After 6 years and 2 months with The Alexander Group, Inc., I have accepted a new position with BlueCross / BlueShield of Arizona. Yes, from Sales and Marketing Management consulting software to the insurance industry. My title as a Sr. Software Engineer will remain and my responsibilities will be similiar, although I'll be working with a 13-person team instead of 5. I'm excited! OH! And, full tuition reimbursement!!! I can finally get that degree of mine. Of course, the medical benefits are good... There's a workout center at the office, which is a bonus. Now, with a weight bench at home, a free community center gym, and the gym at work, there really are absolutely no excuses!
I finally posted my résumé from the old website...
Work is alright. Working 50-55 hour weeks, which sucks more than 40, but whatcha gonna do? I need to finalize my SalesTimeMaker.com v2.0 product for release. We did a lot of work on it last year and pretty much abandoned it to work on other projects. I hope to "steal some time" to work on it so that I can have it ready for any new clients.
I am excited for the end of my work week because I FINALLY get to upgrade a development server to ASP.NET 2.0 with SQL Server 2005 + Reporting Services. Then, I'll be able to install Visual Studio 2005 and take advantage of everything I've been reading about this past year.
What I do
I work for The Alexander Group, Inc. as a "Sr. Software Engineer" developing software solutions that help 1) aggregate and automate the knowledge of my company's consultants and 2) identify patterns in the needs of all of my company's clients, developing flexible software solutions for those patterns (a.k.a. software products).
Although that all came off the top of my head, I think it really describes what I do for my company. 5 years ago, AGI hired me for one reason. Consulting doesn't generate true recurring revenue. Certainly a consultant may sell you their services for a problem that shows its ugly head each year, but a good consultant will leave you with a solution to permantly deal with those problems and possibly, but not necessarily to end them as well.
Software is largely recurring revenue. I write a program once and then multiple people get to use it over and over with very little of my involvement. That frees me up to either make the software better or to find solutions for other needs.
The software I develop is largely web-based, meaning that it must run over the internet; like a website. Most people don't realize that a website really is a software product (or is it?). You can begin to wrap your mind around the idea of an electronic document (like Word or a PDF) being software itself... but, I'll leave that topic alone for now...
In the 5 years of working for AGI, we have released quite a few products. In the beginning, our leadership had a vision to capture the knowledge of their consultants and to automate solutions for their clients. They had ideas for what this looked like in terms of software and even some basic requirements about what the software should do. Remember that this vision... their ideas were floating in space. They had no physical form. There were no competitors, because the software simply didn't exist.
Can you imagine describing the concept of TurboTax to someone before it existed? Success for ideas like these relies on the ears that hear it, the minds that comprehend it, and finally the hands that make it happen. Not only must you hear and comprehend everything they are telling you... you must also hear what they aren't telling you. Leaders don't have the same level of technical knowledge that the workers do. It's not their job. So, as you digest the ideas, you ask question after question after question. You must ask the questions they don't know need to be asked. You must get them to release information that they don't know needs to be given.
So through the long course of trial-and-error we accepted the challenge. As we cultivated the information available to us, we attempted to automate certain "problem domains". We knew people have always struggled with time and money. But, there were unique applications of these 2
- Posted On: 7/28/2005
I am just venting that at nearly 2:00 AM I am working on these silly custom reports for a client to run on top of their TrueComp implementation; summarizing each employee's sales data. The database is simply a mess of years of upgrade after upgrade. I entirely comprehend the complexity behind the software and what it must accomplish, but GEEZ! Systems within systems that run within systems and everything is dependent on a previous step and any error in one step usually sends you back to the beginning searching for the problem...
On top of the complexity is... boring!
- Posted On: 6/30/2005
I can't wait! I am leaving for Hawaii on Tuesday for a week and a half!!! You are more than welcome to post your jealous comments
Meanwhile, I'm working 12-14 hour days (normally 8-10) trying to get my software product finished. 5 years in the making and we decided to release it as version 2.0! LOL I actually encouraged the version number. As our understanding of our client's needs has grown over the years, the product has evolved from stable, but very custom releases. Each implementation for each client took us 1-step closer to a standard set of requirements for a single product that spanned the needs of all clients. Essentially each instance in the process of our software's evolution became alpha and beta releases of v1.0, which has remained stable over the past 3 years, with a ton of enhancements. Now, we go to v2.0, taking everything we've learned and compiling it into 1 sweet software package! Yours for only $10,000!
- Posted On: 6/13/2005
Lunch at noon... what's that for anyways? This concept of time has me thinking again...