- Paul Graham Essay: Great Hackers
- TechZing Podcast
- Rob’s “New” App: WeddingToolbox
- StarCraft 2
[00:00] Rob: This is Startups for the Rest of Us: Episode 19.
[00:13] Rob: Welcome to Startups for the Rest of Us, the podcast that helps developers be awesome at launching software products, whether you’ve built your first product or are just thinking about it. I’m Rob.
[00:21] Mike: And I’m Mike.
[00:22] Rob: And we’re here to share our experiences to help you avoid the same mistakes we’ve made. What’s been going on the last week, Mike?
[00:28] Mike: Not a whole lot. I’m just wrestling with some ornery code, I’ll call it. I’m working with this programming API that bills itself as being able to do things in a parallel manner. And I think what I’m actually running into is race conditions, because it doesn’t actually handle parallel stuff very well. So that’s my technical problems for the week.
[00:49] Rob: That actually reminds me of…I think Paul Graham talked a little bit about it, but he talked about how there are good problems and bad problems in programming. And the good problems are like solving a business problem, and the bad problems are coding against buggy APIs and business politics, and company politics and stuff.
[01:07] When you bring that up, it reminds me of, like, this is the worst part of coding, is dealing with someone else’s crappy code, because it’s unpredictable and it doesn’t make you a better programmer. At least if you are solving a problem or you are learning something new, you can be like, “Oh, even if this is hard work, next week or next year I’ll be better for it.” But coding against a buggy API, there is no value to you at all. It sucks.
[01:27] Mike: Yeah. I know exactly what you are saying. I totally agree. I think I remember reading that as well. It’s awful, because I’m not learning anything. All I’m learning is that the people who built this API didn’t know what they were really doing. [laughs]
[01:38] Rob: Yeah. Yeah, that sucks. Well, for me, I recorded a podcast this afternoon with Jason and Justin from TechZing, and it’s a pretty cool podcast. You should check it out. And listeners, if you haven’t checked it out, there are a couple of developers down in LA. They are both doing essentially kind of micropreneur type stuff. They don’t target small niches. One of them has built a Twitter client called Pluggio at Pluggio.com. And the other has been working on an app for a long time, about a year, called AppIgnite, and he’s trying to get it out.
[02:08] So they are not like vertical niches. They are not the traditional stuff Mike and I would talk about, but it’s still really interesting because they are doing it on their own, and they have either fulltime or consulting jobs and they are launching these products on the side. And they are really smart guys.
[02:19] So I had a blast. We talked for a long time. They are going to have to edit it down. I think we talked for like two hours. So it should be an interesting podcast. I think it’s episode 65 or something if you want to check it out. But I had a blast with those guys.
[02:31] And then the other thing I wanted to talk about is someone brought up that in an earlier episode of this podcast, I mentioned that I had acquired a product but I wasn’t going to say what it was right then until I had kind of turned it around. So I figured I would announce it on here. It’s not that big of a deal. I’ve talked about it elsewhere.
[02:46] But the product is Weddingtoolbox.com, and it’s a website for engaged couples to plan and share their wedding online. Basically, it’s kind of like a website builder, but it’s totally focused on the wedding niche. I’ve had it for a few months now and I’m just working on some basic SEO and some other stuff. I’m actually trying to get it moved. It’s on a dedicated server that was on a contract, so that contract is ending now and I’m moving to a very inexpensive shared hosting plan to save on expenses.
[03:14] You know, it’s not super profitable yet, but it is generating a little bit of money, and I hope to improve it over the next 6-12 months. It’s a cool app. It has a lot of features, and that’s really why I decided to buy it. It’s got a great design. And frankly, although it’s a competitive niche, it’s a good niche. There’s a lot of traffic and a lot of people buying in the niche. It’s been fun to get into more of a consumer niche, because I don’t really have many of those.
[03:36] Mike: That’s very cool. The only other thing that I wanted to mention was a future time sync for me was released a couple of days ago. As we’ve mentioned in the past, this podcast is recorded a little bit in advance. But Starcraft 2 came out a couple of days ago. I’ve been resisting the urge steadily to buy it. I actually went onto the website and I checked; my computer no longer meets the system requirements, so I think I’m safe for a little bit longer. [laughs]
[04:00] Rob: Oh, nice. Yeah, you probably need a screamin’ machine to play games that come out today, huh?
[04:04] Mike: Yeah. But that’s OK.
[04:06] Rob: Good for you. You have more time to read and write code.
[04:10] Mike: [laughs] Yeah.
[04:11] Rob: Cool.
[04:14] Rob: Well, today we’re going to be talking about six steps for staying motivated. Mike and I have communicated with hundreds of startup founders over the past several years, and frankly, we’ve started to notice a pattern. There are basically three points during the creation of a startup where the founders are most likely to close up shop. I’ve actually written a blog post about this in the past. I called these the danger points of starting up.
[04:36] There’s a point where you are looking for your niche, and there’s a point right after you’ve launched when support just stacks up on you. But this middle danger point is what we’re going to talk about today, and it’s this big dip that you hit during the development process.
[04:50] So imagine that you’ve spent every evening and weekend for the past two months, four months, six months and you are barely making progress on your app. So your feature list is growing and it doesn’t look like you are going to launch for who knows how long, maybe eight months or more.
[05:03] So this is a common cause of death for small startups and micropreneurs trying to launch their product. And today we’re going to talk about six steps to staying motivated while you are building, while you are trying to get to your launch.
[05:14] And a side note about these six steps, the reason we called them six steps and not six tips is that in a previous podcast, we have listed a bunch of different ways or approaches to something, and frankly, we don’t expect you to do all of them. I mean it’s kind of not humanly possible in some cases. But it’s kind of pick the ones that fit you the closest, or that will work best given your life.
[05:35] But with these six steps, we really feel like you can and should do all of them, if possible, because these are not mutually exclusive and they are not things that are such a stretch outside of the normal development process. In my book, if you can do all six of these, you will be much better off.
[05:53] Step one is to track your progress from day one. So what I mean by that is have an Excel spreadsheet or a to-do list of some type; some type of Google doc or something. And have an estimate next to every item. Have a detailed feature list for every task on the list.
[06:09] Now this list should include marketing tasks and everything else you need to get to your launch date, including development. And you really want to break it down into tasks that are between one and eight hours; nothing larger than that.
[06:21] This list is going to be big, right? It’s going to be 80 lines, maybe 120 lines. I mean it’s going to be long. But if you have an estimate for each item, then you should have a grand total for the number of hours it’s going to take to build your app, and it gives you a pretty dang good idea of how long it’s going to take you based on how many hours a week you can put into it.
[06:40] And there are a couple benefits to this. One is, upfront, you have an expectation of, “Bam. This is going to take me six months and I need to be prepared for it to take me six months.” And number two is as you focus on a task, you can cross it off the list. There is a huge feeling of accomplishment as you are able to just knock these things out and get closer to launch and watch that hour total decrease.
[07:00] Mike: I have an interesting question about this, because you did mention at the beginning to use an Excel spreadsheet or a to-do list or something along those lines. What I’ve done in the past is I’ve used a bug tracking system for each of my projects. And what I’ll do is I’ll put in a feature and then I’ll specify or outline exactly what that feature is, how long it’s going to take. And then if I have any of those features that I want to target towards future versions, if I look at how long it’s going to take me to get out version 1 and it looks like it’s too long, I can essentially cut features upfront and then push them to version 1.1, or version 2, or what have you.
[07:37] What are your thoughts on combining your marketing tasks into that same bug tracking system? I’ve always tried to keep those things completely separate. I’ve always tried to keep anything that’s not a product feature request or a bug out of my bug tracking system. What are your thoughts on that?
[07:53] Rob: Actually, with DotNet Invoice we do exactly that—we combine everything. And we basically have, in FogBugz that we use, we have a project level, which is DotNet Invoice, and then there are areas, I think. They are kind of a sub-project. I think they call them areas. And so, our areas are development, marketing, support, and something else that I don’t remember.
[08:14] So we do, I have all my marketing tasks for DotNet Invoice in FogBugz, and we have all the development as well. Now, the reason that we’ve done it that way with DotNet Invoice is we’ve owned that product for years and it’s the most conducive way to do it, and there’s two of us working on it, and we handle support through FogBugz. So we get an email that goes into the queue, and then we can churn it around and pass it back and forth, respond via email, and then we can turn it into a development task if we want or close it out.
[08:42] So that works for that. When I’m starting a new project and I’m going to write it myself, I don’t go to that trouble, just because I can pull out a spreadsheet and I can hammer out tasks really quick, and marketing tasks, and all that stuff into a spreadsheet and just line item very fast. You are talking 10 minutes or something. That’s the only reason I’ve suggested a spreadsheet here.
[09:02] Certainly, if you are more comfortable entering stuff into FogBugz, or if that jives more with the way you work, there’s no reason you can’t do that. And obviously, they have the cool estimating function where you can enter hours and it will kind of graph out how long they think it will take you. There’s kind of a burn-down chart and stuff. So that’s a pretty cool feature.
[09:17] I have not used that on Greenfield Development, because for me, personally, it feels really cumbersome upfront to enter all those tasks individually as issues. When I’m not working with other people collaborating, I prefer a spreadsheet.
[09:29] Mike: All that makes sense to me. I mean it’s just when I’m starting a new project, I always look at it and I try to put everything into the bug tracking system, but I really just limit it to actual product development stuff. I really don’t put any of the sales and marketing stuff in there, because, I don’t know, I just feel like a bug tracking system is meant for tracking the product development itself, not really for tracking the supplemental things that need to be done to market and sell the product.
[09:56] Rob: Sure. I can see that. I guess the issue I have with that is as a developer, or as a….you are essentially a project manager at that point. You are trying to gauge how long is this going to take me? How much longer from today is this going to take me? I would have a tough time looking in FogBugz for development and then looking somewhere else for marketing. I guess if you can do it and you can kind of integrate that, those two separate data sources, then obviously it’s good.
[10:20] I think the other thing is most developers will probably tend to just focus on the development, and so the marketing will basically get left aside, and then it’s like, “Oh my gosh! I have a month’s worth of marketing….I don’t have a website! I don’t have an email list! I haven’t done any SEO!” All this stuff that’s just going to get left out if you don’t kind of have it in your queue to work on.
[10:39] Mike: No, I see what you are saying, but what I do is I actually use external tools for all my marketing stuff. I started out using Excel spreadsheets a while back, but I kinda switched over to this to-do task list manager application that I use on my iPad. And it’s really nice, because it allows you to just lay out all of the different tasks, and you can put due dates in. It’s not real good with putting specific amounts of time that things will take on there, but it’s really good for putting things in and saying, “This has to be done on such and such date.” And then you can put in priorities, and you can organize them into different things. Because I have multiple companies that I run, so I’m able to organize them into different categories, and flag some of them, or star them, or what have you. Anything I ever need to get done that is not directly product related, I keep in there. And then anything that is product related, I keep in my bug tracking system. I guess at the end of the day you just do whatever works for you.
[11:29] Rob: Absolutely.
[11:31] Mike: So the second step for staying motivated is to make sure that your timeline is four to six months. There is a very specific reason for this. It’s because there is a very big drop-off past this point where most people will give up on a product and never actually finish it.
[11:48] And in order to get to four to six months, you really have to look hard at all the features that you put into a product and start cutting them, because if you don’t, you are just never going to finish within that four to six months. And once you get past that, you are a lot less likely to finish and get version 1.0 out the door. And if you never get version 1.0 out the door, then it’s very hard for you to get that last mile and be able to say, “OK, I’ve only got this little bit left” and get that done, because as you start adding features, you look at the product and say, “Well, it doesn’t have this. It should really have that.”
[12:20] The fact of the matter is you have to get something out the door and start getting feedback, because that’s going to be a lot more important to you than having a bunch of code that’s sitting on your hard drive that never actually turns into a product that you can try and sell.
[12:33] Rob: This is one of the bigger mistakes that I think we see a lot of entrepreneurs make is just having a timeline that is 8-12 months. It is really, really hard to stay focused and eat up all your nights and weekends for that long. So this is something we really encourage people to do, is to kind of do whatever it takes to get in the four to six month timeframe.
[12:53] And that includes doing all of your development and all of your marketing tasks, your pre-launch marketing tasks. So building your sales site, doing your upfront SEO, building a mailing list, all that stuff. So there’s a lot more to it than just writing code.
[13:06] This can mean that you need to outsource parts of your design, or parts of some of the coding. Obviously, you may not want to outsource all of your coding. I mean this is what we do. So you still want to have control of your app. But really looking hard at the tasks that need to be done, and honing them down, and getting under that six month mark is critical.
[13:28] Mike: As you pointed out though, as developers we are really hesitant to start outsourcing any of the coding because we are developers, that’s our core competency. But one of the things you can definitely look at outsourcing in terms of coding is things like your web site.
[13:42] And I don’t mean just the design; I mean some of the backend infrastructure behind it– to gather e mail addresses, or to integrate between your website and MailChimp, or whoever you decide to use as your backend auto responder, or to be able to work through that sales process and get the code in place such that you can actually take orders on your website.
[14:02] I mean those are the things that can really be done in parallel with your actual product development, because they have absolutely nothing to do with it. They may need to integrate with a license key system or something along those lines. It’s really not tied to the product itself.
[14:16] So definitely give some thought and consideration to outsourcing some of those programming tasks if you don’t feel comfortable having somebody help or actually do the work for your core product.
[14:25] Rob: Step three is to start your marketing early. Perhaps the worst way to launch a new product is to release the product to production on your launch day, and e mail a bunch of bloggers, and start working on a SEO, because you are going to sell a big fat zero of that product, and it’s going to be a long time until you start making any money back for all of your effort.
[14:46] So something that we just pound into people is the critical nature of as soon as you know your product idea, register your domain name and get a site up. The first reason is because Google gives you more credibility the longer your site has been up, and you can start working on SEO immediately. So you find your target keywords and you get some content up there that’s going to draw people in. Again, the longer it’s there the more clout you’re going to get.
[15:11] And get a landing page up. Start collecting e mails of people who are interested in your product. Have a blurb about your product and start drawing traffic through SEO and through your blog. Even if your blog is not wildly popular, you blog about the things that are interesting and those things will draw traffic from Google.
[15:27] And if there are niche websites in the niche that you’re targeting, such as if you’re targeting startups, obviously you want to get your blog posts on Hacker News, and that will drive traffic to your blog, and that will get people over to your website as you mention it on there.
[15:40] Or if you target Photography Now, and you try and get your blog post published there. Do a guest post for a popular photographer blog. And it just routes traffic back. And over the course of six months, as you build your product, you can build a mailing list of hundreds and hundreds of people who are interested in your product launch.
[15:58] And so it’s amazing what a few hundred e mails on your list will do to boost your confidence. Because not only do you know that people are interested and that they’re going to be likely to buy your product, assuming you’ve given a good description of it on the landing page, but you know that the first day that you launch, that you’re going to sell some copies, that you’re going to make some real money from all of this effort that you’ve put forth.
[16:17] And the bottom is that all of this marketing, this SEO, and blogging, and word of mouth stuff that I just talked about, it’s good practice. It’s good practice for once the product actually launches, that you’re not a marketing newbie. That you’ve actually been doing a little bit each week to learn these steps, if you’ve never done them before. And you’ve learned the ropes so that by the time you do launch, you might have some relationships with some key bloggers, or you might have more of an idea of how to tweak your SEO and your other traffic sources to get traffic to your website.
[16:45] Mike: As Rob was saying, this is just incredibly important. This is not something that you can really leave out. Because as he said, what’s going to happen is you’re going to start at ground zero for your product. Let’s say the scale of the potential traffic that you could reach is a scale from zero to 100.
[17:02] If you start that marketing process early, you might start in, when your product launches, at 25 out of 100. But if you wait to do any marketing at all until you actually launch, you’re starting at zero. And you don’t want to be starting at ground zero. You want to start getting sales on the very first day of your product launch. You want to start getting that money and getting customer feedback, getting people paying for your product so that you can take that money and push it back into your product development, or into your web site design, or all of these other things that money could be put to good use. So you definitely want to start this marketing process early. Do not wait until the day the product launches, or even a week before the product launches.
[17:40] As soon as you have an idea, put it out there. I mean I have a web site that’s sitting out there now that’s just gathering email addresses. And to be perfectly honest, I barely put a description up there, and I started getting people who were signing up for the service and saying, “Hey, I’d like to be notified when you go live with this thing.”
[17:55] So it’s definitely worth the time and investment of even just a bare minimal website to just describe, “Hey, this is what the product is.” and then start gathering those e mail addresses so that when you do launch, people will be notified about it.
[18:08] So the fourth out of the six steps for staying motivated is to find accountability. If you have a scheduled time where you’re interacting with somebody else about your product and talking to them about what you’re doing and what your plans are, this is going to increase your chance of actually launching.
[18:24] Not only do you not have to do this in public, but I would actually recommend that you don’t. And the reason for that is because as part of what you’re doing, you’re going to want to divulge details about exactly where you are in the process of building your product. You’re going to want to be able to say, “I’m having a problem with this. I’m trying to implement such and such feature and it’s giving me problems.”
[18:43] And it doesn’t really matter if the person on the other end of the conversation is interested in what you’re doing or has any idea what you’re talking about. My wife is a graphic designer and she humors me by just listening. And it lets me get it out, let’s me talk about things. And she just nods and smiles and says, “Yes dear.” and pats me on the head.
[19:03] But basically, what you have to do is you have to have somebody that you can talk to, and explain everything that you’re doing. And you want to be able to divulge the dirty details that you would not be willing to put online in a public environment.
[19:16] So there are a few different options for doing this. Here are three different ones that we came up with. The first one is to do a weekly in-person meeting. And this is obviously more preferable than the other two. These three are in order of preference. This one is much more preferable than either of the other two because you get to explain things, there’s an opportunity for asking questions, and it’s just a little bit more gratifying to have that conversation in person.
[19:41] And you have to explain why you didn’t meet a specific goal of something that you were going to work on. And it’s much more difficult to not be able to meet your commitments, because you don’t want to tell somebody, “Hey, next week I’m going to be doing X, Y, and Z” and next week rolls around and you have to explain to that person, in a face to face meeting, why you didn’t get Z done, and why you only got X and Y done.
[20:03] So the first one is to be able to do this meeting in person. If that’s not possible, try and do a weekly Skype chat with somebody. Just being able to talk about those things…You can still do a video chat if you have a web cam or something like that. If not, you can still just do a voice conversation. A phone call works just as well, but may not be quite as cost effective, depending on where in the world that other person is.
[20:26] And the third one is to have a weekly post to a private community forum, such as StartUpToDo.com or micropreneur.com. Both StartUpToDo.com and micropreneur.com have communities there that you can start talking to people and build relationships. And you can find people who are essentially in the same boat as you.
[20:46] And you can talk to those people, get to know them. And you explain your ideas to them, you hold yourself accountable to them, and they hold themselves accountable to you. And there’s a little bit of give and take there where you can really open up and talk about the ideas that you have and the things that you’re working on without really worrying about, “Oh my god, is this person going to steal my idea?” Or, you’re not posting these publicly to the Internet, so you don’t have to worry about somebody looking at exactly what you’re doing and how you’re doing it, and then having them essentially jump the gun on you and be able to overtake you in whatever the niche is that you were addressing.
[21:21] Because all of these people are going to have their own ideas. They’re all going to be working on different things or things that are different enough. That’s not really going to be a problem.
[21:29] Rob: Yeah, I think the key thing here that you did a good job touching on is all three of them, whether it’s in person, Skype, or it’s a post to a private forum, is that these things are weekly. I really think that even every other week is too far apart. You can just get too lost.
[21:45] You really need to have some type of anchor that pulls you back and makes you think about where you are, how much progress you’ve made, what you did last week, and what you’re going to try to get done this week.
[21:56] It’s a very interesting experience. I’ve gone through all three of these– in person, Skype, and the private community forum. And all of them are just fascinating, how it makes me, during the week, think about what I’m going to talk about with this person, and what did I commit to, and what am I going to try to get done?
[22:12] And it’s not like the people that I meet with, it’s not like they get mad or they scorn me or anything when I don’t get something done. It’s more of my feeling that I almost have to defend myself if I didn’t get something done. And that motivates me to, frankly, put my nose to the grindstone and get stuff done that I committed to.
[22:29] I can’t speak highly enough about finding accountability and how much of a difference it will make in not only your progress while you’re building your app, but just in staying motivated.
[22:39] Step five for staying motivated is to find your optimal schedule. Nothing will kill your development process faster than being inconsistent. And trying to develop between everything else in your life is just going to lead to a dead end. If you’re like, “Well I can try to get an hour in here, and then two hours when I can.” It’s just, you’re never going to make it. If you have 400 hours to develop, you have to have a consistent schedule where Tuesday night, Thursday night you work two hours or three hours a night, and then Saturday at some point you work four hours. I mean you really have to carve out this time, block it off on your calendar, talk to your significant other, and commit to that time as if it was a nine to five job.
[23:19] Now, I realize this is not like the grand freedom that we all think about when we’re building our own app, but this time before you launch your app is a heck of a lot of hard work. And one part of getting to the point of launching your product is figuring out your optimal schedule and getting your body and mind in a rhythm of writing code and working on your product and working on the marketing during these specific hours and not just cramming it into the nooks and crannies of the rest of your life.
[23:44] Mike: So the sixth step for staying motivated is to find your coding triggers. And everybody seems to have something different. Some people like to listen to music. Some people like to listen to podcasts. Other people like to drink Mt. Dew or various ways of envibing their caffeine. Rob apparently likes to get inebriated on wine.
[24:05] Rob: Indeed!
[24:06] Mike: But basically, the bottom line is you really need to find whatever it is that will get you into that zone quickly. Because as a micropreneur who is working on a product, you’ve only got a limited amount of time to work on your product for the week. You really want to get into the zone as quickly as you possibly can, because you might only have two hours in an evening to work on your code.
[24:27] And if it takes you half an hour or 45 minutes to get into the zone to actually get some coding done, you’ve basically wasted that time, because you are just not nearly as productive. Whereas if you use those coding triggers, like start listening to music or drinking particular drinks, and you can get into the zone in half as much time, you get that time back and you get a lot more productivity out of it.
[24:49] So whatever your coding trigger is, make sure you try and figure out what it is, because it is different for everybody. And it may take a little while for you to figure it out. But as you start getting through your career, you can generally figure out what is going to help you and what isn’t.
[25:03] Rob: Yeah, I wish I could find a study to support this, but I am such a hearty believer in this kind of Pavlovian response that, you know, if you do something the same every night, like, “I am going to drink a cup of hot chocolate and then I’m going to write a bunch of code.” And if you do that for weeks on end, it will absolutely start getting you in the coding zone, if you are drinking that hot chocolate.
[25:22] I mean I’ve personally done this. I used to only drink Coke when I was coding at a certain time of day. And then one time on a weekend I drank one…we were at the beach or something…and I totally started thinking about code. It was crazy. I was like obsessing about my app while we were at the beach.
[25:40] I mean you could say, “Oh, this is just coincidence,” but I’ve had discussions with other developers, and we actually had a discussion in the Micropreneur Academy, but it was kind of about these coding triggers and about things that you can do to really pull you into the zone quickly. And music does seem to be a big one.
[25:53] And everyone, again, has very specific types. Sometimes it might be heavy metal for you, or very loud music, in headphones, preferably, if you are working at night. And other people like ambient music—Enya and other things like that.
[26:06] I wish we could be more specific on this one, but there is definitely creating kind of an environment of getting into the zone. And I think, you know, we called this one “find your coding triggers”. It can almost be like “find your zone triggers,” because, frankly, you are not just coding. I mean you are doing marketing and you’re doing other things besides coding, but it’s just easier to say “find your coding triggers”.
[26:25] Mike: Yeah, I think what works for me depends a little bit on the type of programming problem that I’m on. So, for example, if I’m trying to do more architecture stuff or database design stuff, I like a lot more of the laid back music that’s more acoustic than anything else. And there are times where if I’m working on really, really hard problems, I need the more heavy metal stuff.
[26:49] Rob: Mike and I want to ask a favor. We need your topic ideas. So we’ve been cranking out topics now for 19 episodes, and we’ve had some really good questions sent it, and obviously we’re working hard on the podcast trying to give you the most value for your 30-35 minutes of listening time.
[27:06] What we’d like you to do is, you don’t even have to send in a question. A question is a great format, but it doesn’t have to be in a question. If you don’t want us to read your name or URL on the air, we don’t have to. We really just want your thoughts—what you’d like to hear Mike and I discuss on a podcast, and we’ll try to turn it into a whole episode’s worth of stuff.
[27:23] So you can email it to firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can just post a comment on startupsfortherestofus.com, where we have kind of a blog that the podcasts are published on. Or, frankly, you could call it into our voicemail number: 888-801-9690.
[27:40] If, for some reason, you don’t want us to put your actual recording on the air, no problem. We’re just looking for ideas, trying to provide as much value to you guys as possible. So if you have a topic idea, let us know.
[27:52] Mike: If you have a question or comment, please call it in to our voicemail number at 1-888-801-9690, or you can email it in mp3 or text format to email@example.com.
[28:06] If you enjoyed this podcast, please consider writing a review in iTunes by searching for “Startups”. You can subscribe to this podcast in iTunes or via RSS at startupsfortherestofus.com.
[28:14] Our theme music is an excerpt from “We’re Outta Control” by MoOt, used under Creative Commons. A full transcript of this podcast is available at our website: startupsfortherestofus.com. We’ll see you next time.
Some topics I’d like are businesses that you’d love to start but don’t have the time (free ideas for us!), markets you think are great to get in to in the next year or two, also I love information about how you handle your finances like taxes, banking, books, customer transactions and billing, plus if and how you invest profits, all that stuff is interesting to me.
hi guys, firstly thank you for episodes 1-19 all of which have been excellent. Is there going to be a 20th? Im missing my tuesday fix!
I really love your podcasts. I think it is best podcasts ever I heard about startup.
However, I do have some topics, which I like to hear your opinions about it:
1. How to put a price for a software or SaaS?
Because, somehow I have to consider all aspects, from development – support – marketing – etc.
2. What kind of setup(notebook, PC, gadget, room, table, chair) do you have in order to improve your productivity? I believe, a Mac/super notebook is not needed. I still have a 5 years old notebook, with 1 GB RAM, Pentium 1.6 and it is more then enough to setup my web application.
I wanted to look these up but I had trouble keeping track, so I thought I’d put them in a comment:
Step one is to track your progress from day one. So what I mean by that is have an Excel spreadsheet or a to-do list of some type; some type of Google doc or something. And have an estimate next to every item. Have a detailed feature list for every task on the list.
So the second step for staying motivated is to make sure that your timeline is four to six months. There is a very specific reason for this. It’s because there is a very big drop-off past this point where most people will give up on a product and never actually finish it.
Step three is to start your marketing early. Perhaps the worst way to launch a new product is to release the product to production on your launch day, and e-mail a bunch of bloggers, and start working on SEO, because you are going to sell a big fat zero of that product, and it’s going to be a long time until you start making any money back for all of your effort.
So the fourth out of the six steps for staying motivated is to find accountability. If you have a scheduled time where you’re interacting with somebody else about your product and talking to them about what you’re doing and what your plans are, this is going to increase your chance of actually launching.
Step five for staying motivated is to find your optimal schedule. Nothing will kill your development process faster than being inconsistent. And trying to develop between everything else in your life is just going to lead to a dead end. If you’re like, “Well I can try to get an hour in here, and then two hours when I can.” It’s just, you’re never going to make it. If you have 400 hours to develop, you have to have a consistent schedule where Tuesday night, Thursday night you work two hours or three hours a night, and then Saturday at some point you work four hours. I mean you really have to carve out this time, block it off on your calendar, talk to your significant other, and commit to that time as if it was a nine to five job.
So the sixth step for staying motivated is to find your coding triggers. And everybody seems to have something different. Some people like to listen to music. Some people like to listen to podcasts. Other people like to drink Mt. Dew or various ways of imbibing their caffeine. Rob apparently likes to get inebriated on wine.