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Axosoft is Hiring! (10 Open Positions)

August 23, 2011 3 comments


On the heels of the OnTime 11 release last month, which has been exceptionally received in the marketplace, Axosoft (and our sister company Transfer Big Files) is getting much more aggressive about expanding its team. In fact, we have 10 open positions!

Last year, we purchased and built a custom 12,000 sq ft office space. We designed it ourselves, and we think we’ve created one of the best work environments in Arizona for software developers to thrive. Axosoft’s offices were featured in an Arizona@Work article highlighting our efforts to create a unique and productive work environment.

We’ve also made a short video giving you a glimpse of the Axosoft environment:

We’re having a lot of fun building world-class software and trying to make a dent in the universe!  If you want to do the same, check out our openings and see if you think you’re a right fit for our team:

View and Apply for Axosoft Jobs

NO RECRUITERS PLEASE!

Categories: Business, Team Tags: ,

Video of OnTime 11 Launch Event

This past Tuesday, July 12th, Axosoft launched a major new version of OnTime. Although this was the 11th major release of OnTime, this one is different. It’s different because we had a different mindset when we started working on it. Instead of asking “what new features do we want in OnTime 11” as we normally did when we started work on a new version, we were asking a different question: “How can we make a project management tool that’s enjoyable to use, is simple to learn, is fast and allows a software engineer to stay focused on what’s important?”

It became very obvious that enjoyable products have two main common traits: They are brilliantly simple without compromising features and they are exceptionally fast. That’s how one would describe Google’s Search engine or GMail or iPhone or Facebook or Twitter or virtually every other product that we love.

Simple and Fast. That became the catch phrase. “We need to make it faster” was a common theme throughout the development of OnTime 11. “We need to make the feature discoverable” was another. We became a little obsessed. We compared OnTime performance to GMail. We implemented keyboard shortcuts to make things even faster. We kept working on it with the goal of making OnTime the fastest project management tool for software development teams.

I think we’ve done it. This Tuesday, we launched OnTime:


Watch the OnTime 11 Launch on YouTube

We also worked on pricing. We decided to make 2 major pricing announcements:

I can’t but help think that we’re on the verge of a major shift at Axosoft. We’ve raised the bar of expectation of ourselves and I’m very excited to see where things will lead.

Launching an Arizona Software Incubator

January 14, 2011 Leave a comment

Today, we officially launched the web site for a new Arizona software incubator. I’ll keep this post short so you can check out the new site:

http://www.azdisruptors.com

 

Categories: Business

Wrapping up 2010

December 28, 2010 Leave a comment

I just realized that my last post to the Ship Software OnTime blog was back in February of 2010. This year has zipped by. It’s been an absolutely amazing year for us at Axosoft and I wanted to end it with a quick summary of some of Axosoft’s 2010 highlights:

New Offices

In April of this year, we took advantage of the low real-estate prices and bought (not rented) a brand new office space that was built to our specifications. The space has been amazingly energizing and we’re very proud of it because we believe it provides a balance between worker privacy, high level of collaboration and an inviting atmosphere.

Axosoft Office Pictures

At the heart of our new office design is the 6-person team work room. Every employee at Axosoft (minus the receptionist and accounting) works inside of one of these team rooms. These team work rooms are our own design and they feature:

  • An open atmosphere to facilitate team collaboration
  • A closed atmosphere so that the chatter of one team does not affect the productivity of another
  • Screen privacy. While every work room has one opening at the center, the wall with the entrance is a glass-wall that contains a privacy film preventing a walker in the hall from seeing screens of individuals.
  • Lots of whiteboards. Whiteboards are important to productivity, so every work room is covered from wall to wall with a 4′ high “Wall Talker.”

We did a ton of research on the design of our new offices and experimented with numerous configurations before we settled on the 6-person work rooms. Coming into this space, we were all a bit nervous because none of us had ever worked in such an environment. We were going from Cubes to these 6-person offices. The transition turned out to be unbelievably smooth. Within the first 3 days, everyone felt at home and I would hear chatter about how much superior this configuration was to the cubicles we had left behind. I personally went from an isolated one-person office to one of these team rooms and I absolutely love it!

Some of the other features of our new offices include:

  • Flex Offices – There are times when users need that extra bit of privacy for a private phone call or they need to be on a long conference call, need some concentration time or need to make a recording (we do a lot of videos here at Axosoft), so we built flex offices that anybody can use.
  • Gym – We decided to create a gym complete with rowing machine, stationary bike, treadmill, free weights and kettle bells. The “box” is ideal for the new hard-core crossfit addicts.
  • Showers – Having a gym would be useless without showers, so our new offices feature two showers so that employees can sweat it out and still smell great at the office.
  • Lounge – Our little lounge area has a big-screen, an XBox 360, Nintendo Wii and some foam guns. Be careful.

Along with the new offices, one of the best investments we made in 2010 was in buying everyone new chairs. In deciding on the chair, we did our own research. We obtained sample chairs from Herman Miller (the Aeron , Mirra and Cella), Steelcase (the Leap), HumanScale (Liberty) and 9 to 5 (Strata). Then we decided that every employee would work on every chair for at least 1 hour, then pass it on. After experimenting with all the chairs, each employee would make their top 2 picks. We also decided to hide the cost of each chair so that nobody would be influenced by the price of the chairs.

Almost immediately, the 9 to 5 chair was out of contention. After a few rounds, the Human Scale Liberty was also out. The Herman Miller Cella got the reaction “what were they thinking?”. So it was a showdown between the Herman Miller Mirra, the Herman Miller Aeron and the Steelcase Leap chairs. The Mirra beat out the Aeron in comfort from numerous people’s experience. However the overall winner and top preferred pick was the Steelcase Leap chair. It also turned out to be the most expensive of all the chairs we tested at nearly $800 each.

We’ve been extremely fortunate in that we are overtaking an empty office shell next door to us and more than doubling our office space once again to over 12,000 square feet of space! Until March of 2010, we were crammed into a 3,000 square feet space. The new space will be a natural extension of our existing space with similar design and should be completed in April of 2011.

You can see more pictures of our offices on our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=249910&id=13303313674

New Products

Besides OnTime 2010 (V10.0), this year, we also launched a couple of new Subversion-related products:

Subversion (SVN) integration for Visual StudioRocketSVN for Visual Studio – This Ankh-based Subversion client takes the popoular open-source Ankh Subversion tool which integrates SVN features inside the Visual Studio environment and adds easy-to-use keyboard shortcuts, integration with the OnTime Project Management Software and some other enhancements that we thought users will find useful.

For OnTime users who use the RocketSVN for Visual Studio client, they will find that all changes and commits can be easily associated with defects, features and tasks that are tracked in the OnTime system. Users can easily move OnTime items to the appropriate workflow step directly from RocketSVN for VS. The integration between OnTime and RocketSVN for Visual Studio makes this the ideal SVN client for Visual Studio & OnTime users.

Currently, RocketSVN for Visual Studio is Free! As we continue to enhance the product, we expect to eventually start charging $49 per user to provide the funds needed to continue its development.

Learn More or Download RocketSVN for VS.

Suversion (SVN) Server for Windows and IISRocketSVN Server for Windows – Subversion users on Windows have always been longing for something easier and more integrated with the way Windows users work. RocketSVN Server for Windows is designed for Microsoft-centered teams that want to use Windows-integrated authentication and/or they want Subversion to run on IIS.

Additionally, the RocketSVN Web interface makes the administration of users, repositories and groups a lot easier. Surely beats the old edit a text file to add a new user method.

Currently, the RocketSVN Server is Free during the beta period. After the release, we expect the pricing will be 100% Free for the first 2 users and $79 per user for the 3rd user and on. Additionally, RocketSVN Server licenses will include the ability for RocketSVN for Visual Studio clients to access the RocketSVN Server without needing any additional licenses. So a 2-person team will be able to use both RocketSVN Server and RocketSVN for Visual Studio 100% free! It’s the ideal Subversion Server for Window & IIS.

Learn more or download RocketSVN Server.

Shift to SaaS

SaaS Project Management SolutionAxosoft has been offering its flagship OnTime solution as a hosted service (SaaS) since 2003. However, for the most part, our sales had been dominated with licensed (installed) purchases instead of the SaaS solution.

In 2009 we decided to do an in-depth study as to why that was the case. What we found was quite surprising. Our SaaS offering had a huge performance variation depending on the geographical location of the end-user. What we found is that users in Arizona, California and some surrounding US states might get a page load time of say 1 second while users on the East Coast of the US might experience that same page in 2-3 seconds. In Europe, it was even worse, 4-5 seconds. In Australia it could reach 6 seconds.

That was completely unacceptable. We were absolutely floored. At first, we thought maybe it’s our data center, however we had chosen one of the leading data center providers (Limelight) and after further testing, we eliminated that as the culprit. We then tested other applications provided by other big-name SaaS providers and we found that performance does indeed vary depending on your distance, number of hops and other factors to the data center that hosts the SaaS product. In short, what we found is that the closer you are physically to a data center, the faster the performance you receive.

After we realized how severe the problem is for ALL SaaS-based products, we assembled a team of software engineers to tackle this problem and spent the next several months creating OnTime Now. We had a head start because we had already been automating our systems and SaaS offerings for nearly 6 years. Our biggest challenge was bringing on new data centers online in a fashion that was easy to manage and still made the signup process extremely easy.

The results have been tremendous. OnTime Now provides the OnTime solution in 8 different data centers around the globe:

Data Centers Offering OnTime Project Management System

As a result of our efforts, in 2010 we’ve seen a major shift from Installed-based purchases of OnTime to SaaS-based purchase of OnTime Now. Whether users are in the US East or West coast, somewhere in the middle, in Canada, Australia or Europe, they now have a data center near them where OnTime Now is being served. In our follow-up tests, nearly all users experience sub-second page load times. It’s been a huge success.

The best part of the new service is the way in which signup works. During the signup process, OnTime Now will automatically select the closest data center location to the user, but it also allows users to do a speed-test to make sure that particular data center is fast. If not, they have an opportunity to change the data center:

SaaS Scrum Software Signup Form

Just a couple of weeks ago, we decided to do another game-changing event. We’re now offering the OnTime Now “Express” Edition for up to 10 users for just $10 per month!

ReLaunch of TransferBigFiles.com

Send or Receive Large Files FreeRemember that little weekend project that we worked on back in 2005? Well, it turned out by early 2010 the site was getting over a half-million visitors per month, so we decided to create a dedicated team of engineers to make TransferBigFiles.com the fastest file-transfer service in the world. In May of this year, we re-launched the new TransferBigFiles.com. Having learned from our experience with OnTime Now, we built TransferBigFiles to be multi-homed in 7 different data centers around the world, making the performance unprecedented. We also offered some premium paid-plans, such as up to 100GB of online storage shared among a team of corporate users, the ability to receive download notifications, a drop box feature to receive files and much more. For iPhone users, we also created a TransferBigFiles iPhone app so they can send their uncompressed HD videos to anyone wirelessly.

The new site has been a big success and TransferBigFiles.com has become the first company spun off from Axosoft.

More Shift to Apple Products

Axosoft is primarily a Microsoft dev shop, but over the past 3 years, we’ve seen ourselves unimpressed by the PC World and we’ve completely shifted our hardware purchases to Macs for several reasons. That shift has continued and even accelerated as Apple’s products continue to dominate the industry and the gap between Apple and Dell/HP/[Insert PC Vendor Here] continues to widen.

Developing on Macs also provides the most flexibility. We can run any operating system and develop for any platform. While the majority of our development is done in Windows and .NET, the ability to create iPhone and iPad apps is very appealing. Additionally, most of our non-development staff runs Mac OS X because of the ease of use, stability and performance of the operating system. It’s been an all-around win.

Mac boxes
A recent purchase of MacBook Pros, iMac and the 27″ LED Displays

Looking Forward to 2011

We’ve had a great 2010, but even with all the exciting events of 2010, I’m especially looking forward to 2011. We have so many great things in development that I can’t wait to share.

I’ll try to keep you more updated on this blog. One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to blog more, so if you enjoy my gibberish, stay tuned…

Categories: Business, Development, TBF, Team, Tools

iPad Developers will be Sorely Disappointed at Launch

February 8, 2010 Leave a comment

When the iPhone App Store launched, iPhone developers were impressively rewarded for their hard work and determination to get their apps on the App Store on launch day. Reading through a number of the iPhone/iPod/iPad developer groups, a similar level of excitement exists for the launch of the iPad, but unfortunately, that enthusiasm is going to die down quickly with a dose of reality.

There are a number of things that made the launch of the iPhone App Store an incredible success. Fist, there were already more than 8 million iPhones in the market by the time the App Store launched and that doesn’t count the millions more iPods that were also sold prior to the App Store launch. Then, there’s the fact that very few companies had a product to launch. On launch day, there were 500 applications available for download. The excitement was so high that nearly every one of those 500 applications received an incredible amount of free press, reviews and complimentary mentions in numerous blogs and online publications. Being first to market on the launch of the App Store, which itself was a historic event, meant that the worst applications would still receive thousands of downloads – if for no other reason, just for the curiosity factor.

The Launch of the iPad and the apps designed specifically for the iPad are going to have a significantly different story. On the day the iPad App Store launches with iPad-exclusive apps, there will be exactly -0- devices sold with owners who are eager to buy apps. Even if the iPad has an exceptionally successful launch, launch-day devices will likely number in the hundreds of thousands, not millions. To make matters worse, there are now tens of thousands of iPhone developers who will have their iPad-only apps ready to go on day 0, so the iPad-exclusive App Store will be far more crowded than the launch of the original iPhone App Store and since the App Store concept is nothing new, there will be a lot less written about the launch of the iPad exclusive App Store.

So lets quickly compare the two launches:

On Launch Day Original App Store iPad App Store
# of Devices Previously Sold and Ready to Use App Store > 8 Million 0
# of Apps on the App Store Specifically for the Device ~ 500 > 10,000
(Estimate)
Sales Pace of Devices (iPhone / iPad) > 2 Million / Month ~300K/mo
(Estimate)

In the long-run, being ready for the iPad will be a great win for the developers who take the chance and get prepared. The iPad will likely have a very bright future, but by no means is the launch of the iPad App Store going to create anything near the results of the original App Store. It’s important for iPad developers to check their expectations against the realities.

Categories: Business Tags: , ,

My Apple Tablet Predictions

January 25, 2010 1 comment

A quick list of my predictions for Apple’s event later this week:

  • Tablet device with following specs:
    • Apple will not provide CPU or RAM specs as it will consider such specs unimportant (no need to confuse consumers)
    • 10″ display with multi-touch
    • Storage will be flash-based – 64 to 128 GB
    • It will have built-in front-facing camera
    • A new Tablet OS V1.0 will be introduced which will be different front iPhone and Macs (based on OS X, much like iPhone OS)
    • It will have a store (like the App Store) which will sell content such as books, magazines and newspapers in addition to media, apps and games
    • It will be a stand-alone device (in that it will not require a sync with a PC/Mac for content like the iPhone does)
    • It will offer its own version of iLife which will include tablet editions of iTunes and iPhoto
    • 5-Hour Real-Use Battery life (although they might advertise 7 or 8)
    • Built-in Wifi (N)
    • 3G Cell Service capable for both GSM and CDMA networks, but they will not announce the carrier yet (no need until launch)
    • $699 Unsubsidized price or $399 with 3G service + $39/mo
  • The tablet will have keyboard, mouse as well as external display support, but will ship with none of them
  • They will show off the Tablet SDK and invite developers to launch apps and media content for it
  • Launch of device will be in April to June timeframe
  • No mention of anything iPhone related (no iPhone 4.0, Verizon, etc.)

And it will be an awesome device to work with OnTime V10’s new Scrum Planning Board.

What do you think?

Categories: Business Tags: , , ,

Economies of Scale and $5 OnTime Express

January 13, 2009 3 comments

You know when you buy a book from Amazon.com and they want to charge you $10 for shipping and you think “damn, that’s a lot of money for shipping”? Well, today, I ordered some books from a local bookstore that gave me the option to pick up my books at the store or they could ship them to me for $10. The store is about a 20 minute drive from me, so my first thought was, “Ship it!” $10 is soooooooo cheap! Not worth my time to get into my car, waste a bunch of gas and an hour of my time for the round-trip to pickup a few books and save $10.

Then it occurred to me the amount of work that goes into having those books shipped. First, a FedEx truck is sent to the bookstore to pickup my books. Then the truck takes it to a warehouse where it’s then sorted and sent via another truck to another warehouse that’s closer to my location. From there, a 3rd truck then takes it and delivers it right to my door. All of this happens while a computer tracks the location of my books and sends me email notifications of major updates and a delivery notice. They do this for just $10 and somehow manage to make enough money to pay for fuel, warehouses, equipment, computers, internet connectivity and the salaries of everybody involved.

Damn, that’s pretty good.

What’s funny is that when I placed orders from Amazon, the same things were happening, but I never thought about it before. It’s weird that ordering from a local bookstore triggered my “bargain” receptors. In fact, when I order from Amazon the items are generally shipped from Washington, which means the process is even more complicated and requires two or three additional truck trips and most likely at least one or two flights to get the books to me.

That’s economies of scale at work and it has absolutely nothing to do with OnTime or the rest of this article. I just thought it was a cool story.

Anyways, with the slumping global economy, we realize that a lot of software development teams might be tightening their belts and might not have enough budget for tools this year. So with the release of OnTime 2009, we have decided to re-price OnTime 2009 Express edition in the following ways:

  • OnTime 2009 Express for 5-Users: $395 Now Just $5!
  • OnTime 2009 Express Unlimited Users: $2,995 Now Just $995!

The 5-User edition of OnTime Express is practically free! So you might ask, “why not just free?” It’s because we want you to have a tiny bit of skin in the game. When people pay for something, even if the amount paid is nominal, they feel a sense of ownership and commitment. Free means throw-away. If we gave it to you for free, you might let it sit there in your downloads folder and never use it. 60% of our free single-user activation keys never get activated! Paying $5 means you’ll probably be more likely to actually take the time to install and use the product.

In all honesty, the $5 per sale doesn’t even pay for the processing costs of the sale (a human creates an invoice, prints receipts, emails you a key, etc.) and we’ll probably donate the proceeds anyways.

Learn more about OnTime Express and the new $5 Price

Categories: Business, Team, Tools Tags: , ,
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