#18 Jason Haley, Life as a consultant

Summary
Jason Haley talks about the good, bad and ugly of life as a software consultant.

Details
Background, why go independent, working and hustling; getting the first customer; liability and setting up a company, being self employed vs an entrepreneur , get a lawyer and an accountant, networking, business bank account, branding, contractor vs consultant, confidence in presenting yourself; getting paid, income as a consultant, long dry spells, have multiple clients, saying no to a client, fitting with a client; judging what you can deliver, best clients understand software; being a generalist vs a specialist, finding a niche; picking a rate, factoring in costs, charge what you deserve, keep a rainy day fund, watch expenses; support network, billable hour trap, taking advice; managing the client relationship; pick a good company name, importance of referrals, don’t negotiate a rate, don’t keep a bad client; review if consulting is for you after a while.

#17 Robert Hurlbut, Software security

Summary
Robert Hurlbut and I discuss various aspects of software security

Details
Background, why security isn’t thought about enough, out of the box security with MVC, XSS, CSRF, model binding and parameter tampering; https everything or just on parts of a site; Microsoft improving security, open source issues, inclusion of open source in hardware security devices; unmanaged code in web apps; typical weaknesses in software, password security; software review process, threat models, code reviews, fuzz testing; healthcare security, medical devices, attack vectors, Barnaby Jack, how to build secure devices; finding good security professionals, conferences and tradeshows; books; dont roll your own security; Robert’s presentation at Boston Code Camp.

Book Recommendations
Iron-Clad Java: Building Secure Web Applications

Writing Secure Code (2nd Edition) (Developer Best Practices)

Software Security: Building Security In

#16 Dennis Mortensen, x.ai, AI scheduling

Summary
Dennis Mortensen and I discuss x.ai, an AI personal assistant for scheduling meetings.

Details
Dennis and I discuss his background, traditional analytics products, predictive analytics; x.ai, it “schedules meetings”, how it works, invisible software, people don’t have control panels or sliders, tuning Amy multiple calendars; humanizing Amy, pain does not have a syntax, democratizing having a personal assistant; scheduling nirvana, Amy work with Emily, elastic calendar; human speed; psychology of Amy, Amy is not an “it” and does not have features, Amy has skills and receives education; invisible interface; accepting Amy and stigma around AI PAs; is Amy dehumanizing, or is a control panel dehumanizing; why now for Amy, 1019 meetings and 672 reschedules in one year, not Turing ready; no app, maybe location awareness; audience of 87 million US knowledge workers, spreading word; when it will be available, thousands of users, tens of thousands meetings a day; backend, improving understanding, context; Amy’s truth, cultural differences, irony; architecture, no scaling problem, AWS, Scala, mongo; data and privacy; future of x.ai, flights, hotels, other languages, voice integration.

Book Recommendations
Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies

The Narrow Road: A Brief Guide to the Getting of Money

Undisputed Truth

Losing My Virginity: How I Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way

The Art Of War