Uncharted Waters


April 9, 2012  9:18 PM

Bring Your Own Identity

Matt Heusser Matt Heusser Profile: Matt Heusser

Do you remember Microsoft Passport?

The idea behind passport was a single web-based login.  You could use it for your Microsoft account, then surf on over to Amazon.com and you are logged; surf on over to eBay, or Hotmail, or Etsy, whatever, take your pick, and you remained logged-in.  Combine that with Microsoft Wallet, and you could purchase items direct to your credit card.

It was a great idea, to become part of Microsoft Hailstorm, a collection of web-based services.

Except that, oh yeah, right, it wasn’t.

Microsoft Hailstorm failed and was scrapped, almost exactly ten years ago.  You could argue, I think it’s worth taking seriously, that Hailstorm was ahead of it’s time, and the time actually is today.

Today all the building blocks are in place for an identity service, and it could directly impact your business.

Let me explain

Continued »

April 2, 2012  8:19 PM

My ETsy Site Visit – Uncharted Waters Version!

Matt Heusser Matt Heusser Profile: Matt Heusser

Last January I spent a week in New York City, including one day at the international headquarters of Etsy, the folks behind the massive 24-hour shopping mall for crafters.  I took pictures (lots of pictures), took notes (lots of notes), and even uploaded a video or two.

On the plane ride home, I took my notes and typed.  And typed, and typed, then submitted the results to my editor, and waited.  Just last week, the folks at CIO.com published my article “Continuous Deployment at Etsy.”

But this is Uncharted Waters, and you want the rest of the story, right?

Read on, dear reader.  Read on.

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March 30, 2012  7:59 AM

Digital Migrants — Matt’s Story, Part III

Matt Heusser Matt Heusser Profile: Matt Heusser

By the end of part II, I was spending the work week in Northern Indiana and the weekends with my family. This wasn’t an entirely bad trade off: I could give my family my full attention on the weekend; I had plenty of time to write during the week; and the distance was just short enough that the drive was still pleasant.

The role itself was a mix of consulting and contributing, embedded as a team member on an agile software team.  Yes, a real agile software team; 100% pair programming, 100% test-driven development for production code, story cards, releases to production every time a logical feature was complete.

I was in (work) heaven, but I was also a whole person, and work is only part of the story.

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March 28, 2012  12:36 PM

Digital Migrants – Matt’s Story – Part II

Matt Heusser Matt Heusser Profile: Matt Heusser

When we last heard from our hero, he had left his position at Socialtext for a life of roses and caviar as an independent consultant.


More seriously, I had a problem: A fair bit of writing assignments, a few speaking engagements, and no long-term client.  For that matter, no idea what my ideal client looked like.    Did I want to do short-term consulting assignments, “assessment and recommendation”, hiring and placement, or long-term contracting?  Was I willing to travel?Well, okay, it’s not all roses and caviar, but it does definitely have its advantages.

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March 19, 2012  10:04 PM

The Digital Migrant Class – Matt’s Story

Matt Heusser Matt Heusser Profile: Matt Heusser

It’s been an interesting couple of months here at Uncharted Waters.

I started our writing about “The Jimmy Buffet Life” – where one does work as a contractor, often in a remote location, for a limited period of time, then takes a mini-sabbatical to another area, quite possibly one with a low-cost-of-living, and, in some cases, universal health care coverage.  I even interviewed some folks who had amazing lifestyles, from Adam Yuret, who spent half of six years on a boat cruising the pacific, to J.B. Rainsberger, who moved to Mexico to live in a lost-cost area while doing occasional globe-trotting consulting.

Then last week, I mentioned the digital migrants, a class of people forced by circumstance to move for technology jobs.

It didn’t take long for someone to connect the dots; John Hunter asked me on Google Plus if I made a distinction between those who have to move, and those who choose to?   Was David Hoppe, who I interviewed a member of a sort of elite class, the “new rich”, or was he a migrant who had to move to find work?  And how did Matt end up in a hotel room four nights a week, anyway?

I think it’s time for my story.

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March 14, 2012  10:08 PM

The Digital Migrant Class – I

Matt Heusser Matt Heusser Profile: Matt Heusser

By migrant class, I do not mean H1B visa holders, I mean the people who have to move, at least part-time, in order to find a position to suit their skills, personality, temperament, and lifestyle/pay requirements.

This is not a new idea; the “globe trotting consultant” is a cultural cliche.

Despite the preponderance of 21st century communication tools, the concept of the migratory worker is coming to technology.

This new migrant class is happening for a reason.  Today I’d like to write about why it is happening, how it will play out, why it is coming to technology, and what that means for you, me, and every keyboard jockey in sight.

Hold on to your hat, it’s about to get rocky.

Continued »


March 5, 2012  9:17 PM

This could be your life – with Rosie Sherry – IV

Matt Heusser Matt Heusser Profile: Matt Heusser

It’s time to finish up our series of interviews with Rosie Sherry, founding of SoftwareTestingClub.com.  In case you missed them, you can read part one, two, and three online.  It’s okay.  I’m a web page.  I can wait.

Are you back?  Great.  Let’s get to it.

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February 27, 2012  10:43 PM

This could be your life – With Rosie Sherry – Part III

Matt Heusser Matt Heusser Profile: Matt Heusser

After the first and second part our interview with Rosie Sherry, lead organizer of SoftwareTestingClub.com, things are just starting to get interesting.

No, really, SoftwareTestingClub.com.  It is a real thing, a website for software testers (yes, the tiny niche of the IT industry) to get together to talk – mostly with a European focus.

Yes, they also have cutesy images.  What can I tell you, it seems to be working for them.

Lately, the folks from SoftwareTestingClub have moved into training and placement — they even have a physical print newspaper!

In this day and age of linux is free and a webserver plus hostings costs $60 a month, Rosie Sherry is building a business.

Again, I admire her.

Back to the interview.

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February 20, 2012  8:15 PM

This could be your life – With Rosie Sherry – Part II

Matt Heusser Matt Heusser Profile: Matt Heusser

Last week I started a new interview with Rosie Sherry – a software tester turned entrepreneur.

No, seriously, she was a tester (and a few other interesting things) that went on to start a community site for testers, which now does placement, training, has a newspaper, and might even sell an advertisement or two.

I admire her.

This week, we’ll pick up the interview, finding out where she got the idea for moving from employee to content creator — and how she got started.

Continued »


February 14, 2012  1:55 PM

This could be your life – With Rosie Sherry – Part I

Matt Heusser Matt Heusser Profile: Matt Heusser

I’ve been running a multi-part interview series along the theme of re-imaging your life.

Consider, for example, quitting your day job to sail the world — Adam Yuret did it. Or reframing your job so that you are independent, and can trade time for money; both J.B. Rainsberger and David Hoppe did this.

But maybe you don’t want to travel the world or take long sabbaticals to go lounge on a beach (or go mountain biking, or rock climbing, or whatever.)

Maybe you just want more time with your family.
Meet Rosie Sherry.

Rosie was a freelance software tester from 2001 to 2004, when she took a ‘day job’  doing the same thing for the next few years.

Then the children came, and, suddenly, dropping the kids off at day care and driving in to an office felt … less appealing.

Heavily involved in the software test community, Rosie went back to freelancing but also lead the start-up of SoftwareTestingClub.com, an online community site for testers.  The site now generates a comfortable income, and, combined with her freelance work, allows Rosie to work from home with less hours than a day job, and the flexibility to work after the kids are in bed.

We might you might like to hear from her.

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