

2: The other main problem with the analogy is that it might make it sound like all marketing agencies are the same.

But that’s not the case at all. In fact, HubSpot stress the need to differentiate and position your agency. If I were to labour the Starbucks analogy it would be like saying you need to work out if you are the niche Starbucks for lawyers, or B2B businesses, or mid-size companies, etc. The framework and process is all the same, but the strategy and targeting is tailored.

But at this point I think I’ll stop – I’ve flogged this analogy to death, and I need to sleep now.

The post HubSpot is the Starbucks of Marketing appeared first on Craig Bailey.

by Craig Bailey at September 09, 2015 08:38 AM

Alex Feldstein

September 08, 2015

Rick Strahl's Web Log

Talking about ASP.NET 5 on .NET Rocks

Last week I got a chance to talk to Carl and Richard about my experiences with ASP.NET 5. The good, the bad and the obnoxious. Ok maybe none of the latter. We had a great discussion on why we need a reboot on ASP.NET and how the process of building ASP.NET has affected developers trying to keep up with the 'beta' releases.

ASP.NET 5 is a major reboot of ASP.NET and there are a ton of great features that drive the platform forward. Some of my favorite features are the unified model for MVC and API, the middle pipeline for extensibility, Tag Helpers, and the ability to actually run code and develop DNX on other platforms. But, as cool as ASP.NET 5's new features are there are also a lot of pain points at this point in the development cycle of the product. This is not a minor upgrade, but rather a shift in a way similar that the original ASP.NET was from classic ASP. There are many familiar concepts but a lot of the cheese has completely moved.  In this show we talked about the things that make ASP.NET 5 great and necessary but also some of the issues that have made working with it at this point an adventure in configuration tweaking.

As a side note Carl and Richard make these shows so easy to do. In fact when we got to the end all I could think was "Where did the time go?" Felt like we could have gone on for another hour (well I did anyway :-))

You can check it out here:

Developing using ASP.NET vNext with Rick Strahl

© Rick Strahl, West Wind Technologies, 2005-2015
Posted in ASPNET5  

by Rick Strahl at September 08, 2015 06:57 PM

Craig Bailey

HubSpot APAC Tour NYC

I’ve just arrived in Boston for the HubSpot Inbound 2015 conference after spending the last 4 days in New York.

Conferences can be funny things for me. My usual experience is it takes me a few days to warm up (ie for the introvert in me to thaw) and by then the conference is almost over. Just as I’m starting to get friendly, and positive, and motivated, it’s time to go.

Which is why the pre-Boston ‘tour’ of New York organised by the HubSpot Asia-Pac team has been soooo good.

I arrived in New York last Thursday night, and had almost two days to myself to recover from the flight (I was really sick with a cold in the lead up to flying so I was pretty wasted and grumpy by the time I finally got here). Then on Saturday night things kicked off with drinks organised by Niti, Ryan and the rest of the Australian office team. Here’s a few of us at SkyBar:

I met a bunch of new people from Sydney, Melbourne & Brisbane as well as India and New Zealand.

It seems strange in some ways to come all the way to NY in order to meet fellow Australian HubSpot users, but this in many ways is the genius of the HubSpot ‘tour’ idea. Not that I attend tons of conferences, but of the ones I’ve attended over the last 20-25 years, there’s always been a slight disconnect – a feeling of being a stranger or outsider. Even attending Inbound last year I had to work really hard in order to make any connections. I’m never a fan of networking, and I find the effort of meeting new people exhausting.

This time it is different. Following drinks, the next day (Sunday) involved sessions on marketing (with an APAC focus), as well as a fantastic dinner at a restaurant in Times Square. There were 50 or so of us there. And then additional sessions on Monday. (I left early to catch the Amtrak over to Boston – highly recommended btw.)

The HubSpot team have done really well with this pre-conference tour. The small group, personal touch approach has worked very effectively. By the end of it yesterday I felt really ‘warm‘. I was experiencing that ‘glow’ that normally comes at the end of a conference. But I was experiencing it now, right at the start of the main Inbound conference. It starts today! (I’m writing this on the morning of the 8th September).

A big shout out to Niti Shah, Ryan Bonnici, Lauren and Madison from HubSpot for organising and running the event, as well as Matt Kesby and Christy Tan in particular for their sessions.

The post HubSpot APAC Tour NYC appeared first on Craig Bailey.

by Craig Bailey at September 08, 2015 10:19 AM

Alex Feldstein

September 07, 2015



Editor comments: Corrected Spelling for LaValley and created link
Dr. Dave and his collection:

September 07, 2015 04:22 PM

Alex Feldstein

September 06, 2015

Craig Bailey

First World Reflections

I was waiting in line to talk to the concierge in the hotel yesterday (I’m currently in New York as I write this).

I was third in line, and the line was starting to grow behind me.

Up ahead in first place, hijacking the concierge was a father and his daughter. I’d guess she was 11 or 12, but I was behind them so couldn’t really tell.

I couldn’t hear the conversation with the concierge but from what I could make out it involved discussing some activities they wanted to plan in the city during their stay.

The father was explaining the options to his daughter and then conferring with the concierge, and then again with his daughter.

And it was taking ages. And by ages I mean well past 10 minutes, perhaps even heading towards 15. You know, ludicrous.

What the hell is he doing? In my mind I was getting pretty angry with this guy, starting to frown, roll my eyes, staring daggers, that kind of thing. I mean, it’s just so inconsiderate. Right?

Finally they were finishing up and had sorted out their agenda. A last quick confirmation with his daughter, the father thanked the concierge, they turned to leave, and started heading off, walking back down the queue and past me.

And then we all noticed that the daughter was severely handicapped. As she trudged past us dragging her left leg and tightly holding her father’s hand, her eyes enormous as they peered through the huge corrective lenses in her glasses, her face was beaming with a massive smile that couldn’t wait to start the day’s now planned adventures…

I felt the hot flush of shame and the angel of self realisation cupped his hands around my right ear and gently whispered ‘you’re an asshole – you know that right?’

But then the arch-angel of self reflection perched on my left shoulder and whispered in my other ear ‘but it’s even worse that you only felt that shame because she’s like that‘.

15 minutes of waiting. In a luxury hotel. On a business junket. Such a first world problem.

The post First World Reflections appeared first on Craig Bailey.

by Craig Bailey at September 06, 2015 06:55 PM