Blood, Sweat and Rails

Location: Ballroom A Level:
Average rating: ****.
(4.51, 43 ratings)

Take a break from the technical mumbo-jumbo and listen to Obie leverage his wit and real-life experience in what promises to be an entertaining and insightful session geared towards current and aspiring Rails entrepreneurs.

In early 2007, Obie took a leap from being a full-time coder into the treacherous world of business. Growing Hashrocket from a little 4-person boutique to 20+ people in less than a year without going broke and keeping clients happy has been a huge challenge.

The session will cover the following topics:

  • Sales and marketing: What works and what doesn’t
  • Contracts and legal matters: How to cover your bases and try not to get screwed if things go wrong
  • Recruiting, hiring and retaining talent: How generous do you want to be?
  • Finances: How much do you charge? Time and materials or fixed bids? Cash versus accrual accounting. Keeping investors from freaking out. Collections.
  • Ethics: Being a vendor versus being a partner to your clients, where do you draw the line? What do you do when things go wrong?
  • Consulting skills: Execution only gets you so far.
  • Operations: Fighting entropy and human error every step of the way.
  • Transparency: How much do you reveal? To employees? To clients?
  • Relationships (dealing with clients): They are hard to keep happy.
  • Front-line management (dealing with talent): Kind of like herding cats, and the higher the talent-level, the more difficult the task.
  • Dreams of product development: Escaping a cash-flow business.
  • Agile practices: Work smart or don’t bother.

RailsConf speaker interview with Obie Fernandez

Photo of Obie Fernandez

Obie Fernandez


Author of The Rails Way, the definitive reference guide for Ruby on Rails, Series Editor of the Addison-Wesley Professional Ruby Series and well-known member of the international Ruby community.

Comments on this page are now closed.


Picture of Chris Schumann
Chris Schumann
05/06/2009 2:06am PDT

Flippin’ fantastic.

Mark Redding
05/05/2009 12:07pm PDT

A really great session. Only wish it didn’t get cut short / run over.

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