14. January 2013 16:31
Joel Spolsky wrote an interesting post Camels and Rubber Duckies. Beware, it is an old post, and some things have changed since then. Yet, I liked the second have of his post, where he writes why segmentation pisses your customers off. And also, how you can never know for sure how your demand curve looks like.
If you are into the psychology of customers, watch the BoS Talk by Rory Sutherland: Praxeology - Lessons from a lost science.
I will end with a sentence by Joel Spolsky: The more you learn about pricing, the less you seem to know.
24. August 2012 14:50
The Kauffmann Sketchbook has put together an illustrated video covering all major sources of funding for startups. It is nice to watch and even covers some interesting points:
Private Savings are the Biggest Funding Ressource – Before Venture and Banks
So where do entrepeneurs get money:
- private savings (50% of all startup dont need more)
- credit cards (yes, credit cards!)
- friends and family
- banks (love the quote: ”You can get all the funding you want as long as you dont need it.”)
- venture capital (less than 20% of the fastest growing companies in the US received venture capital funding”)
When do you need Money From Venture Capitalists?
Only take venture capital if you are in race/growth business, where you need large sums to scale and compete in the market. Otherwise, just stay in control of your business.
[via the 37signals blog]
10. July 2012 02:11
We – teamaton – are in the business of creating software. Even though I have been doing this for a couple of years already, watching the following presentation by Dharmesh Shah (founder of marketing software hubspot) still was inspiring.
Most of all I like when people let you get a climpse behind the scenes of how their startup and business model works. How have they gotten to that point? What obstacles did they face, what have they learned, what should you look out for with your own software startup?
10. July 2012 01:55
In a incredibly entertaining talk for the Long Now Foundation Jesse Schell explains, what his thoughts are on the future of the internet, and even more so our enterie culture.
We All Know Gamification – However Gamepocalypse Will Be our Reality
There will be game-like elements such as points and rewards in all our daily activities. From brushing your teeth to social interactions to watching TV…
And it might even turn out to make the human race better. See for yourself :)
15. April 2012 17:28
Business of Software seems to be really great conference. I have not been there, however the videos of the talks that they post online are very inspiring and informative.
In this section they show 5 short 8-minute presentations on various topics all well suited for people in startups and entrepreneurs.
Justin Goeres: What’s your Tuva?
A talk about what your most important mission in life is. What drives you? Find it and do it!
Karl Treier: 20 Tips on Starting a Business
Some of the tipps:
- what do you want to accomplish (aside from making money)?
- charge real money
- be ready to pivot
Patrick Foley (Microsoft): Confessions of a Wannapreneur
Talk about moving from employment to actually starting a business.
Corey Reid (Freshbooks) - Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid
Very informative talk with good example what you should look for when hiring people. Look for enthusiasm and problem-solving-abilities.
Tyler Rooney (Amazon) - Things I Learned the Hard Way at Amazon.com
Great talk on the problems that a software developer faces day-to-day and how to solve them most productively.
I hope you enjoyed the videos. For more, visit the Business of Software blog: http://blog.businessofsoftware.org/
13. February 2012 18:39
Jeff Veen, CEO and successful entrepeneur tells a story of how the team of web startup typekit managed to solve a crucial emergency with their application.
Typekit is a web application that delivers custom fonts to users and partners all over the web.
Lesson 1: Have a clear emergency response protocol
When everything falls apart a clear and structured baby-steps plan on how to get back to normal is crucial to keep everybody calm and productive. Focusing on single issues helps create an overall solution to the problem. Anybody should be able to follow this protocol.
Lesson 2: Be clear on what service you are actually providing
Jeff makes the point that before their almost break down he was not really aware that typekit was actually more than just one service – the one their customers see the most. There were apis and a whole delivery network in place. The latter was not in control of typekit and caused the problem.
Lesson 3: Grow a trusting and collaborative culture
Bad things are going to happen. Growing a culture in your team that enables you to solve these problems in short time is crucial to building a successful web startup.
Last Lesson: Start your meetings 5 minutes past the hour :)
11. December 2011 22:26
In the following video Jim Coudal of Coudal Partners, a design company based in Chicago talks about his experience of moving from a client focused business to a product developing business model.
Lesson 1: Treat Your own Products as Though it Were Client Work
Don’t treat your own products as step childs. Care about them. Put time and effort into them. Stick to deadlines and commitments as you would if they were commissioned by a client.
This will eventually help you move those products forward and ready to launch and earn money with them.
Lesson 2: Learning by Doing and Staying Flexible
What is it your company is currently doing? How can you use this knowledge/assets/technology to pivot to your own product?
Do this step by step and evaluate what you are learning along the way. Pivot as soon the market or technology or your team demands it.
Do not change your business model as a whole in one step. Pretend to be taking on “new clients” (that are your own products) step by step and only keep them if they grow to be sustainable and valid businesses.
Lesson 3 and Most Importantly: Start Sooner
I highly recommend a product development business – even if you still have revenue that comes from clients. Because it makes you more independent of clients and their needs which often will not align with your ambitions, wishes and visions. And you always can switch back to serving clients in case your financial situation demands it.
This it what we at teamaton are currently doing. We are developing a generalized version of the platform software for camping.info which is called discoverize. Thus we will be able to host multiple platforms and lease them to partners in other industries (such as marinas or hotels). And we are also working on a simple and useful todo management tool for teams and individuals.
And Coudal’s advice is clear and simple: “I should have done it sooner. What are you afraid of? Get Busy!”
[via signal vs. noise]
8. December 2011 12:09
Yesterday I once again participated in a coding dojo – it’s been a while. These events are organized by the ALT.NET User Group Berlin.
We were 13 people. We formed three groups with one Laptop each. Each group got the same assignment – the tennis kata. It is a pretty simple task, which has to be completed in about an hour and a half with TDD.
What is interesting is not so much to implement the best solution. To me, it is more absorbing to see with what ideas the others in my group approach the problem, and their art and philosophy of coding. It’s always inspiring to see other methods performed live. Solving the problem is then more about finding a common language and agreeing on one solution and, if possible, on one coding style. It’s challenging to persuade the others that the approach one has in mind is a good one. The setting of four people per one computer enforces cooperation – a good skill to hone.
I like the coding dojos, and will try to participate again in the next one. Landau Medien was fine host – they provided their conference room and sponsored soft drinks, beer and pizza. Thanks also to Jan and Mike for organizing.
27. November 2011 17:33
When you are building web apps as we are you certainly have heard of Jason Fried. 37signals co-founder and bootstrapped startups guru is always keen on sharing advice on how 37signals has become one of the most profitable web startups.
In an interesting article on inc he talks about making money, charging your clients, finding the right price and the difference between doing your job and making your job a business.