How to start your own software company
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Tim Cooper SMARTS Pty Ltd (Securities Markets Automated Research, Training and Surveillance) 23rd August 2000. 1. The SMARTS Story 2. Your skills 3. Meeting Contacts 4. Going after deals 5. Contracts 6. Implementing a project 7. Tim’s SE gems. How to Start Your Own Software Company.

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How to Start Your Own Software Company

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How to start your own software company

Tim Cooper

SMARTS Pty Ltd (Securities Markets Automated Research, Training and Surveillance)

23rd August 2000

1. The SMARTS Story

2. Your skills

3. Meeting Contacts

4. Going after deals

5. Contracts

6. Implementing a project

7. Tim’s SE gems

How to Start Your Own Software Company


The smarts story

The SMARTS Story

1995: Tom & I worked for Finance Dept, Sydney Uni doing programming

1995: Prof. Mike Aitken recognised our talents and put them together with an idea he had

1996: Tried to sell to Stock Exchange of Hong Kong

1996: Cut a deal with FMSC

1996: Sold to Russian Central Bank and MICEX and JSX


Your skills

Your skills

The difference between a programmer and a software developer: you are able to...

Consult, Integrate, Test, Document, Install

  • MFC, C++, ODBC, OLE, ATL, DNA, COM, CORBA, SQL, Visual C++

  • Sorry Bill: C, Tcl/Tk, RCS, Shell


Finding contacts

Finding Contacts

  • Ask around, invite yourself to meet people, friends’ dads, colleagues at first job

  • Either have a plan, or be open to opportunities


How to start your own software company

Con-men

1. No long-term friends

2. Insists on everything up-front

3. Has address on Gold Coast

The Tony X experience

‘Partner’ was not a con-man, but was self-serving

Contract stated ‘a share of net profit’

Relationship soured


Going after deals

Going after deals

  • Big Business: RFI, RFP, Proposal, Contract, Requirements document

  • Dilemma: Build a system up front in the hope of finding a customer, or find a customer and make it to their specifications?


How to start your own software company

  • BT: Lost, because we were nobodies and weren’t on the same wavelength

  • SIS: Lost, because not established

  • Shanghai: Won, by bluff

  • JSX: Won, right place at the right time

  • RCB: Won, because we were sueable

  • CSFB: Won, because we had a system ready

  • Nasdaq: Lost, by politics


Contracts

Contracts

  • Don’t try to do it as a rank amateur

  • Don’t be overawed

  • If you write it in your own words, and it’s short, it will be okay


How to start your own software company

  • CMA: Who writes the gateway?

  • Istanbul: burnt!

  • The $90,000 contract


Implementing a project

Implementing a project

  • Requirements document

  • Iterations

  • Deliverables and ‘signing off’

    Good cop on site, bad cop at home

    Generic software: config files, mini-syntaxes, 4GL languages

    The SMARTS model vs the ASTS model


Tim s software engineering gems

Tim’s Software Engineering Gems

1. Separability

2. Out-of-control modules

3. Code re-use: overrated

4. Star programmers vs medium programmers

5. The CPU model

6. Asymptotically approach perfection

Don’t try to load-balance, largest possible chunks, look for natural divisions

Rewrite!

Think of the effort of learning, interfacing, customising

More structure for medium programmers, more creativity for star programmers; the ‘maximum capacity’ theory


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