OSCON: Next Year’s Smart Programming Ideas, This Year

I try to keep my head anchored in the real-world part of CRM – how it affects customers, how it affects businesses, and how it affects the people who use it. That said, I have a tremendous amount of respect for the people who take those business concerns, map them into something that can be automated, and then hole themselves up in front of a computer and write a CRM application. That, to me, is a minor miracle that we now take for granted.

That’s why I’m kind of bummed I won’t be able to go to OSCON 2011, the annual open source convention held in Portland, Oregon each year (this year, it’s July 25-29).  Being around smart people is always interesting, and if you’re an open source developer OSCON is one of the more interesting five days you can spend. My pal Randy (who actually wrote the book on programming web services with Perl) loves this show, and you can gauge the quality of his employer at any one time by whether they’re sending him to OSCON or not. (Good news: he’s registered this year.)

What has this got to do with CRM? Well, you probably remember that SugarCRM is built on open source, so OSCON’s a big deal for the company. This year, they’re sponsoring a half-day tutorial on using SugarCRM as a development platform. The tutorial’s free – actually, it’s better than free. Because SugarCRM’s a platinum sponsor of the show, if you enter a discount code (os11s20p) when you register, you’ll get 20 percent off the show’s cost. Neat, huh? You’ll also get a copy of the ne O’Reilly book Building on SugarCRM: Creating Applications the Easy Way, which was not written by my friend Randy by rather by John Mertic. I’ve actually seen the book and can tell you it’s very useful and authoritative.

Even if you’re not a programmer, it’s not a bad idea to keep an eye on what – and who – comes out of OSCON every year. The people attending the show can take your ideas for business software – whether they’re customizations for CRM or entirely new applications – and let you know whether those ideas are practical or not, then take them from ideas to applications. That makes them a strategic asset to your business (either directly, or through the technology partner you work with). What they’ll discuss in OSCON is likely to have an impact on your business in the next year or so, whether you realize it or not. Here’s to a productive week in Portland for these often-unsung stars.