Episode 181 | Our Takeaways from MicroConf 2014

Episode 181 | Our Takeaways from MicroConf 2014

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Show Notes


[00:00] Rob: In this week’s episode of Startups for the Rest of Us, Mike and I discuss our takeaways from MicroConf 2014. This is Startups for the Rest of Us: Episode 181.

[00:08] Music

[00:15] 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 Rob.

[00:23] Mike: And I’m Mike.

[00:24] Rob: And we’re here to share our experiences to help you avoid the same mistakes we’ve made. So we’re still here in the Tropicana in Las Vegas. We just wrapped up a 2 ½ hardcore days of speakers. There’s 9 speakers, 11 attendee talks, 210 attendees this year. I had a great time. Pretty tired but I think it was worth it.

[00:43] Mike: It’s totally worth it. I mean every year I came back and thinking to myself you know, a little bit scared just kind of like oh, what are we going to do next year? We’re going to be able to deliver because expectations have been so high and everyone comes up and says oh I love this conference, it’s great. The next year comes along and it’s just everyone, you get the exact same feedback. It’s awesome to be able to kind of continuously do that year after year but of course it continues to set the bar at just a really high level.

[01:06] Rob: Right. Yeah this is definitely the most exhausting but probably the most fun 72 hours of my year and I guess now we have two of them because Europe is in October. Actually I guess we can announce that now. We just got confirmation from the hotel that MicroConf is going to be in Prague October 27th and 28th, that’s a Monday and Tuesday. If you came to this MicroConf and if you didn’t get enough, you’re glutting for punishment, head over to microconfeurope.com and we obviously are building that early bird mailing list.

[01:34] Mike: Talked to a couple people last night and I told them what it was and several of them are like oh, I can’t wait to go to that one or I’m definitely going to look into that because some of them are based over here and we had a bunch of people who had gone to MicroConf Prague and they actually didn’t come to the one in Vegas in previous years because they were wondering like is it really worth the flight over there? Then they went to Prague and said oh, I’m totally going to the one in Vegas and then got to the same thing over here where I’ve kind of explained to them we’re trying to replicate the exact same experience that they get here so people don’t say this MicroConf over here is better than that one and we don’t end up with disparities between them.

[02:09] Rob: What my favorite part this year I think when we stood up and asked for show of hands and said who here hasn’t – to at least one previous MicroConf and it was somewhere in the 60% – 70% range, a very high return rate. I think it speaks to how tightly knit the community feels here because I feel like a lot of people know each other. I know there are a lot of first timers. We could see it on the – we had a little rip on the badge but the people who come back, it just builds that momentum and it makes you feel like you’re coming back to hang out with a bunch of friends and talk about really interesting stuff that you can’t talk about the rest of the year.

[02:43] Mike: Yeah I think that’s a really, really good point because one of the things that people have told me kind of throughout the conferences that there’s nobody who lives near them that’s doing the same types of things. So they in many ways feel very isolated because they kind of feel like they’re working in a vacuum. There’s nobody around that they can really talk to and MicroConf gives them that excuse to not only come to Vegas and hang out with a bunch of people but to learn lots of things that are really going to help them with their business throughout the year.

[03:10] Rob: Yeah I mean I think we’ve talked about it recently though like doubling down on community is something that we’re diving into and with Micropreneur academy and now Founder Café and two MicroConfs in a year, that’s where I think so much of the value is, and masterminds. We’ve dove into that as well so it makes natural sense that having a conference like this and getting everybody together in the same place is probably more valuable like Ted said the first year and like I say every year from the stage is probably more valuable than the talks is to just get together and share experiences and really get other people’s insights and know what you’re up to.

[03:45] Mike: I think that was probably one of my favorite parts of the conference was just the fact that we were able to bring 210 people this year and it didn’t feel that large. I mean there were a lot of people who said oh, how many people you have? They hear 210 and they’re like whoa, that’s a lot more than I thought. It doesn’t feel that big. And I think part of that was just the logistics of the room because the room that we had this year was wider than it has been in years past. So I think that worked out really well. But the quality level of the attendees I mean I can probably have talked to anybody there and I didn’t get a chance to talk to everyone but I talked to a lot of people and it was just everyone had something to share that you could learn from and that’s really a cool experience. It doesn’t matter who you talk to. You can learn something from them.

[04:26] Rob: Yeah. I had 2 or 3 people come up and say oh, the conference is smaller than it was last year. For whatever reason whether it was just the room size or just that they felt they knew more people but last year we did about 170 something and this year right about 210. In terms of things that could go better, things that we would improve, I think that the big thing that we ran into this year for the first time ever surprisingly enough was the Wi-Fi was really erratic. But we pay several thousand dollars, 3 or 4 grand every year to get custom Wi-Fi dropped in and it’s supposed to b able to support hundreds and hundreds of deceives and obviously people were getting kicked off. It worked a good chunk of the time but people were getting booted. That was pretty disappointing when we called the Cox out several times to take a look at it but it was erratic. That was probably kind of my low point.

[05:10] Mike: Yeah. I think that was probably the low point of the conference for me as well is just the Wi-Fi kept going up and down and it was really nice to have a conference coordinator who could really just kind of actively go after that and say hey you guys really need to fix this and call them and have them come back a couple times because otherwise we would have to do it and that kind of takes our focus away from the conference and that can be tough for me because you really want to be able to guide the conversations and talk with people and interact with them and make sure that the conference is going well and you don’t have to deal with the infrastructure problems. It was great to have him be able to actively deal with that stuff while we’re managing other things.

[05:43] Rob: Yeah that’s been one of the real bonuses of being able to grow the conference a bit is that we’re able to afford a coordinator and he’s taken a huge amount of the work away from us so that was super helpful. Thanks to Zander for doing that. So let’s talk about some of the talks that impacted us. We obviously can’t talk about all of them. They were including attendee talks which are shorter takes about 12 minutes a piece, there were a total of 20 talks. There are several here that I wanted to bring up with the first one is your talk. You went on Monday morning. You talked about – to be honest, you started talking and you were talking about your Twitter strategy about building your Twitter following that you had like a long tail SEO strategy and it felt as you were going through said you have like pieces, five acts.

[06:25] And you got three acts in and I was like where is Mike going with this? My inner monologue was like I don’t know what he’s doing. And then you stepped through and in the fifth act you kind of did the big reveal. This is why all these graphs started growing up at this time because basically that health problem that we’d actually talked about this in what 20 episodes ago and you’re like that health problem was basically fixed at this point or we figured it out and now we started taking some medication. That like brought it all together and I got that same feedback form a number of people who were like at first I was wondering where Mike was going with it and then at the end it had a real impact on people and a lot of people were asking questions about like you know, how that felt.

[07:00] Because you mentioned testosterone, it’s a testosterone level that was messed up. I could already tell people were like asking how did you get tested? Did you go to a doctor? Did you hurt yourself? There’s obviously other folks in the audience who are struggling with similar types of stuff. So I think that was a big deal. How did you feel about it?

[07:17] Mike: I thought the talk itself went really well. I mean in years passed there have been certain parts of talks that I’ve given where I feel I’ll say a little disjointed or forgetful about these sorts of things that I was talking about and this one was definitely longer than previous talks that I’ve done but it all felt very, very smooth to me. I’ve never felt at any point during the talk and this one just it seemed like it just flowed for me. I got through it and I had probably about two dozen people come up to me afterwards and talk to me and ask me various questions about it because at the end of the day it wasn’t necessarily about my particular health problem. The point that I wanted to raise is that if you’re not taking care of yourself, it’s very difficult to take care of other people including your customers, your friends, your family and obviously family is part of why we do this and we want to be able to live a lifestyle that is beneficial to us and be able to spend that time with them. And if you’re not doing things that you love then kind of what’s the point?

[08:11] But if you’re not taking care of yourself you can’t put yourself in that position. And if you get into a situation where some of these things are affecting you let’s say for example you have some sort of hormone imbalance and it’s affecting your work, well what do you do to get out of that? Well you work more because you think that working more hours is going to help. And the fact is it actually doesn’t. It hurts you because then you’re working more hours. You’re more tried. Your mental energy drops and it becomes the snowball effect where you’re actually going in the wrong direction. You’re working more to catch up but it’s actually hurting you more. And you don’t realize it.

[08:46] Somebody pointed out to me, it’s almost like the example of putting a frog in boiling water and it’s so hot the frog jumps out. But if you’re sitting in that water and it slowly warms up over time, you can kill the frog and it will just die because it doesn’t realize that it’s being boiled to death and that’s exactly the same position that I kind of ended up in. It was just things were going wrong and it was slow enough that I didn’t realize it like if you break your leg, you know something that’s and that’s seriously wrong but if you have some sort of hormone imbalance that takes place over time and whether that’s trust or your work is impacting you, you’re not getting enough sleep at night, you’re not exercising they take a toll on you over time and it’s slow enough you don’t realize how bad that problem is until something breaks or something kind of snaps you out of it. And that was really the point that I wanted to make to people and I heard a lot of people who were just having random conversations, talked about health issues. It was really, really awesome to see.

[09:40] Rob: Yeah. And what was cool is you had a bunch of graphs and you had a graph of the number of Twitter followers you had a graph about of the number of I think it was unique visits to you website based on organic traffic. And they basically were bumping along the bottom and then on a certain day, boom, they all spiked up and you had like 2 or 3 of those and you put a big red arrow and the dates were all basically within a month of each other and that was the month that you figured this whole thing out. I don’t think that’s a coincidence. I mean that’s what you’re pointing out right? It’s like your motivation before that was very low and you just didn’t want to work on things and then when you turn it around, it’s a stark contrast. This is self care. It’s like caring for yourself and understanding when – you’re lows and how long those lows are happening and why they’re happening and if it’s going on longer than a month or two then there’s probably something to be fixed.

[10:27] The next talk, Sherri Walling’s talk, my wife’s talk piggy backed really well on that and she spent a full 40 minutes diving into the various causes of it and how to have time in and then how to have a time out from work and time in includes things like retreats, mastermind groups, it’s diving into your work but organizing it and getting support, organizing the thoughts in your head around it and then the time out is things that are away from work and those are – she had a bunch of them. It was like service, travel, vacation time with family, time away from screens, that was a big one right? Like screen free Sundays, yeah there was a lot in that. I actually want to go back and watch the video again and kind of take some notes. I’m looking forward to puling some more action items out of her talk.

[11:08] Mike: I think what was really cool about her talk was that one of the things she did was extremely simple. It was just she did this very simple breathing exercise and I took a glance around in the middle of it just to kind of see like who is participating in it and everybody was. It was so simple and it was so short due. It didn’t take any time or effort to do and it worked. I mean people felt better. I felt better afterwards and it was just so simple and it’s something that you could do at your desk. There’s just you’re breathe in and out a couple of times very regimented pace and just really concentrate on your breathing and it’s just a very simple hack, it’s a body hack is really what it comes down to and it just works. And I think that’s not something that people really think about while they’re sitting there and saying oh I got to rustle with this problem and I’m all stressed out and just take a step back and breathe a little bit and things get better

[11:54] Rob: Yeah and I saw a tweet from a MicroConf attendee returning home who said I used the Zen founders deep breathing on the way home because I’m a nervous flyer and it got me through the flight.

[12:04] Mike: That’s awesome.

[12:05] Rob: Yeah. I think what might be the most memorable talk of this year was that Jesse Mecham’s talk. Jessie is the founder of youneedabudget.com YNAB and it’s downloadable desktop software, it’s a budgeting software. So it may be similar to like the quick end or something. He nailed it. He had the mix of humor, interesting story. He’s at 27 employees now and I think the title of the talk included the number 4 million dollars in revenue I don’t know if that’s this year or what year it was but obviously a very large company that’s selling $60 onetime fee software to consumers.

[12:43] But what was cool was he went through his first five years. I think he’s been in business nine years and he just went from day one and told all the stories and the foibles and how he had no idea what he was doing, there was no hacker news or quora, he didn’t listen to any gurus, no methodology, he just tumbled his way though and had some really actionable takeaways for people who are hesitating or who feel like they need to read one more book to do it because his whole point was to start doing stuff. And as simple as that sounds, he just had story after story example after example of him doing stuff, it not working but as he iterated, it grew and he showed the doubled revenue from 200 to 400 to 800 by doing little tips and tricks so his was definitely one of my favorites.

[13:24] Mike: It was actually really interesting to see that his first product was not a piece of software it was an excel spreadsheet that he was selling, that’s kind of a proof of concept but it was just really cool to see like he made all these mistakes and did all these things you would look that and say oh that will never work and it’s like it did work because people actually had that problem and were willing to pay for it. And as you said, over time, he’s iterated and done better and almost up to 4 million in revenue na 27 employees and you don’t get that overnight. It did take nine years to get there but he’s there right now and it’s awesome to see that path that he’s gone through and you’d look at and say oh, yeah, sure, he’s done this overnight and it’s like no there’s this long process behind it and it just takes time and effort and just continuous iteration.

[14:08] Rob: So I closed up the first day talking about Drip, the title was something like how I launched a Saas app to $7,000 in recurring revenue in month 1 and it was the story of Drip of how I validated the idea and then the slow launch that we did and user onboard and that kind of stuff and it felt good about the talk. I think after last year’s talk which is how I grew HitTail I don’t know if this was as good a story. Right? Because the story’s not done yet but I did get positive feedback on the on boarding part specifically because I really walked through how we onboard people with Drip and it’s a high performing on boarding process and we spent a lot of time on it so that I hope is a big takeaway that people took from the talk.

[14:47] Mike: I think one takeaway that maybe you kind of mentally glossed over because to you, it’s not necessarily relevant but I think that a lot of other people see it as relevant is that in MicroConf the kind of experiences that you see and hear is not just in the success stories but it’s also the failures and the things that you get into something and you make a mistake and then you go back and say okay well what can I do differently? And the one slide that really sticks out in my mind is you had a slide where there was this road and there’s just this giant boulder in the middle of the road. And you got to a point where it’s just you’re trying to move forward and you couldn’t. There’s this giant roadblock and you had to backup and say okay well now what? How do I get through this roadblock?

[15:23] And the answer is you don’t in some cases. The answer is go in a different direction because that’s just to possible. You can’t go in that direction because you’re not going to be able to. It’s going to take too long. It takes too much effort and resources that you simply don’t have right now. That definitely impacted a lot of people because they look at that and they say hey, even Rob Walling makes mistakes. some people were kind of talking about this quote which was don’t feel bad about what you’re doing because what you’re doing is you’re comparing your daily life against other people’s highlight reels. And that’s so true and it’s really nice to see people sharing not just the successes but also the failures and the mistakes made along the way so that other people can learn from them and realize that everyone makes mistakes, everyone has these times where they just can’t proceed forward and you have to take a step back and you have to reevaluate and sometimes reevaluating means going in a different direction.

[16:15] Rob: Yeah. That’s a good point actually. Several people came up and mentioned that. I was kind of deliberate about it in the talk but I realized there were even more mistakes I could’ve called out and I think that would’ve been beneficial but I think I had 2 or 3 foibles that I did during that launch and during building Drip that I called out. The particular mistakes aren’t important but you’re right. It was just so people could see oh, he took missteps and how did you handle them because we’re all going to take missteps and it would be nice to know how to do it.

[16:39] The other thing that I called out that folks mentioned was I talked about a couple points where I was really disappointed. I was really anxious. I was depressed. I just felt like crap because something didn’t go right. We spent a month doing something and I felt like we’re not moving forward. And to stand up on the stage and say this part really sucked, I saw tweets about that people saying wow now I don’t feel bad when that happens on my product because I know that basically we all go through this.

[17:05] Mike: What did you think of Annie’s talk?

[17:07] Rob: So Annie Cushing is a Google analytics genius I’ll say. She basically dropped so much knowledge in the first 120 seconds of her talk that it made me embarrassed to think that I’ve ever logged into a Google analytics account. She knows Google analytics better than anyone I’ve ever seen. So if you haven’t heard of her, you can go to annielytics.com and that’s just what she does. That all she does 40-50 hours a week is consult and build custom reports and she knows it in and out better. She knows every little nook and cranny and all the weird bugs and errors that I would look at and say oh that’s an anomaly but she’ll just call like there’s four errors in this report and here’s how you get around them and I love it.

[17:46] I mean I think she had 9 or 10 questions that every entrepreneur should be asking their analytics. I mean it wasn’t the obvious things. Right? It wasn’t like oh how many visits do I get? It was like digging in and looking at like which competitors might be spying on you or which of your products is the most successful? I mean she was pulling data that I didn’t even know where data would be.

[18:07] Mike: And then there were other things she talked about like last click attribution which if you’re not familiar with what that is, it is how is it that somebody clicks on something and then it buys your products. Where is the credit for that click going to? And it’s not necessarily actually where they last clicked because maybe they came in through social network or a newsletter or something along those lines and maybe it went to your website and then there was a direct link back to your website and then they bought something, it’s like where does that credit go? And really it gets distributed but it could be very difficult to find out some of that information and she shed a lot of light on to that process and how you should really be thinking about it. And I thought that was really cool. It was nice to see her dig into Google analytics because I think so many people use it and it’s just so hard to understand if you’re not an expert in it.

[18:54] It was nice for her to share that kind of knowledge with everybody and there was a huge amount of response from that and I remember talking to somebody who was sitting in the back of the room. They commented to me oh yeah in the middle of her talk there were probably 30 or 40 people who were rewriting some of their Google analytics campaigns and custom reports just based on the stuff that she was saying. So I don’t know if Google tracks that form a single IP but I’m wondering if it got flagged for something.

[19:16] Rob: Yeah. I think she probably combined a 4 or 8 hour workshop into a 40 minute talk. I mean that’s basically what it felt like. I think another notable one was Brandon Dunn and his talk was six tricks that helped me triple my Saas growth rate. He talked about reducing churn through some targeted emails and even personal emails. He’ll turn off his auto responder sequence inside his trials then he’ll just send personal one on one emails from him to people who are using it. And he has the whole required text field when you cancel because he really wants to find out why you canceled. And there were four other tricks and obviously it’s helped him grow plan scope. Almost everyone in the audience can probably take something away from his talk.

[19:57] Mike: The really interesting part about his talk was the six different things that he had were actually at six different parts of the interactions with customers. So he had one trick that he did upfront and another trick in the middle and basically ran the gambit through all these different scenarios so it wasn’t like there was one part of this funnel where he did 2 or 3 different things and made things better. It was just six different points throughout the sales process. He did six different things and overall it grew his on boarding rate and his conversation rate for something like 30% 33% I think he said. It was really cool to see the multiplicative effect of implementing all of those different things.

[20:34] Rob: And then sprinkled throughout the days we had sessions of attendee talks. We had a really good showing. We had 42 attendee talks submitted this year and we only had time to do 11 of them. All of them did quite well. I mean I heard people getting takeaways from pretty much every talk that was given very high bars set every year. This year with MicroConf we actually pulled three speakers from attendee talks last year, Nathan Barry, Bandon Dunn and Sherri waling and moved them into kind of the main stage speaker so I can see that certainly being an option next year as well.

[21:08] One talk I wanted to call out is Dave Rodenbaugh’s talk which was titled how to buy your way to fame and fortune as a bootstrapper. And he basically talked about acquiring WordPress plug-ins which is something that not a lot of folks have done, not a lot of folks have acquired software because we all want to build it but it was a very well told story and obviously quite a big success for him. I think that was a good one. And Dave’s just been – he’s been all for MicroConf and we’ve encouraged him to do attendee talks in the past. It was good to see him get up and share his knowledge to the crowd.

[21:35] Mike: Yeah, I really liked how he tied that together and showed that not only was he acquiring things but he acquired them and then showed kind of afterwards all the work and effort he did and put into it to make those products better and 90% of it was really just the marketing side of stuff. He acquired a product that didn’t have good marketing and he turned that around and was able to essentially tell a great story to the customer such that they were able to buy a slightly tweaked and slightly better product than it had previously done. But it already had a solid code base. It wasn’t that the product was bad. It was that the marketing was bad. And he took that and he ran with it and he built decent businesses out of these WordPress plug-in.

[22:15] Rob: And of the 11 attendee talks, 2 of them were about WordPress plug-in. John Turner did his talk on how I built the six figure WordPress plug-in business while working a day job and John actually still has his day job. He said it’s low stress and really doesn’t have any desire to leave but he has the coming soon plug-in and I think there’s one maintenance mode plug-in as well. He just kind of walked through the whole story of kind of discovering the academy basically. It was cool to hear his story because I’ve heard it through tweets and things here and there but to actually hear it full on about how reading through the stuff in the Micropreneur academy changed his thinking to go niche and that once he did that, things really picked up for him. He’s at 800,000 downloads from wordpress.org. He has a couple of plug-ins and he had a theme online for a while that I think he took off but I definitely enjoyed his story.

[23:04] Mike: Yeah. I think the number of 800,000 downloads just kind of blew my mind. it’s just like wow you know, that’s a huge footprint and it gives you a huge number of people to sell your products to and he also talked a little bit about some of the pitfalls of dealing with that and how he was able to grow his business through interacting with the WordPress ecosystem.

[23:25] Rob: Another attendee talk that I got a lot of comments on was by Harry Hollander of Moraware software and it was called sales calls don’t need to be painful. What I liked about this is Harry’s a developer. He’s like us. He doesn’t want to do sales calls and he specifically called that out and he said their sales cycle used to be 6-12 months and it would be 30 hours working with a customer to get them committed to using their software. They build software for countertop installers. And through just honing their questions and kind of figuring out a better process, they have moved that down to I think it was three hours that they now spend with customers and it’s like a couple of weeks.

[24:05] So it’s just an amazing story of kind of iterating – they didn’t split test in the traditional sense but they really just tried a bunch of different things and they basically boil it down to asking four questions of someone you know they’re on a sales call with. I don’t remember the four questions. Do you?

[24:21] Mike: There were four questions that the very first question was what are you doing today? And the idea behind that question is they want to find out in Harry’s business they have software that helps people schedule kitchen countertop instillations. So their first question is how do you schedule kitchen counter top instillations today and if their answer is we don’t, that’s kind of the end of the sales call. You don’t need to go any further because their software and their products just can’t help them. So that’s a very good qualifying question.

[24:47] And then their follow-up questions, the second question is what works about that process and the third question is what doesn’t work about that? The fourth question is what will happen long-term if you don’t change the way you’re doing things? Harry actually mentioned that’s a very good way for the customer to talk and get it out that they’re essentially selling themselves on this new product that they’re looking at because they know that they need to get off of their current system and this other product can help them, the product that Moraware Software provides but the customer is essentially talking themselves into buying something to solve their pain point. How much is it going to cost them if they don’t switch and that’s really the bottom line is they want the customer to talk. And he said one of the really hard parts about this is to ask the question and then shut up. He said that’s really, really hard to do.

[25:34] Rob: He said he’s done almost 2,000 sales calls and that he pretty much knows there’s only two different answers to the first question as an example. So he knows what they’re going to say before they say it but he said that’s not the point. You still have to ask it and you have to be quiet so that they can basically talk themselves into realizing how much value they’re going to get out of your software.

[25:55] Last couple attendee talks that I liked, one was from Ryan Delk. He’s head of growth at Gumroad and Gumroad is a service that helps folks sell products like typically one time downloadable so a lot of info products, music, I think they have videos and you know, movies and such. But a lot of info marketers are starting to use them. And they have done, seen thousands of launches so they have all kinds of data and he was able to break out some really interesting things about pricing. He was saying that you should have tiered pricing and that it should be around 1X 2.2X and 5X and those are the best numbers they’ve seen.

[26:34] So obviously if you’re 1X price is just for the eBook and it’s $19 then 2.2 times that is around $40-45 and that should be your next tier. And then you go up about another 2.5 times that. so you’d go up into the $90 or $99 range and you obviously have to add more value to those higher ends but he’s saying what when people do that, that they get like another – I think it’s an additional 62% of revenue and there’s just a substantial amount that comes from that middle and that top tier and that’s just one of the things. I mean they were like 6 or 7 points he dropped like that in the span of 12 minutes.

[27:06] Mike: I think the number he showed were probably the best part of it because it was actual data about not just what you should do but why you should do it and what the average results are from doing that. That was probably the most powerful part about it was as you said they’ve got access to so much data and statistics they can run those numbers and correlate them and provide them back to people and say these are the things that are working and this is why you should do these things and this is going to be the results of those things.

[27:33] Rob: And I think rounding us out for this episode is the attendee talk by Samuel Hulick. It was called UX basics that convert users into customers and Samuel was actually my marketing intern that I had hired last year and he’s then started useronboard.com where he does a lot of on boarding critiques and he’s written a book. And actually that was cool. He basically is giving the book away to everybody who attended MicroConf. We had a couple nice giveaways. I give away my startup VA course as well. But Samuel’s talk I thought was good. I love his Mario analogy where he says your customer’s Mario and your customer doesn’t want the flower that they’re going to capture. They want the result which is turning into the large Mario that spits fireballs and he has that analogy in his book as well. It definitely hit home with me because it makes me realize of course they don’t want the product. They want what the product turns them into.

[28:26] Mike: Yeah I thought that was really good analogy partially because it demonstrated like for example if you’re the small Mario, there are certain attributes that the person has. There may be a little bit less apps to do things or take risks but when they turn into fireball Mario it’s just like oh, I’ll take it. I don’t really care. It’s not going to do anything to me. It’s not going to wreck my world because I got this power behind me at this point and I’m not going to die if I go down the wrong path. And it’s very interesting to see that analogy just because I think that most people don’t necessarily realize that as you said, it’s not about the product. It’s kind of what the product turns you into.

[29:03] Rob: So we did video all the talks including the attendee talks and as soon as we have those, they will be available in the Micropreneur academy. It will probably be a month or two and then I’d imagine we’ll make most of them available in about 10 months as we’re promoting the next one, we’ll be releasing those. We know we never released the attendee talks form last year to the public so we should probably do that soon.

[29:25] I really wanted to take the sponsors, the folks who have essentially allowed MicroConf to be possible. Kiss Metrics sponsored this year as well as Software Promotions and Balsamic, Bid Sketch and Cumbia returning sponsors, Constant Contact sponsored several times and User Hue which is Lance Jones of Copy Hackers was really cool and User Hue actually gave us some oculus riff headsets to give away, three of them and that was a big hit. Constant contact also gave an iPad air so that was as a way to make the event memorable. It’s cool.

[29:55] Mike: Also software promotions, I was working on a video course for SEO. I think it’s called SEO demystified that they’re giving a pretty sizeable discount to all of MicroConf attendees and it’s Dave Collins who’s behind that and he does some really, really great work so I would definitely take a look at that if you guys have an opportunity. It’s coming out soon I think. He said that the target date was May 15th but whenever it comes out, he’s definitely going to make that discount available to all the MicroConf people.

[30:19] Rob: So I think that kind of wraps up our take always from MicroConf Vegas 2014. If you’re interested in perhaps hearing about MicroConf 2015 which should be hopefully next April, head over to microconf.com get your name on the mailing list. We sold out in around 20 minutes this year so I don’t know what next year is going to look like. Every year it seems to get it takes about 1/20th of the time so hopefully it won’t sell out in a minute next year. But also as I said earlier, we’re doing MicroConf Europe and microconfeurope.com gets you there. We are putting together that mailing list as well.

[30:53] Mike: If you have a question for us, you can call it into our voicemail number at 1-888-801-9690 or email it to us at questions@startupsfortherestofus.com. Our theme music is an excerpt from “We’re Outta Control” by MoOt used under Creative Commons. You can 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.


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2 Responses to “Episode 181 | Our Takeaways from MicroConf 2014”

  1. Thank you for the kind words, guys! I chuckled at the part about cramming a four-hour seminar into a 40-minute presentation. 🙂

  2. Dave Collins says:

    Thanks Mike – also a reminder to the attendees:


    Really hope you can join us!

    See you in Prague 🙂