Learning from Typekit: Breaking down a Break Down

by andrej 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 :)

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business | inspiration | strategy | talk | web application

Moving From Client Work to Product Development: Do it Sooner!

by andrej 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]

Business Advice by Jason Fried on how to Make Money

by andrej 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.

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business | inspiration | strategy

The Knife Maker–Great Story of Starting Your Business

by andrej 11. November 2011 17:00

Joel Bukiewicz of Cut Brooklyn tells his story of starting his own business of making knifes. Well shot video from the series “Made By Hand”.

Stumbling into Your Passion – or Finding it

First interesting turn in the story is the way Joel moves away from considering himself a writer. Take a timeout and most and formost do stuff. Experiment. And eventually you are going to stumble or get pushed into something that really suits you, that you can and want and are passionate about.

Getting Real Feedback from Real People

One thing that reminded me a lot when I switched from studying to product design and eventually user experience design, is the fact that your work, your product is used by someone, helps them and if you did a good job is appreciated by them.

Same thing here: Making knifes for people to use them and thus give something to a community, become part of that community is always a very strong motivator and very likely to make you like your work.

Putting in the Hours, the Sweat, the Blood

Once you found a profession that suits you, that fulfills you, that makes you happy working in it, you still have to turn it into a business that allows you to keep doing it. And to start earning money from your passion means, you have to become very good at it. “So good they can’t ignore you” as Steve Martin says.

There is no shortcut, no easy way to become competent. As Joel puts it: “Buckets of sweat and blood and work to get there.

Focus on the Value of Your Work

Figure out what value you create and why your customers care about your product.

Stick to this value and work hard to maintain it. In our case at teamaton it is delivering a software product that helps our users to get something done and by doing so delivering a great and enjoyable user experience. In Joels case it is delivering quality by making everything by hand.

That is why I like these stories of how passionate and competent people got to do what they are doing. It is a great source of inspiration and shows me whether I am on the right track.

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business | strategy | inspiration

Facebook Investor on The Future of the Technology (google, cloud, html5, ui)

by andrej 1. November 2011 19:10

Roger McNamee is the Co-Founder of Elevation partners and has succefully invested in facebook.

In this talk he speaks about his perspective on future markets, possibilities and investment strategies.

Some of his points include:

  • google is loosing in the index search market: thanks to mobile, facebook, yelp
  • html5 makes real creativity on the web possible – engagement is possible on every site
  • get an ipad! it is the new ui
  • architectual shift: cloud plus screen
  • don’t invest in social – it is a feature

[via businessinsider.com]

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business | strategy | talk

Creator of balsamiq Talks about Starting and Running a Software Company

by andrej 1. November 2011 17:58

Peldi who created the very popular and obviously profitable wireframing tool balsamiq talks about his experience of starting your own software company. Some interesting insights into fears, challenges and solutions for startups and software creators.

Here is the video:

Check out the transcript over at the business of software blog.

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business | software | strategy | web application | talk

Guy Kawasaki on Steve Jobs: “Changing Your Mind is a Sign of Intelligence”

by andrej 1. November 2011 16:25

The well known venture capitalist and former apple employe Guy Kawasaki has published an interesting list on what he has learned from Steve Jobs.

My favourite is: “Changing Your Mind is a Sign of Intelligence”. In my experience being able to adapt either to market development or social situations fast and intuitively is one of the major challenges when working in such a fast-paced business as the internet. No matter what you are doing, within less than 12 month you are doing something almost completely different.

But there are also some other nice take-aways.

Check out the whole post at Guys blog.

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business | strategy

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