In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob and Mike answer a number of listener questions including topics about company identity, using accountability emails, and SaaS project management.
Items mentioned in this episode:
- Screensaver Ninja
- Big Snow Tiny Conf
- How to build an MVP with Rob Walling (7 Day Startup Challenge)
Rob [00:00]: Alexa, add Chocolate Chip Cookies to my shopping list. Xbox, turn off. Okay, Google, search for Boston, Massachusetts.
Mike [00:12]: This isn’t working, I don’t think.
Rob [00:13]: In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Mike and I discuss company identity, using accountability e-mails, SaaS project management and we answer more listener questions. This is Startups For The Rest Of Us, Episode 273. Welcome to Startups For The Rest Of Us, the podcast helps developers, designers and entrepreneurs be awesome at launching software products. Whether you’ve build your first product or you’re just thinking about it. I’m Rob.
Mike [00:42]: And I’m Mike.
Rob [00:43]: We’re here to share our experiences to help you avoid the same mistakes we’ve made. What’s the word this week, Mike?
Mike [00:48]: Hate mail for this episode’s intro can be sent directly to you for turning on people’s Xboxes and ordering Chocolate Chip Cookies.
Rob [00:54]: That’s Miketaber@gmail – cool. What’s going on with you this week?
Mike [00:59]: I’m gearing up and trying to get a couple of things hammered out before I head out to Big Snow Tiny Conf next week. If you don’t hear from me, I probably ran into a tree because I haven’t skied in a while.
Rob [01:10]: That will be fun.
Mike [01:11]: I’m probably not very good anymore.
Rob [01:12]: That will be cool, and that’s Brian Casel’s conference city puts on up in Vermont and then in then in Colorado.
Mike [01:18]: It’s in Vermont with Brad Touesnard, and there’s also a Big Snow Tiny Conf West that is now headed up by Dave Rodenbaugh. I know that Brian Castle is involved with that. I don’t know to what extent but I know that Brian is going to that one as well. That’s a little bit after – I think a couple of weeks after this one.
Rob [01:34]: That will be fun. They’re really small, right? They’re like 10 people, or 12 people.
Mike [01:36]: Yeah. I think the one in Colorado is maybe 9 or 10 people. The one in Vermont, I think it has 11 or 12. I’m not sure on the exact number, but they are really small.
Rob [01:48]: By the way, it’s Brad Touesnard. It’s a silent ‘S’, yeah. Anyways.
Mike [01:55]: Apologies Brad.
Rob [01:57]: I’m sure that’s pretty common. So I had a fun chat yesterday with Dan Norris. Dan is the author of the Seven Days Startup. He did this seven day startup challenge where he got a bunch of folks to come on and do “Q and A” and talk with him about different aspects of doing a, we know what he calls a seven day startup, which is a really short timeframe startup that you get out the door within seven days. So a lot of productized services, and prototypes, and MVPs and stuff come out of it. There’s only a portion that is software. There’s also people doing physical products, and knowledge products, and other stuff like that. We did it on Blab, and it’s recorded. We’ll link it up in the show notes. It was really fun. We talked minimum viable products.
I had five minutes or so at the front where I was talking about how I understand minimum viable products, and the myths around them, and gave some examples. And then Dan said a little bit, and there were so many questions. We did almost an hour of Q and A, and there were some really good questions in there that we had to [?] back and forth. So if you’re wanting to know more about Dan Norris’, and my. thoughts and opinions on MVPs, and some clarifications that I think are important on this topic, check it out. We’ll link it up. It’ a long URL but it’s on Blab.im, and you can just watch it, like a video right in your browser.
Mike [03:06]: Very cool. Anything else going on?
Rob [03:08]: Yeah. The one other thing I want to mention is I’ve been watching the show called “The Profit”, P-R-O-F-I-T. Have you seen it?
Mike [03:14]: I have not.
Rob [03:15]: It’s a reality TV show. I’m not a fan of most reality TV because it’s so engineered and they act like it’s reality, but it’s loosely scripted or the producers set up these scenarios. I’m sure this one is similar vain. It’s a reality TV show about this dude who’s a billionaire and he goes in and buys hurting businesses, or part of them, and then he works with the people to improve them. So it’s businesses anywhere from – he’s done a car buying service, he’s done a gym type thing with monthly memberships, a candy store and stuff. It’s really cool. The guy knows his stuff. I like Shark Tank, but Shark Tank feel a lot like theatre. But there’s not many business lessons that I feel like you can take away from Shark Tank. It is this big spectacle. The Profit has some of that in it. The guy, Marcus, who’s running it – this billionaire guy – super sharp dude. When you hear him talk about stuff and explain it, it’s interesting. It airs on some weird network like CNBC or something, but I buy it on Amazon and watch on my Roku. It’s something I’d recommend. It’s the closest thing to business entertainment where there’s actually some lessons to be learnt from it that I’ve encountered. I wanted to mention it. I think, if you’re looking for a show and interested in this kind of stuff that it’s something to check out, called The Profit, P-R-O-F-I-T.
Mike [04:29]: Very cool. What are we talking about this week?
Rob [04:31]: Today, we are answering a bunch of listener questions. They continue to pile up. We have some really good ones this week. Our first one is about company identity, and this one is an anonymous question and he said, “I recently heard of your podcast and I became an instant fan. I’m working through your backlog. My startup at the moment has two products. We didn’t plan it this way, but my business partner quit and the original product was his idea and he was the domain expert. I’m maintaining that product but I found myself not being able to evolve it, grow it, sell it, etcetera. Since then, we launched another product, and we might have more in the future. This seems to be frowned upon in the startup world. It’s seen as lack of focus. I’m glad I found your podcast where this approach is not necessarily considered wrong. I’m not ruling out the possibility of one day finding one of these products perform so much better than the others that I will end up getting rid of them, but for now, that’s not the goal. My problem though is one of identity. When people ask me about my startup, I used to say “W”, where W is our first product. Then I started saying “Y”, where Y is our second product. Now I’m saying “C”, where C is the name of the company, and then I tell them about our products. But I find that most people immediately focus on the fact that we have more than one product and forget what they are. When you are a multiproduct startup, how do you identify yourself? How do you pitch for the sake of networking?”
Mike [05:39]: I think you and I have both run into this exact same problem before, haven’t we?
Rob [05:44]: Yeah, for sure, doing multiple things like MicroConf, and having software products, and the academy, and writing a book and all that, and the podcast. You got to figure out a way to talk about it from an umbrella perspective.
Mike [05:56]: Yeah. I think in some cases it makes more sense to talk directly about a specific product. It’s almost dependent upon the context of the networking situation that you are in. So if you’re at a conference for a particular line of business that you’re product is applicable to, you would talk about that particular product. I’m making an assumption here that these products are not necessarily related to each other, and that’s probably where some of the confusion comes from, because if they don’t have an overlapping market then it’s difficult to relate them to each other and to the person that you’re talking to. So that’s, kind of, the underlying assumption that I’m making here. But if you are in that situation, if you are in that networking mode where you’re talking to people and they’re applicable to a certain product, talk about that product.
I would just say, “We develop a product that does this,” and don’t really talk about yourself as a company, because if they want to find you as a company, they’re going to find you through that product. If you talk about your company itself, nobody cares about it, and it seems like you’ve run into this, where people don’t remember your business, they remember what you do. And that’s really the core of the issue is that people are remembering what you do, not who you are. That’s how you have to address this, because you want them to remember that product because that would backtrack the person back to you if you’re looking to network with them. When you are in a social situation where you’re trying to explain to a friend what you’re doing, you can give them a little bit more of the back story about the company and say “Oh, this is where we came from, this is what we do.”
When you’re in one of those in-between situations, where you don’t know whether or not the person you’re talking to is in the market for one product versus another, you, kind of, have to pick and choose. I’ve gone both ways where I’ve said, “I run a small software company that does this, this and this.” Then if they express interest in any one of those specific things then you can talk more about that. But I usually leave it a little bit more of a high level thing, so that you can let them talk a little bit, and feed off of whatever it is that resonates with them. I find it that works best for me. It depends on the social situation that you’re in.
Rob [07:54]: I think the key here is that he is in a different situation than, let’s say, you and I, because he has multiple software products. Whereas if you say that you wrote single founder handbook, you have a MicroConf and you have a podcast, you can say, “Well, I’m in the startup space,” and you can group that under a personal brand thing. He’s trying to network based on what these products do. He’s in a little bit different scenario. With that in mind, you hit the nail on the head when you said, “Figure out what the other person is going to be interested in.” If I’m at a cocktail party and I’m speaking to someone and I find out that they are a lawyer or that they work at a hospital or whatever, when they ask me what I do, I’m probably going to say, “I run a small software company.”
That tends to be my lead-in, because typically the next question then is something more about the company like, “Oh, what does your company do?” At that point, I would probably say, “Well, we have multiple products but our biggest one is X.” Because that’s what they’re trying to do is, kind of, figure out what you’re up to. However if one of my pieces of software was aimed at lawyers, of course, that’s the one I would lead with. I would say, “One of them is actually in the legal field and it helps lawyers do XYZ.” So, I think, getting a tiny bit of information before you answer this question is going to go a long way. I don’t think there’s a single blamket respons is going to be right for everyone. I would keep in mind that the simpler you keep it up front and then let people edge in with further detailing questions where they’re getting more and more information is probably the way to go in this scenario. I hope that helps anonymous.
Our second e-mail is not a question. It’s more of a suggestion and a look at something that has worked for one of our listeners. It’s from [AnderstoPeterson?]. He’s a multi-time, MicroConf attendee, an attendee talk in Europe. He says, “Hey guys. I send out an accountability e-mail every three weeks with status on my project time block, my biggest questions right now, and what I’m working on for the next few weeks. These e-mails have been the single most important thing that have helped me to speed up my progress building this new business. The amount of self-chosen pressure makes me wake up every morning and think, “I’ve done nothing yesterday. I have to get my stuff together, because I’m going to be e-mailing people about this in the next few weeks.” This, coupled with the advice I get from those who receive it, is invaluable. I’ve gotten a few of my friends to do a similar e-mail, so I thought it might be worth mentioning on your show.”
Ander suggests this in addition to mastermind calls that he does. If it’s a tactic that seems like it might work for you, wanted to throw it out there. If you do put this into place, and you feel like it’s something that works for you, and you find a few people who you can e-mail and it keeps you accountable, let us know at email@example.com and we’ll give you a shout out in a future episode and thank Anders for that helpful advice. Our next question comes from Chad Rogers and he says, “Here’s an interesting, more technical question that comes to mind about platform as a service versus VMs, Virtual Machines. Trade offs in considerations including cost scale ability, maintain ability and up time. In other words, merging your own VM servers versus using cloud platforms, like say a Google app engine, an Amazon EC2, a Rack Space cloud, that type of thing.” Ready, Mike? Go. It’s a big question.
Mike [10:54]: It is a big question. Some of this depends at what stage of your business you’re at. If you’re really early in and you don’t necessary care about bleeding edge performance – which is especially true when you are so early on that you don’t really have any performance concerns on the system – you can just spin up a VM and use that. The other option is to go with something that’s more of a platform as a service that you don’t have to worry about all of the underlying considerations. Now, the tradeoff there is the fact that you have to understand exactly what it is that you’re getting into when you’re using those platforms as a service, because if you’re not monitoring them and watching them, it’s very easy to have something that spins a little bit out of control, and then racks up a huge bill you weren’t necessarily anticipating.
First it’s something like a VM, where you generally know that it’s going to be a fixed cost. But with a platform as a service, that variable cost could be substantially lower on an ongoing basis as long as you’re managing it well enough. So in some ways it depends a little bit on where you want to spend your time managing things. Do you want to spend it at the virtual machine level, or do you want to spend it making sure that your infrastructure is not going sideways and monitoring everything to make sure that you’re not going to get a monster bill at the end of the month? Some places have different coupons that allow you to cut down on the cost and things like that.
One of the other advantages of a platform as a service is you have a tendency to scale out, and you basically just add resources to it – which is a very generic way of thinking about it – versus virtual machines which you tend to scale up until a certain point and then from there you also scale out. There was a story that went around years and years ago about the guy who ran the website “Plenty of Fish” when having 64 Gigs of RAM of a server was just this massive investment. It was 8 or 10 years ago. He decided to go to a SQL server that had 128 Gigs of RAM because he did not want to rework his code to make it more efficient. It was easier to just spend $50,000 or $60,000 to upgrade the machine and buy a new one than it was to reengineer a lot of the code. That’s basically the decision you’re making here, is what do you want to spend your time and effort on? Do you want to spend it on the infrastructure, or do you want to optimize the code [?]. It seems to like that’s a very similar trade off that you’re making in these cases.
Rob [13:12]: Yeah. I want to touch on something you said earlier on. I think it really depends on what stage you’re at, and how much control you need, and how much cost you can endure because if you’re really earlier on, you don’t have a lot of customers, then a platform is a service. It is so nice that you don’t have to maintain all the stuff and keep these servers patched. There’s just so much that goes into that. It’s a lot more time than you think it is. Even if you know how to do it, none of that moves your business forward. I would always opt towards going with a platform as a service at the start. What we ran into at DRIP, pretty quickly – it was even in just a few months – was that the cost was so high because all of the incoming requests. We were growing pretty quickl, and so we scaled up. We sent a bazillion e-mails, and we have all these analytics data coming back to us in real time. To try and get a pass to support that was expensive. We did move over to Amazon EC2 VMs and as a result we now have the burden of keeping these things maintained and doing all of the devop’s work. For us, it totally makes sense. We could frankly hire a full time person to do this, just based on the amount of money that we’re saving from a past approach. But the platform as a service is always where you’re going to want to start unless you know that you’re heavy duty analytics right off the bat. I hope that helps, Chad. Our next question is for me, actually. It’s about Trello setup. It’s from Finacis Poli Crinakis.
He says, “Rob, in a recent episode, you mentioned you only use a single Trello board for all you projects. How do you handle working with different teams per project? Is the board exclusively available only to you? Do you copy tasks to other boards where your team is?” And the answer is, “Yes”. My Trello board is a single one. I have a single Trello list for my to-dos, even though I’m working on multiple projects. I used to have multiple boards and multiple lists, and then you spend a bunch of time churning and not knowing what to do next. I want to be able to order everything in a single to-do list so that when I go to look for that next task, it’s right there and I’m not thinking to myself, “Oh, should I work on this or should I work on that?”
That means that I can’t necessarily share stuff with people because it’s all baked into the same board. So yes, if I need to assign a task someone else then I do wind up moving or copying that to where my team is. We do work with some shared Trello boards, but that’s not my main day to day to-do list. That’s the way I have it set up, and it works well for me and the way I work. Maybe it will work for you as well. Thanks for the question.
Our next question is about SaaS project management. It’s from J. Davis. He says, “I’m working on building a SaaS app that has a hardware component, and I’ve never undertaken a project like this before. I’m working with a partner company that already has an established client base, understands the market quite well, and assures me that their clients are in need of a product like this.”
So a little injection here; before I built anything I would figure out what the assurance is – like what data do they have, what have they shown you, aside from just them telling you, “Hey, yes, we have people,” Because if you go through a bunch of costs and do this and they really didn’t do their customer development or their due diligence on this one, it’s going to be a real bummer. That’s a sticking point for me right there just in the first paragraph. But let me continue with the email. Jay says, “I’ve built a proof of concept, and given the partner company a demo which they’re happy with. The next phase is to start organizing the project and I’m looking into scrapping methods form the Agile Management Framework to help me get things organized and to find the project goals. I already run my own IT company and can hopefully fund the project development with my consulting work as well as allocate it roughly 40 to 50% of my work week to it. I have some quick questions I hope you can help with. The first is how do you guys approach a new project as far as practical management goes? Do you have a set process? Have you tried anything like Agile? And the other question is what are some pitfalls, you would suggest, to keep an eye out for as far as project management Is concerned?”
Mike [16:40]: I think I’d echo Rob’s earlier question about how much validation has that company done for their own clients. If they’ve done that much validation for it, why haven’t they done it themselves? I would be a little bit more cautious about that aspect of it, because it sounds like you’re making an assumption that they have fully validated the idea and that you don’t have to do that work, when the reality is that that may not necessarily be true, or may not be true to the degree that you need it to be in order to make the financial aspects of it work out. So you might need to sell 10,000 units, but if their validation only said that they can sell 5,000 realistically, then you’re going to have a hard time being able to make ends meet. Because you’re either going to have an overrun with the supply, or you’re not going to have enough to meet the demand which, obviously, that’s a problem that money can fix. But if those numbers are off it can put you in a bad financial spot. Aside from that, how would you approach the project management from a practical management standpoint? That boils down to what are the different steps that need to be gone through in order to take the project to completion? So because this is a physical product, you’re going to need to have that POC System pretty well scoped out so that you can have it manufactured. I’m not a physical products guy, so there’s certainly a number of assumptions that I would probably have to make in doing that. But you’re going to want to know what all those costs are, whether there is unit cost, shipment cost, anything where you need to reship that stuff. So if it’s shipped directly to you or, if you have a drop-shipped, what are the cost components associated with each of those? You’ll also want to know what sorts of marketing efforts that you’re going to be able to have access to through this other company, and whether or not they are going to be funding it versus whether you are going to be funding it. You don’t want to have this list of questions about the entire process that you just iterate through and try to find the answers to all of those questions. I would do a lot of that work before you go down the path of laying out any money to have the product physically developed, because once you start down that path it’s very difficult to put the brakes on it. You want to have any unknowns, or question marks, answered well in advance of that, because you don’t want to have to put the brakes on it somewhere along the way because there was something that came up that was completely unanticipated that, had you just asked the right questions earlier on, you would have know that that was going to be an issue.
Rob [18:55]: If I were in your shoes, I wouldn’t get too hung up on finding a methodology, and finding too many things to apply to apply to this to offer heavy process. You’re going to be fairly agile just by nature – not capital ‘A’ agile – but just you’re going to move quickly. If you are a single person running this, and you can make decisions, and you’re in-charge of the development, then putting together an Excel Spreadsheet with estimates and costs, and getting whatever folks you’re working with in on that, some Google Doc, and having deadlines that are right in that spreadsheet could be plenty. It depends on the complexity of this. That’s where I would start. You can move on to a more sophisticated thing with milestones and things that get pushed and all that, and try to do a Microsoft Project like a Gantt Chart and all that. I would not start there.
I would also maybe read a book about Agile. I have used some of the stuff that came out of Agile, like daily stand up meetings can be useful with software. I don’t know how useful they are with hardware, because I don’t know how fast this project is going to move. Is it going to move quickly enough that a meeting every morning is going to have something new to say? Or should it be two times a week, or once a week? I think I’d just really use a lot of common sense, and try not to get hang up in the exact documents, the exact diagrams, the exact things in the naming and all that. If everyone else doesn’t know what those words mean – you know, because there’s a whole vocabulary that goes a long with Agile. If everyone else doesn’t know what that they mean, then it’s not actually that helpful.
And I think just talking about it common sense terms is where I would start, and certainly reading a book on Agile could be helpful, but I’d try to walk that line between being too obsessed with the process and trying to do the common thing that gets stuff done really quickly. In terms of the pitfalls, you asked, the biggest pitfall is no one ever delivers on time. I’m overstating it only a tad, but pretty much all deadlines and all costs are going to out the window. Expect it to take twice as long and cost twice as much. I think that’s the number one pitfall I would look out for. Don’t be too optimistic, and don’t let a vendor, or designer, or whoever, convince you that they’re going to be able to deliver something in X amount of days, because I bet it’s going to wind up being closer to 2X. You have any other pitfalls that you could think of?
Mike [20:56]: Not off hand. Like I said, the one thing I would be concerned about, to some extent, is shipping cost. For whatever reason, those can double or triple, and it doesn’t seem like much at the time. But when you start talking about a hardware component that you have to ship one or two of them out to each individual customer – depending on whether you’re drop shipping them, or you’re having them all shipped to you in one shipment, and then turning around and then reshipping them out, that can add a substantial amount of costs to the product you’re selling based on whatever the per unit cost is, especially if it’s a low priced cost. Then factor in the fact that you’re probably going to have to ship replacements and things like that. There’s going to be some margin of those things that you manufacture that, for whatever reason, they don’t work.
Rob [21:39]: All right. Our last question for the day comes from J. Pablo Fernandez, from screensaver.ninja. He says, “Hey Rob and Mike. I started listening to Startups for the Rest of Us recently. After a couple of episodes, I went back into my feed and downloaded them all. I’m still working my way through and learning a lot. Thanks so much for your podcast. It’s a great resource. I have question about a product I launched this year. We all have many websites that display information we want to stay on top of; Google Analytics, Case Metric, Twitter Feeds, Issue Trackers, Custom Dashboards etcetera. But it’s really easy to forget to check their state one day, lose the habit, and end up missing an important event. This is why I created Screensaver Ninja. It’s a screen saver that display web pages so you never miss this information, or any other information that keeps coming back to you over and over. I wanted to build this product by myself, and I also thought it was going to be popular with tech entrepreneurs, a group of people I’m very comfortable talking to. Unfortunately, sales to that audience were not great. My biggest sales segment is one that I have a hard time growing, because it’s unapproachable, big organizations such as banks, Ivy League universities, multinational conglomerates etcetera. What do you suggest I do? How can I increase sales?” Again his URL is at screensaver.ninja. What do you think, Mike?
Mike [22:44]: Rob, you and I talked about this a little bit offline. We have a little bit of a difference of opinion on whether or not the biggest sales segment qualifies, and how it is qualified. There’s not enough detail in this question to answer this question for us. The question that we have is, “How do you quantify that biggest sales segment? Is it the fact that there are people in these large organizations buying it? Or is it the sales quantities from these organizations?” I’ve worked with large organizations who have these enterprise level agreements with Apple, and they will buy hundreds or thousands of copies of a particular piece of software, and they’ll just essentially buy them direct through Apple, because they have those developer agreements in place and they’ll just say, “Okay, this is our master account. Let’s just buy 100 or 1000 copies of this.”
I could easily see a scenario where you’ve got a school of 2000 or 3000 students, and 2000 or 3000 computers at school, where they come in and they say, “Hey, we want the homepage for the school to be displayed on every single machine that’s here as part of the screen saver because we have these bulletin boards that go out there, and we want to be able to post messages to our entire school system using that screensaver. I could definitely see them wanting to do that. Because otherwise your other option is to redeploy a new screensaver to every machine in the environment. It’s kind of a non-trivia task. Rob, I think you had a different take on what he meant by the sales segment, right?
Rob [24:05]: Yeah, he said, “My biggest sales segment is one that I have a hard time growing because it’s unapproachable, big organizations such as banks, Ivy League universities, multinational conglomerates etcetera.” My take on it is that I was reading this as it was not the entire organization buying thousands of copies, like you were saying. I was thinking that it was individuals within these organizations buying copies on their own. So it was a guy in an IT department at a bank. It was a software developer at a Fortune 500 company, or a professor, or a grad student at an Ivy League university, not the actual organization. So I think the answer to this question differs depending on which case it is. If you’re correct and it really is enterprises buying this, then I would try to figure out how are they finding you? How did these enterprises stumble upon you? And what gave them the confidence to buy 500 or 1,000 copies? And how can you replicate that process? It’s not going to be something you can approach, unless you want to go through the whole enterprise sales cycle. Outbound stuff for a product like this could be a challenge. What do you think, Mike?
Mike [25:07]: Depending on the answer to that question, is it a few individuals in the company who are buying it and then using it, versus are they actually buying hundreds or thousands of copies of it? I think in each of those cases, depending on what the answer is, is going to dictate how you address the marketing effort. Because if you find that the use case in a large organization is for them to be able to put that screensaver out so that they can get bullets and word messages out to everybody in the environment, then that is a different marketing message that you’re going put on your website because you’re going to want to target those people. Another option would be to have a different section of your website that essentially addresses that particular type of marketing message.
Because if you go to screensaver.ninja, there’s really only one page for the marketing message. You can also put positioning in there to say, “If you were a school, this is what you can use it for. And this I how it can be helpful in your environment. Maybe you want to remind people of what the calendar is, or what those different sports events that are coming up.” All those types of things. If it’s a corporation they’re going to want to have a little bit different information in there, which in those types of environments, displaying a webpage on somebody’s screensaver – especially if it’s metric state of any kind – is probably not a good idea from a security standpoint, unless it’s all public information like their stock prices and things like that. So depending on what the specifics of the situation are is going to, kind of, dictate what you do, and how you position your product. I think it’s more about market positioning at that point, and getting the answers to those fundamental questions answered, rather than a blanket, “This is what I should do. I should go out and try to cold call, and reach into these organizations.”
Rob [26:52]: In either case, the question is, “How have they found you? How can you double down on that?” The one other thing that comes to mind, since it looks like you sell it through the Mac App Store, is, “What does your app store SEO look like? What are people searching for to find this? And how can you improve your app store SEO?” That will help you to a certain extent, but if you’ve already had some traction in a market that’s buying a bunch of copies, I would think app store SEO would be less important, and it would be more about figuring out how to replicate how those people found you.
Mike [27:18]: The other thing that he mentions is that the problem that it was trying to solve was being able to display information that you might want to stay on top of such as Google Analytics, or Case Metrics, or Twitter Feeds and things like that. It seems to me, in larger environments, that’s going to be much more not just proprietary information, but stuff that you would want generally secured. You wouldn’t want it just flashing up on your screen – maybe somebody is at a coffee shop or something like that, with their laptop – you wouldn’t that displayed there. You also wouldn’t want it generally displayed across the entire environment, especially if it’s like Sales Metrics and things like that. So in smaller environments, there’s a lot of different dashboard tools that I can think of that are addressed at smaller organizations that will essentially take new data feeds in. So Cyfe.com, for example, allows you to basically plug in data feeds from all over the place, and they have a ton of different integrations with a lot of different tools that allow you to look at all of that consolidated information in one place. DigMyData is another service that does very similar things. The UI and UX is different, but at the end of the day they both do those things. Yes, you have to log into them, but at the same time you don’t have to worry about somebody driving by your laptop or desktop and glancing at stuff they probably shouldn’t necessarily have access to.
Rob [28:37]: Also keep in mind that he’s selling it for $10. So the lifetime value on a single purchase is going to be too low to do any type of real marketing. You’re pretty much going to have to do free channels. It’s going to be app store SEO, or SEO, or some type of virality. There’s no advertising channels, or any type of outbound stuff you can do, when you’re selling something for $10 lifetime value. But if enterprises are buying it and they’re buying 1,000 copies, now you’re lifetime value becomes $10,000. So for that, you can afford to spend more time working on it, and more money to capture those people who are paying that higher dollar amount.
Mike [29:14]: Yeah. Those other services that I offer, both cyfe.com and digmydata.com, both of them are SaaS subscriptions. That dramatically changes the amount of lifetime revenue for those. But yeah, everything you said was spot on. So i think that about wraps us up for today’s episode. If you have a question for us, you can call it in to our voicemail number at 1-8-8-8-8-0-1-9-6-9-0, or you can e-mail it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our theme music is an excerpt from ‘We’re Out of Control’ by MoOt, used under creative comments. Subscribe to us on iTunes by searching for startups and visit startupsfortherestofus.com for a full transcript of each episode. Thanks for listening and we’ll see you next time.