Business Lesson: Focus on the positive things

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This week I found out that a person that I have known for many years had sold me out. This person I had dealt with in the past had a tad of a habit to always elbow his way to the front when there was a little bit of praise or fame to be had at the cost of others around him, but myself having a big ego at times I felt this was just the way life when some egos clash and always saw it as good hustle no harm no foul was my rule.

I was happy to sit down with this person giving advice freely and openly when asked and assisting were I could, but a few days ago I found out that this person had not only given intro opportunities to others without the courtesy of a quick heads up but also hasnt been portraying me in the best light to others.

My first reaction was to throw one of my famous and patented “hissy fits” and swear revenge to all gods that were listening but of course this really does not help anyone especially yourself. Focusing on the negative things only in the end wastes time and energy and in the end never leaves you with a good feeling. Instead just focus on the good things that are happening and put your energies there for me it means a few extra hours a month to spend with family and friend or even to make better apps, which is something to be more proud of then getting even with someone.

Lean Startup: So you think you have a brilliant idea, yeah who else ?

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One of very common mistakes a startup can make is thinking they are on a winner, we even laugh at them during shows like Dragon Den as some more sod shows of a universal baby interchanging device thingy that he has donated the last X years of their life too. The poor person always looks so surprised too when others are not blown away with excitement when the idea is placed in front of them.

So how do you know if your in that fools camp or that you do have an idea ready to explode, where everyone will be saying with envy at parties for years to come: “I could have come up with that”.

Its not asking your friends, your partner or your mum … they always lie god bless them. Instead the truth comes from one place: customers. Get your idea out there in front of customers they will tell you bluntly and quickly if they like your idea by the action of giving you money.

I will be presenting the Sydney Windows Bizspark Camp

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Believe it or not you can be a startup that is not on the web or not on the iphone, so to prove that these people do exist we have created a bizspark camp to see talk about what is happening.

It should be a great afternoon of networking so why not come along and see what is happening.

The quick overview:

Join us at the Windows 7 Modern Applications BizSpark Camp on 14, June 2010.
Get an overview on how to design and incorporate key new features of Windows 7 in your applications; giving them a modern twist while incorporating resources like multi-touch interface, ribbon menus, task bar integration, external sensors like gps, WiFi Location services, accelerometers, and other features.
This half day event will be hosted at the Microsoft Sydney Office in North Ryde.

The Event will be followed by a hands on lab event on the 25th of June at the Microsoft Training Labs in the North Ryde office. Both of these events will feature MVP & BizSpark Network Partner James McCutcheon of Foundry38.

If these two events inspire you further, and you think you have what it takes to build a Proof of concept around your Windows 7 Modern Application idea, you will be invited to participate in a three day intensive Proof Of Concept development program which includes Technical & Business experts on hand to help guide your development. This is also being held at the Microsoft Office on 28th, 29th, and 30th June 2010. On hand to help with your development will be Dr Neil Roodyn, Microsoft Regional Director & MVP.

Event Agenda

14 June Event

12:30 pm – 1:00 PM Registration
1:00 pm – 1:15 PM Keynote Speech
1:15 PM – 1:45 PM Windows 7 Modern Applications and the Business Opportunity for Startups
1:45 PM – 2:30 PM Building Modern Windows Applications (Session 1)
2:30 PM – 3:00 PM Afternoon Tea
3:00PM – 5:00 PM Building Modern Windows Applications (Session 2)

More information and registration can be found here

PdfResult a custom ActionResult in ASP.NET MVC2 Updated

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I was attempting to add the functionality of a pdfresult into my site to generate pdfs in MVC, and I stumbled over this great post by Jim Zimmerman but it didnt work for me as I believe some changes that have come in MVC 2 have broken it. I have made some changes below that will get to work if anybody else needs it go for it.

public static string CaptureActionHtml(
this Controller controller,
TController targetController,
string masterPageName,
Func action)
where TController : Controller
{
if (controller == null)
{
throw new ArgumentNullException(“controller”);
}
if (targetController == null)
{
throw new ArgumentNullException(“targetController”);
}
if (action == null)
{
throw new ArgumentNullException(“action”);
}
// pass the current controller context to orderController
var controllerContext = controller.ControllerContext;
targetController.ControllerContext = controllerContext;

// replace the current context with a new context that writes to a string writer
var existingContext = HttpContext.Current;
var writer = new StringWriter();
var response = new HttpResponse(writer);
var context = new HttpContext(existingContext.Request, response) { User = existingContext.User };
HttpContext.Current = context;

// execute the action
var viewResult = action(targetController);

// change the master page name
if (masterPageName != null)
{
viewResult.MasterName = masterPageName;
}

// we have to set the controller route value to the name of the controller we want to execute
// because the ViewLocator class uses this to find the correct view
var oldController = controllerContext.RouteData.Values[“controller”];
controllerContext.RouteData.Values[“controller”] = typeof(TController).Name.Replace(“Controller”, “”);

// execute the result
viewResult.ExecuteResult(controllerContext);

StringWriter sw = new StringWriter();
var viewContext = new ViewContext(controllerContext, viewResult.View, new ViewDataDictionary(controllerContext.Controller.ViewData.Model), new TempDataDictionary(), sw);

viewResult.View.Render(viewContext, HttpContext.Current.Response.Output);
response.Flush();

// restore the old route data
controllerContext.RouteData.Values[“controller”] = oldController;

// restore the old context
HttpContext.Current = existingContext;

return sw.ToString();
}

C# MVC Developers needed

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I work with some very exciting well funded startups and they need help to develop some great web sites so I need to find 3 developers. The positions are to work virtual, so you can throw away the commute and work from home. Can provide a flexible casual work environment of 3-4 day work week for the right developer if thats what you want.

You will need to be able to prove some good developer knowledge of C#, a track record to meet deadlines and ability work in an agile development model.

Remuneration is based on your skills so if your interested then drop me a note via www.foundry38.com

Getting to know … Mark Burch

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I had a chat with the winner of the Bizspark Azure Startup camp Mark Burch, he talked about what it was like being part of the Bizspark program and what he has been up to.

BLOW: Networking is gold but dont over do it

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The business lesson of the week for me is how important it is to have a great network of peers and friends around you and also how its important to keep communication open to these relationships. The problem though is the methods of keeping relationships strong such as one on one meetings dont scale, yet you cant build strong relationships with a mass mailout email. I guess the solution is divide your network into must haves and prioritise keeping stronger relationships with those and keep the others at a arms length.

Also make sure you have a system of noting people that you haven’t communicated with for a while and that helps remind you to drop them a line, its always great to receive an email from an old friend and an opportunity to catch up with them.

Mum once said too much of anything is a bad thing, which as general comments go is a very true one. I hate when I go to an event like a usergroup meeting and there is a obvious disguised action that is just getting people to promote up themselves and getting me to whore out my network. A good example of this is godaddy when emails arrived I used to read them, then I realised you get one every couple of days I dont really care or notice them because the noise is to high, so simply put always respect your network and dont over promote yourself.

BLOW: Late for meeting etiquette

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When your late for a meeting it sends the signal that you dont care, so a late meeting should be avoided at all costs. I always plan to be there 15 – 30 mins early so to avoid late meetings and just because your early it doesnt mean its time wasted. The early time can be used to think about the meeting ie plan what you want out of it and what a successful meeting outcome would be, mobile email means the time can be used for email triage, maybe make a call to some people you have been meaning to catchup with or just take a breath and think about life.

Life does throw you curve balls so being late is something that can still happen, but always ring as soon as you know you will be late so the person is not waiting and not wasting their time, it gives a chance to reschedule because a rushed meeting is a bad meeting and if its a lunch meeting you should always be picking up the bill to show the person that you value their time.

One other final thing, if your in a meeting dont answer your mobile phone, if there is a must take call coming through then have the respect of warning the other people that your expecting a call and that its important

Love to hear other suggestions

I will be judging you at Bizspark Startup Camp

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I will be judging you … well if you are entered into the Bizspark Azure Startup camp that is on the weekend of 10th/11th April.

I hope to see lots of great ideas and then see someone walk away with a cool $5000 that can help them bring their idea to market.

BLOW: Keeping focused

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I thought it was time for me to get back to some old routines and one thing I enjoy doing is reflecting over the week that has been and think about where I can improve. I used to do this with a weekly blog post more for my own self growth then any value to others, but none the less people have commented that they have found things helpful.

I have a weakness that I tend to jump around from one project to another, as I get bored with the job at hand I find other things to do. This week I caught myself pressing “New Project” within visual studio, just for an hour I told myself … I quickly caught myself and put myself back to the deadlines and tasks at hand. The problem is I caught myself doing it three times in a day each time with a self made excuse such as “I could use this to build my skills”.

The solution is to set yourself short goals that are achievable in the day and celebrate the victories, reaching a goal makes the slog will worth it

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