Episode 302 | 8 Key Takeaways from MicroConf Europe 2016

Show Notes

In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob and Mike discuss 8 key takeaways from MicroConf Europe 2016. A couple weeks after the conference they highlight some of their favorite points from the speaker’s talks. Also detailed notes from the entire conference are available at microconfeuroperecap.com

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Transcript

Rob [00:01]: In this episode of Startups for the Rest of Us, Mike and I discuss eight key take-aways from Micro Conf Europe 2016. This is Start-Ups for the Rest of Us, episode 302. [music] Welcome to Start-Ups for the Rest of Us, the podcast that helps developers, designers, and entrepreneurs be awesome at building, launching, and growing software products. Whether you’ve built your first product or you’re just thinking about it. I’m Rob.

Mike [00:28]: And I’m Mike.

Rob [00:29]: And we’re going to share our experiences to help you avoid the same mistakes we’ve made. What’s the word this week, sir?

Mike [00:33]: Well, kind of in a little bit of a slump lately. I’ve been trying to plod through some of the development issues for [Bluetick?] and try and get the product to a point where customers are actually getting value out of it that they need, and there’s just technical problems. Some of them are just really hard to get through and are taking forever, just way longer than I would have anticipated initially, and it’s just a long slow slog. So it’s a little disappointing. But, I mean, I’ve had conversations with the people that have been using it and everything is on the right track, it’s going the right direction, it’s just a lot slower than I would like it to be.

Rob [01:04]: Is this because of technical debt? Or is it early scaling issues?

Mike [01:08]: It’s a little bit of both. Some of it is scaling issues, because certain things are a just a little bit slow on the back end because of the number of messages that I’m storing and what I’m doing with them. And then some design decisions, for example, one of which is I’m not going to bother storing some of this information because we don’t need it. It turned out that we did, and it’s a lot more complicated to shoe-horn it in later than it would have been to grab it all upfront. Those are the kinds of things that we’re running into, and just scaling up that amount of data is a lot harder than it seemed to be initially.

Rob [01:39]: Yup. And do you have – do you think you have a couple of weeks? Because you don’t want to get new customers on when you’re doing this, right? You’re kind of holding off?

Mike [01:46]: Right, yeah.

Rob [01:47]: How long do you think that’s going to be?

Mike [01:48]: Well, the things that I’m working on now I’m kind of in the final phases of testing it, so I’m hoping that I’ll be able to do some of that migration, and getting some of that data into the system, within the next week or so. Beyond that, it’s a matter of going back to people and saying, “Okay, this is where it is.” Because there’s all this work that needs to be done upfront to gather everything, and then there’s additional work that needs to be done to display everything. So I’m hoping that in the next week or two I’ll have something that is, I’ll say, much further along, and can display information that they need. But it’s kind of hard to say, to be honest.

Rob [02:19]: Yeah, it’s a long slog, man. I’m sorry to hear that it’s going slower than you want it to, especially when it’s technical issues, those are the things that kill me. It’s like we have one advantage as software people, and it’s that we know how to build products. But when you run into these things, it always feels like, “Man, this is just killing me!”, because you want to get the sales going, and you know you should be focused on marketing and onboarding and getting new people in, and sometimes these things, you just have to take care of them. You know? You can’t have the technical debt sneaking it, especially if the app isn’t working properly, or you can tell it’s not going to scale past 50 people or something.

Mike [02:50]: Yeah, and part of the issue is that I’m also running into bizarre edge cases that, if you think about it and say – I’ll give you a prime example, what characters are valid characters in an email address? You probably think to yourself, “Well, alphanumeric, and then dots and then the at-sign, of course.” But then beyond that, there’s all these additional characters that you would not even consider could possibly be part of an email address and they can be. For example, like slashes, plus signs, equal signs. There’s all this other crap that can go in there, and according to the RFC’s, those are all completely valid characters, and it just sucks to end up running into those things when you just didn’t anticipate them.

Rob [03:29]: Yup. Early on we had to do a little research too, and I think – the nice part of using Ruby is that I think there’s a gem that does the validation and it’s a very complex – I’m not sure if it’s a [Reg-x?] or a complex series of statements. But that’s the kind of thing, in that particular case, be on the lookout for rather than – we’ve tried not to write our own because we’re not experts at it. We probably would be now, but we weren’t three and a half years ago when we were building DRIP.

Mike [03:52]: Yeah. This isn’t for specifically validating that it’s a valid email address, I’m already using modules for that. It’s more a matter of – to give you a prime example, if a slash appears on an email address I can’t use it in Microsoft shared platform as a partition key, so I basically have to apply some sort of transform to it, and then use that as the look-up key, as opposed to actually using the email address, which is what I originally planned on doing. Of course, when you run into that after processing several hundred thousand messages, then it becomes a problem.

Rob [04:21]: For sure. So on my end it’s been kind of nice. A couple more of the DRIP team members have joined me here in Minneapolis. So for a couple weeks there I was kind of – you know, you’re just kind of flying solo, didn’t know anybody, like the first day at a big company, and you don’t know anybody. But it was really cool, Derek and Anna have since joined me and I feel like things are continuing to fall into place. We’re hiring now three new people for the engineering team, and it continues to be fun. It continues to be a good journey where I am learning, and my team is learning, and things are going well. We’re going fast, like our trial count, I probably can’t even say how much it went up, but hundreds and hundreds of percents, many x’s up from where it was the week before closing. It’s been a fun ride, and it’s been interesting to watch the app scale, and to watch which things start to creak and kind of teeter, and then we have to jump in and say, “Alright, we need to increase these boxes. We need to increase RAM on this box. Or “We need to rewrite this one piece.” And so we’ve been doing that. But fingers crossed, knock on wood, we haven’t seen any major scaling issues to date, so that’s been really nice.

Mike [05:26]: Awesome. So what are we talking about today?

Rob [05:27]: Well today we’re talking about eight key take-aways from Micro Conf Europe 2016. We ran Micro Conf Europe just a couple weeks ago in Barcelona. We had about 110 attendees, so it was a little smaller this year than last year. Before we dive into these, I want to refer focus to MicroConfEuropeRecap.com if you’re interested in detailed notes on each of the talks. We had nine talks, and then we had some other attendee talks, and a panel and some other stuff. Kristoff [Egalhart?], once again volunteered to take notes for us, and they’re at MicroConfEuropeRecap.com and they’re detailed and very good. So what you and I did is sat down and said, “What were kind of the key take-aways?” These are not all of the take-aways, for sure. There were people taking pages and pages of notes. These are just some things that kind of struck out to you and I as we talked through the two days of speakers. So our first take-away is to be prepared to rewrite your MVP, and this one is from Jordan Gaule who did a talk called “Two Years in the Sass Trenches”, where he walked through his experience starting Cart Hook, where he walked through his experience of the last two years of launching and growing Cart Hook, and finding a co-founder, and partnership catastrophes with external companies, and perseverance and what it’s taken to get there. A big lesson that he said was, “If you build an MVP be prepared to rewrite it.”

Mike [06:48]: I thought that was a very telling, and probably an eye-opening piece of advice, just because when you’re building something you try and build it with the future in mind so that things aren’t going to fall over and break as soon as you add one, or ten, or twenty customers on to it. You can’t always predict what’s going to happen at that point. I think Gabriel [Weinberg?] of [Duck Duck Go?] had mentioned this in the past as well – if you 10X what you’re doing the problems that you’re going to run into are just exponentially more than what you had previously anticipated in whatever previous rewrite you had done, or reengineering, and you’re always going to run into those scaling issues at some point along the way that you have to rewrite a bunch of stuff. Which kind of sucks, but it’s, in a way, a good problem to have if you’re getting to that point.

Rob [07:30]: Yeah. Whenever I hear people say “MVP,” I wonder in my head, “Do you mean a crappy version that has a lot of technical debt?” Because if that’s what they mean, that scares me a little bit. When I think of the MVP of DRIP that we launched, it was the code – the underlying code was good, and the architecture was solid, and it had test coverage. It was a solidly engineered software product, but it didn’t have a ton of features. That’s what I think of minimally viable in that instance. And obviously, an MVP doesn’t even necessarily need to be software, even if you’re going to start a software company. We’ve talked about that – how you can do human automation, and there’s all kinds of ways to work around having to not build software, basically. But if, in fact, you are building a software product for something, I don’t think I could move forward with it as something that has a bunch of technical debt, because it’s going to come back to bite you at some point. Because if you do you’re MVP, you get 10, 20, 30 customers, what do you do now? Do you take six months to rewrite it? You’re just standing still? That’s no fun. Think twice about what you’re doing, and how you’re doing this. Our second take-away is to brute force sales in the early days. This also comes from Jordan, who, in essence, had a virtual assistant that was going out and looking for possible clients of Cart Hook, and then doing cold email sequences, and just talking on the phone. I mean, it’s really just brute force. It’s just perseverance. It’s coming in every day, doing the slog, doing the grind, and I think he said that got him to – it was around 5K in MRR. That’s like super admirable, just clawing your way. He didn’t really have an audience, he didn’t really have a list he could go to, and he just showed up every day and did the stuff a lot of other people aren’t willing to do.

Mike [09:01]: Yeah, and a lot of those types of things are going out and writing cold emails, or scraping lists together from different websites that you think would be a good target. That’s actually one of the strategies that I’ve seen recommended to people to get your first hundred customers, is go out and create a list of who you think your best, or flagship, customers would be for your top 25 or top 50 customers, and people you would want to do business with. Then iterate through them, and talk to those people, and see if you can get them on- boarded as customers. If you can, then it will help you build the roadmap for the future in terms of how to get in front of more of those types of people. But just showing up and doing the work is, I’ll say, highly underrated.

Rob [09:42]: Our third take-away is, if you’re not getting initial traction during customer development you may just have things completely wrong. The advice to talk to more customers may not be correct. This is a take-away we pulled out of your talk, which is called “Drawing the Line Between Success and Failure” where you did the survey, or the mini-research study, where you asked boot-strappers specifically about products that they had either failed to launch, or launched, and then had either failed or succeeded at the after-launch. You looked at the data and you analyzed it and you showed your findings.

Mike [10:11]: I think one of the hard things about the data that I had was there’s not enough data to begin with, especially in the boot-strapping and self-funded space. But some of the things that I really wanted to zero in on were edge cases where you could see clearly defined lines between the maximum amount of time that successful companies spent doing customer development, and then the average time, for example – or the minimum time – that companies that were not successful did. You could see very clearly that the maximum amount of time was I think about 10 or 12 hours of customer development for the successful ones, and then there were some people who did upwards of 50 or 100 or even 200 hours of customer development. The reality is that, in looking through that data, and kind of picking through all of the things that I found, what I came to realize was that there’s people who can get themselves into a situation where they’re not sure what they should do. They think that they don’t have a clear picture or clear understanding, but they want an idea to work so they’ll keep talking to people in an effort to try and make it work. That is essentially deluding yourself into thinking that strategy is going to work, because just talking to more people will get you more people to say “Yes”, but it also kind of shows you how difficult it’s going to be, in the long run, to get more people on board. If you can’t convince people who are in your network, who are very likely the people who you’re talking to first, if you can’t convince them that your idea is something that is going to provide business value, what chance do you have from an anonymous webpage where people who have no idea who you are are coming to it and are trying to evaluate it?

Rob [11:42]: Right. I think in the long term you want to increase the number of survey respondents. I think you had about 55 or 60 at the time you presented it there, but it would be nice if some more people would submit their stuff so you can increase the accuracy of this statistics you’re running. Perhaps we could link that up in the show notes, and if you’re interested in providing your data, it can be anonymous or not, it’s up to you, then Mike can maybe revise that in a future talk, or blog post. Our fourth take-away was to find out what people want. Go get it, give it to them, and do it in that order. This was from James Kennedy’s talk “Zero to 20K MRR in 20 ‘Easy’ Steps; The Story of Rubber Stamp.IO.” The title was a little bit facetious because the Easy was in quotes. It was 20 really hard steps. It took a long time to get 20K MRR, which made for a great story. One of the pivotal moments of it was when he read – do you remember what the guy’s name was?

Mike [12:32]: I don’t remember the specific book.

Rob [12:34]: But he read a book, and the instructions were to find out what people want, go get it, and give it to them. He was trying to do that but he was failing. In the end he realized that you have to do it in that specific order.

Mike [12:46]: It might have been the book called “Instant Cash Flow” by Bradley Sugars.

Rob [12:49]: Yes, that’s the book. And actually it’s in Kristoff’s notes, as I think you were secretly looking out while I was fumbling around for the name. One of the other things I liked about James’ talk is he had a lot of really actionable stuff. I mean, he’s attended several Micro Confs, so he knows the level of talk you want to bring, and he talked about some really cool marketing approaches that other people haven’t tried. There was SoftwareAdvice.com, there was [Captera?]. There was – I’m trying to think of what else there was – he had several things that really were kind of off the beaten path that he has used and optimized in order to grow his business.

Mike [13:23]: The other thing I like about his talk is that really laid out, in a manner that was very systematic, about what his approach was to identifying those different channels. I had specifically asked him about that at Micro Conf: What was it that make him decide to go after [Captera?] and those other things? He said he went out and had read the book called “Traction” by Gabrielle [Weinberg?] and Justin [Merez?], and in it it lays out the bullseye approach. We’ve had Gabrielle on the show before talking specifically about that book, and about that approach. They just went through it, and they were very systematic about it: “What’s working? What isn’t? What do we think has the best chances?” And that’s how they identified that those different channels were going to work for them. Because if you look at the channels that they are using, that are being successful for them, they aren’t things you’d think of off the top of your head. I was really interested to hear about how he stumbled across those, and he’s like, “We just systematically went through that and used the information that we had to identify which one was going to work.” and when they didn’t have enough data they went out and got the data.

Rob [14:22]: I also like that he referenced Jason [Cohen’s?] talk from Micro Conf – I think it was 2012 maybe, 2012 or 2013 – and he’s been attending Micro Confs and basically he didn’t have a business, and started a small one, and learned from Micro Conf and grew it, and later shut that one down and started another one. Really, he’s just learned so much from the community, and from the talks, that it was cool to see him reference that and call it out, and now he’s a main stage MicroConf speaker, talking about his road of getting to 20K MRR. That’s the fun stuff. If you’re listening to this and you have not watched Jason [Coen’s?] talk, I think it’s called “Building the Idea Boot-strap Business,” or something like that, it’s linked to from the Micro Conf website, or you can find it on Vimeo. In my opinion, it is the best boot-strapped talk ever in the history of boot-strapped talks. He just rocks it out of the park. I remember as he was giving it, I was thinking, “My head is exploding. This is completely rocking my world.” And then every year since then I try to re-watch it just to remind myself, and to relearn, and to pick up new things. It’s just really written and executed – I don’t know if anyone’s going to ever outdo that talk because it was just so phenomenal. Our fifth take-away is to constantly ask yourself: Why are you doing this? Reevaluate your core values as they might not be etched in stone, and they might change. This comes from my talk, which I titled “Eleven Years to Overnight Success from Beach Towels to Successful Exit.” The idea here is I really talked through the decision process of deciding to sell DRIP, and how that all went down. There’s a lot of thought processes to it, but one of the key threads that kept coming up for me as I looked back and I thought, “What did happen here throughout this career?” I went all the way back – I mean, I started launching products in 2000, but I didn’t really have my first dollar revenue until 2005, so I kind of included, that’s really the last eleven years. I looked back and I thought, “What are the things that were my core values? Why was I doing this at all? Why didn’t I stay a salaried employee?” And so I talked through that I wanted freedom, that I wanted to have purpose, and that I wanted strong relationships. Freedom, purpose, and relationships were three three things that I had originally heard, it’s psychological concept from years back. I heard it on a podcast years ago, and I’ve really just taken it to heart. It’s been something I’ve come back to. Throughout this journey, as I’ve wandered off that path, as I’ve given up some of my freedom, given up some of my purpose, hurt my relationships because I work too much or over-committed, I’ve always had to come back to that center line of making a change. That really was the story. In the end, by the way, I added a fourth one which had never been on my radar, which is stability. Having a lot of products, or having a product that can easily be taken away from you when you’re paying your mortgage from it and your entire income come from that, I’ve had a few scares over the years where Hit Tail almost got creamed by Google, and other things like that. I realized that having that stability was an important thing which, of course, factored into that decision.

Mike [17:04]: I think that what really stood out for me from your talk was the fact that you kept going back to those core values, but at the end of the day you also realized that those core values can change over time. The values that you have when you’re 25, for example, and not married and no kids, those will change over time as you hit 35 and 45 and get older, your priorities change. The things that you want and need in life are going to be different than what they were earlier in life. I think that it was interesting to see that verbalized, because it wasn’t something I had necessarily really given a lot of consideration to before.

Rob [17:38]: Our sixth take-away requires a little explanation. Okay, if you’ve seen the movie Glengarry Glen Ross, Alec Baldwin is like a sales manager, and he uses this expression or this phrase, “ABC – Always Be Closing.” So our sixth take-away is ABFU – Always Be Following Up. This, of course, comes from [Stelli Efdi?]. He did his talk called “Building and Optimizing Your First Sales Process.” If you’ve heard [Stelli?] talk, he’s a very engaging speaker. He gets really riled up on stage in a positive way that just keeps you captivated. He went first on the second day. He’s the perfect post-lunch, or “first in the day” slot because everybody’s trying to wake up and he gets them going. There were a lot of messages, but one of his messages was “always be following up”, and we have abbreviated that. Maybe [Stelli?] can take that and use it, I like it. ABFU.

Mike [18:27]: One of the things I liked about [Stelli’s?] talk was that he gave a bunch of sales metrics that people should be using to help establish whether or not they’re doing the right activities, or they’ve got the right quality metrics for their sales that they’re looking at. For example, if you’re trying to reach out to people and put them into your sales funnel, you should ideally be reaching at least a 15% reach rate, and ideally you would get to 30, but for every 100 calls you make you would reach at least 15 people, ideally you get to 30. So you need to adjust things that you’re doing around that in order to make sure you’re meeting the right metrics. It’s not just enough to call 100 people. You need to also be reaching them as well. Then he also talked about some of the different conversion metrics, and hiring people, making sure you’re hiring the right types of people, making sure that the sales are also founder-driven. You need to do sales yourself in the very beginning stages of the company to make sure that you’re selling to the right people and identifying the right prospects that you should be talking to. It’s very difficult to bring in a sales rep from outside the company and then just plop them down in a chair and say, “Okay start selling.”, because you haven’t figured out a process. You haven’t figured out who is it you should be talking to. That sort of thing really can’t be outsourced. It’s very difficult to just plop somebody in and expect them to be the entrepreneur, because I think a lot of developers, our natural inclination is to kind of step back from that and say, “I need to hire a sales rep to so this sales thing for me.” when the reality is that the developer is going to the best person for that job because they understand all the different pieces that are in it. They may be very uncomfortable, but they understand all the things that go into it. I’ve actually been in conversations where people will tell me flat out, “Hey, I actually trust a lot of what you’re telling me because you’re coming at it from an engineering standpoint. You’re not coming at me as a sales rep.” So when you’re talking at the technical levels about the specific challenges that you’re solving, don’t sell yourself short. You can easily overcome your own uncomfortability about that, and come across to somebody as much more trustworthy just by virtue of the fact that you’re a little bit more technical, and a little less sales-y.

Rob [20:29]: Our seventh take-away is to be deliberate about your direction once you’ve had early success with a product. This came from Jenna [Bestow?] who talked about the power of product focus. She basically talked about how early success makes things complicated, because once you have 10 or 20K in MRR you really have a lot of options. You can go in a lot of directions. If you try and follow all of those threads, it can be a pretty dangerous time for your business, because you can kind of wander off the reservation and not be focused on the product. She showed from first-hand experience how it had them kind of just wandering around and it hurt growth in the end.

Mike [21:05]: I think one of the most interesting things about her talk was that she had graphs that showed what some of the different cohorts looked like, and you could see, over time, as they focused in on the user-acquisition process, and trying to get people from trial to paid, you could very clearly see in the graphs exactly where changes were happening, and how they were moving people to make those decisions earlier in the process. Whereas previous to that they weren’t focused on that. They weren’t concentrating on it, because they were trying all these different things. They didn’t necessarily have set goals and specific things that they were trying to accomplish. They just had money coming in the door, and they were trying a bunch of different things, but they didn’t really have a plan. But once they stepped back and said, “Okay, let’s make a plan. Let’s do these things and be very deliberate about them.” you could see very clearly how well it impacted the business.

Rob [21:55]: Our eighth and final take-away from Micro Conf Europe 2016 is to focus on retention instead of acquisition. This came from Drew [Sinaki?] and his talk “Double Your Business.” It had a long subtitle, but it was just about doubling your business. What he walked through was there are only three ways to increase revenue. It’s to increase your average revenue per user, to decrease churn, or to increase the number of customers that you have. He said if you do all three of them they’re multiplicative. So if you do one of them you get a 30% rise. If you do all three of them, they multiply times each other. It becomes exponentially – it’s like a 2.2 times growth, getting a .3 increase from each of them, I think that’s what the numbers are. You know what I liked is he pointed out how most people focus on the third one. They focus on “We need to see more customers, more customers, more customers.” But if you’re not increasing average revenue per user, and decreasing churn along the way, you’re leaving a ton of money on the table. Then he walked through specific ways that he has done that, both he talked about doing it on an e-commerce site, talked about doing it on Sass apps, because he does some marketing consulting for Teamwork.com, and overall it was a good talk.

Mike [22:57]: What I liked about his talk was that he showed how those three things were applicable to different types of businesses. One of the examples that kind of sticks out in my mind was when someone is going through an e-commerce business, they offered an up-sell. It wasn’t very much, but at the same time there was a certain percentage of people who purchased that up-sell. I forget what it was. It was like an extra t-shirt for $10 or $15, but they got a significant and measurable increase in the number of sales, which impacts the bottom line, and all it took was them to add in that extra page, and that extra offer for the person who was making the purchase. It was just fascinating to see how all those little things ended up adding so much to the bottom line for the business.

Rob [23:39]: And so I think to start wrapping us up, if you attended it was great to see you. Thanks for coming. If you’re interested in attending either of our Micro Confs, in Las Vegas or in Europe, come to MicroConf.com and enter your email address. We also want to thank our sponsors. Frankly, Micro Conf really runs on the energy from the attendees and the help from our sponsors. This year we had five sponsors at MicroConfEuropeTeamwork.com. [Qualaroo?, Balsamic, Lead Fuse, and, of course, DRIP. We’ve been getting some questions via email about our Micro Conf in Vegas this next year. We mentioned it briefly in episode 300 to kind of give you a teaser, we didn’t give you too much detail. In essence, we are having the Micro Conf in Las Vegas on Monday and Tuesday for the past five, six years. We’re having that again this year on April 10th and 11th, of course with an evening event the Sunday before that, the 9th. Then we’re having a separate conference called Micro Conf Starter Edition, and this is for folks who are in more of an early stage. Maybe if you are looking for an idea, you have an idea, you’re not yet launched. Even if you’re launched and just trying to find product market fit, Micro Conf Starter Edition is going to totally geared at idea-validation, early traction, getting the first 10 or the first 100 customers. Because some of the feedback we’ve gotten over the years is that some of the Micro Conf attendees and speakers have progressed to a point where we’ve started thinking about maybe larger problems, and we have new challenges. So you think about me, when we started Micro Conf in 2011, I hadn’t even acquired Hit Tail. I still had a bunch of little businesses doing a few grand a month, and then bought Hit Tail, grew that, started DRIP, 10 employees, that whole thing, I’m just at a different place. There are a lot of folks who are in my shoes, who have gone from zero to businesses that are doing 50K, 100K a month, and when you’re running a bigger business, you just have different interests. So hearing from [Des Trainer?] from Intercom, or hearing from Patrick [Holisem?], the founder of Stripe, it makes more sense at that point. But if you’re in an early stage then you actually want to hear different content. It’s more helpful to hear about idea validation, and maybe to hear about folks who are in the early stages, or to have someone come on and just talk about business ideas rather than you’ve already launched and here’s what you’re doing and what to do with your millions of dollars in revenue and that kind of stuff. That’s the idea here, is it’s two separate conferences aimed at the different stages of what boot-strap startup founders are facing.

Mike [25:49]: I think if you think about Micro Conf in a larger sense that makes sense, because over time the attendees themselves are going to evolve with their businesses. Not everybody is going to want to grow their business to multiple employees, – you know, tens or hundreds or whatever. But there are going to be people who still have those challenges, and maybe they’ve never heard of Micro Conf before, or they’ve never had a chance to go because they’ve never felt like they were in a position to really take advantage of it. So this is kind of our attempt to make sure we are still catering to the needs of the audience and making sure we’re able to deliver what they want and need out of the conference. But at the same time we’re trying to address the fact that over time people are going to have those different phases of their business, and it maybe makes more sense to have these two different conferences that people can go to based on the stage, or the evolution, of their existing business.

Rob [26:37] : Right, and I think we’ve gotten the question, “Why wouldn’t I just attend both of them?” And I think my answer is, “If you want to, that’s fine.” I actually think that depending on your stage you’re going to get a lot more out of one of these conferences than the other. But if you wanted to attend both I don’t see why you shouldn’t. This is also an opportunity for us to allow more people to attend a Micro Conf. Once we launch to the public we sell out in five minutes, and we have wanted to grow the conference to 450 people or whatever. But if we do these two conferences back-to-back, we get people, based on their stage, from the most amount of value that really helps them where they’re at. It also allows us – if we do 200, 225 per conference – then we can’t have 450 people getting help and valued learning out of Micro Conf without having just this massive conference of people wandering around and feeling like – let’s say you have 450 people of all stages, then when you walk around you’re going to talk to a bunch of people who are still validating ideas, and that feels – if you’re already doing seven figures – it feels kind of weird. What do we have to talk about? Whereas if we segment this, and we have the standard Micro Conf and then Micro Conf Starter Edition, you’re just going to run into more people who are doing exactly what you are. That’s always been the point and purpose of Micro Conf. If this sounds interesting, either Micro Conf or Micro Conf Starter Edition, come to MicroConf.com and enter your email address and you’ll be the first to hear about it when we sell tickets.

Mike [27:53]: Well I think that about wraps us up for the day. If you have a question for us, you can call it in to our voicemail number at 1-888-801-9690, or you email it to us at questions@startupsfortherestofus.com. Our theme music is an excerpt from “We’re Out Of Control” by MOot, used under Creative Commons. Subscribe to us in 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.

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2 Responses to “Episode 302 | 8 Key Takeaways from MicroConf Europe 2016”

  1. Great episode guys.

    Mike, I really hope this isn’t a repeat of Audit Shark. Each episode we hear of these ongoing “technical challenges”, without any news on the growth. Really hope you pull through.

    Rick

  2. Hi Rick, I’ve had that same thought on my mind lately. If I look at things objectively, we’re actually making decent progress. It’s just always slower than I’d like so I guess I’m focusing too much on the frustrating parts.