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Precision Quality Software Enters Cartoon-Publishing Business

At the SD (Software Development) West 05 conference, Pecision Quality Software (PQS) entered the book-publishing business in a most peculiar way.

This story will make little sense unless we first introduce Breakpoint Books: One of the many good features of SD West 05 was a temporary book-selling area, manned by Breakpoint Books who (as implied by their Web site) has been selling books at conferences for at least the last five years. Their service is a major customer convenience because, if you have been impressed by a speaker, you don't have to make a note of the books written by the speaker, and then try to order the books online, or try to find them at a local bookstore. The Breakpoint Books selection is centered on books authored by the speakers who are presenting at the conference. So, the material is immediately and conveniently available.

As part of the material to be handed out during his presentation at SD West 05, Andre Gous of PQS had planned to hand out printed copies of the cartoons that are featured on the PQS Web site (Andre creates one cartoon per month, and they start at January 2004). Then, it occurred to Andre that it might be appropriate to sell them. Just before midnight on March 16th, Andre had completed a front page and back page with 15 formatted cartoon pages in between. At a local all-night Kinko's copy store, he made ten copies, and early the next morning, Andre presented the stack of stapled booklets to Dave Hemsath of Breakpoint Books, who was willing to try to sell them at the price of $1.00.

By 10 a.m., the first cartoon booklet had been sold. As Andre walked towards the conference room where the next presentation was about to begin, he wondered who had purchased the booklet. He was about to find out. Randy Miller of Microsoft was the next presenter, and before he began his presentation, he held aloft (before a hundred or so developers and requirements engineers, the perfect target market) Andre's cartoon booklet and proceeded to say several kind things about it. Andre was delighted.

By lunchtime, all ten copies had been sold. Andre learned later that several prospective customers had inquired but had to be turned away. During lunchtime, Andre went to the local UPS store, located on-site at the Santa Clara Convention Center, and produced another 50 booklets. By the end of the conference, more than 20 booklets had been sold!

One of the developers who attended SD West 05 emailed Andre and indicated that the cartoons were being circulated around the office, and that people were enjoying them. It's sad when developers and requirements engineers can relate to the bizarre circumstances depicted in the cartoons, but sometimes it helps to be able to laugh at the situation, when it's safely in the past.


SD West 05 | Andre Co-Presents at SD West 05 | Audience Questions | Cartoon Story | Excellent Speakers


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