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19 May 2016
by mjeaton, posted in business, Independence, KalamazooX, personal, programming   |  Comments Off

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Codemash #8

13 Jan 2014
by mjeaton, posted in business, personal   |  3 Comments

It’s hard to believe it’s been 8 years since the very first Codemash. I was one of the 220 people that first year. What’s funny to me is that I didn’t know many people that first year, so I stayed in my room and played WoW during the attendee party. In the years since, I’ve come to realize the importance of networking, especially at an event like Codemash.

I’ve been lucky over the past 4 years to have been asked to present my “Going Indie” talk as both 1/2-day and full-day Precompilers. This year, due to the weather, I was asked to do two 1/2 day sessions on Tuesday to help fill in for some speakers dealing with weather-related travel issues. The first session I delivered was “XAML: So easy a web developer can do it”. It’s a fun session to deliver. Even though it was announced at the last minute, I still had a good group of about 30 attendees. When I asked what session they had planned to attend, many said “the MVC session”. I also really enjoyed having Jon Skeet sit in on my session. A couple times I wrote some questionable C# to which he said, “Please don’t do that” ;-) He also pointed out a new feature in C# 5.0 that I didn’t know about. Good times.

After 4 hours of XAML, I delivered a 4-hour version of my “Going Indie”. This session is always popular, and I had a great group. The session is always evolving because the longer I’m an indie (13 years and counting), the more I learn. On Wednesday, I delivered the full 8-hour version of the session. Unfortunately, my planned co-presenter, Jeff Strauss, was one of those with travel issues. I was bummed because Jeff, as an attorney, brings a lot to the session. Where I tend to skim legal areas, he’s able to go a lot deeper. While he wasn’t able to make it, my friend and fellow indie, Jim Christoper sat in and helped out. Near the end of the day, Jay Harris also dropped in to help bring yet another perspective to life as an indie / small-business owner. It was also very cool of Eric Lawrence to talk about product development in the last few minutes of the session.

After delivering 16-hours of content over two days, my voice was shot. :-) Thankfully, I had no other talks scheduled, so I was able to enjoy several sessions. Full disclosure: I’ve been on the Codemash speaker selection team for the past 2 years. Whittling the 700+ submissions down to roughly 140 is tough. In my job as the .NET Track Chair, I had to find the best 17 talks out of 140′ish .NET-specific submissions. It sucks having to “reject” so many good talks, but in the end, the 17 I selected were pretty damn solid. If I can give people advice for how to get selected, I’d simply point them to this blog post by Jim Holmes.

Some of the sessions I attended: “C# on a diet with Scriptcs”, “An honest look at independence”, “Lessons from a grizzled speaker” (to which I also contributed at least one tip), “Navigating the open source legal waters” and “Becoming an outlier”.

While I did attend many great sessions, I spent a fair amount of time with friends including the one and only Matt Darby. Monday and Tuesday nights were spent in my room playing some epic games of Cards Against Humanity (The Bigger, Blacker Box). Wednesday, Thursday and Friday were spent talking to good friends with bourbon in hand. I avoided the “big” parties this year. It’s always too loud to actually hold a conversation and honestly, there was no way I was leaving the warm comfort of the main resort to go to the Villas. ;-) I also avoided the waterpark.

I’m sad that Jim Holmes and Jason Gilmore are stepping down from Codemash, but I know they’ll both be happier without all the stress that comes with Codemash. I’m also happy for my friend Jason Follas and his new role on the Codemash board.

I went into this years Codemash thinking it might be my last, at least for a while. I’m less convinced now than I was a week ago. I’d love to help out again for the 2015 event. I’d also like to continue delivering my “Going Indie” Precompiler. Hopefully the new board will ask me back.

Oh, before I forget, I also won a cool drone!! Thanks to PayAnywhere!


11 Mar 2013
by mjeaton, posted in business, personal   |  Comments Off

A few months ago, my friend Jayme Davis hit me up via email about my interest in buying from him. He’s been working on it off and on for the past few years, but finally decided he’d had enough. He’s been focusing on other things and couldn’t dedicate the time he wanted to LiteAccounting.

I used LA a few years ago, but moved on to another product when it was obvious that LA wasn’t going to have the features I needed going forward. When Jayme approached me about buying it, my first thought was, “ugh, I’d love to, but no way can I afford it.” After some discussion, we came to an amount that was workable for me, so a deal was struck. Knowing I didn’t really want to take on a product by myself, I brought on a partner – my friend and fellow developer, Matt Davis.

We’re slowly, but surely coming up to speed on LA and actually have a really solid road map in place for where we want to take LiteAccounting over the coming months and years. On Saturday, March 9, 2013, we made the final DNS changes, so we really do “own it” now. :-)

If you need a simple online invoicing system, please check us out!

Social networking for…

14 Nov 2012
by mjeaton, posted in business   |  Comments Off

My consulting company, Validus Solutions, is now on Facebook and twitter.

My plan to take over the tri state area is just starting. :-)

Codemash 2013 – Going Indie at the Precompiler

19 Oct 2012
by mjeaton, posted in business, personal   |  Comments Off

For the third consecutive year, I’ll be delivering my “Going Independent” session during the Codemash Precompiler. This year, the session will be a full day instead of half, AND I’ll be bringing in at least one attorney to help answer legal (and other) questions. My goal is to bring in a couple other resources to answer questions I’ve been unable to deal with in previous deliveries of this talk.

The abstract for my session is:

Breaking free from the confines of the cubicle farm and going out on your own can be one of the most satisfying things you do for your career. It can also be one of the most terrifying. Being on your own can seem like it’s nothing but ponies, unicorns and rainbows, but it’s a lot of work, and success is not guaranteed.

Mike, an independent developer since 2001, will discuss the lessons he’s learned over the years along with the ups and downs he’s experienced. In this updated and expanded session, he will be joined by two legal professionals to help answer the most common questions he’s been asked over the years. “How do I get started?”, “Where do I find clients?”, “How much do I charge?”, “Do I need a contract?” and many others. Bring your questions and find out if the grass really is greener on the other side.

I know Codemash tickets can be tough to come by, but if you get a chance to get one, DO IT! Codemash is amazing conference. I’ve been lucky enough to attend every single year, and I’ll continue attending as long as I can get a ticket.

indieconf 2012 – slides for my talk

23 Nov 2011
by mjeaton, posted in business, personal   |  Comments Off

Here are the slides from IndieConf for my “(Best) Practices of a Solo Developer” session.

Thanks to everyone who attended! I had a great time and am already looking forward to going next year!

Upcoming events

24 Oct 2011
by mjeaton, posted in business, personal, programming   |  Comments Off

I’ll be speaking at the following events over the next few weeks:

Saturday, October 29 – Ann Arbor Day of .NET – I’ll be giving two talks: “Top 10 Tips for Moving from Winforms to WPF” and “Going Independent”. This is a single-day, multi-track conference for the low cost of $10! Register!

Saturday, November 5 – GRDevDay – I’ll be delivering a XAML-focused talk. The planners in Grand Rapids renamed the West Michigan Day of .NET to GRDevDay. It’s a single-day, multi-track conference. The cost is $10 for professionals, but it’s free for students! Register!

Saturday, November 19 – indieconf – I’ll be giving a new talk titled, “Best Practices for the Solo Developer”.

indieconf is the premier conference for independent web professionals; designers, developers, part time, full time and everyone in between. Are you working on your own as a PHP hacker, CSS guru, JavaScript deity, Rails goddess or Photoshop geek?

Buy a ticket OR learn how to win a free pass!

January 9-10, 2012 – XAML: In Depth – This is a 2-day training course I’m doing on the two days prior to Codemash. Here’s the description of the course:

In this two day hands on course attendees will learn how to build great applications leveraging XAML. The XAML technology is used on a wide variety of technologies including Windows 7, Windows 8 Metro Style applications, Silverlight and even Windows Phone 7 mobile devices. Students attending this course will gain the basic essentials to start leveraging XAML in a variety of ways to develop eye popping applications. Attendees will leave understanding how to properly design and architect their applications and acquire an understanding of the MVVM pattern. This course will set attendees on the right path to not only building applications leveraging XAML but also put them on the right path to an easy to maintain application built on solid principles.


January 11, 2012 – Codemash – I’ll be delivering a 4-hour workshop on “Going Independent”
Codemash sold out all of its tickets in 20 minutes this year, but you can probably get on the waitlist. :-)

indieconf – want to go?

21 Oct 2011
by mjeaton, posted in business, personal, programming   |  2 Comments

indieconf is the premier conference for independent web professionals; designers, developers, part time, full time and everyone in between. Are you working on your own as a PHP hacker, CSS guru, JavaScript deity, Rails goddess or Photoshop geek? indieconf is for you.

Want to go? Until November 4, 2011, the cost of a ticket is $129. After that, it jumps to $149. If you’d like to have dinner with the speakers on Friday (a great time, BTW), the ticket is $199.

You can use the discount code ‘eaton30′ to receive $30 off the cost of your ticket (making your cost $99 if you register by November 4th!)


You can enter to win one of two (2) free passes* I have for the event. All you have to do is tweet the following (multiple tweets will NOT be counted):

Want to win a pass to indieconf from @mjeaton? Here’s how – #indieconf

On Friday, October 28, 2011 at 12:00pm (eastern daylight time), I will randomly select the two winners and notify them via twitter.

* To be absolutely clear, this is a pass to the conference only. It does NOT cover travel or hotel.

***** UPDATE: The winners were selected on Friday, October 28, 2012. They were selected randomly using The winners were: @davidjeet and @mhthomas42. Thanks to everyone that participated! *****

What is indieconf?

17 Oct 2011
by mjeaton, posted in business, personal, programming   |  Comments Off

Michael Kimsal, organizer of indieconf, put together a short video describing the event.

IndieConf is November 19th in Raleigh NC

Haven’t registered for the event yet? Do it now! It’s a great event!

Presenting at indieconf 2011

03 Oct 2011
by mjeaton, posted in business, personal, programming   |  Comments Off

In 2010, I had the opportunity to participate in the first ever indieconf.

indieconf is the premier conference for independent web professionals; designers, developers, part time, full time and everyone in between. Are you working on your own as a PHP hacker, CSS guru, JavaScript deity, Rails goddess or Photoshop geek? indieconf is for you.

indieconf is a fantastic conference run by friend and fellow indie, Michael Kimsal. This year, I’ll be giving a talk on “(Best) Practices of a Solo Developer”. Most of the projects I’ve worked on over the past 10 years as an independent have been projects where I’ve been the only developer. This talk will give me a chance to share some of what I’ve learned.

The great thing about this conference is that it’s not just geeks! There will be indie accountants, attorneys, marketers and designers along with other developers. If you’re near Raleigh, it’s definitely worth checking out.

Register for the event!

My plan is to arrive in Raleigh a day or two early so I can co-work and meet with friends.