I’ve been using SugarCRM for two months now to put structure to the call efforts on the leads that are generated via our site. The more I use it, the more I appreciate all the work that must have gone into developing it. It’s an awesome tool but awesome things can always be better. Here are seven plugins I would pay for if they existed on the SugarExchange site:
Append geo info from phone – Our leads consist of a phone number, an email and a few other bits of information. It would be supremely useful to have a plugin that would flesh out the geographic info (Country, State, Postal Code, City) based on the area code our country code of the phone number. It looks like the NPA NXX area code database is publicly available and there’s probably a country code database out there as well so this would be doable I think.
Triage garbage records – While we’re on the subject of phone number plugins, it’d be great if there were a plugin that used some intelligent algorithms to flag the records that had suspect phone numbers. Right now this is a tedious process of sifting through leads and assigning a custom status of “Bad Phone Number.” Common patterns of junk numbers are emerging though (1234567, 555*, 1111111). A plugin that caught the obvious ones would knock out probably 80% of the work for dealing with bunk numbers.
What time is it there? – Appending the geographic info to the leads is the first step but the cadillac treatment here would be to have the local time at the destination you’re calling. Ideally this would be a field that’s filterable so the net result is that one can set acceptable calling hours and get only leads that fall within that current time window.
Auto merge all dupe emails – I’m really surprised this isn’t a feature of the import process. They have some de-duping capabilities based on firstname, lastname but none based on email (which is a little weird because it’s more likely that there will be two legitimate John Smith’s in the system than two email@example.com’s). I’d like to be able to have SugarCRM merge all leads that have the same email address. This seems more like a feature request of Sugar than an actual plugin.
iCal feed – Please make it so I can get an iCal feed of the events on my calendar so that they appear in the calendar I live by (iPhone and iCal on the Mac).
Gmail integration – I’d love a way to have SugarCRM search my gmail account for past correspondence based on lead and contact email address and append any communications with that person as history to that record.
My only other suggestion: why not create a bounty system on SugarExchange so we can get this stuff created? I have to believe other people would be willing to pay for these enhancements as well if they existed. Take the guesswork out of what people want and how much it’s worth to them – accept pre-orders via a “pledgebank” style site. Developers will gravitate to solve the requests that have the highest bounty amounts. End result= paying work routed intelligently to developers and satisfied SugarCRM users.
News sites and blogs are abuzz right now with reaction to Richard Stallman’s statement that “Cloud computing is a trap.” Unfortunately none of the commentary I’ve read so far has caught the key fallacy here: he has confused two entirely orthogonal concepts, Software as a Service and Utility (Cloud) Computing. While often seen together, the two are completely independent of one another (ie. you can have a SaaS offering delivered via servers running in your datacenter, and conversely you can deliver OSS software on a cloud-based system – we in fact make this very thing possible now with various JumpBoxes on Amazon’s EC2 service).
The vendor lock-in he’s railing against in his interview (and wrongfully attributing to the cloud computing aspect) is actually related to the fact that most SaaS offerings are based on proprietary software. But it’s the same dependence one develops to proprietary software running on the desktop only it’s easier to take the first cocaine hit when there’s nothing to install. That offering may happen to be delivered via servers that are running in the cloud but that’s completely tangential. I doubt Stallman would take issue with a site like opensourcecms.com using a cloud computing service to host free demos of open source software in order to encourage its adoption… Making the argument he has is about as silly as going after the steel industry because you don’t like guns.
If you listen to Pandora radio, they’re on the ropes right now and need your help. Take two minutes of your time to rally and write your representative. Read this post from Pandora’s founder and then use this page to send an email to your congressman. I just sent the following one to mine in Arizona:
I would urge you to support H.R. 7084. It's come to my attention that there have been recent lobbying efforts from massive media giants like Clear Channel in an attempt to sabotage the negotiations that would allow internet radio companies like Pandora to continue to peacefully coexist. Pandora and other internet radio stations have been slapped with unreasonable per song fees that exceed those charged to traditional radio stations. This is a anticompetitive "box out" maneuver from the incumbent players attempting to keep a stranglehold on how people can listen to music. It's reminiscent of the early days of Southwest airlines and how the entrenched players in the airline industry fought tooth and nail to block their charter. Imagine how poor air travel would be today if they had succeeded?
I strongly urge you to support this bill and keep the playing field level for internet radio stations to coexist. To learn more about the issue, read this message from Pandora's founder: http://blog.pandora.com/pandora/archives/2008/09/congressional_e.html
My friend Josh just interviewed me for his AZ tech news site. The interview gives some of the backstory of how/why we created JumpBox. Unfortunately it also comes off as attributing way too much credit to me. I have to reiterate here that 99% of the vision and strategy for JumpBox comes from our CEO Kimbro Staken. And 100% of the engineering execution is from our tiny “lil’ engine that could” team. I provide what I can to support these people and insulate them from BS, but the hardest work for the company is done by them.
Anyways, thanks Josh for the interview. We feel like we’ve come along way and at the same time realistically we’re still closer to the starting line than we are to the finish line with miles to go before we sleep.
P.S. Please plug the economy back in- I think somebody kicked the cord.
Big day for JumpBox as we announce a new service called “Powered by JumpBox” for Independent Software Vendors. The first customer of this new program is Six Apart. They’re now distributing Virtual Movable Type as a JumpBox. Their announcement today can be found here.
This is a big deal because it means all of the experience we’ve gained through distributing hundreds of thousands of JumpBoxes for Open Source products can now be put to work for any ISV that distributes a server application. Reducing the technical barriers for would-be users trying your software means less frustration, more prospectives in the pipeline and more closed deals. If you’re an ISV with a particularly complex server app and want to learn more about how to close more deals by getting a JumpBox for your product, contact us.
I was lucky to be one of the people who got to speak at the first ever Ignite Phoenix a month ago. The night was a complete blast with 16 presenters each doing a 5min talk on something they’re passionate about. Topics ranged from OCD, to pinhole photography to firewalking to geese in a public library. I talked about music, education, becoming your own teacher and how to accelerate breakthroughs. Huge props to Jeff Moriarty and Roger Williams for pulling off a fantastic event and Clintus McGintus for filming and producing all the videos from the night. You can watch my talk below and you can catch all the other ones here on blip.tv. And if you’re interested in presenting at the next one, they’re now recruiting speakers for that one on Oct 28th.