Episode 178 | Growth Hackers, Small Wins, Buying Websites, and More Listener Questions
[00:00] Mike: This is Startups for the Rest of Us: Episode 178.
[00:11] Welcome to Startups for the Rest of Us, the podcast that helps developers, designers and entrepreneurs be awesome at launching software products, whether you’ve built your first product or you’re just thinking about it. I’m Mike.
[00:19] Rob: And I’m Rob.
[00:20] Mike: And we’re here to share our experiences to help you avoid the same mistakes we’ve made. What’s the word this week Rob?
[00:24] Rob: Well, I found a new tool that’s helping me unsubscribe from a lot of email newsletters and it’s called unroll me. It’s unroll.me. I put it in my Gmail account and it scans through all of your emails and it figures out how many emails subscriptions you have. I think I had 211 that it identified. Now, some of them are things like Amazon so I’m not going to unsubscribe from those. But there were a bunch that either I just don’t recognize or there are things that I subscribed to a long time ago and I’ve ever unsubscribed from. So just one by one you click the link and it tells you you’re unsubscribing from these things. So I’m assuming since they parsed the email, they grabbed the unsubscribe link and go hit it with an HTTP post.
[01:06] Then you can do a roll up of all the rest of them or as many as you want so you can say well I want like Groupon and Living Social and maybe my Facebook updates and a bunch of other things. I want you to Unroll Me to grab those when they come in, compile them into a digest and then pop that back basically into my inbox only once a day so you can say I want it to run every morning at 9 AM or every afternoon at 3 PM just so you’re not getting that constant stream of kind of these info notifications and stuff. So it’s really – I’m not using that piece of it, the rollup yet but I did go through and unsubscribed from probably 70 or 80 of those 211.
[01:43] Mike: Wow. I am just shocked that you have like 211. Although I haven’t run it against mine so I have no idea what…
[01:50] Rob: I’ve unsubscribed from a ton of things. I don’t tend to don’t to subscribe to a lot of things and I unsubscribe quickly so I bet you’ll be over 200 as well. I heard this originally on another podcast. And the guy said he had 227 and he didn’t think he’d have that. So my guess is by the time it finds everything – because there were some things from like a couple years ago that I haven’t received an email in a while so…
[02:09] Mike: Okay, so it like goes all the way back into your mailbox and looks…
[02:11] Rob: In your archives. So what’s going on this week?
[02:14] Mike: I’ve been kind of following things on the internet lately and Nathan Barry just released a course on how to double your launch revenue. And from the looks of it, it looks primarily aimed at educational and information course type products. It looks pretty good. It looks very, very high quality. I mean just look at some of the other things that Nathan’s done. He’s also a speaker at MicroConf but he does do a lot of really, really good stuff and look at the stuff he does do. It is very high quality.
[02:37] Rob: Indeed. Cool. So I’ve been thinking this week. Based on a discussion over on podcasts just called Bootstrapped, it’s at bootstrapped.fm and Ian Lanceman and Andre were discussing the term growth hacker. Ian hates term growth hacker which is fair enough. But I was thinking does growth hacker – is that term useful? Is there any use to it or not? And it got me thinking about how new words come into our lexicon, words like freemium that you’ve never heard of before maybe five years ago or pivot or cloud computing web 2.0 crowd source, long tail, there’s these terms that are kind of invented and then they’re given a meaning. They’re infused with a meaning based on the original person, the person who coins it typically gets to define a meaning. But then that meaning kind of often runaway from them. Right? Because it depends on how people use it.
[03:20] And so you think about the long tail like Chris Anderson wrote the book about the long tail and when it first came up, it had a certain meaning. I think that meaning has stuck pretty well. Right? It hasn’t been like abused in a bunch of ads and used poorly whereas that term web 2.0 came out and it made sense at the time. It was like oh, this is a different web. The first web was all about brochure wear and the second web I think what was it about? Like self publishing right? It was kind of blogging and stuff in 2002.
[03:48] But then it got so overused by people who didn’t know what it meant that it became irritating. Right? And then there’s a backlash against it by the Technorati don’t want to use that word because it’s now considered lame. So I think it can go either way. And we’ve talked in the past when you know I’ve talked about lean startup about how a lot of words that came out of that like pivot and maybe product market fit which I know is actually originally from Mark Andreessen. When you hear them too much you start saying oh, these are just bogus words. But they give us a common vocabulary. Right?
[04:17] When I say pivot, whether it irritates you or not, whether you feel it’s a buzzword or not, it has a real meaning and we all know what that meaning is and it’s a nice short hand to have. That’s how I’ve viewing growth hacker as like a short hand that people understand yes, it is just a marketer but it’s a little different. Would you say Noah Kagan is just a marketer? There’s something different about him than the people with clip boards and spreadsheets that I worked with back at the credit card company. It’s a more specific term. That said, growth hacker is being used and abused everywhere and I think that the term is probably now bankrupt that it is more annoying than is useful. What’s your take on this?
[04:51] Mike: I still feel like the term growth hacker is not as clearly defined as it probably could be and I think that when I hear terms like that, they can mean one of our like 30 or 40 different things. I don’t give them a lot of credence and I probably think less of them just because I hear people use them and they mean something different based on who you’re talking to and at that point, it just loses all relevance to me. So that’s why those things kind of irritate me and I really think it just boils down to the fact that there’s no concrete definition and not everybody is using the same terminology. I think it just needs to be – calm down a little bit, solidify what it really means.
[05:30] Rob: Yeah. If you go to – Sean Ellis coined it and then Andrew Chen kind of expounded on it so that’s the original definition of it. I respect both those guys as marketers and as people who’ve grown companies. But then you’re right. There’s a book on growth hacking by some PR guy who I don’t have a ton of respect for. He’s a good PR guy but I don’t have a ton of respect for in terms for in terms of like growing startups. Right? And I view growth hacking is like getting inside a startup and going after numbers and elevating the thing and not using spammy techniques as is often said but that’s how I view it.
[06:01] Whereas other people think oh, growth hackers are more like the original growth hack that Andrew Chen talked about as air b and b basically spamming craigslist. And so that maybe gets it off on the wrong foot because now growth hacking is kind of equivalated with maybe some blacker hat techniques.
[06:15] Mike: For me, when somebody says growth hacker, I think of it as something that is kind of going back to your example where you said it’s Noah Kagan and would you just classify him as just a marketer and the answer is no, he’s not. But at the same time, when you say growth hacker it encompasses so many things that it kind of lost its meaning. To me, it’s almost like you say growth hack and you’re basically saying everything except for doing all the traditional marketing things that you would’ve done 10 or 15, 20 years ago. That’s what it means to me in which that doesn’t really clearly define it and that’s the problem that I see.
[06:50] Rob: Yeah so if you’re listening and you’re interested in another discussion of this where I was originally inspired, it’s episode 36 of bootstrapped and we will link it up in the show notes.
[07:01] Mike: We’re coming up on MicroConf so I figured it’s time to startup our quest for good MicroConf jokes to kill time. So I have a question for you. What is the best place to hide a dead body?
[07:11] Rob: I don’t know.
[07:12] Mike: Page 2 of Google search results.
[07:13] Rob: Nice. How about at the top of the organic search results? Because have you looked lately? Have you searched and seen like 4 or 5 ads that Google is putting above the organic results and they took away the background color and it is not very easy to tell that these things are ads. Boy, if you start to block out – because our eyes we start to blackout banners and we start to block out things like these, the little yellow ads without the background color, it really does look like organic results.
[07:42] Mike: They’ve been doing this for years though. I mean they’ve been gradually moving things together and blurring the line between the paid search results and the organic search results.
[[07:51] Rob: But they have not did it like this though. I mean this is a big step that the background color has always been different and they’ve always made it really clear. They either put a box around it or that background color showed you where the ad started and where they ended and now it’s harder to tell. In addition the ads up top used to look different than the search results and they don’t. It’s almost the exact same format. There’s a title. There’s URL and then there’s some result text and then there’s links. I bet they’ll get a lot more clicks on ads.
[08:15] Mike: Yeah. I feel like it’s been like that for quite a while now.
[08:18] Rob: No, this is just a recent change.
[08:21] Mike: We’re on different data centers though. We’ve checked that before.
[08:23] Rob: Yeah I know but people were talking about it just in the past week or two on the other podcast I listened to is definitely a recent change.
[08:29] Mike: Got it. Well today we’re going to dive in some listener questions. So our first email comes in from Jake Berdis and he says hi Rob and Mike. I just wanted to say a massive thanks for all the inspiring info you share through the startups website and above all on the podcast. I’ve been a listener for the last year or so and the value you are sharing has been a huge help to me in setting up my own business. We offer websites as a service as opposed to software as a service and the best thing is I just made my first two sales. It’s so true what they say. They’ve completely changed the way I think about things. Before the sales, I was confident my idea was a good one for sure but I had days of uncertainty and sometimes staying motivated was a real struggle. Now I know that if one customer’s willing to pay for my solution then there are more out there who will be too. Thanks again guys.
[09:09] Rob: Nice. So that’s a little success story from a listener and I am definitely a believer in those small early wins. Getting a sale at some point and having someone you don’t know actually pay you money, the first time that ever happens, no matter how much we say it here, you’re not going to realize how big of a deal that is and how it really does change the way that you view business because suddenly it becomes wow, I can do this. You have doubts until that point that you can ever actually get someone to pay that money.
[09:38] Mike: Well the other nice thing about that is that as you build those sales, they stack on one another. It kind of builds up your confidence in charging down the road for it and it gives you the confidence in saying to people hey this is wroth something and this is why it is priced at this point because it is valuable to people and this is what people are getting out of it. So Jake thanks for sharing that with us.
[09:58] Our next one comes from nelson Whitmore and he says hey guys, I’m working on my first enterprise SaaS business and I’ve got a great product sweet in mind for home builders. I’m trying to take the lean approach and haven’t started coding anything yet. The platform I’ve designed has three products that I could sell independently but having all three is what will really make the platform work. When I go to validate the idea with potential customers, do I pitch the whole platform do I just pitch the first piece and give small product out there and up sell later down the road? Thanks. Love the show. Nelson.
[10:26] Rob: Well, so Nelson is talking about two separate things. One, he’s talking about validating the idea and then the second part is he’s talking about building. So those are two separate steps. I think that when I originally pitch it, I would lead in with just the first of the three parts but I would mention that, the 1 year or the 18 month game plan is to do all three of these things. And the interesting part is perhaps what you’ll find out then is that the second or third parts are more important to the potential customer than the first one is and there, you’re just gathering information. So you’re not actually tying to enforce the plan on them but you’re kind of saying here’s what I plan to do. Do you have any feedback? Is there a better way for me to do this?
[11:02] Then the second step is you’re now going to go build something for these customers. I would absolutely not build all three points. I would not try to build or market or launch all three of them. I would build the first one as quickly as possible would get it out, get people using it, see what value they can get out of it, see how you need to iterate on it and try to market that. And you’re going to learn so much from that that my guess is your vision of how the second two need to be built and rolled out is going to completely change.
[11:30] Mike: I totally agree with the second half of everything you said about just building one thing. The first half, I think I would probably advise trying to figure out which of those three things is the one that should be built first? I think I’d really drill into that with people and maybe you lead with a different product because you really want to figure out which of those three products is the one that you should go after first because it maybe that people are not interested in the second or the third product at all. Maybe they’re interested in the third but not the second or vice versa or maybe they’re just not interested in either of them. And you really need to figure out whether or not people are going to give you money for it based on going out and looking for that product on their own as opposed to just having a conversation with you about it. I mean is it something that you’re going to be able to sell and not face to face I’ll say.
[12:15] Rob: Yeah. I think it’s easy to have this grand vision of a big suite of products. I’m not just going to build Microsoft word. I’m going to build word, excel, PowerPoint and all these other things. But it’s kind of like slow down, pick the one that you think you can get the most traction with first and then once you’re – you’re going to spend six months or a year. I know it seems like oh it will take 2 months to build and get it out there. It’s going to take forever, a lot longer than you think. Once you get to that point then you’ll have customers and you’ll have a bunch of knowledge and then you’ll be able to basically stack the bricks and kind of stair step yourself up.
[12:45] Mike: So Nelson I hope that helps. Thanks for the question. Our next one comes from Stanley Tan and he says hey Rob, I’m loving your podcast because you talk from a startups point of view about getting your 10th user and not from a company getting their thousandth user. I have a couple of questions for you. The first one is are you using a system to track your bugs? Second, how do you keep your product bug free, third, how does your team handle the process of pushing out new features and fourth, how do you improve an existing feature? The reason for this last question is my developers has untouched an existing feature because they said it will cause the system to be unstable. Thanks a lot. I appreciate it.
[13:18] Rob: For bug trucking, we use Fog Bugs. It’s good. I don’t think it’s the best of breed anymore. It was probably the best of breed in 2005 or 2006. I think there are newer tools out that if I were starting from scratch I would probably use them. I’ve actually considered moving over to something GitHub for tracking. There’s a big switch in cost but Fog Bugs is what I use. I use their on demand hosted version.
[13:40] Next question was how do you keep your products bug free? Well there are no bug free software products in the world so don’t think that you’re going to have products that are bug free. But the way we keep HitTail and Drip from having a lot of bugs is that we – customer support and we fix them quickly. We deploy almost daily to Drip. We probably have 3 or 4 deployments a week where we push new stuff out. Most of that is features but as bugs are found, we take care of them fast.
[14:08] His next question is how does your team handle the process of pushing out new features. We use GitHub and we have – web developer does a pool request and then we merge it into the trunk and then the trunk always compiles. There’s over 1,000 unit tests written for Drip and so anytime we check something into the trunk and we do a deployment, before that happens, all the tests have to pass. And so that’s how we push out new features. And so a new feature push and a complete deployment of everything is literally one command that activates a script and that deployment takes several minutes because there’s a restart a bunch of stuff, copy a bunch of code. Check things out, put a label but it’s all automated.
[14:47] With HitTail, pushing out new features is a little more manual but we use Git for it but it’s just a lot of command line, several command line things to copy something in and out of somewhere else. But that gives us a flexibility to easily rollback. Everything is versioned and so if I do a deployment and stuff chokes, I can roll it back pretty easily unless there are a lot of database changes. And then, fourth question less related to deploying he says how do you improve an existing feature.
[15:14] And I mean every developer – no developer wants to touch existing features that other people built but you just have to. That’s a bottom-line. If you’re a competent developer, if you’re working in the industry and you’re actually working on code whether it’s yours or other people, you need to get over it and you just spend the time to do it. It takes longer. Yes, it’s not as easy but there’s so much software written. All software is legacy software at this point and so when I improve an existing feature, I get in, try not to break things and then I QA it and have someone else QA it and you basically do the best that you can.
[15:43] Mike: There are going to be times where you’re going to have to touch a feature that is going to impact a lot of different things and it could very well be that by tweaking that feature you’re going to introduce a bug. I mean that’s just the nature of software that just happens. There’s not a lot that you can do about it. Systems to track bugs I use Fog Bugs. I also use Pivotal Tracker. Fog Bugs seems like its losing ground in the industry and there’s a lot of other things out there that would probably work better for me so I’m kind of experimenting with Pivotal Tracker right now. I will probably do some more experiments with Jira and go from there kind of figure out where I want to go with it.
[16:18] But as you said, there’s a huge switching cost so with Pivotal Tracker, I used it on a project that we were doing for part of MicroConf which seems to have worked out a little bit and then I’ve got another project that I’ve been working with Pivotal Tracker on and it seems like it’s working pretty well but I still want to give some other tools a shot. And then in terms of keeping a bug free – there isn’t software that’s bug free really what I tend to do is I look for the bugs that I can live with as opposed to the ones that are just going to totally destroy the product or make it completely unusable. I mean if the product’s unusable, you got to do something about it but if there are things that won’t work as well as you would like, you kind of have to look at those and say I’ll live with them for now. For now maybe a couple of days, a couple of weeks, might be six months to a year, it depends on what other things come up as a priority.
[17:07] And then in timers of pushing out new features for Audit Shark, what we have is several branches like each person has their own individual repository and then there’s kind of main branch and when you finish merging everything from all the repositories into yours, you can push it to the main branch and then what happens is on the build server, there’s – I use a product called final builder which basically runs through all the unit tests, does all the complies, packages everything up and then pushes that out to as yours to make sure that everything’s working the way its supposed to. So I guess that kind of wraps up how we handled the technical side of the things that we’re doing. So hopefully that helps you out Stanley.
[17:47] Our next one comes from peter Allen and he says I’m launching an app this summer and building a launch list. One of my main competitors signed up. It doesn’t feel right to be emailing my competitor all the news about the new project. Wondering what your thoughts are on this. Should I take them off the mailing list?
[18:0] Rob: That’s an interesting one. I think your competitor’s going to find out your info whether he’s on the list and you send it to him or not. With that said, I don’t know why you wouldn’t take him off. I’ve never had this happened. I don’t know if I would or wouldn’t. Not sure that I have a strong sense of what I would do if this happens. So I think I would go with your gut feeling if you’re concerned about him finding stuff out then pull them off. You have any thoughts on it Mike?
[18:23] Mike: I don’t know. I’m torn on this one as well. I don’t think that there’s any harm in taking them off because he is one of your main competitors, you may as well take them off. But at the same time, what you probably should have done by now is go over to your competitors website and take a look at their stuff and sign up for any mailing list that they have so that you see what they’re doing. So you’re probably doing it yourself and if you’re not, you probably should be.
[18:43] Rob: And it sounds like he’s leaning towards pulling him off and so I guess if you’re leaning towards that, I would probably just do that.
[18:50] Mike: I don’t think there’s anything wrong with taking him off. Especially since you’re kind of still in the pre-launch phase and if you haven’t launched the product yet, if you’re still trying to build up that marketing side of things, then there’s nothing to say that they couldn’t go out there and do the same things that you’re saying in your mailing list which are I’ll say quasi-private. But the second you launch and your website is up and live, everything’s public. So if you’re banking on them, never come into your website and see what you’ve got going on then that’s not just realistic if it’s a matter of trying to keep things kind of under the radar and only for the people on your mailing list up until that point then that’s a different story and I don’t see any issue taking them off.
[19:29] Our next question comes in from Simon Edwards and he says hi guys, love the show. I’m massively inspired. Now if I can just kick the corporate stooge gig. My question is where do you find software for sale? I know Rob bought the invoicing software from somebody but how did he find it? I’ve looked at a bunch of sites but most were selling ad words sites or scripts, not functional software. I think taking something that is 60% done will get me over the hurdle I need to clear. Any advice is much appreciated. Thanks.
[19:51] Rob: So I’ll start by saying don’t buy something that’s 60% done. Buy something that’s done and is close to having customers and product market fit meaning it already has solved the problem for specific market. That’s the ideal scenario that you can buy something that already has that and just use marketing to grow it. But if you buy a half finish software product, you’re better off just writing it from scratch in general. So I wouldn’t look to just buy a code base. If you want to go buy a code base, go to Google and type in like clone script like PHP clone scripts and go to those sites. And there’s clones of all types of stuff that you can get for $50 or $100. So if you just want code that does something, that’s where I’d head.
[20:27] But when you’re buying an app, think of it about buying existing marketing because that’s what the real value is, its revenue and the marketing that’s already been done. So there’s already inbound traffic if there’s existing customers those are just so much more important than the code that you’re going to be buying. The first part of the question was about where to find them and we actually recorded a podcast back in 2010. It’s episode 15, how to buy a web application and most of that still applies if you go back and listen to it but in general the apps that I have purchased I have found on forums. That’s where I found .net invoice. It was on the old site point forums.
[21:00] I have purchased them on Flippa and you’re right, Flippa is a big mass of junk but you have to dig for the diamonds if you’re going to buy something there. Right? Everyone logs in and thinks they can type in SaaS and find this amazing SaaS deal and that’s not how it looks just like the guys who make money on real estate don’t just walk down the street to the for sale sign and buy the house and they flip it for a bunch of money. That’s not how it works. You have to put in time. You have to learn in. you really have to invest the time to filter there.
[21:27] The third thing I’ve done is cold emailing and that’s how I found HitTail and that was an app that I had used and I emailed the founder and she wasn’t really maintaining it anymore and so she was willing to sell it. And then the other thing I’d look at is brokers. There’s some good brokers feinternational.com is one and empire flippers is another. And those guys have higher and apps and it’s probably purchase price between $20,000 and a couple hundred grand there. But those are the higher quality ones that actually have customers and they’re real businesses, they’re not just someone wrote some code and has it up on a server somewhere with zero marketing and zero customers.
[22:00] Mike: So Simon, I hope that helps. Our next one comes from Chris Kirkland. He says in episode 169 he stated that starting a community based website is hard. This was talked about around the 30 minute mark going into the podcast. Do you consider social networking site the same as community based websites? I would like to build a social network focused on helping businesses to promote their services and products similar sites like LinkedIn, talk biz now etc. Can you give me some insight on the best way to do this or this is a long journey?
[22:28] I think the big challenge you run into with these – any sort of community site whether it’s a social network of any kind of a community based website, the value really doesn’t come in until you hit this critical mass. And getting to that critical mass can be a long slog and the issue with that long slog is if it takes you too long to get that critical mass then you run into issues where people think that the site’s abandoned, they’re to going to come back to it and people are just not going to give it a chance. And you can try to re-invigorate the site later on after you get – let’s say you get 300 or 400 or 500 people and you can email them all and say hey, we’ve just done a new site redesign or something along those lines that kind of bring them all back at the same time and hopefully that can kind of jumpstart things if things have fallen by the way side.
[23:14] But the bottom-line is building those community based websites, really has those two factors where you have to reach that critical mass and it has to be within a certain timeframe and if you don’t do it quickly enough, then the site is just never going to really take off. And those are the two key things that you have to keep in mind when you’re trying to market it. The best hitting to do I would say is actually focus more on building email list because with an email list you can wait unit it gets to that critical mass and then invite them to a site and that will probably workout a lot better for you but you still have to be able to have something to say to that community.
[23:49] Rob: Yeah, building a community site you have to have the community first. That would be my advice. If you look at all the communities that you’re familiar with that you’ve seen work let’s say all the jolan software forums, where did he start? Well he had the blog, he had the people, boom, he sent them there. When they started stack overflow, Joel and Jeff both had enough people to get a community site going because your community site or your social network, your forum is worth nothing until there are X number of people there and that X might be 200 active users, that’s a bare minimum you can have just to support it and then keep it alive.
[24:24] And when you have 10 you may as well have zero because those 10 are going to leave because no one else is there. You have to instantly jumpstart it to that minimum number and I don’t know if 200 is a number. I’m kind of just drawing that out. But you look at thread list which is the t-shirt community site, that started as like forums for artists and then thread list now has voting where you can vote on t-shirts. They would never have been able to make that happen if they started it from scratch but if they had the audiences and then a bunch of copy cats came in and tried to do the same thing but they just said oh it’s the technology and they built the same thing but they didn’t have the artist there willing to vote on it.
[24:57] I would even say it’s a long slog like SaaS because at least SaaS you can start it if you have two customers who are paying you, you still have two customers who are paying you the product’s still valuable to them. But with something like a social network or a community site, you have to instantly jumpstart it to a certain amount or else, it’s a ghost town.
[25:12] Mike: Yeah. And I think that’s part of the reason behind the success of the Micropreneur Academy and MicroConf because we had this community in place, rob stated the Micropreneur academy from his blog and kind of brought people into that community. Form the Micropreneur Academy we started the podcast and then when we decided to go out and do MicroConf we already had this community of people that we were tapping into from both the podcast and from the Micropreneur Academy. So we were able to make that jumpstart happen but if you aren’t able to do that, it’s just not going to work.
[25:42] Our next question comes in for Jim Monroe and he says hi guys, I’ve looked at several methods of coming up with ideas from niche websites included in the Micropreneur Academy and via research I’ve gone with my top traffic pics but I’ve had difficulty when it comes to creating useful or shareable content with a niche that I’m not an expert in. I like to create useful content to attract visitors and newsletter signups and not just regurgitating the junk I’ve read about said topic on the internet let alone do it on a weekly or more frequent basis. Do you have any suggestions on generating the content base for a new niche website? Do I just avoid content marketing like this even if the niche appears to be a good one? Outsourced article writing or just BS my way through it? Thanks guys. Still digging the podcast. Great work.
[26:21] Rob: I think it depends on how big of a product you’re looking to build. If you’re trying to do a SaaS product and you want to grow it to tens of thousands of dollars a month in revenue then you either need to be into that niche enough that you’re able to create content or you need to have the funds to hire someone who can create high quality content and that’s going to be between 1 and $300 per sharable blog post.
[26:45] But if you’re looking to create just a tiny little ad sense micro niche site then yeah, you can either crank out some articles, do some research, crank out some articles or you can hire someone $20 to $30 per article and go that route. It’s kind of up to your goals there. I think that if I was going to be diving into a SaaS app that I’m going to do for the next two years, you’d want to have at least some interest in it or some knowledge of it. I don’t think you need it in every case. I guess I’ve seen people have success but that’s not the case but it does depend on your personality.
[27:12] Mike: Yeah. I think Rob’s got it right. I mean it’s a balancing act of how much revenue you’re expected to come out of this versus how much you’re going to put into it. And if you can afford to spend the money and its going to be something that you’re going to be working on for a long time then go ahead and spend the money on it now but if you can’t, then you kind of have to do it yourself until you get to a point where you do have the money to spend and hire other people to do it because there’s going to be a lot of other things that you need to focus your time on especially for something that is going to be a big commitment on your part in terms of time for the business moving forward.
[27:45] Rob: I also think that content marketing is not for everyone. There’s a difference between tactical niche terms and long tail keywords that you’re just trying to attract traffic to that you maybe researched some Google ad words or the Google ad words planner I guess is what its called now or use a tool like long tail pro or HitTail or market samurai and you get keywords and then just want to build kind of a larger surface area, search engine surface area, that will bring in traffic.
[28:11] But then there’s the other side through content marketing based on how I understand it or how I would define it is it’s more of super high quality stuff that gets shared. It’s more buffer and kiss metrics and biz sketch. I mean these are people that are very experienced and they get 50 or 100 tweets each. They’ll pull in some search engine traffic for sure but they’re not solely focused on keywords. They really are focused on getting traffic through social sharing. So it depends. I don’t know if you’re defining content marketing as that but that’s how I would differentiate between those two things.
[28:42] Mike: Our next question comes in form David Welton. He says hi, at MicroConf Europe Rob mentioned he tends to move to something new every year. Another presenter Peldi mentioned that for him, balsamic was where it’s at and he’s happy with that. Any ideas about deciding on when and how to move on from something or not to and how to go about doing so. PS, thanks for having a transcript available. David.
[29:02] Rob: This one depends on your personality. Peldi I think is just committed to his app and he loves being in the space that he’s in and the bouncing to another thing probably sounds like a ton of work or just a headache that he wants to avoid and he’s built up – what does he have? 12 employees now? So it’s a company and he’ll probably be happy doing that for 10 or 20 years. I enjoy the change up of working on something pretty new about every 18 months and so for me, working on the same app for 10 years sounds like a grind.
[29:30] And so I think it’s more of a personal choice in terms of how to go about doing so, the way that I’ve done it when I’d move on is I’d find someone to be either the product manager or if it doesn’t need new features, some of my sites and apps are mature and They don’t actually need code written then I just find someone to handle the tier one support and then you essentially step away and you move on to that next project.
[29:53] Mike: I would say that if you are bored with something you kind of need to move on or if you could just get to one point where you know that it’s not going to grow any further, it almost doesn’t matter what you’re doing or if something happens at the market place that you just don’t have any control over and it looks like it’s going to probably shut down or eventually destroy the business then you might want to move up that time table moving on to something else so that you’re in a good position so that when that does happen that you moved on to something else completely so you’re not depending on that revenue stream anymore.
[30:24] I really think that rob’s right. it depend a lot on your personality and whether or not you’re looking for new things and get bored with any specific thing that you’re working on. And if you’re just not interested in that then you kind of need to move on and find something else and whether you sell that product or keep it as a portfolio piece, again that’s kind of a personal preference thing but it also depends a little bit on your resources and whether or not you can manage that as a product inside your portfolio.
[30:47] Rob: I think you actually made a good point about if you’re getting bored with a product that it’s probably time to move on and I think there’s balance there right? If you’re bored with it for three weeks, give it some more time. But if you’re bored, unmotivated for six months, the product is having revenue you just can’t get it passed the plateau and you just have no interest in working with it then yeah, it’s better to move on to something that interests you and that you can actually invest energy and grow than to just have this kind of ongoing struggle and to see this thing wasting away because it’s just a drag on your motivation.
[31:19] And if you’re bored with it and you really don’t have the motivation after months and months of trying, it’s better off in someone else’s hands frankly and that person is either someone you hire to manage it if there’s enough money there or doing a sale and then take that money to go then launch your next effort. I do think it’s easy to get – do some franchise when something gets hard and then want to give up after – it’s too hard to grow this. I‘m just going to bale on this thing. I do see people bouncing around and never really having bigger successes because they don’t stick with stuff long enough but that comes back to knowing yourself like do you tend to stick with stuff long or do you tend to give up on stuff too quickly, trying to think it through potentially get some outside advice as well hopefully from your mastermind group.
[31:57] Mike: Yeah that reminds me of quote from the movie American gangster. Quitting while you’re ahead is not the same thing as quitting.
[32:02] Rob: Yeah. If you have question for us, call our voice mail number at 1-888-801-9690 or email it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our theme music is an excerpt from “We’re Outta Control” by MoOt used under Creative Commons. Subscribe to us in iTunes by searching for startups or via RSS at startupsfortherestofus.com where you’ll also find a full transcript of each episode. Thanks for listening. We’ll see you next time.