Blog
Bill Lenoir
Bill Lenoir
09 Mar, 2017

Alden Hart on Being a CTO

SmartCEO named Alden Hart a top CXO in the Washington area and will present him with their Executive Management Award tonight, March 9th, at the National Press Club. They called out his ability to inspire his team, overcome challenges, and building strong relationships. Here he talks about what’s surprising...
Bill Lenoir
Bill Lenoir
23 Feb, 2017

Alden Hart Wins Executive Management Award

SmartCEO has named Ten Mile Square’s Alden Hart as a winner of its Executive Management Award for CXOs. This is a recognition of his leadership as well as “creative management vision, leadership philosophy, innovative strategy and undeniable work ethic.” The award will be granted on March 9th at The...
Laurie Barth
Laurie Barth
03 Feb, 2017

Angular 1 or 2: Which is the Best for Your Project?

With Angular 2 coming out of beta, it is now available as a front end framework for your new project. Yet, some developers are still choosing to code new applications with Angular 1. My colleague wrote back when Angular 1 was relatively new about why you should care, but...
Bill Lenoir
Bill Lenoir
19 Jan, 2017

You say you want a Website… (Part 1)

Well, you know, we all want to change the world. One of the first tasks people tackle when starting a new business is to set up a web presence, but this is just one of many efforts, like writing a business plan, developing your branding, and networking to get...
Frank Oelschlager
Frank Oelschlager
10 Jan, 2017

Software vs The Evil Forces of Entropy

Requirements evolve, technology evolves, processes evolve, and users evolve. So why is it that the systems, applications, and their underlying architectures seemingly get built in a way that after a couple iterations of extension, they become brittle and saddled with “technical debt”? More importantly, is there anything that can...
Rusty Eller
Rusty Eller
05 Jan, 2017

Creating custom variables in Capture for JIRA

How to automatically enrich your JIRA issues with useful metadata while testing web applications.   What is Capture for JIRA? Capture for JIRA is a Chrome extension that helps create JIRA issues. While using a web application, a tester can rapidly log a JIRA issue including a screenshot of...
Ryan Van Fleet
Ryan Van Fleet
08 Nov, 2016

6 Out of Scope Ways to Add Value to your Company and Clients

It seems to go without saying that adding value is important. As consultants, we add value through our work; otherwise, our clients wouldn’t hire us. Every day, we try to maximize our delivery according to the Statement of Work (SOW) we have in place and the business needs of our client.  Value...
Bill Lenoir
Bill Lenoir
18 Oct, 2016

Web Accessibility Should Be a Goal for All Sites

For many businesses, web accessibility is viewed as more of a hassle or statutory requirement than a good business practice. Accessibility only becomes important when compliance with Section 508 of the Americans with Disabilities Act (or a similar state regulation) is required to win a contract. The reality is that an accessible website enables your business...
Alden Hart
Alden Hart
04 Oct, 2016

Running Successful Technology Assessments

These days, almost every business relies on technology products and platforms to run daily operations and meet its goals. Unfortunately, your business needs and the functionality and performance of your supporting technology frequently fall out of alignment. A technology assessment is a good way to baseline where you are: what works,...
Peter S. Buchanan
Peter S. Buchanan
06 Sep, 2016

Investor Presentations, Part 2: The Nine Rules for Making Your Pitch

Per Part 1 of our musings on Investor Presentations, writing your investor presentation is actually the easiest part of raising funds; giving your presentation to investors is the first place where the battle is won or lost.  The best Investors have sat through hundreds of presentations and have pretty much seen...
Peter S. Buchanan
Peter S. Buchanan
30 Aug, 2016

Investor Presentations, Part 1: Building Your Winning Pitch

High quality investment funds see hundreds of business plans a year and even more executive summaries; however, they fund maybe three to five companies per year. Most companies that submit plans never get a first meeting.  Those that do still face incredibly long odds.  Here’s the math – both...
Ryan Van Fleet
Ryan Van Fleet
24 Aug, 2016

Springing the JSON Template into Postgresql

Two popular open source components used in full stack development are Spring and Postgres. Spring gives the developer a plethora of opportunities to integrate with third party ORM libraries, such as Hibernate and iBatis. Frequently, rather than use a separate ORM library, developers elect to use the Spring JDBC...
Peter S. Buchanan
Peter S. Buchanan
21 Jul, 2016

Congratulations! Your Company Is Now a Scaleup

It’s late on a Friday afternoon in the summertime, and, as the CEO of a hot startup, you should be feeling pretty good.  The key metrics on your monthly dashboard are all glowingly positive.  Revenues have passed $400K per month and are accelerating.  The Company just turned cash flow...
Bill Lenoir
Bill Lenoir
01 Jun, 2016

The Gettysburg Address and Developing the Right Product

Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg address is a perfect product. In under 300 words, Lincoln synthesized all of the arguments for why we were fighting the Civil War.1 Anything more would have muddied the message, and anything less would have sold the cause short. What people forget is that the Gettysburg...
Uzair Madani
Uzair Madani
19 May, 2016

Customizing in LimeSurvey: A Developer’s Perspective

From door to door canvassing to electronic questionnaires, surveys are a tried and true way to collect customer information. There are several software solutions available for the conduct and management of electronic surveys, ranging from COTS products to open source implementations. Open source survey solutions allow for greater customization...
Peter S. Buchanan
Peter S. Buchanan
10 May, 2016

Sales v. Product Management: Why Can’t We All Just Get Along

In a growing tech company, sales needs product management and vice versa, but, too often, these two functions don’t get along.  The result can be disastrous:  Misaligned products, missed sales goals, lots of finger pointing, and too much employee turnover.  As you think about scaling your company, you should...
Alden Hart
Alden Hart
03 May, 2016

Desktop Manufacturing: Our Work In Jerk Controlled Motion Explained

Over the past few years, Ten Mile Square has developed deep expertise in developing hardware and firmware solutions that improve computer numerical control.  We have put this expertise into real world use.  We have been working with our partner, Synthetos, on an open source effort called TinyG, which seeks to radically improve...
Jay Gelman
Jay Gelman
28 Apr, 2016

Multi-Tenancy for Testing

Any time you make a change to software, you run the risk of breaking some part of the system that was previously working.  That’s why any well-run software development project has regression tests.  You want to make sure that any changes don’t have any negative impacts, and regression tests...
Peter S. Buchanan
Peter S. Buchanan
21 Apr, 2016

Knowing When It’s Time to Give Up the Ghost

Thankfully, entrepreneurs are optimistic creatures.  Most launch their companies on a wing and a prayer and then work with their radically under resourced teams to create their first product and gain initial customers. Sometimes, things go smoothly.  Funding comes in, customers sign up, and product reviews come back positive. ...
Rick Garvin
Rick Garvin
19 Apr, 2016

When a Great CTO Isn’t Enough: The Role of the VP of Engineering

In today’s fast moving tech world, great CTOs have achieved truly mythical status.  Think Adrian Cockroft, the Netflix, who drove Netflix’s cloud adoption for streaming video, or Werner Vogels, who invented and continues to build out Amazon Web Services, the world’s most successful Cloud platform.  Every CEO who is...
Bill Lenoir
Bill Lenoir
12 Apr, 2016

Rule Books: A Secret Ingredient for Scaling Companies

Every game has rules – except for Calvinball – so I would bet bet that most people have at least leafed through a rule book. Game rule books attempt two things: teach you how to play AND serve as a reference during play. Businesses need rule books, too, to...
Michael Higgins
Michael Higgins
08 Apr, 2016

AWS Long Polling && Connection Reaping – You aren’t going crazy

Ever wake up in the middle of the night wondering if your server is still working because the pings are OK, but you are getting connection timeouts and JAVA IdleConnectionReaper exceptions?  This blog post will talk about resource pooling in AWS with respect to Long Polling && Connection Reaping....
Peter S. Buchanan
Peter S. Buchanan
22 Mar, 2016

Creating the World’s Best Executive Summary

There is a well-worn saying that “every journey begins with the first step.”  It’s true with fictional quests – like the quest in the “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy – and it’s true in business, too.  For CEOs and their teams, the first step is the idea, the...
Peter S. Buchanan
Peter S. Buchanan
17 Mar, 2016

Don’t Build Your Company to be a One Trick Pony

There’s an excellent Paul Simon song circa 1980 called “One Trick Pony.”  It is the title song from a movie about the life of a rock musician (played by Simon), who scores a big hit with his anti-war anthem, “Parachutes,” but can’t replicate his previous success even though he...
Jay Gelman
Jay Gelman
15 Mar, 2016

Build a Stateful System with Envers

Some applications require full tracking of system state.  For example, for auditing purposes, a financial system may need to know the order in which every system change occurred. Full tracking of system state provides the following capabilities: Historical Analysis: It is possible to understand exactly what a system looked...
Jason Mao
Jason Mao
03 Mar, 2016

Ansible State of Mind 2: The Yellow Brick Road to Continuous Delivery

In Ansible State of Mind – Part 1, we discussed how automation is the first step of the development process. In this post, we want to go into what to consider before we implement automation or Continuous Delivery (CD). If achieving Continuous Delivery means reaching the Emerald City, where...
Jay Gelman
Jay Gelman
02 Feb, 2016

Making Command Query Responsibility Separation, RDBMS, and SOLR Work

Command Query Responsibility Separation (CQRS) is a mechanism by which the Query object model that a client uses for retrieving information is different from the Command object model that a client uses to modify the information. Benefits of using CQRS include: Distinct object models for Commands and Queries may...
Peter S. Buchanan
Peter S. Buchanan
26 Jan, 2016

The Five Rules of the Start-Up Company Prenup

When small teams of two or three start a company, optimism generally reigns.  After all, you’ve got a really great product idea, you really know the target market, and at least one of you really knows how to sell. Plus, all of you worked together before at a successful...
Bill Lenoir
Bill Lenoir
08 Dec, 2015

Success Criteria

If product development is the exercise of coaxing behavior from your stakeholders that helps your organization to achieve its goals, then success criteria are the yardsticks you use to judge how well you’re doing. Without understanding what success looks like, how can you know if you’ve achieved your goals? Success...
Peter S. Buchanan
Peter S. Buchanan
05 Nov, 2015

Your Financial Model Matters – Today and Tomorrow

Most entrepreneurs pay very close attention to current cash flow; fewer have a deep understanding of the current and future financial model for their business.  By building a forecast model, you can gain early and lasting insight into how your business really works – both today and for tomorrow....
Emory Merryman
Emory Merryman
20 Oct, 2015

E2E Testing with Protractor: Testing Browser Connections

In geometry class, we used protractors to measure angles.  In web application development, we use the tool Protractor to measure angular (and other non angular) web applications.  Protractor runs tests in a real browser (just as your users will). If your users will not be able to do something (e.g.,...
Peter S. Buchanan
Peter S. Buchanan
14 Oct, 2015

Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Valuation

First of all, there is no magic formula for valuation.  It’s a negotiation based on the characteristics of your market, your company’s performance, and the quality of your team. Secondly, not all money is the same.  Your company’s valuation matters, but it’s not the only thing that matters when...
Rick Garvin
Rick Garvin
13 Oct, 2015

The Impact of Technical Debt: A Guide for Business Managers

Technical debt matters, because, sooner or later, it’s a drag on your business.  It’s expensive, it saps productivity, and it reduces business agility.  The more you understand about the technical debt you have in your business, the more you can minimize it. Why do software products and systems become harder...
Alden Hart
Alden Hart
08 Oct, 2015

Full Stack Development: Hardware to Cloud

Traditionally, a full-stack developer has the ability to develop both front-end and back-end software.  In the age of the cloud and connected devices, this definition is limiting and misleading.  The modern full stack developer now embraces hardware as a key to delivering breakthrough applications. Over the years, a lot...
Ryan Van Fleet
Ryan Van Fleet
06 Oct, 2015

Utilizing Maven Enforcer plugin to ensure dependency and version usage

Apache Maven is a software project management and comprehension tool. Based on the concept of a project object model (POM), Maven can manage a project’s build, reporting and documentation from a central piece of information.  Using Maven for managing builds, reporting, and documentation has become a standard practice in...
Peter S. Buchanan
Peter S. Buchanan
30 Sep, 2015

The Virtues of Pattern Matching for your Business

Pattern Matching is about more than crunching data in analytics applications.  It’s about looking for opportunities in quantitative AND qualitative data and personal interactions and then acting on your insights faster and with better execution than your uninformed competitors.  Apple, Uber, and GE are Masters of Pattern Matching.  Your...
Emory Merryman
Emory Merryman
29 Sep, 2015

The Absolute Need for Automated Testing

Automated testing can radically increase the reliability of custom-developed applications and make it easier to add new features and components. The Protractor capability in Google’s AngularJS is a great way to put automated testing into practice. Protractor is an automated testing engine for AngularJS, the Google developed framework for...
Jason Mao
Jason Mao
23 Sep, 2015

Ansible State of Mind, Part 1 – Automate First

If it’s not automated, it’s not done. Changing your approach from “implement now and automate later” to “implement means automate” will take you a long way down the road to Continuous Delivery. The benefits of IT automation are fairly well understood – lower costs, higher reliability, and better performance....
Rick Garvin
Rick Garvin
17 Sep, 2015

The Seven Technology Pathologies that Can Sink Your Business and How to Fix Them

The pace of business change is not predictable. Technology systems and products must evolve rapidly enough to meet business demands and take advantage of opportunities. The symptoms of technology failures can manifest themselves throughout your organization, but all point to just a few root causes. Ten Mile Square calls...
Peter S. Buchanan
Peter S. Buchanan
15 Sep, 2015

Managing your Board So That It Won’t Over Manage You

On the surface, the job of the Board of Directors appears to be pretty simple.  The Board debates and approves the company strategy.  It uses full Board meetings, committee meetings related to finance and operations, and monthly reports from management to track things over time.  This system works well...
Bill Lenoir
Bill Lenoir
10 Sep, 2015

UI, Usability and UX: The Square Milk Jug Edition

Any confident product designer has a ready answer to this simple question:  What’s the biggest impediment to designing a perfect product?  The answer: The lack of time and scarcity of resources. Therefore, given those constraints, good product designers prioritize their efforts. This often means setting aside the most obvious...
Frank Oelschlager
Frank Oelschlager
28 Aug, 2015

Evolving in Place

A systematic approach to replacing old technologies and applications with new can save you time and money, improve continuity of operations, and allow you to keep up with your competitors. I often work with clients that have dated technologies and infrastructures, stuff that was modern and based on (mostly) good...
Jay Gelman
Jay Gelman
28 Aug, 2015

A Developer’s Perspective on the Importance of Business Focus

Business executives often view software developers as the strange, but necessary, creatures that create the code that makes the business run well – or not.  It’s true that the average developer’s personality is radically different from that of a top salesman.  There’s one thing they have in common:  The...
Peter S. Buchanan
Peter S. Buchanan
27 Aug, 2015

The Seven Deadly Sins of Entrepreneurs (And How to Fix Them)

Entrepreneurs have huge upsides and equally huge downsides.  As an entrepreneur, if you know what you’re likely to do wrong upfront, you are more likely to succeed and grow your business faster and more profitably than you had ever imagined. It’s an age-old and true maxim that great entrepreneurs...
Peter S. Buchanan
Peter S. Buchanan
01 Jul, 2015

The Six Secrets to a Successful Product

The success or failure of a product often hinges on a few, seemingly small decisions.  Here are the six things we think make products successful. When the iPhone debuted in 2007, it was immediately hailed as a magical device. The day after it hit the market, every smartphone that...
Alden Hart
Alden Hart
07 May, 2015

Innovation and Cockroach Parts In Shenzhen, China

Our earlier posts discussed the electronics markets and ecosystem in Shenzhen. A common conception is that China is known for cheap copies and knockoffs of brand products. From what we saw this is still true. Shenzhen has an entire Copy Mall that sells mostly imitation Gucci handbags and such....
Frank Oelschlager
Frank Oelschlager
04 May, 2015

On Becoming Agile

A short discourse on some key areas and lessons for those who want to adopt an agile culture.
Alden Hart
Alden Hart
30 Apr, 2015

Shenzhen, China as an Electronics Ecosystem

In our previous post we talked about the markets of Shenzhen. But the markets are just the most visible part of the Shenzhen electronics ecosystem. Other major parts include factories, logistics, finance, recycling, and in-country agents. Taken together these provide a rich set of skills, capabilities and relationships that make...
Frank Oelschlager
Frank Oelschlager
27 Apr, 2015

Not “Doing” Agile

Agile is as much a way of life and cultural phenomenon as much as it is a set of processes and methodologies, if not more.
Alden Hart
Alden Hart
23 Apr, 2015

Introduction to Shenzhen, China

We recently took a trip to Shenzhen, China. Shenzhen is a major city in Guangdong province, located just to the north of Hong Kong on the Chinese mainland. It’s also the epicenter of the Chinese electronics industry. We have been purchasing parts directly from China for a number of...
Frank Oelschlager
Frank Oelschlager
30 Mar, 2015

Continuous Delivery Continuum

Continuous Delivery exists on a continuum as a constellation of capabilities rather than as a destination
Alden Hart
Alden Hart
25 Mar, 2015

Better, Not More

There is currently a lot of interest in automated software practices such as continuous delivery, devops, and other evolving automation capabilities. While much of this interest is driven in the context of agile practices stemming from Lean development, the value proposition for pursuing such practices is centered more on...
Frank Oelschlager
Frank Oelschlager
25 Mar, 2015

Create a Competitive Advantage with Continuous Delivery

Continuous Delivery drives the ability to be flexible and agile, creating competitive advantage.
Rob Giseburt
Rob Giseburt
03 Feb, 2015

SSH Connection Multiplexing, Port Forwarding, and SOCK Proxy

By Rob Giseburt Introduction This is the third part of a series about using SSH with bastion hosts. You may wish to read the other parts if you haven’t already: Part 1: Using SSH Through A Bastion Host Transparently Part 2: Using SSH Bastion Hosts With AWS and Dynamically Locating Them With...
Frank Oelschlager
Frank Oelschlager
19 Jan, 2015

Top of Mind – Continuous Delivery

Continuous Delivery is top of mind, why? and how to get "there".
Rob Giseburt
Rob Giseburt
19 Jan, 2015

Using SSH Bastion Hosts With AWS and Dynamically Locating Them With EC2 Tags

By Rob Giseburt Introduction This is the second part of a series about using SSH with bastion hosts. You may wish to read the first part for background about using SSH bastion hosts: Part 1: Using SSH Through A Bastion Host Transparently Dynamically loading the bastion server address from AWS Credit to my...
Rob Giseburt
Rob Giseburt
14 Jan, 2015

Using SSH Through A Bastion Host Transparently

By Rob Giseburt A Bastion host is a special purpose computer on a network specifically designed and configured to withstand attacks. The computer generally hosts a single application, for example a proxy server, and all other services are removed or limited to reduce the threat to the computer. It...
Frank Oelschlager
Frank Oelschlager
12 Jan, 2015

The Dog Whisperer Pattern

By Frank Oelschlager Managing Director Have you seen this show on television? If so, you might already know the punch line. If not, it’s a show that involves a dog trainer coming into someone’s home to fix a problem dog. Behavioral issues such as aggression, being territorial, insubordination/biting, and...
Bill Lenoir
Bill Lenoir
11 Jan, 2015

AngularJS: Why You Should Care

By Bill Lenoir Development teams are always on the lookout for more powerful tools that allow them to build better web applications faster. And it feels like there has been an unending stream of them over the last decade. AngularJS, an open source framework out of Google, is the...
Frank Oelschlager
Frank Oelschlager
11 Jan, 2015

7 Signs Your Team is Fire Jumping

By Frank Oelschlager Managing Director In the previous blog, I touched on some traits of high performance teams. Now for the flip side of the proverbial coin: tails- signs that your team is not on fire, but fire jumping. If any of these symptoms are present in your work...
Frank Oelschlager
Frank Oelschlager
16 Jul, 2014

7 Indications Your Team is on Fire

By Frank Oelschlager Managing Director There are a lot of blogs and articles that deal with broken-ness. Here’s a look at the other side of the coin: heads! Your team is aligned in purpose and execution. People do the right things because they all believe in, support, and commonly...
Alden Hart
Alden Hart
01 Jul, 2014

Agile Development is Not a Best Practice

By Alden Hart CTO and Managing Director Recently I gave a talk to a group of CTOs about Agile development, something the development shops I’ve worked in have been doing one way or another since before Agile got labeled and got its own Manifesto. It was going to be...
Frank Oelschlager
Frank Oelschlager
01 Apr, 2014

What’s a Resource Anyway?

By Frank Oelschlager Managing Director This may seem obvious on the surface, but architects, developers, and product managers ask me this question all the time. Not that they don’t understand the concept, but rather the practical application. It does not help that the buzz-term “Resource Oriented Architecture” has started...
Frank Oelschlager
Frank Oelschlager
25 Apr, 2013

Where are the Resources?

This is a question I find myself asking the technologists and product teams behind REST APIs over and over again. All too often, the “architecture” implements the data access mechanics directly in the API, and there is no distinct model for the Resources being surfaced by the API. You...
Frank Oelschlager
Frank Oelschlager
23 Apr, 2013

Now That’s a Mobile App

By Frank Oelschlager Managing Director I read an article yesterday about Nasa using Google HTC Smartphones as the onboard computer for a series of earth science satellites. If you’ve ever doubted that your phone is actually a powerful hand-held computer, think again. Looks like we now live in a...
Frank Oelschlager
Frank Oelschlager
19 Apr, 2013

Idem… What?

By Frank Oelschlager Managing Director Idempotency. One of the key characteristics of REST, and yet so poorly understood (at least if one surveys the landscape of “RESTful” APIs available floating around out there). So what is idempotency exactly? Essentially, it means that if one performs the same operation on...
Bill Lenoir
Bill Lenoir
16 Apr, 2013

Six Steps to Get Your Message Heard

By Bill Lenoir You have a variety of tools at your disposal that give you the opportunity to speak to the social media universe. Blogs allow you to publish content and provide your readership with the opportunity to comment. Media sharing sites enable you to upload images, video and...