[A picture of private offices at Fog Creek Software] Alert! This ancient trifle retrieved from the Joel on Software archive is well-past its expiration date. Proceed with care.

Joel on Software

World tour: North America

by Joel Spolsky
Thursday, August 16, 2007

What's the point, exactly, of physically going to 21 different cities to demo FogBugz 6.0 in person? Why not just put a video up on the web and be done with it?

A long long time ago when Windows 3.0 first came out, Microsoft organized a huge, permanent "Windows Seminar" team of intelligent, charismatic young people who went from city to city giving demos of Windows, Word, and Excel. Back then, showing someone cut and paste from one GUI window to another was astonishing.

Since then, I haven't seen a lot of demo tours like the one we're planning. Travel just costs too much. Business hotels all charge ridiculous amounts for catering ($15 per person for coffee), audio visual equipment ($500 to rent a projector), and as many additional gougy-charges as they can think of. $50 for sneezing. $120 to have the window shut. And $92 to have the lights on.

When we did up our budget, including hotel rooms, meeting space, rental cars, airfare, food, a projector, coffee and tea for attendees, and a printed brochure to hand out, our estimate is that it's going to cost us somewhere between $60 and $70 per person.

So, OK, maybe I don't know what I'm doing.

The reason we finally decided to pull the trigger is that we don't have a sales force. None. We have inside sales people who handle incoming phone calls (very rare) and incoming email (we get a lot of it), but our software is just priced too cheaply for the traditional enterprise software sales system, where you have a bunch of commission-based suits flying around the country, staying in nice hotels, and taking clients out to lunch. That kind of sales force costs $50,000 to make one sale. With prices in the $21/month range, that model just doesn't work for us.

When you think about it this way, $60 to reach one person is cheap!

Here's what you can expect if you show up. There will be some really, really expensive coffee and maybe a muffin or something if the hotel in particularly cheap. If you come a bit early, it'll be a great chance to meet some interesting software people in your city.

I'll show off some of my favorite features in FogBugz 6.0, but mostly, I'll talk about the software development process in general. I'll leave a lot of time for Q&A. There will be a member of the FogBugz development team with me and we'll also leave plenty of time afterwards for one-on-one questions if you have something to ask us that isn't of general interest. Then we'll pack our projector and rush off to the airport and on to the next city.

So far, we've planned 21 cities in North America. If you're in the US or Canada, you can register right now, in fact, you should, because we expect to fill up really quickly. If you register and can't make it, please cancel (you'll get a cancellation link in the confirmation email) so we can take someone else from the waiting list.

We are planning to visit international cities, but we haven't figured that bit out yet. We'll probably hit Europe, Australia, and New Zealand in November. If you're outside the US and want to attend, make sure you've filled out the survey with your correct email address so we can figure out where to go next and let you know when we're coming.

If you can't make it, we'll have a video of the New York City world launch of FogBugz 6.0 on our website sometime in September.

So. Click on the cute kiwi to register:


Have you been wondering about Distributed Version Control? It has been a huge productivity boon for us, so I wrote Hg Init, a Mercurial tutorial—check it out!

Want to know more?

You’re reading Joel on Software, stuffed with years and years of completely raving mad articles about software development, managing software teams, designing user interfaces, running successful software companies, and rubber duckies.



About the author.

I’m Joel Spolsky, co-founder of Trello and Fog Creek Software, and CEO of Stack Exchange. More about me.

© 2000-2014 Joel Spolsky