Blood, Sweat and Rails - RailsConf

Take a break from the technical mumbo-jumbo and listen to Obie leverage his wit and real-life experience in what promises to be an entertaining and insightful session geared towards current and aspiring Rails entrepreneurs.

In early 2007, Obie took a leap from being a full-time coder into the treacherous world of business. Growing Hashrocket from a little 4-person boutique to 20+ people in less than a year without going broke and keeping clients happy has been a huge challenge.

The session will cover the following topics:

- Sales and marketing: What works and what doesn’t
- Contracts and legal matters: How to cover your bases and try not to get screwed if things go wrong
- Recruiting, hiring and retaining talent: How generous do you want to be?
- Finances: How much do you charge? Time and materials or fixed bids? Cash versus accrual accounting. Keeping investors from freaking out. Collections.
- Ethics: Being a vendor versus being a partner to your clients, where do you draw the line? What do you do when things go wrong?
- Consulting skills: Execution only gets you so far.
- Operations: Fighting entropy and human error every step of the way.
- Transparency: How much do you reveal? To employees? To clients?
- Relationships (dealing with clients): They are hard to keep happy.
- Front-line management (dealing with talent): Kind of like herding cats, and the higher the talent-level, the more difficult the task.
- Dreams of product development: Escaping a cash-flow business.
- Agile practices: Work smart or don’t bother.