Microsoft Ireland Team Blog

March, 2010

  • Microsoft Ireland Blog

    Joint Enterprise Ireland-Microsoft Event, ‘Succeeding in the US Market – Best Practices for Software Companies’, 23rd March 2010

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    Following the recent BizSpark Camp event, I want to keep you informed of other interesting events and resources, helping foster growth in Irish technology firms.

    Microsoft Ireland are supporting BizSpark Network Partner, Enterprise Ireland, with an event focusing on tips and best practices helping Irish technology firms to succeed in the US Market.

    Learn more here: http://www.bestconnected.ie/succeeding-in-the-us-market-best-practices-for-software-companies-23rd-march-2010/

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    The latest, and one of the most important joint Microsoft – EI events, is Paul Solski’s visit to Ireland. It will be useful for existing Microsoft Partners and companies partnering with other vendors both in the US and other key export markets. There will be a public event ‘Succeeding in the US Market – Best Practices for Software Companies’, 23rd March 2010 at Enterprise Ireland, Eastpoint , Dublin.

    Paul Solski is the Managing Director of The OpenBorders Group in North America. Together with The OpenBorders Group executive partners in Germany and the UK, he build Microsoft’s Open Borders Program which helps Microsoft ISVs expand internationally.

    This event is more targeted at established technology firms, rather than start-ups. Do check it out though and sign it up if you think your business could benefit from tips and best practices for Software Companies striving to succeed in US Market.

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    Cross posted from Ronan's blog
  • Microsoft Ireland Blog

    WordCamp Ireland 2010

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    Just a quick post as I’ve gotten several e-mails asking for my WordCamp Ireland slides.

    The slides can be downloaded here: http://www.slideshare.net/martharotter/free-tools-for-wordpress-users-from-microsoft

    My talk was “Free Tools for WordPress Sites”, and I covered several free tools people can download to help improve their blogs and websites.

    A fantastic suggestion by my colleague Josh Holmes, who came down to Kilkenny after a staggering 16-day tour of Europe talking to developers, was to do short video clips of each tool.  I realized that the audience was quite broad so not everyone has the same background, and some of the tools are more complex than others.

    I will try to come back to this, but as I’m in Las Vegas this week with not much free time, it maWindows Live Writery take me a bit, so here’s the short version:

    1) Windows Live Writer – http://download.live.com/writer 

    Hands down my favourite blogging tool.  Windows Live Writer lets you work offline, store drafts, easily add images/media and other content.  It’s easy to use with several blogs, whether they’re WordPress or other formats. 

    2) Internet Explorer 8 WordPress Accelerator - http://short.ie/ie8accelerator

    Gives you the ability to select text in the browser, right-click it, and upload easily to your blog.  Great for things like tumblr blogs and others where you want the content up quickly.

    3) Expression Web 3 SuperPreview - http://short.ie/superpreview 

    Allows you to look at your content rendered in several browsers, side-by-side or transparently on top of each other.  Helps take the pain out of CSS nightmares, missing images or media, and other browser compatibility issues.

    4) SEO Toolkit - http://short.ie/seotoolkit

    Take an in-depth look at the SEO of your site: do you have broken links, missing ALT text, other errors that are leading to your SEO being less than great?  SEO Toolkit analyzes your site & gives you a comprehensive report of issues and warnings you can fix to improve your site’s search engine optimisation.

    Web PlatformInstaller

    5) Web Platform Installer - http://short.ie/webpi

    The Web Platform Installer is an application that lets you grab a wide variety of frameworks and tools for your desktop and your applications.  Use it to download WordPress, PHP, tools, databases, and everything else you need to build a great website or application.

    6) Web Apps Gallery - http://short.ie/webappsgallery

    The Web Apps Gallery has a collection of applications you can download and immediately deploy like DotNetNuke, Umbraco CMS, photo galleries and much more.  And hey, if you’ve got a cool application you’d like listed, submit it here for inclusion in the gallery, too.

    7) Go to MIX – http://live.visitmix.com MIX10.  Love Fest.

    I’ve been raving about MIX non-stop for months now.  It’s not free, but watching the sessions online afterwards is.  MIX is where you’ll find out about new web technology, new applications, new support and new programs for developers and designers and everyone else obsessed with the web.

    8) Join WebsiteSpark – http://www.microsoft.com/web/websitespark/

    WebsiteSpark is a program for designers and developers who build applications or websites as a service for others.  This 3-year program gives you access to free tools, licenses, support and a network to help you find other customers.  (It’s almost free, you pay a $100 exit fee when you leave the program.)

    pptPlexHope you enjoyed the event!  I met some fabulous people, learned a heck of a lot and can’t wait to do it again next year. 

    p.s. A handful of people asked me what I was using for my slides.  It’s a PowerPoint plug-in called pptPlex  built by officelabs.  pptPlex allows you to create cool, zoomable navigation interfaces for your slides.  It’s similar to prezi.

    Cross posted from Martha's Blog.
  • Microsoft Ireland Blog

    Live At MIX10

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    If you’ve seen me at all in the last few weeks, I’ve probably been gushing about MIX10.  Now in its fifth year, MIX is the Microsoft event I’ve been dying to go to, year after year.

    And now I’m here, in Las Vegas.  And MIX10 starts in around 48 hours.  image  

    If you’re here, too, great – let me know so I can get you on the invite to the Irish attendees St. Patrick’s Day party (I’m aware that it’s a bit strange letting the American plan the Irish holiday, but ah well).  You’ll also be getting exclusive access to SDKs, great swag and probably the most valuable thing of all: the chance to meet and talk to lots of developer and designer superstars, speakers, product groups and more. 

    If you’re not here, there are plenty of ways to get all of the MIX10 content, announcements and excitement.

    KEYNOTES: From 9am Pacific Time (GMT – 8 hours) on Monday March 15th and Tuesday March 16th, you can watch the keynote live featuring Scott Guthrie, Joe Belfiore, Dean Hachamovitch, Doug Purdy and Bill Buxton here: http://live.visitmix.com

    INTERVIEWS: Channel9 will be making the rounds talking with keynote speakers, attendees, product groups and more.  They’ll be streaming live all day and you can find their schedule here: http://channel9.msdn.com/posts/NicFill/Channel-9-Live-at-MIX10--Who-What-Why-When-and-How/

    ASK QUESTIONS: Just because you’re not here doesn’t mean you can’t ask your own questions.  Submit questions for Channel9 to them live on Twitter: http://twitter.com/ch9live

    MAKE ME WORK: I confess, a bonus part of my job in coming here is that I have the opportunity in person to entice experts, speakers, developers, designers and more to come visit us in Ireland.  Is there someone you’d like to have visit?  Or a question you’d like the answer to about product road maps, etc?  I’m your virtual attendee.  Let me know how I can help.

    CATCH UP AFTERWARDS: One of my favourite things about MIX has been the way they share content for all the sessions afterwards.  This is *the best* way to watch a conference if you can’t be there in person.  So take a look through the sessions after they’re posted to http://videos.visitmix.com and learn more about what was presented here.

    Cross posted from Martha's Blog.
  • Microsoft Ireland Blog

    Spark Programs: BizSpark versus WebsiteSpark

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    Thanks to everyone who came along to our BizSpark Camp event last week at the Radisson.  The feedback from the sessions and the PitchSlam event was fantastic, so we really appreciate everyone’s support!

    After the event, I received an absolute *flood* of BizSpark applications from new companies, which is great.  However after going through the applications, many of them were ineligible or better suited for WebsiteSpark.  So I wanted to do a quick comparison of the two, as it seems it’s not incredibly clear which program is right for certain companies.

      versus image

     

    Audience

    Eligibility

    Benefits

    Period

    Fee

    Comments

                 

    BizSpark

    Startup Product Companies (ie not services companies doing works for hire)

    · Building a software product which multiple customers will use.

    · Private (non-listed)

    · Less than three years old

    · Less than $1M in revenue (there are a small number of local variants of this limit)

    Tools and production licenses.

    · For Tools, the offer is very similar to MSDN Premium, for up to 25 developers (more on request)

    · Production licenses allow unlimited use of Windows, SQL, Systems Center and BizTalk servers to put the application into production

    2 phone support  incidents per company

    Discounted hosting services from hosting partners

    3 years

    $100 at exit

    The offer can be made directly via Microsoft employees or by approximately 1,700 “Network Partners”. Network Partners are organizations who work closely with startups, and includes government agencies, incubators, banks, VCs, Angel organizations, etc.

    WebsiteSpark

    Website developers and designers – companies building websites

    10 employees or less.  In the business of building websites.

    Tools (expression, Vs Pro) and production licenses of SQL Web and WS Web 2008. Up to 3 developers per company.

    2 phone support  incidents per company

    Discounted hosting services from hosting partners

    3 years

    $100 at exit

    Network partners are: Hosters (mainly) and government agencies, Web Pro and designer associations, etc..

                 

    For more information on BizSpark (and to sign up as either a startup or network partner), please go to http://bizspark.ie

    For more information on WebsiteSpark (and to sign up as either a startup or network partner), please go to http://www.microsoft.com/web/websitespark/default.aspx

    Cross posted from Martha's Blog.
  • Microsoft Ireland Blog

    BizSparkCamp Dublin – March 8th

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    image Everything is locked and loaded for BizSparkCamp Dublin on March 8th at the Radisson Hotel on Golden Lane.

    As part of the local BizSpark programme, Microsoft Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and TechLudd are delighted to announce BizSparkCamp 2010 featuring Innovate! PitchSlam – an event designed to help accelerate Irish Startups’ businesses and provide the opportunity to be identified as one of the world’s most promising technology start-ups. This day-long conference will run on Monday, March 8th (doors open 9am) in the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel in Dublin’s city centre. Entrance is free of charge.

    Register here: http://techludd.com/events/bizsparkcamp-registration/

    BizSparkCamp Sessions/Speakers include:

    • Julie Sinnamon and Colm MacFhionnlaoich from Enterprise Ireland will be providing advice for getting access to funding and new markets (UK, US and further abroad).
    • Brian Caulfield will be joining us once again to give some key insights into the local VC landscape with tips on how to maximise your chances of securing VC funding. He will be joined by Shay Garvery from Delta Partners and Diane Roberts from HBAN.
    • Mike Sigal from early stage analyst firm Guidewire Group, organisers of Innovate!, will be giving an overview of the Guidewire Group’s G/Score Assessment Methodology, an analytical tool to help you understand your competitive strength and market position.
    • Caroline Egan and Nigel Turner from The Open Borders Group have worked with many Irish companies helping them to enter the UK market and partner successfully with the Microsoft UK channel. They will speaking on how to expand your business internationally and the best ways to build partner strategies.
    • Through the new BizSpark EUGA program, Microsoft Ireland are providing support for BizSpark companies interested in accessing local and EU grants, providing a facilitated application process to make applying for these funds easier.  Grants covered by EGUA include ICT infrastructure, training, R&D and recruitment. Nicky Martin from Affect Network will be covering how BizSpark can help you access these grants.
    • Caelen King (RevaHealth), Ray Nolan (HostelWorld.com), Aidan Gallagher (InishTech), Alan Coleman (GetItKeepIt.com), Ciaran Dynes (Progress Software), Siofra Flood (Legal Consultant) and Brian Moroney (Mercatus) will all be sharing their stories from the trenches and giving their best advice on how to access capital and new markets in today’s challenging climate.

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    Innovate!100 PitchSlam

    In addition to the planned BizSpark sessions, we have invited local Bizspark companies to participate in Innovate!2010 – a global competition to identify and accelerate the Innovate!100: The World’s 100 Most Promising Technology, Media, and Telecommunications Startups. Microsoft BizSpark has partnered with early stage analyst firm Guidewire Group to bring you opportunities for expert feedback & validation, global exposure, cash and in-kind prizes, qualified introductions to potential partners and investors, and the possibility of being named one of the Innovate!100: The World’s 100 Most Promising Startups.

     

    The schedule is below – it’s a very full day, followed by a drinks reception in the evening.

    Start

    End

    Track 1 - Access to Capital

    Track 2 - Access to Markets

    09:00

    09:20

    Registration

    09:20

    09:40

    Welcome and Introduction
    Cliff Reeves - Microsoft Global GM, Entrepreneur Community

    09:40

    09:50

    Room Change

    09:50

    10:30

    EI Funding & Best Practices
    Julie Sinnamon - Executive Director, Global Business Development, Enterprise Ireland

    Stories from the trenches - Breaking into New Markets with Web Business Models
    Caelen King - CEO RevaHealth

    10:30

    11:10

    EUGA - BizSpark Service to help Startups get grants
    Nicky Martin - Affect Network

    Stories from the trenches - The new opportunities with SaaS
    Aidan Gallagher - CEO Inishtech

    11:10

    11:30

    Break

    11:30

    12:10

    Stories from the trenches - Best Practices for Getting Funded
    Brian Caulfield

    Building effective partner strategies and routes to market
    Caroline Egan -  The Open Borders Group

    12:10

    12:50

    Stories from the trenches - Saving Time and Money on Due Dilligence
    Siofra Flood - Legal Consultant

    International Expansion - Best Practices
    Nigel Turner - The Open Borders Group

    12:50

    13:30

    Stories from the trenches - Get the 'boring stuff' right!
    Brian Moroney - CEO Mercatus

    Stories from the trenches - Operating Abroad (From Product Development to Sales)
    Alan Coleman - GetItKeepIt.com

    13:30

    14:20

    Lunch

    14:20

    15:00

    Your G-Score & BizSpark Exchange - Maximise your chances of getting funding from BizSpark VC Network Partners
    Mike Sigal - Founder and CEO of The Guidewire Group

    Stories from the trenches - Accessing New Markets
    Ray Nolan - Founder of HostelWorld.com

    15:00

    15:40

    Panel Discussion - Entering new markets
    Ray Nolan, Colm MacFhionnlaoich (EI), Ciaran Dynes (Progress Software), Caroline Egan (TOBG)

    15:40

    16:00

    Break

    16:00

    16:50

    Panel Discussion - Best bets for Funding in Today's Economic Climate
    Shay Garvey (Delta Group); Diane Roberts (HBAN), Brian Caulfield,  Caelen King, (RevaHealth)

    16:50

    17:00

    PitchSlam Set-up

    17:00

    18:00

    PitchSlam (1)

    18:00

    18:20

    Break

    18:20

    19:10

    PitchSlam (2)

    19:10

    +

    Networking

    Cross posted from Martha's Blog.
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