The “#Chicago School of #Technology” #startups

Great article, definitely worth the read.  A couple of key points, quoted below:

The Chicago School of Technology can be broken down into two facets: what we do, and how we do it…

Our tech ecosystem grew from the industries that have been here for decades, centuries even. Transportation, finance, manufacturing: These are the infrastructure industries that transformed Chicago into an urban center throughout the 20th century, and as we’ve moved into the 21st century, our most robust and innovative technical practices stem directly from these foundational industries…

The Chicago School of Tech emphasizes pragmatic, workmanlike practice, and a focus on customer collaboration and satisfaction over self-promotion.

Source: ITA

MindMaze’s headset brings your brainwaves into virtual reality | Gigaom

Swiss startup MindMaze is moving its technology from the medical field to the mainstream with a virtual reality headset that reads the wearer’s brain waves and uses the data to help them relax and play. The team announced $8.5 million in angel funding today, which it will use to help bring several products to market by the end of the year

 

via MindMaze’s headset brings your brainwaves into virtual reality | Gigaom.

The Joel Test: 12 Steps to Better Code

Revisiting an oldie but a goodie.  This simple metric gives the development manager a concrete way to measure process effectiveness, and more importantly, to communicate it to other stakeholders.  (note #8 – one of my personal hot-button issues)

The Joel Test

  1. Do you use source control?
  2. Can you make a build in one step?
  3. Do you make daily builds?
  4. Do you have a bug database?
  5. Do you fix bugs before writing new code?
  6. Do you have an up-to-date schedule?
  7. Do you have a spec?
  8. Do programmers have quiet working conditions?
  9. Do you use the best tools money can buy?
  10. Do you have testers?
  11. Do new candidates write code during their interview?
  12. Do you do hallway usability testing?

The Joel Test: 12 Steps to Better Code – Joel on Software.

 

Seven, no ten, ways to free up money for #technology #innovation

Some solid advice and reminders for how to shake loose some extra change from the conference room sofa to help fund innovation in IT, from executives at Red Hat, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and more.  Before the jump, though, I’d add a few more :

  • Be contemptuous of silver bullets, and train your business to be so too.  Non-technical executives and business users will be more enamored with vendor promises of easy fixes.  The only guarantee is the time you’ll waste either chasing, or chasing away, the huckster.
  • If you can’t invest actual capital in IT, invest relationship capital in  your business.  Generate a steady stream of deliveries to your business, to build trust and rapport.  Candidly, most of what your business needs will not be terribly innovative.  Deliver that stuff well, even when times are tight.  You will build up a reserve of relationship and political capital you can tap later when budgets are more favorable.  (BTW, the same goes for developing your team).
  • Get to know local university Engineering, etc. departments.  Universities and colleges have tremendous wells of knowledge, and are often happy to partner with companies for student projects or other collaborative activities.  I’d bet that with little more than a modest investment of your time, you can get valuable contributions from students and faculty eager for “real world” problems to work on.
  • “Good, fast or cheap.  I can give you two out of the three.”  The importance of over-communicating this cannot be overstated.

 

via Seven ways to free up money for IT innovation.