Free Agile API development eBook available

August 6, 2016 Comments Off on Free Agile API development eBook available

The process of designing, developing, testing, and deploying software – including mission-critical APIs – is very different today than it was even just a few years ago. This transformation has been driven by advances in DevOps, Agile methodologies, and Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery.

Simply making sense of all these new techniques can be a bit intimidating, so I’m glad that my colleague Chris Riley has authored a very useful guide that explains how all of these moving parts fit together. You can download a copy for yourself here.

agileguide

 

Overcoming a Technical Sales Ambush Best Practice #2: Request a List of Questions in Advance

August 3, 2016 Comments Off on Overcoming a Technical Sales Ambush Best Practice #2: Request a List of Questions in Advance

Continuing this series on technical sales and sales engineering, a technical sales ambush is a situation where prospect calls a technically-oriented meeting with the hidden (and bad-faith) purpose of introducing impossible or unreasonable requirements that end up monkey wrenching the entire sale. Naturally, legitimate technical questions are part of every sales cycle, but an ambush is deliberately meant to derail the sale while making it look like it’s the vendor’s fault. Any new product or service can be disruptive and threatening, so you should be on the lookout for it.

While ambushes can’t be totally avoided, they can be managed through proper preparation. For example, you should avoid open-ended “discovery” meetings at all costs. Instead, all interactions should be structured: by simply requesting a list of questions – well in advance of the meeting – you have an excellent chance of thwarting surprises. In fact, scheduling the meeting should be gated on receiving the list of questions, and you should also keep the decision makers in the loop.

Once you have the list, prepare to put your answers in writing,  and distribute them to all prospect constituencies (including line-of-business leaders) in advance of the meeting. During the session, you can discuss the answers, provide demonstrations, and so on. This is much more effective than an open-ended “fishing expedition”.  And if unplanned questions arise, you can either address them on the spot (and append the written list),  or use the time-tested “I’ll get back to you on this” response, and simply come back with your answers once you’ve done your research.

Either way, this strategy gives you much more control over the interaction with the prospect, and can help you win the opportunity.

Announcing Swagger training & certification

July 25, 2016 Comments Off on Announcing Swagger training & certification

Whether they’re employed internally, externally, or both, APIs are vital assets that connect systems, streamline workflows, and make every type of integration possible. In fact, beyond strengthening operational efficiency and enabling cross-system communication, APIs now serve as competitive differentiators for many organizations. It’s no exaggeration to point out that renowned technology-driven businesses such as Uber, AirBnB, or eBay live and die on the quality and performance of their APIs, and this intense reliance is spreading across every industry.

Swagger – and its ecosystem of standards and products – is in the process of transforming the ways that APIs are designed, developed, tested, and supported. I’m happy to announce that my colleague Chris Riley has created an outstanding one-day training and certification program to help enterprises get the most out of Swagger.

swagger

Chris is a world-class expert on DevOps, Continuous Integration, and everything else related to how modern APIs are being created, and this deep knowledge comes across in his courseware. He also happens to be a great trainer who is committed to helping his students gain the proficiency they need.

Organizations can send individuals to public Webinars, schedule a private Webinar, or even have an instructor deliver the class onsite. To learn more, visit SmartBear’s registration page.

Presenting a Webinar on Delivering Data Security with Hadoop and the IoT

July 18, 2016 Comments Off on Presenting a Webinar on Delivering Data Security with Hadoop and the IoT

On August 9, I’ll be teaming with Reiner Kappenberger from Hewlett Packard Enterprise to explore some of the most pressing security implications of Hadoop and the Internet of Things (IoT). Hosted by the IT GRC Forum, here’s what we’ll be covering:

The Internet of Things (IoT) is here to stay, and Gartner predicts there will be over 26 billion connected devices by 2020. This is driving an explosion of data which offers tremendous opportunity for organizations to gain business value, and Hadoop has emerged as the key component to make sense of the data and realize the maximum value. On the flip side the surge of new devices has increased potential for hackers to wreak havoc, and Hadoop has been described as the biggest cybercrime bait ever created.

Data security is a fundamental enabler of the IoT, and if it is not prioritized the business opportunity will be undermined, so protecting company data is more urgent than ever before. The risks are huge and Hadoop comes with few safeguards, leaving it to organizations to add an enterprise security layer. Securing multiple points of vulnerability is a major challenge, although when armed with good information and a few best practices, enterprise security leaders can ensure attackers will glean nothing from their attempts to breach Hadoop. In this webinar we will discuss some steps to identify what needs protecting and apply the right techniques to protect it before you put Hadoop into production.

If you’d like to join us, register here.

 

Helpful REST API 101 guide available online

July 1, 2016 Comments Off on Helpful REST API 101 guide available online

For software developers and architects tasked with creating programmatic interfaces to their applications, there’s been a longstanding debate between utilizing the structure and standards of SOAP-based Web services versus offering the freedom and flexibility of REST APIs.

In the midst of all these deliberations, I’ve observed a great deal of confusion about what, exactly, defines a REST API. SmartBear has come up with a helpful resource that provides a nice overview of the origins, attributes, and goals of REST APIs. You can view the guide here.

 

REST 101

If you’re interested in learning more about REST API design, development, and testing, check out my other postings on the subject.

What do all effective custom demos have in common?

June 29, 2016 Comments Off on What do all effective custom demos have in common?

Selling a high value, technically sophisticated product or service usually means showing it to the prospect before they’ll buy. This makes the demonstration an absolutely essential task, yet many businesses – both large and small – take a very haphazard approach. Naturally, these oversights often lead to unwanted outcomes and lost revenue.

I’ve been involved – as a spectator and participant – in an uncountable number of these events. Based on my years of experience, here’s a subjective list of what the most successful demos achieve:

  1. They’re concise
  2. They’re bulletproof
  3. They’re repeatable
  4. They’re adjustable
  5. And most importantly, they’re part of a well-designed sales cycle

I’ll be writing about each of the recommendations in future posts, but for now it’s worth pointing out that I’m not talking about something that’s shown to just anyone (such as you might find in a recording or on a website). Instead, these suggestions refer to custom demos that are directly linked to a sales effort.

If you’d like to discuss how fine-tuned demos can help you win deals, feel free to email me.

Informative Forbes article about men investing in women-founded ventures

June 18, 2016 Comments Off on Informative Forbes article about men investing in women-founded ventures

I wish my schedule had permitted me to join my Astia Angels colleagues at this year’s United State of Women (#StateofWomen) event in Washington. Convened by the White House, it brought people from all walks of life together to share ideas about advancing gender equality, a mission that’s very important to me. I’m also a firm believer in using entrepreneurship as a vehicle for making this happen.

Geri Stengel has just written a very informative article on the significant role that male angel investors can play in helping support women-led ventures. This is particularly urgent given that the vast majority of angel and venture investments continue to omit companies founded and/or led by women.

Forbes

 

This gap was a big reason why I joined Astia Angels. I’ve long believed in – and witnessed first-hand – the power of diverse leadership teams. To support our quest to propel women’s full participation as entrepreneurs and leaders in high-growth businesses, we draw on a diverse, far-reaching collection of highly talented investors, each with their own unique background, perspective, and relationships. If you’d like to learn more about Astia Angels including our investment philosophy, portfolio, and even becoming a member, please get in touch: I’m always happy to answer questions.

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