Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Update & Note to Venture Capitalists: Business of Software Conference Scholarship

I've been surprised by some application emails for the Business of Software Conference Scholarship. Many of them are from entrepreneurs who are funded by Venture Capital. In fact, it looks like some were prompted by their VCs to apply.

While I have nothing against them applying (and they are being honest about their situation), the purpose of my scholarship is to help young entrepreneurs who can't afford the admission price. I would expect funded companies or at least their VCs to be able to afford a few tickets to BOS. The conference is really nice, but it isn't exactly a week on Necker Island.

I sympathize if a VC won't allow their portfolio companies to have an education budget. That would really bum me out -- I really believe in continuing education. If I were running a multi-million dollar venture fund, I'd make sure that one person from each of my portfolio companies attended BOS -- and the companies would pay admission just like I do.

In fact, as a VC I would do exactly what I, founder and employee of a one-person mobile development company, am doing right now: running a BOS scholarship for unfunded companies. What better way to show my support for the software community and make new friends?

So, VCs, instead of trying to get your funds free BOS tickets, why don't you buy them one? Then you can help me by encouraging unfunded entrepreneurs to apply to the scholarship. If your firm gets an unfunded young entrepreneur to apply, I'll publicly give you credit for your help. Even if we don't pick an entrepreneur you sent.

It'll be win-win. Companies looking for funding will think you're cool because you will have done something good for the entrepreneur community. You might even get a chance to fund one of the companies that you bring to the table.

Send your young unfunded entrepreneurs, in school, dropped out, or less than two years out of college to The Business of Software Blog for the scholarship application instructions. Thanks!

update: I might be too harsh on VCs above. I understand that VCs want to do everything they can to help their entrepreneurs. But if a company is venture backed, they are in a better position to afford this than those who aren't. My first priority for this scholarship are those who are just starting out. Don't let this discourage those with funding from applying, especially those who are in an incubator or have seed funding. We'll look at your applications too!<\b>

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Business of Software 2011 Scholarship

This year will be my third year attending the Business of Software Conference. I love this conference, but the software developer side of me always feels confused. "Software" is in the name of the conference, but not a single line of code ever appears on any slide in any presentation. How can this be?

Well, the Business of Software Conference targets people who make and sell software for a living. It's a niche market. If you look at the other software conferences out there, they already cover how to make software, programming languages, how to make software better, how to sell a software idea to investors, and a million other technical details. The non-technical details, the stuff not covered by the tech conferences you see in the news, that is what you get at BOS.

The Business of Software conference is about the culture and philosophy of software and software businesses. We get together and talk about the side of business which is rarely discussed publicly. We discuss how to make software people want and find useful. We cover how to hire great developers and make them happy. We learn how to find and grow a customer base. We even talk about how we can be happier.

If you want to know how to be a successful software entrepreneur, make the world a better place, and run sustainable business, this is the place for you. It might not seem exciting in the Hollywood sense, but the content does inspire you. That's why I think young entrepreneurs would really benefit. I know I would have benefitted had I attended right out of college.

That is why I'm sponsoring a few scholarships to the Business of Software Conference through my mobile app development business, Moving Average Inc.

The scholarship gets you admission to the conference, which takes place in Boston October 23-26, 2011. You can find the details of the Startup Scholarship to attend the Business of Software Conference here. Please apply if you fit the bill.

I look forward to talking to you in Boston!