Occasional thoughts on product and process from the Mint team

BACON: The Speaker Q&A #5

Posted in Reflections by Laura Grace

Today's edition of the BACON speaker series is an extra-large helping of delicious, bacony goodness, courtesy of the wonderfully loquacious Christian Heilmann.

In his Helping or Hurting? keynote, Christian will be exploring how we may be hurting the cause of the web by abstracting problems away, instead of learning by failing. Expect inspiration by the bucket load...

Christian Heilmann | http://christianheilmann.com/ | @codepo8

Christian Heilmann has dedicated a lot of his time making the web better. Originally coming from a radio journalism background, he built his first web site from scratch around 1997 and spent the following years working on lots of large, international web sites. He then spent a few years in Yahoo building products and explaining and training people and is now at Mozilla. Chris wrote and contributed to four books on web development and wrote many articles and hundreds of blog posts for Ajaxian, Smashing Magazine, Yahoo, Mozilla, ScriptJunkie and many more. 

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Do banks lend to small businesses?

Posted in Reflections by Andy Bell

Robert Peston recently discussed how to get businesses borrowing more. He says the problem for banks is:

“businesses they deem to be creditworthy simply don't want to borrow right now.”

The view from this small business is rather different.

Mint is small, fast-growing digital product development company. In eight years, we’ve gone from 2 people to 35. With access to a bank loan, we would have grown more quickly, hired more people and reduced the risk that a cashflow hiccup could capsize us.

At several points in our history we’ve gone round the banks, looking for a loan. We’ve tried them all: from the high street names to specialists like Coutts and Silicon Valley Bank.

We have always been turned down.

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BACON: The Speaker Q&A #4

Posted in Reflections by Laura Grace

We have an Easter treat for you today - a piping hot edition of our BACON speaker series, fresh from the griddle. (And what goes with eggs better than bacon...?)

Today's Q&A is with the scarily-talented Joel Scotkin, who will be geeking us out with his terrific-sounding talk on computer-controlled rockets. Joel's current projects include: "designing the landing approach for the next major Mars mission". We like this guy.

Joel Scotkin | http://www.masten.aero

Joel started his career in financial technology. As JP Morgan's first webmaster he helped launch the very first online presence for a major financial firm with their RiskMetrics offering in 1994. In 1995 Joel founded Random Walk Computing, which drove the acceptance of Java into the financial domain and grew to become Wall Street's leading capital markets technology consultancy. After selling Random Walk to Accenture in 2006, Joel decided to pursue his dream of building rockets, and joined Masten Space Systems as lead investor and eventually CEO. Masten won the NASA Centennial Lunar Lander Challenge X-Prize in 2009 and has pioneered fully autonomous hovering rocket vehicles via dramatic advances in on-board computation. Current projects include work with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory designing the landing approach for the next major Mars mission, angel investing in a variety of startups, and pondering the next big thing. 

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BACON: The Speaker Q&A #3

Posted in Reflections by Laura Grace

Our BACON speaker series has been going down so well that we've decided to make it a double helping each week, starting with this bonus Tuesday edition. Twice the tastiness, no extra calories. Yum!

Next up is Vanessa Hurst, who believes that Developers Are Superheroes. We're on board with that. Her BACON talk is all about how great power comes with great responsibility, exploring software projects with a mission to save the world.

Vanessa Hurst | http://vanessahurst.com | @dbness

Vanessa is a data fiend turned social entrepreneur, currently building CodeMontage to help developers improve their skills while improving the world. She believes coding is one of the most efficient and effective ways to improve the human experience. Vanessa also founded and runs Developers for Good, a network of technologists and organizations who build technology to achieve social missions. Previously, she led data and analytics at Paperless Post and co-founded Girl Develop It to provide low-cost, judgement-free environments to learn about software development. 

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BACON: The Speaker Q&A #2

Posted in Reflections by Laura Grace

It's Friday, so it must be time for another instalment in the BACON speaker Q&A series. The perfect way to ease yourself into a weekend of bacon-based brunches and messing around on the internet. Or whatever else you have planned...

Each week we're throwing the spotlight on a different BACON speaker, with a quick-fire Q&A designed to offer a little taster of what we can expect from them at this year's conference (and how they like their bacon).

Next up is Seattle-based Aaron Patterson, whose Curing the Feedback Loop talk promises to help you improve your processes in both your code and your "day-to-day meat curing applications". Our kinda guy.

Aaron Patterson | http://tenderlovemaking.com | @tenderlove

Aaron was born and raised on the mean streets of Salt Lake City. His only hope for survival was to join the local gang of undercover street ballet performers known as the Tender Tights. As a Tender Tights member, Aaron learned to perfect the technique of self-defense pirouettes so that nobody, not even the Parkour Posse could catch him. Between vicious street dance-offs, Aaron taught himself to program. He learned to combine the art of street ballet with the craft of software engineering. Using these unique skills, he was able to leave his life on the streets and become a professional software engineer. He is currently Pirouetting through Processes, and Couruing through code for AT&T. Sometimes he thinks back fondly on his life in the Tender Tights, but then he remembers that it is better to have Tender Loved and Lost than to never have Tender Taught at all. 

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