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Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: The Business of Software : What Every Manager, Programmer, and Entrepreneur Must Know to Thrive and Survive in Good Times and Bad
Publisher: Free Press
Authors: Michael A. Cusumano
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Software Entrepreneurs - Don't reinvent the wheel.

---> To swing for the fence, entrepreneurs must avoid the shark-infested red water and sail into the deep blue sea.

If you're even thinking of creating a software startup, I highly recommend you read The Business of Software as soon as possible. Doing so will save you much pain and suffering from senseless mistakes. When there is such a large body of existing knowledge, there is no cause for trial and error mentality. There's plenty of other opportunities for trailblazing. Read this book as a bare minimum before starting your venture.

Cusumano, offers an in depth study of what it takes to succeed in software. Of particular value are critical questions to contemplate:

1) Do you want to be mainly a Products company, or a Services company?
2) Do you want to sell to Individuals, or Enterprises | Mass market, or Niche market?
3) How horizontal (broad) or vertical (specialized)is your product or service?
4) Can you generate a recurring revenue stream that will endure both good and bad times?
5) Will you target mainstream customers, or do you have a plan to avoid the chasm?
6) Do you plan on being a Leader, Follower, or Complementor?
7) What kind of character do you want your company to have?

Cusumano also offers eight Critical Success Factors that are necessary for Software Start-ups to succeed as a business and raise investor money:

1) Strong Management Team
2) An Attractive Market
3) A Compelling New Product, Service, or Hybrid Solution
4) Strong evidence of Customer Interest
5) A Plan to Overcome the "Credibility Gap"
6) A Business Model Showing Early Growth and Profit Potential
7) Flexibility in Strategy and Product Offerings
8) The Potential for Large Payoff to Investors

Don't reinvent the wheel. Read this book as soon as possible, preferably "before" you create that software venture you so boldly dreamed.

Michael Davis, Byvation

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Inmates Are Running the Asylum : Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity (2nd Edition)
Publisher: Sams
Authors: Alan Cooper
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
One of the most important software books ever written

Finally someone is talking common sense. The only other book that I enjoyed so much about the business of software was the Mythical Man Month. If you feel threatened by the book, it's likely that you are an emperor with very few clothes. And you can't argue with the logic - if you do you're part of the problem not part of the solution.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Programming Windows, Fifth Edition
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Charles Petzold
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Another Windbag

excellent book on win32 api programming. it deserves a better rating than a 4, but probably not a perfect 5. as a c/c++ programmer for over 15 years, i place this book in the 'must have' catagory for anyone doing serious windows programming at the c/c++ api/sdk level. and this should be the second book on the desk of all mfc programmers who want to take full advantage of mfc capabilities. the strength of this book is that it is a good combination of 'how to' and technical reference, and an excellent supplement to the online msdn.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: User Stories Applied : For Agile Software Development (Addison-Wesley Signature Series)
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Mike Cohn
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
User Stories Demystified

User Stories Demystified - As you leaf through Mike Cohn's new book "User Stories Applied", the first thing you will experience is a dramatic sense of relief. A certain calm will come over you because at last you have in your hands a very clear, succinct, step-by-step view into the what, when, where, how, and why of user stories. Mike's delivery of this material is richly simple in that he manages to sift through the many worries and controversies that surround the role of user stories in an agile project environment and takes us to the nuggets. At the same time, he sparks the fundamentals with a variety of suggestions for implementation based on his extensive experience. In various XP teams in which I have worked, an early challenge of the team had always been around the ability of the team to shift from requirements and design documents and detailed test plans to user stories. Writing them was tortuous; later interpretation of them felt fuzzy. With Mike's guidance, we would have known not only how to write, estimate, prioritize, and test our stories, we would have also had ample guidance on who should be paying attention to what in each step of the stories' lifecycle. If you are beginning a new project, release, sprint, or iteration, don't move another step without distributing Mike's book across the team as pre-requisite reading. They'll all thank you for it.