Welcome to my third LaSalleMart Hangout. Today is Tuedsay March 27th, 2012. My name is Bob Bloom from Toronto, Canada.
On the day I was to originally publish this Hangout podcast, I saw a tweet that linked to a webinar about Continous Development. This webinar convinced me that I made a big mistake with my Club Commerce and LaSalleMart.
My mistake: I misjudged how much the idea of "Continuous Development" is actually accepted in the programming community.
This webinar opened my eyes that the idea of "Continuous Development" is not a marginalized concept in the programming community like I thought; but, is, rather, a legimate idea that is gaining a lot of acceptance.
(jump to Continuous Development animation, concludes part one, introduces Andy Singleton -- see slide @ 43:13)
I interviewed Andy Singleton two years ago. He founded his high-end code-in-the-cloud site called Assembla.com, a site whose progress I've been following since that interview. When I saw this webinar, I realized that, well, of course he'd be figuring out how to use Continuous Development for his site. He is aggressive about using new techniques for himself and for his subscribers, so of course he would be figuring out how to use Continuous Development.
What he discovered, which is in in the webinar's Youtube video, is that he gets features to his site faster using "Continuous" ideas. This is, ultimately, the message that is getting out to the programming community, and we should be taking note.
The question about using Continuous Development techniques and technology is not "why?", but "why not?". But, the real question that programmers are asking is "how?".
Not only has Andy started using Continuous Development for his own site, but he is creating Continuous Development features in his site for us to use.
This means that Club Commerce is a far more compelling proposition than I thought.
Here I am thinking that I have to sell you on the Continuous Integration and Continuous Development ideas. Oh no, the adoption of the "Continuous" ideas are too far along for that.
The technology, techniques and programmer acceptance have come together and now it's time for us to get to it ourselves. The smart money is figuring out how the techniques work for them, as the technology is still in the early stage. The early adopters are going through the not-insignificant pain of figuring things out for themselves, because the money potential from being first adopters is enormously huge.
My Club Commerce and LaSalleMart are hot ideas whose time has come.
Joomla consultants and site owners are better off signing up for the $50CDN/month (join here), to get a piece of this action.
The current ways of Joomla ecommerce are good to have now. But end-user site owners, and consultants to site owners, using Continuous Development, controlling their own software development, is the thing of the future. If you don't get a piece of this action, you will risk what you have, sooner than you think.
It's better to screw up and learn, then to sit back and read how others did it later, because the ones who figure it out will get more features onto their live Joomla ecommerce sites faster, and more often, then anyone else has every done it. With these features, our live sites will make even more revenue, a portion of which we can re-invest into new features.
So, considering my mistake, I re-did this very special Hangout podcast...
Hangouts are private conference calls with my Club Commerce Members, published publicly as a podcast.
Club Commerce is my Limited Membership Club where site owners, and consultants to site owners, create and maintain Joomla ecommerce technology.
LaSalleMart is the name of the Joomla ecommerce technology that we create inside Club Commerce.
For this month's Hangout I turned off the Skype recorder, as my Founding Members and I have not talked enough about Club Commerce and LaSalleMart amongst ourselves, so I am using this Hangout as an opportunity to host private conversations.
Instead of one big conference call, what ended up happening was a series of one-on-one chats with my Founding Members. I spent 2-1/2 hours chatting with Founding Club Commerce Member Zach Atkinson (MachineAndMagic.com) during our regularly scheduled Hangout time-slot.
We had quite a conversation. In a very nice way, Zach put me on the spot to explain myself. Including, why Club Membership has not grown beyond our Founding Membership; and, why I am pursuing LaSalleMart in the way that I am.
As far as I know, I am the most prolific and consistent blogger in the Joomla world. I started this Media site in early 2010, and now I'm on my 50th "The Bob Bloom Show" podcast; and, I have about 30 additional podcasts. All are available on iTunes, and on this site.
The ideas underlying my Club Commerce and LaSalleMart are explained in my podcasts, and augmented in my blog posts. You can trace my journey from 2010. Club Commerce and LaSalleMart are hardly start-up ideas "du jour". These ideas have spent a long time evolving and taking root.
Joomla ecommerce site owners and consultants: you are not going to learn how to succeed with Joomla ecommerce reading the Harvard Business Review. We have to blaze a trail ourselves, and write the book ourselves.
We have to blaze a trail because we have no choice. The current doctrines and practices are not working.
If you are frustrated with Joomla ecommerce, if you are a site owner or a consultant, if you want to stick with Joomla, then Follow Me.
If you make a point of having your fingers in different technology pies, then Follow Me.
The money fee is a nominal ($50CDN/month), because it is designed to be nominal, so you can be on the inside. You are not required to expend herculean efforts once inside. The payoff will be huge.
We need a way to get features on to our live websites.
Why is this so important? Because we make money with features.
We can build an airplane that flies. But, can we build a fleet of aircraft? One or two planes in the sky is not going to do us any good. We need to build aircraft in volume.
Everyone thinks it's about writing code. It is not about writing code! From the Moneyball movie:
It's an unfair game.
Not only we are not programmers, but we don't have the money to run our own I.T. departments. And even if we had money for in-house I.T., the investment required to create and maintain the ecommerce features we need is gi-normous.
Not only are our sites not making the revenues they should, but we are losing the compound effect of that lost revenue.
We lack features that would produce more online revenue, so we do not make that money. Then, we don't have that extra money to reinvest into more features that will make us more money.
We think we need code, and so we think we need coders. But what we really need are features on our site. You'd think that more coders bring us more features. Night follows day, but more coders do not always produce more features for our sites.
We over-emphasize coding, and we under-emphasize the entire software development process. As consultants and site owners, we usually don't even care about the development process. But we should. We certainly pay the price for lousy software development processes.
We shouldn't buy players, we should buy runs. We shouldn't buy coders, we should buy features. Why? Because we make money with features, not with coders.
How do we win an unfair game?
The ultimate answer is for us end users to band together, for us end users to pool our money and talents, and for us end users to create/maintain our own Joomla ecommerce technology for ourselves.
Coding, on its own, represents an imperfect understanding of where revenue comes from.
Value is not with the code. Value resides in how that code is created.
The way to unlock that value is for us end users to grab the software development process by the balls, and jump all over Continuous Development techniques.
Continuous Development is at the stage where it is less risky trying it out than ignoring it.
If we don't get into it, someone else will. And we'll have lost the advantage of knowledge and skill in a relatively new, highly specialized technical area, that has explosive profit potential.
We are not alone, nor are we unique, in our need of a never ending river of features.
In his webinar, Andy Singleton of Assembla.com says:
At 42:30, Andy says:
each feature set is delivered faster, which is a mathematical certainty because nothing has to wait until the next release time
... we don’t really have 'releases' because we deploy to production every day - often several times a day
Deploy to production several times a day? Did someone actually write that?
The idea of putting features onto your live site continuously is not only considered a sane idea; but, some are doing this very thing today.
Even in the Joomla world, the Joomla Platform project is using Continuous Integration (see my blog post about this); and, the SquareOneCMS Joomla Distro is using CI ideas.
We are in a unique position to achieve Continuous Development, because we have our live websites. Extension purveyors cannot deliver Continuous Development because they do not control our live websites. Their development stops at the Joomla installer, which we control.
We, Joomla ecommerce consultants and site owners, are better off taking control of the entire software development process rather than dabbling in it piecemeal as we are doing now.
Better that we organize ourselves, pool our talents and resources, figure out Continuous Development techniques and technology that work for us, run small Feature projects, and ladle on the features we need.
Using "Continuous" processes means you need to learn and use new technologies. But, this is the Moneyball aspect, where we focus on developing skills where the value is, and then let that value manifest.
My plan is simple: I want a Club that has money-making sites under the care of my Members.
$100 a month, $10,000 a month, it's all good. We succeed together, we grow together.
A Club with too many Members becomes unwieldy, and loses a certain intimacy. A Membership of 1,000 paying $5 monthly is counter-productive.
A Club with too few Members invites proprietary behaviour, where Members prefer to keep all the good juicy technology for themselves -- even from me! Non-competition and non-disclosure agreements not good for us.
Why did I reject the traditional Joomla development approaches? Because they are not producing the volume of ecommerce features we yearn for.
No sense copying traditional approaches, and then ending up with the same frustrations.
Better to travel a road less travelled, and end up with different frustrations!
Especially if we can get more features to our sites, and work through the growing pains, it's a better road. At which point, we can create proof-of-concepts to move into Joomla mobile ecommerce -- the thinking and Joomla ecomm technology about mobile is so medieval.
Through the Toronto Joomla User Group, I know outstanding Joomla professionals. Some of whom are my Founding Members.
I am looking forward to getting to know 140 more outstanding Joomla ecommerce professionals. Connecting, working together, sharing ideas, doing projects, celebrating successes -- I know this new phase of my professional life will be very satisfying, one that I will be very proud of.
The plan is to dive into the details, and simulate, Continuous Development environments. We will de-construct Tienda into discrete pieces, to accomodate our new processes. Simultaneous to this will be initial feature planning. Zach will critique my initial plan, and then it will got to Members for discussion.
This is Bob Bloom, signing off, wishing you a profitable week.
You have been listening to a SouthLaSalleMEDIA.com production. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of SouthLaSalleMEDIA dot com, nor of the organizations represented. Links and materials discussed on air are available in the Show Notes for this show. Information contained herein have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but are not guaranteed. Podcasts are released under a creative commons licence. Some rights are reserved. Email correspondence to the attention of Bob Bloom at info at SouthLaSalleMedia dot com.
Thirty-seven LaSalleMart News podcasts were published between January 2012 and May 2015.
My replacement podcast, LaSalle Software News, starts in the fall 2015.