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Monday, October 24, 2005

People to meet, things to do

There was a veritable cavalcade of interesting folk through the office last week. In no particular order we met with

Zimbra, they of the fantastic email demo thing. It should be noted incidently that the demo is staggeringly feature rich, and does far more than I realised. One of the best bits is a thing that picks regular expressions out of messages (say invoice numbers, or addresses) and can then interrogate other internal or external sources for more information, and display it as a tooltip within the email.

We also met with CivicActions, a very interesting bunch of people from the States, who seem to be mapping out a new way of working for an IT company. One that is much more about relationships, people and communities than it is about contracts and specifications. We're keen to do more with them (and have told them so).

One immediate fruit of talking to CivicActions was talking to Driess, the chap behind the Drupal content management system. Like all good software developers he's still finishing his Phd. which does lead to slightly odd meetings. He's also Belgian, which is odd only because Drupal adoption seems to be a largely American affair.

We also met with an IBM partner (I've forgotten the name) to talk about a possible outsourcing options (v interesting) and I think that was it. On top of all that I've just finished running my first ever tender process from the buyers side (I've been on the sales side a lot). Always nice to hear that you've written 'the best RFP document we've ever seen' - from three different firms. I wonder if that's a sales trick I should have been using back in the day...

The end result is a fantastic developer lined up for a fantastic project. ThoughtWorks are a company I was amazed to find were actually interested in the project on offer, and they were able to convince us that while they're not cheap - they're very very good. Also means I have to get to grips with the all new, shiny Agile Methodology. Should be fun.

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