Say hello to FoodLink!

Dartamon Consulting is pleased to announce a partnership with Food Link MA, a Boston area charity group.

FoodLink is dedicated to gathering unused food from sources such as grocery stores/restaurants and redistributing it to the local food banks. This reduces the waste of food and feeds the hungry at the same time.

An enormous amount of food goes to waste every year in the Boston area and we are proud to contribute to an initiative to make better use of it and to help those who need it the most.

Dartamon Consulting will be providing IT support and software development services to create the computer systems that will allow Food Link MA to run more efficiently.

FoodLink's Facebook page:
FoodLink's website:

Having pride in your job: the ethics of software engineering

One of the biggest issues currently facing the industry of software engineering is standardization and professionalism . Although there have been some valiant attempts to create means and levels to measure a software engineer by, with no lack of testing in the field, it's still very difficult to exactly measure the productivity and capacity of a software engineer. There is still too much art and not enough formal scientific laws that govern software engineering. Metrics such as lines of code cyclomatic complexity and code coverage attempt to add "numbers" ways to determine the quality of code, which is the first data needed to measure the quality of the engineer. Unfortunately, they are a form of cargo cult .

Complexity, size of project or size of tests tell little about the quality of the code or the productivity of the engineer, they are measured primarily because they are easy to measure. The ambiguity of quality creates an ethics issue: it is too easy for an unqualified or incompetent practitioner to build a software system today. Worse, sometimes productivity in terms of features and lines of code comes at the cost of technical debt and overall fragility. It's ever easier to do today with productive frameworks in Javascript, Python or Ruby used by legions of "coders" who do not fully understand the issues of security (remember the Target scandal ?), scalability, durability and costs. Worse, these legions don't know what they don't know and often honestly believe that what they construct is the best product that can be and the only thing that matters is speed to the supposed code complete. They move on and the client begins to pay for an expensive firefighting and repair job.

The only heuristic that I've seen work (albeit, not measurably) in the past is pride in work. Someone who believes that delivering a quality system is a reward in itself, tends to produce a better system that someone who believes that the main thing that matters is to produce the system faster. Sometimes they voraciously learn about every software tool available, sometimes they instead focus like a laser on the tools that they have. The main thing is that they want to be better tomorrow at doing their work than today. Notice the difference between being better and faster. That means not just standing up a system to share on Facebook and brag about, but take care of the painstaking details to make sure that it doesn't crash under a load, supports all users correctly, handles failure gracefully and notifies the ops team, scales beautifully, is secure as Fort Knox and the speed of execution rivals a bullet. I call that having pride in your job, being proud of having built the best system possible.

It's the main thing that I look for when looking to hire someone.

This post discussed on reddit.

Building a sales prospecting process

One of the biggest challenges of opening your own business is constructing a sales pipeline. It takes time and effort to be recognized in your own industry and to develop the credibility necessary to start closing business.

In the spring semester of 2015, I had taken a professional selling course at Harvard University Extension School which focused on the practical skills of B2B selling. The focus of the class was a group project focusing on the practical selling challenges of the students. The focus chosen by my group was the prospecting process of Dartamon Consulting. The time had come for Dartamon to become more robust at hunting for new business and the group project uncovered what currently works for a startup consulting company and what doesn't.

A key takeaway from the project was the need to also build a better online marketing system. We are not as good as we could be at using online marketing and lead generation to find new business, but we will improve and I will post the results here.

The results of our group project can be found in our new Papers section.

Finally, I would like to thank my team members Nimita Mittra and Trevor Georgie for their hard work and dedication to making the group project succeed.

Internet of Things Part 1: What is the Internet of Things and what can it do for me?

Technology is often driven by economics. When personal computers became cheap enough to be on every desk the Internet was born. Basic websites could be visited by the public at large. That was 20 years ago, in the mid-to-late 90s.

Next, smartphones appeared in every pocket. Computers could go outside, you could take a picture with Instagram, hail a car with Uber, go on a tour with Strayboots or check into a location with Foursquare or Facebook. That was 10 years ago, in the mid-to-late 00s.

Today, computing power has become cheap enough, batteries have become cheap enough and wireless networks ubiquitous (through Wi-Fi or 3G/4G) that you can put a small computer just about anywhere and connect it to the Internet. This is the Internet of Things. It's marked by the ability of objects to produce data and communicate by their purpose, without you initiating the interaction.

The Internet of Things is still in its infancy. The most common application scenario today aresmart homes. Your home can detect your presence, turn the lights on and off on its own, regulate temperature, shut off the water when you are gone, water the lawn and make coffee five minutes before you wake up. All of the tedious work of maintaining a home is kept gone, once you create your digital lifestyle around you that self-regulates through a network of sensors and communicates via the local Wi-Fi network.

The implications for the future are enormous. If connectivity is cheap and computing on a small scale is cheap, we can place small computer packages anywhere. While the consumer markets are the first to adopt the internet of things, there are also big implications for the industrial and commercial worlds.

In the future, every segment of an industrial space or a factory will have its own digital minder, responsible for the efficiency and safety of the area. Each tool and part will be tracked in real-time to ensure the smooth operation of every process. End product will have sensors inside it to ensure customer service and life monitoring. Most cars today have a "check engine" light to tell you if something has gone wrong. Tomorrow, they will tell the mechanic what operations they need to do in order to get back in order and project those instructions on the mechanic's heads-up display.

For the world of business, the internet of things will become a data feeder into big data systems. New customer intelligence will arise from better understanding of customer behavior patterns, streams of value and self-organizing intelligence. Insurance companies will be able to gain better insights into the world of risk by understanding the patterns of the insured. Governments will be able to employ self-organizing traffic lights that will use local network to better organize traffic flow and respond to traffic or emergencies.

Computing intelligence that currently takes place on a larger organizing level of our lives is about to pervade the smaller world of things that we touch and use every day. At first, some of this intelligence will be intrusive. Tomorrow it be will hard to believe that someone had to turn on the coffee machine.

In Part 2, we will discuss the concrete implementation of an Internet of Things system using AT&T's Developer program and Microsoft Azure technologies.