Thursday, October 02, 2008


The 19th annual Jolt Awards are open for nominations. In my totally unbiased opinion as a judge since 2001 and a longtime writer for the Jolts' former home (Software Development magazine, of fond memory; Dr. Dobbs owns the Jolts now), the Jolts are the Emmys or Oscars of development tools.

Maybe I'm a little biased as to the Jolts' value. OK, a ton biased.

But insider knowledge, in this case, also means that I have a very good idea just how savvy the other judges are, how much effort goes into evaluating these products, and particularly how much work (by some very smart and painfully, scrupulously ethical people) goes into maintaining the awards' credibility. When it comes to evaluating products, I can confidently assert a lack of bias, because if I had displayed any in the past seven years, these guys would have cheerfully tossed me over the side without so much as a glance astern.

Anyway, if you build dev tools, you ought to seriously consider nominating your products. Andrew Binstock has an excellent piece on how to get to the Jolt finals. There's the prestige, the free advertising, the WOM buzz, the award itself, and the chance to impress some rather influential members of the development community -- some of my fellow judges are people whom you really, really want talking up your products to their clients. Really.

If you're an upstart vendor of brilliant new tools, this is a chance to really make a mark. Knowing the judging process as I do, I can tell you that you have a much better chance going head-to-head against established vendors in this venue than in just slugging it out in the market. The judges are perfectly willing to give a shot to products nobody has yet heard of; in fact, there is a heavy emphasis on (I won't say "bias") potentially disruptive or innovative products, as opposed to just who best implements 20-year-old ideas.

So nominate, if you're a vendor, and if you're a developer who (a) reads this blog and (b) is not already a Jolt judge -- there must be one or two of you out there -- feel free to post a comment about products you think are Joltworthy, and I'll bruit them about for a judge-nominated slot.


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