Jira from Atlassian Sucks

Jira, the project management and bug tracking software from Atlassian SUCKS BIG TIME. It sucks so much that I had to log into my website and write this rant even though I have a thousand other more pressing things to do. Jira and it’s lack of brilliance is the most irritating piece of software I have had the misfortune of experiencing and almost not using at all since Windows 98.

I just received another pre-alpha release of my app from my developer and as you would expect from such an early-stage release it was buggy. When something is buggy you write down the bugs so they can be fixed. And this is what Jira fails so hard at doing. By the time I logged into their slow sluggish hosted solution and clicked my way through their grotesque old-world menu system and finally found that little miniscule button for reporting a bug – I had already forgotten what it was. Safe to say I resorted to the most logical thing to do at that point – I opened a Google Docs text editor and added all the bugs as bullet points with the app version number as the title (even better, I shared that doc with my developer so he gets instant updates whenever I add something. Even better again, I can add bugs from anywhere now including my phone with the Google Drive App). And that is where all my bugs will go from now on.

This is the first time I am put in front of what the industry apparently thinks is a great, useful, brilliant and overall easy-to-use “behind-the-scenes” software and boy are they wrong. If this is as good as it gets my next piece of software will be a project management and bug-tracking app that makes Jira look like the crippled mouth-breathing relic that it is.

If Jira was free this rant wouldn’t be fair. But Jira is a subscription-based $10/month extortion where you pony up the cash because you are one of the unfortunate souls that have invested in all-things 90’s such as subversion.

Enterprise software is a funny world because things like Jira and Bugzilla can exist. But that’s also a huge opportunity. Let me give you a hint: mobile software development is still a huge booming gold rush in its infancy. It is expected to be worth $25 billion dollars in 2015. More entrepreneurs than ever before will enter this booming market with limited coding ability and they will need something other than Jira. If you can create a project management and bug tracking software that is tailored for mobile app development, resides in the cloud, is accessible from anything with a screen and an internet connection, is just as easy and straight forward to use as Gmail and its related services, costs $5.99 a month and let’s a cross-functional team spend more time fixing bugs than documenting them, you might have a winner. Please put me in the credits if you do.

Update

Use Trello. It has all the features I listed above, it is free, it works on any device, it is hosted in the cloud and it is very easy to use for a smaller team.

Hiring a Technical Person

I ran into a post about software developer interviews on The Daily WTF. It was full of software developers complaining about business people and how they are stupid.

I’ve interviewed countless people and the game works the same except when it comes to software developers. If a non-tech person shows up for an interview they do their best to impress. When a software developer shows up they have attitude and entitlement issues and expect you to impress them.

When a non-tech person shows up for an interview they do their best to convey they belong on the team. When a software developer shows up you have to convince them that they belong on the team.

Software developers are dangerous. They control your assets and your access to them. Because there is such demand for them they have the upper hand. How do we stop them?

Value vs Hype Explained

Marketing is considered important by most people. If you are an entrepreneur chances are that you spend a serious chunk of time on it. But can really great marketing fill the gaps of a lackluster product? It depends on if you are selling value or if you are selling hype.

Selling Value

If you have a real product or service that could benefit users in some way, you are selling value. Your repeat business will happen because your product or service is what drives sales and your marketing is only there to support it. Your products do the talking and your marketing prompts customers to listen to what they have to say. In other words, a successful company involved in selling widgets doesn’t make money because it has such nice ads, but because its widgets result in repeat and new purchases and the ads remind people of that.

Most big names in products and services are big because what they sell creates value for their customers. Examples are IKEA, Apple, Toyota, Samsung, Microsoft(?), Oracle, [insert big company here], you get the point. They all have fantastic marketing but it’s their products and services that do the talking and drive people to come back for more.

Selling Hype

There are a few good examples of products being sold thanks to marketing despite being good in any way at all. Those things usually come out of multi-level marketing pyramid schemes, get rich quick schemes and other deceptive marketing channels such as TV Shop. Yes, these products sell but they are not the cash cows of most of these business models. Multi-level marketing makes money on its membership fees, TV Shop actually makes money on their products thanks to their audience who are watching TV when most of us are working (read into that however you want) and get rich quick schemes make money on selling you expectations rather than results/tangible products.

So you can make money if you focus on marketing and hype, but you better be one of the business models above. If you are a business who believes in improving the life of your customer, selling something that doesn’t result in buyer’s remorse, and generally deliver an extraordinary experience, put marketing aside for a second.

The Correct Approach

If you are in the startup trenches, don’t waste your time and money on marketing before perfecting what you are actually trying to sell. Make sure your friends and family like your product or service. Test it out. Narrow down its functions to its core value proposition. Is it a good concept? Will people like it? When it’s ready, launch small and gauge reactions and feedback. If you have a winner, then full speed ahead into marketing and promotion. But remember, if your product doesn’t live up to your marketing, you create hype, buyer’s remorse and ultimately failure. It’s better to let your marketing do the introduction and your product do the talking.

Thoughts on Relativity

Protons can sporadically appear and disappear. They are subatomic and infinitely small and of almost no mass.

The universe could also have been created in a similar fashion, and will disappear in a similar fashion. But becausue of its mass, there is more inertia and time distorts and gets slower.

For a proton to instantaneously appear and then disappear almost immediately later seems really fast to us. It can happen because of its close-to-nothing mass and almost no inertia.

Measuring the age of a human in proton years makes it seem really long. Measuring the age of the earth in human years makes it seem very long. Measuring the age of our galaxy in earth years makes it seem really really long because of its mass. And measuring the age of the universe in galaxy years makes it seem really really (really) long. What happens if we measure the age of whatever the universe is part of in universe years? Probably long to the point where time stops completely, just like before the big bang.

Each step involves more mass, more mass involves more inertia and more inertia means slower time or a slower cycle. So, the universe could be just like the proton that appears from nowhere and disappears as quick, but on a universally grander and slower scale.

We are so small and live such a small fragment of this entire process that it seems eternal to us.