Jazz Sound & Software Development

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Came up with this one after a few nights out on Frenchmen Street in New Orleans, while in town for the AIIM Conference, Canon ICS National Reseller Meeting, and Microsoft Dynamics Convergence.

Frenchmen Street was recommended to me by the drummer in the band playing at the Canon Conference. It’s an area a few blocks outside of the French Quarter and features multiple bars with jazz and other types of musical acts performing nightly. But, I’ll compare trying to find the right act to software development.

The first night on Frenchmen we got there kind of late and the first band we heard had solid sound – a couple of strong horn players, but only played two songs before they called it a night. We’ll call that version 1.0. It proved the concept for us and made us want to go on to the next level.

Version 2.0 was better – a strong band in a bar a little up the street. We heard several great songs, but they were crossing over a little into rock’n roll, so it wasn’t pure jazz. The next night, we hit three more places, the first one being too crowded and the second – definitely too loud and too much rock. Then finally, when we were about to give up on things, we made on last stop at Vaso’s on Decatur and Frenchmen and found a great trumpet player leading a band with some true jazz sound. Version five was the killer app!

Version 6.0, the next night, started out a Vaso, but was a disappointment, but version 7.0 really  hit it out of the park.

The lesson here I think is that finding a good jazz bar is like software development often is – it often takes a few tries before an ISV comes up with a truly successful product – even if the concept is proven as solid in version 1.0. Multiple times I’ve seen software companies struggle out of the gate before finally figuring out exactly what they need to do to successfully market their product and accelerate their growth. I’m not sure what this really proves, but I think it says that patience and persistence are important qualities when developing software, as well as finding the right jazz sound.

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