Episode 313 | The Viability of SaaS, Cutting-edge Technologies, and More Listener Questions

Show Notes

In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob and Mike answer a number of listener questions including if SaaS is still viable for microprenuers, latest technology they are excited about,  and some book recommendations.

Items mentioned in this episode:

Transcript

Rob [00:00:00]: In this episode of “Startups for the Rest of Us,” Mike and I discuss whether SaaS is still viable for micropreneurs, what books we’re reading now, and what solopreneurship looks like in 2016. Plus, we answer more listener questions. This is “Startups for the Rest of Us,” episode 313.

[Theme music]

Rob [00:00:17]: Welcome to “Startups 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 [00:00:33]: And I’m Mike.

Rob [00:00:34]: – and we’re here to share our experiences to help you avoid the same mistakes we’ve made. What’s the word this week, sir?

Mike [00:00:38]: Well, this past week I spent quite a bit of time probably alternating between two, different things. First one was having a lot of MicroConf sponsorship-related calls with people, because people have been reaching out and asking how to get in touch, and how to go about sponsoring MicroConf. I’ve been having a bunch of those calls. I won’t say it chews up a ton of time, but because they tend to be sporadically scheduled I have to be careful about how I allocate the rest of my time. The other thing I’ve done is scheduled a few, different calls with some of the people I’ve been working with on Blue Tick to hammer out how to integrate it into their sales funnels for Asana and Streak and a couple of other apps that they’re using. It’s been some interesting calls there. I’ve got some overlapping feature requests that we’ve got to go through and implement. They were on the roadmap anyway. All I’ve basically done is move them up a little bit, but so far things seem to be going pretty well. How ‘bout you?

Rob [00:01:25]: Yeah, speaking of MicroConf, if you’re out there and you feel like getting your company, or product, or whatever, in front of several hundred bootstrapped startups founders would be interesting, drop Mike a line. You can email him at questions@startupsfortherestofus.com, and we’ll get to you, or Mike@micropreneur.com. In terms of MicroConf, yeah, tickets are now on sale for Founder Café members – which is our online membership community – as to previous attendees. I think by the time this episode goes live, we will be emailing the early bird list either that day or the next day. So, if you are interested in heading to Vegas in early April, we’re having, as we said, the growth edition, the starter edition, depending on your stage. Head over there. It looks like we’re going to sell out pretty quick again this year. Is that your take on it as well?

Mike [00:02:10]: Yeah. It’s interesting the number of tickets that we’ve sold just so far. It exceeds what we’ve done in the past, which is to be expected just since we have more tickets available. It’s nice to see that things haven’t really been impacted by splitting things out into two, different conferences. Things still seem to be moving along at a pretty good clip, and it’s a matter, I think, for most people of determining where they should attend – just because there is the starter edition and growth edition. I’ve heard some people have not really concerns, but they say it’s a little bit of disappointment. They’re like, “Oh! I’m not going to see everybody that I saw last year.” because some of them are going to one edition or the other, and they’re going to be at the opposite one.

Rob [00:02:44]: Sure, but this allows us to have – what – probably around 400 people across the two conferences without having any conference be more than about 200, 220 people. I think it’s a good compromise.

Mike [00:02:56]: Yeah, definitely.

Rob [00:02:57]: And if you miss out on tickets this year, and you’re interested in getting an early jump on tickets when it’s much calmer, foundercafe.com, as I mentioned earlier, is Mike and my online community for bootstrapped startup founders. It is a paid community, and folks who are members of Founder Café get basically first crack at MicroConf tickets, both in Europe and in Las Vegas. So, if you’re interested, we do screen and approve incoming requests for new members. We don’t just let anyone in. You have to have some type of business launch, and have some type of traction in order to get in, but we’d love to see you inside Founder Café, if that’s of interest. Last thing for me, I’m preparing for my retreat, and my goal is to take two retreats a year – do one in January, one right around June or July – but with the chaos of the Leadpages acquisition, and the move, I never did my midyear one. So I’ve been encouraged by everyone around me. You know how someone hands you deodorant and toothpaste you take that as a hint, like, “Yeah, you smell?” Well, three different people in different walks of my life basically told me, “You really need to go on a retreat!” [Laughs] So, that was the indicator of like, “Oh. Am I being that much of a jerk?” “Do I look that stressed out?” So, I took that as an omen and booked something. I’m going up to the waters of Lake Superior for the first time ever.

Mike [00:04:12]: Very cool. I used to live right next to Lake Ontario, and very close to Lake Erie. I’ve never been that far up into the Great Lakes region, though. I have been to Minneapolis and seen the Great Lakes from there, but it’s a little different than actually going out there.

Rob [00:04:24]: For sure, yeah. I have not been north of Minneapolis at all, so it’ll be a fun, little drive for me. This week we have a bunch of questions. I really liked these questions. We have one from John Ndege, and then we had an email filled with questions from Corey Moss at gelform.com, and both are long-time listeners of the show. We’ve met both of them in person at different MicroConfs, and so we just wanted to take 20, 30 minutes to run through these. Some of these range from things about us and what we’ve been up to. Other things are more of our take on what solopreneurship looks like in 2016, 2017, that kind of stuff. The first question is from John Ndege, and his question is, “Is SaaS still viable for micropreneurs?” – meaning folks who want a lifestyle business, who want to probably stay solo, and keep a small business that can fund their life. You have thoughts on that?

Mike [00:05:13]: I think the interesting thing about this question is that people are starting to look around and see that the landscape of SaaS businesses is starting to become more crowded. If you look at the landscape today compared to five years ago – or even, honestly, two years ago – things are a lot more crowded now, and the low-hanging fruit is more or less gone. There’re certainly opportunities out there for people to come in with a new SaaS product and aim it at a particular niche and be able to be successful with it, but I think that the problem people are probably starting to run into now is that they look around and most of the ideas that have for a new SaaS product have already been done. There’s a little bit of angst, or concern, about coming out with a new product that does something that another product does, and I think that this is a very common hang-up among developers, where they basically want to invent something new. They don’t want to reinvent the wheel. They don’t want to do something that’s already been done, and that to them is a hurdle that they need to address in some way, shape, or form, either with themselves or with their customers. Because one, you don’t want to build something that there’s already a lot of very competitive products out there that already do that exact, same thing. For example, it’d be very difficult to come out with a new Basecamp, for example, or a new version of Teamwork, or a new project management application. It’s because those markets are very crowded. The analogy there that most people, I think, would take is they transfer that onto all other SaaS products and say, “Oh, there’s already something that does this.”, when the reality is the question you should be asking is, “Can I get in front of those people, and can I deliver something?” I think the other side of this is also that people’s expectations of what a successful SaaS product needs to achieve on day one are substantially higher than they were five or ten years ago. If you look at the new apps that’re coming out, they look very, very polished when they hit the market, and when you first discover them. It’s not often that you get to see the makings of a new SaaS as it’s being built, or as it’s in the very, very early stages, because you just are not in that target market most of the time. I think that those are the two things that factor into this. I do think that there’s still a lot of opportunities here, and I still think that people can come out with a new SaaS and make it work – especially in the micropreneur space – but I also think that you have to be very calculated about the things that you do and the choices that you make in terms of the competition and the market that you’re going after, and the marketing channels that you use. There’re still a lot of marketing channels out there that developers tend to shy away from, that they don’t necessarily need to shy away from, because there’s a lot of opportunities there. Some of those opportunities are a direct result of the fact that other developers and entrepreneurs are not in those because they’re uncomfortable with it.

Rob [00:07:51]: I think that’s a really good take on it. I agree with you, it’s more competitive than it was five years ago. The best time to get started was ten years ago, the second-best time was nine years ago, and the third-best time is today. I’ve been saying this for years about SaaS and micropreneurship and software and all this stuff. Info products have done the same thing. There is so much money to be made, and as audiences have grown bigger and bigger, everyone wants to do it – thinks they can – so there’s a big rush of competition. I absolutely think SaaS is still viable for micropreneurs, and I’m seeing people still execute on it, and launching three months ago and getting decent traction; launching six months ago, getting decent traction. I see the landscape shifting, but I don’t see that ending anytime soon. Even looking several years out, it’s still, in my opinion, going to be a viable business. You may have to niche down more. You may have more competition. There’s a bunch of stuff – it’s different, but I still see people executing and just making it happen. So I have no qualms about saying that it’s still legit. Our next question comes from Corey Moss at gelform.com, and he says, “What specifically have you guys gotten out of the podcast? What are some stories of connections made? And would you recommend it as a marketing channel?”

Mike [00:09:01]: Three different questions buried in there. I’ll try and answer them individually. What have I specifically gotten out of the podcast? I would say that it gives me something to talk about when I meet entrepreneurs. Sometimes they’ve heard of the podcast. Sometimes they’re listeners. It makes getting a conversation started with people a lot easier, especially when they’ve heard of the podcast, or if they’re a regular listener. You can jumpstart into various aspects of things, because there’s already that relationship there, even though that relationship, I think, is mostly one-way when it comes to podcasting, because you’re talking, but you’re not necessarily getting that interactivity with the people on the other side. There is that feeling of familiarity with them to you to be able to talk about different things and discuss things about their business. I really like that aspect of it. It’s really nice to just go someplace and say, “I have a podcast.” or find out that somebody else has a podcast, and you just start talking about podcasting, and about what your format is, and how you do things, and how you prepare, and those kinds of things. I think that those are the basics of what I’ve gotten out of it. Stories of connections? There’s any number of things that have come out of this podcast, MicroConf being one of them, the Micropreneur Academy being another one – although I guess the Micropreneur Academy came a little bit first. Still, there’s all those connections that you can make. I’ve talked to hundreds and hundreds of people that I probably would never have met otherwise, because they just don’t live near me. You don’t get the sense of familiarity, or the ease of being able to just walk up to somebody and talk to them without having that connection of some kind. I think a podcast does help to establish that. Both of the guys in my Mastermind group have come to MicroConf. They both listened to Startups for the Rest of Us in the past. So those are the types of things I’ve gotten out of it; Mastermind group members, MicroConf, relationships. Then, I think the last question here was, “Would you recommend it is a marketing channel?” I think this is very subtly nuanced, because I think it’s very easy to say, “Yes, it’s a good marketing channel.” but I also think that there is a lot of nuance there as to the type of person who can make it work, and whether or not you have a format that is appealing to people, whether you have topics available, and quite frankly, whether the podcast is just interesting to people or not. There’s a lot of things that factor into it. You might just not enjoy talking into a microphone every week. You might not enjoy it very much. You can do what we did. I forget how many episodes we recorded. It was eight or ten before we even released one of them, but that’s one way to test it. Do you even enjoy it? Now, in terms of whether it works as a marketing channel, I can’t answer that for every business. For us, with the Micropreneur Academy, it has worked really well; and, obviously, that translated into MicroConf, which is doing extremely well. I don’t know how well it would work for other types of businesses. I think that it does give you the social awareness, in your circles, for the people who are listening to it, but whether it is an effective marketing channel for everything? My suspicion would be, “No, it’s not for everyone, or for all types of businesses.”, but I think that there’re certain ones where it can work, and it can work really well.

Rob [00:11:54]: Yeah, and from my perspective, what I’ve gotten out of the podcast – it’s similar to you. Before the podcast, I had the blog, I had written my book, and I definitely had a small personal brand in the bootstrapped software space. The thing was there was a realization at one point where I surveyed my email list, and I sent them – I don’t even remember what the questions were, but it was kind of trying to find out what they wanted me to write about, and it was how much did they enjoy the blog and this kind of stuff – and a bunch of them said – and I put this both through the RSS feed on the blog – the email – and a bunch of folks replied with comments like, “Yeah, I think I like your blog, but it’s hard to remember what you write and what everyone else writes, because I just see it all” – “I click through to 20 articles from Hacker News, or I see it all in my RSS reader, and I forget who wrote and who said what.” It occurred to me that as much content as we’re all producing and writing, trying to make these impacts on people, that it really was getting lost in the noise.” Even though you want to have a unique voice – or even if you do have a unique voice – your stuff just gets blended in with all the other information that someone consumes in a day. So the realization hit me that two ways to stand out were, number one, to be audio, right? To have a podcast where someone listens to you. It’s a serial. It’s a show that comes out every week, people follow the trials and the tribulations, and if you go all the way back to the first episodes you’ll hear you and I talking about random stuff. Then you’ll hear us talking about selling apps, and buying apps, and launching Drip, and you just follow this story. It can happen with a blog, it’s just a lot more rare, I think. The other thing I realized is that – in terms of content and people engaging – writing a book is the other thing. That’s the other thing where someone will sit there, they’ll read that book, and they’ll spend several hours digging into it, and then they’ll be impacted, and they’ll remember that you wrote it. That was kind of a big wakeup for me. So, I think specifically, what I’ve gotten out of the podcast is it has made my thoughts and my voice, and the stuff that I want to get out there into the bootstrap community – I think it’s given me a mechanism to do that in a way that people remember, “Oh, Rob.” or, “Rob and Mike said this.”, right? As opposed to us saying stuff, but then it just gets lost because nobody remembers you said it, in essence. Beyond that, Micropreneur Academy – which, as you said, I think, was before the podcast – but MicroConf I don’t think would have – it may have happened, but it wouldn’t’ve been nearly as successful as quickly as it was without the podcast. And it’s a fun thing to do. The reason I like it is we show up here for 45 minutes, and then we walk away, and the show shows up every week. I used to spend six to eight hours per post on the really good blogposts. Sometimes I’d crank one out – including all the edits and everything before I hit “publish” – might be four hours. That’s a tremendous leveraging of my time. That’s why I like podcasting. In terms of stories of connections we’ve made, I could go on and on. So much of growing MicroConf, growing Drip, finding speakers for MicroConf, buying apps, selling apps – almost anything I’ve done – has been easier because of the podcast, and because of the connections that we make. Even if they’re one-sided connections, right? You get 10,000, 15,000 people listening to a podcast. I may not know them, but if I reach out to invite them to speak at MicroConf, I don’t have to explain what MicroConf is. They often will say, “Oh, yeah. I’ve heard your show,” or, “I listen to your show.” It makes it so much easier that they know that you’re legitimate, so, in essence, it’s not a cold outreach.

[00:15:21] “Would you recommend it as a marketing channel?” Similar to you, it really depends on what you’re marketing. As a SaaS marketing channel, probably not. I know it can work; we had talked about doing a Drip podcast at one point – but it’s just such a slow burn, and the time it takes to build an audience is really, really long. I think if you’re trying to market software that doesn’t surround a personal brand, I would say this is like high-hanging fruit. There’re tons of things that are more low-hanging than starting a podcast, with all the overhead of doing it. There’s a lot of things to think about. I’ve started two podcasts now, and Sheri has done a separate one as well on parenting. So there’s three podcasts that I’ve been heavily involved with getting set up technically, and every time it just takes a bunch of time.I think that if you’re going for a personal brand, selling information products, if your unique voice needs to be there in order for something to be sold, then yes, I think over the course of years it’s worth doing a podcast. But be in it for the long haul. You’re not going to release ten episodes and have any type of audience. We were around for a year before we had – I don’t know, I don’t remember the exact numbers – but it just wasn’t that many people. It’s really this long snowball that you’re basically pushing up a hill. Our next question is for you, Mike. It says, “How did Mike’s book do in the end? What did you get out of the process, and would you write another?”

Mike [00:16:30]: I’ll be honest. I have not paid very much attention to it since probably a couple of months after the launch. So during the initial launch – I think if you’re on my email sequence there are emails that go out that actually tell you all the different stats, and show you all the numbers and everything – but that’s all from the launch. I think with the launch itself I did probably around 250 to 300 sales, or something like that, and it was around probably $20,000 or so. The odd thing about that is because the book itself – there was a physical book that went with it – that $20,000 was profit. It was not total income for it. The book itself cost me around $5 for each one just to print it, and then anywhere from about $4 to $18 to ship it. I factored those into the profit margin as well. That’s how it did out of the gate, and then it still sells copies every month. I just haven’t really kept track and gone back to look to see what it does. In terms of what I got out of the process, I understand, I think, a lot more about what would go into writing book. That probably doesn’t necessarily directly help me, in terms of most of the things that I’ve worked on. I have thought about writing a book that would go along with Blue Tick, for example, and it’s given me ideas on how to structure that, and what needs to go into it. I’ve looked at amazon.com, for example, as a marketing channel for that book. Those are the types of things where I would say it’s helped me. Would I write another? The answer to that is “Maybe, but I’m not absolutely sure on that.” As I said, I’ve had the idea to write one for Blue Tick just about sending out emails and being consistent about the outreach, and what sorts of things you should look for, what you shouldn’t, what you should say, and what you should avoid saying. Those are the types of things, I think, that would go into that, but I’ve also been reading a lot of science fiction and fantasy books lately, and I remember as a kid one of the things I wanted to do was be a writer. It’s kind of made me think about the possibility of branching off at some point in the future and doing that as a side project, or a side hobby, or something like that – just writing either science fiction or fantasy books, or something along those lines. It’s been burning in the back of my mind, but I haven’t moved on it yet, just because I’ve got so many other things going on, and it’s just not that important to me right now.

Rob [00:18:35]: Very cool. The next question is for me. It says, “Rob, would you, could you write another book?” Then [chuckles] he put in parenthesis, “That may sound more cynical, but I mean it, too.” It’s kind of funny: “Could I write another book?” Yeah, the answer is, “Absolutely.” I kind of talk about this every year, don’t I? I like to say, “Oh, I’m” –

Mike [00:18:49]: You do. I think that’s a yearly, annual goal for you. Or, at least, you revisit it every year, and you make a conscious decision to not go back and write –

Rob [00:18:58]: Exactly. Yeah, so the answer is, yes, I have hopes to one day do this again. I don’t particularly enjoy the process of writing. It’s pretty painful. I think for most people it is. It’s hard to do, but I think that I absolutely could write another book. I think that I definitely plan to write another book. I would love to go back – I don’t know if I’m going to go back and revise “Start Small, Stay Small.” That’s been the big decision process: “Do I revise this?” “Do I have more to say on that topic?” “Do I want to write another one with a different focus?” I think the bottom line is, yeah. As soon as I have time -things are in place where I can do that – I would guess that that’ll be something that I will add to one of my annual goals. Next question is, “What solopreneur bootstrapper books are worth reading now?” This is, actually, a tough one for me. I know of a few books, but I’m not in the –- in the early days when you’re really thirsty and you’re just trying to drink all the information you can on this topic, you read all the books, and you have a pretty good survey of what’s out there. I actually don’t these days, because I’m not actively seeking them, because I don’t necessarily need to learn these aspects of it. I continuously find myself recommending Ryan Battles’ “SaaS Marketing Essentials.” When I started reading through that book it was similar to an outline of a book that I was hoping to write someday. It’s just kind of step-by-step, “Here’s how to think about SaaS.” “Here’s how to get it launched.” I really like that book. Solid. I recommend it pretty frequently. I also like Justin Jackson’s “Marketing for Developers.” I think it’s just a solid way – especially, I think, even if you’re not a developer, this still applies. It’s really teaching you how to get software out there and into people’s hands. It reminds me a lot of stuff that, if you look back at my writings between maybe 2006-2007 and 2010 or ’11, a lot of it was – it’s similar type of stuff. It’s like trying to break – it’s saying the same thing over and over – trying to break developers out of the thing: “Don’t go in the basement and build it first. Start marketing. Talk to customers first…” It’s the same stuff, but it needs to just be constantly said, to be honest, because new crops of developers come up, and nothing lasts forever. So those are the two books that most come to mind.

Mike [00:21:02]: Yeah. I think when you start to – depending on how you phrase this particular question – the answers could be different, because both of the books that you just mentioned, they are from solopreneurs, or bootstrappers, but I wouldn’t necessarily consider them to be about being a solopreneur or bootstrapper. If I were to look at the landscape out there, there’s not very many that fit in that mold. Your book “Start Small, Stay Small” is one of them. My book, “The Single Founder Handbook,” is another. But when you start looking around beyond that – that specifically talks about solopreneurship or bootstrapping a company -there’s really – I don’t see a whole lot out there. Now, the two books that you mentioned, when I look at those I look at them specifically as a form of “How do I do X?” or “How do I solve a particular problem?” which would be – if you’re looking at Justin Jackson’s book – if you’re a developer, how do you go about marketing; or, if you have a SaaS application, how do you go about building that. I don’t put them in the same vein as the way this question is phrased. I think that there’s a difference between those two things. Is it by a solopreneur or a bootstrapper, about that particular topic, or is it by them about a very particular nice thing? Another one that comes to mind that also fits in that is “Email Marketing Demystified” from Matthew Paulson, who has come to MicroConf for several years, knows quite a bit about email marketing. He’s been on this podcast before talking about how they send, some crazy number – like 10 million emails a month or something like that – which is probably higher than that at this point. Those are the types of topics that I think that are probably relevant, and I think once you get past the basics you’re probably looking for very point solution-specific books that solve a particular problem for you.

Rob [00:22:36]: Yeah, I think that’s a good point. I think implicit in my answer is that, if you’re going to be a solopreneur bootstrapper, I think you should learn how to market, which is why I recommend Justin’s book. I think you’re probably eventually get to SaaS. Maybe that’s not your first thing, but I think you’re going to want to take some stuff away from that – you know, Ryan Battle’s book to do it. But you’re right. They’re not specifically about solopreneurship and bootstrapping. Corey’s next question is, “What new tech has you excited, both personally and as an entrepreneur?” For me, I think these are very different questions – which is kind of cool, there’s the personal side and the entrepreneurship side. As a founder and especially as a solo bootstrapper, I don’t think you want to be excited about new tech. That’s the danger. That’s the Silicon Valley thing. If you want to go build software for drones, or you want to build wearables, you should go raise funding, because if you don’t, you’re very likely going to get creamed. If you’re bootstrapping from your garage you want to look at things that’re a lot more boring. Those are the ways to cut your teeth. It’s not to jump in the middle of the pile where everybody has $10 million, $100 million valuations, when it’s two people in a garage and it’s just going to be red water, and 100 companies are going to launch, and two are going to succeed. If you want something that has a decent chance of success the tech that would excite me is things like: building a web app in Ruby on Rails – a SaaS app that helps B-to-B folks, that’s priced at $20, $30, $40 a month and up – or building something in Python over Djenga. These are boring, old things, but that’s how you do it. It’s going simple. Once you get to the point where you have experience, and maybe you have the income coming in – 20 grand a month from your SaaS app. Then you can go do what you want, right? Because you’re basically going to be able to fund your R amp;D. You have some credibility, and you have chops, and maybe you do want to go raise money at that point. But I feel like taking care of that first is something that I’d recommend. So, entrepreneur side for me? That’s the tech that I think people listening to this should be focused on. Now, with that said, for me, personally, I’m really into crypto currency. I like Bitcoin. I like the promise of it. I think there’s a lot of potential in that. I think it’s way overhyped for a number of dumb reasons. That would probably be a whole episode we could talk about, but I am teaching myself about Bitcoin. It’s something that’s new, and it’s changed something. It reminds me – when I was eight years old, I got an Apple 2E sitting on my desk, and I thought to myself, “I’ve never seen anything like this. I wonder how long these things ‘ll be around.” Then the Internet came up. I got into college in ’93, and I get this email address they handed me, and I’m like, “What is this thing? It’s my initials ‘@ucdavis.’ “What in the world is this? I wonder how long this thing ‘ll be around.” And here we are. The Internet and everything keeps piling up on itself, and it’s like these things that we have all been alive as they launched – few of us saw the potential in them. When I look at Bitcoin I think that it’s going to be around for a really long time, and I think we’re at the advent of something that is going to – I don’t want to say, “It’s going to be big!”, but it really does feel like we’re in the early days of things like that. I also think wearables are interesting. I don’t own any of them myself, but I’m excited, long term, about the potential of those. I like [quad?]-copters and drones. I have a little plastic one we play around with the kids, but I’m not excited about those like I am in terms of learning about them and getting in and doing all the stuff like I am with Bitcoin. I guess the other thing I’ll throw out is 3D printing. I have a little consumer-grade 3D printer that I got on Kickstarter. I’m pretty stoked about that, but I’m more stoked about it for my kids. We do it together, and I want them to understand how to design, and how to print the things out, and how to build them. I think for them, long-term, that could be their programming. When I was eight I learned how to code, and it has changed my life. I think for them, one of these things that we do is going to latch onto one of them, and one of them is going to say, “I love 3D printing. This is the thing I’m going to do.” I think your long-term career prospects, if you do that now and get into it, are really big. Anyways, I just threw out a bunch of stuff. You have opinions as well, Mike?

Mike [00:26:21]: I don’t think my opinions are too far off from yours. I think that there’s definitely a difference between being excited about a piece of technology for personal reasons versus entrepreneurship. There’s nothing really out there that I can see that I would want to latch onto as an entrepreneur. The one – I don’t even really want to call this an exception, because I still think that it would be very difficult – but building small devices, or products, out of microcontrollers and things like that. You could use Raspberry Pie, for example, as a prototype tool, and then go out and build other small devices, or have them shrunk down, or get the manufacturing process so that you can get them cheaper than having to buy an off-the-shelf Raspberry Pie to run whatever it is that you’re building. That said, on a personal front, I’d say that a lot of the things that go around home automation, I think, are interesting. I don’t know how really excited I am about them, so I guess things like being able to measure or monitor all the different things that are going on in your house, whether it’s temperatures, or air currents, or, “Are the lights on? Are you using a lot of power when it seems like there’s nobody in the room?” Those types of things they’re not really terribly interesting, though, I don’t think – at least not from a personal standpoint. It’d be nice to have that information, but it doesn’t really help you. It doesn’t significantly change your life. I think it’s interesting, and I like the idea of working with those little pieces of electronics. I would find a hard time, I think, building a business around it. You could certainly do Kickstarter campaigns and things like that, but I think it’d be tough just because of the cost of manufacturing, which was why I went into software rather than hardware. Beyond that, I have a drone as well. I think that those are pretty interesting, but that’s more because I like playing with them with the kids than anything else, except when I run it into the TV [chuckles]. There’s not a lot out there that, I think, interests me, or really excites me. There’s certainly a lot of possibilities around VR, but VR has been talked about for the past 20 years. I went to college with somebody who made a VR headset for the original Mechwarrior game, and that was back in the mid-‘90s, and VR still really hasn’t taken off. It’s not to say that it won’t, but I don’t see TRON-like features two years in our future. I think there’s obviously potential for those things, but it’s not stuff that I’m looking around saying, “I really want to get into that,” or, “I’m really excited to see that.” because, as you said, it’s so hard to see what the future looks like for some of those things.

Rob [00:28:38]: Corey sent us some additional questions that are really good, and we’re going to cover them in a future episode. But for today I think we’re wrapped up.

Mike [00:28:45]: If you have a question for us you can call it into our voicemail number at 1-888.801.9690, or, you can email us at questions@startupsfortherestofus.com. Our theme music is an excerpt from “We’re Outta Control” by MoOt, used under Creative Commons. 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.

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2 Responses to “Episode 313 | The Viability of SaaS, Cutting-edge Technologies, and More Listener Questions”

  1. Thanks for shout out for Marketing for Developers!

  2. Thanks also for the shout-out to SaaS Marketing Essentials! *Blushing because I’m mentioned in the same answer as the amazing Justin Jackson*