Web Apps A To Z Rehash

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This presentation was based on information given at FOWA workshop by Mike McDerment, creator of Freshbooks. This was not meant to cover anywhere near the level Mike did, but simply some highlights and tips.

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Web Apps A To Z Rehash

  1. 1. Building Web Apps From A To Z David Bisset's (@dimensionmedia) Rehash of Presentation By: Mike McDerment @MikeMcDerment February 24th, 2009 Future Of Web Apps WorkShop
  2. 2. What We Will Be Covering <ul><li>From Scratch To Launch
  3. 3. Building
  4. 4. Marketing
  5. 5. Product Management
  6. 6. Some Metrics
  7. 7. Financing
  8. 8. General Questions </li></ul>
  9. 9. What We Won't Be Covering <ul><li>Deep Metrics
  10. 10. Venture $$$
  11. 11. Deep Financing
  12. 12. How Brian Talked Me Into Doing This </li></ul>v
  13. 13. Mike McDerment <ul><li>An entrepreneur with two successful start-ups to his name.
  14. 14. Mike is a founder of the mesh conference, lecturer at Humber College and a frequent speaker at Internet conferences. </li></ul>
  15. 15. What Is A Web App? <ul><li>Web Application accessed via web browser
  16. 16. Desktops & Mobiles
  17. 17. Usually give you the ability to create a personal account and personlize.
  18. 18. Examples: </li><ul><li>Gmail / Google Calendar
  19. 19. Pandora / Last.fm
  20. 20. Online Banking
  21. 21. Twitter / Facebook / 4square
  22. 22. GET IT YET? WELL?!?!? </li></ul></ul>
  23. 23. Part One: Building Getting a Launch Ready Product
  24. 24. Launch Ready Product <ul><li>You get paid to be a crayon (being creative, creating sales; make more money for users) or aspirin (taking the pain out of a task or chore). Freshbooks is an example of aspirin. You need to figure out which of these you are – it matters in marketing, etc. down the road.
  25. 25. FACT: You don't know what to launch with... get people using your service as fast as you can. Figure out where you are, building least number of features, and put the thing out there.
  26. 26. Launching and marketing are two different things. Get something up. Actually “launch” in the future.
  27. 27. Don't Build Billing – Don't waste time on this. Get people to use the service first, deploy billing later.
  28. 28. Set a deadline for launch.
  29. 29. GET TO LAUNCH AS FAST AS YOU CAN. </li></ul>
  30. 30. Part One: Building Building The Founding Team
  31. 31. Building A Founding Team <ul><li>Two kinds of entrepreneurs: (1) Those who want control, (2) Those who want to build something big not own or control something. TRUST.
  32. 32. Equity = ownership = bigger pie. How much equity do you give your team?
  33. 33. Human qualities: PASSION. If there's no passion...
  34. 34. Trust, honesty, loyalty, openness – otherwise it will suck the life of you
  35. 35. Not in it for the money.
  36. 36. It's a marriage. Do the 3am Test.
  37. 37. Founders should find people that compliment themselves. Find people that have skills that you don't have.
  38. 38. Key roles in a startup: Entrepreneur, Manager, Technician
  39. 39. Design, Development, Operations, Sales/Marketing </li></ul>
  40. 40. Part One: Building Mo Money, Mo Problems
  41. 41. Greed Is Good-ish. <ul><li>Lawyers (Try to find a cheap one – this and docs will be single biggest expense)
  42. 42. Don't use shared hosting.
  43. 43. Don't need an office.
  44. 44. Advisors are nice, but probably not needed.
  45. 45. Business plan – exercise going through it is good </li></ul>
  46. 46. Part Two: Marketing Categories
  47. 47. Categories <ul><li>What category are you in (AutoNation is in car, Facebook is in social networking)? What does your product or service do? These are very important because this is the place in your customer's mind in which you live.
  48. 48. Can you create a new category?
  49. 49. http://www.amazon.com/Positioning-Battle-Your-Mind-Anniversary/dp/0071359168/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1267024471&sr=8-1
  50. 50. Creating a new category is as easy sometimes as adding “online”. Before there was online banking, there was “banking”. Hotel reservations is now “online hotel reservations” today. </li></ul>
  51. 51. Part Two: Marketing Choosing A Name
  52. 52. Choosing A Name <ul><li>Easy to remember
  53. 53. Easy to spell without explanation
  54. 54. Get a name that describes the category
  55. 55. Get a name that describes the benefit
  56. 56. Get a name that describes the difference between you and everything else
  57. 57. Fun. Harsh. Consonants.
  58. 58. Get the .com... it's just another constraint
  59. 59. If you are serious, you might need to pay up – Freshbooks costs $2k. </li></ul>
  60. 60. Part Two: Marketing Knowing Your Story
  61. 61. Knowing Your Story <ul><li>There is an art to telling stories. You can convey more information in a story than any other format.
  62. 62. Stories give your history and will be remembered.
  63. 63. Different versions for different people (short, long).
  64. 64. Develop an “Elevator pitch” – quick way to tell what you do in less then 30 seconds.
  65. 65. Stories do evolve, so make sure you refine the story online and offline.
  66. 66. venturehacks.com </li></ul>
  67. 67. Part Two: Marketing Building Your Website
  68. 68. Building Your Website <ul><li>Three pages
  69. 69. Startup needs homepage, signup page, tour page.
  70. 70. Blog possible fourth, in that order.
  71. 71. Home page must explain: What it is? Who it's for? Why it matters?
  72. 72. http://www.amazon.com/Call-Action-Formulas-Improve-Results/dp/078521965X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1267027862&sr=8-1 </li></ul>
  73. 73. Part Two: Marketing Spending Wisely
  74. 74. Spending Wisely <ul><li>Out spend or out teach – how are you going to market your product?
  75. 75. Invest your time to teach others, talk at conferences, write books, write blogs, etc.
  76. 76. First step – go to a conference.
  77. 77. Banners in your community. Marketing to your fellow community makes sense. At least it gives you brand recognization.
  78. 78. Google PPC (Outsource If You Can)
  79. 79. Community Emails
  80. 80. PR = renting relationships. Not exactly great.
  81. 81. Blogging – tell your story, why you are doing it, stories of customers, etc. You are more interesting than you think. Have each member of your team blog (Freshbooks does this). </li></ul>
  82. 82. Part Three: Product Management Do Support
  83. 83. Do Support <ul><li>Everyone does customer support
  84. 84. At Freshbooks, new employees ALWAYS start off in customer service no matter what their job (to know what matters/what's broken).
  85. 85. Post your phone number on your website – do everything you can to communicate your customers
  86. 86. Use a forum
  87. 87. Hit Twitter, Facebook. “Be Everywhere”.
  88. 88. As your organization scales, create a system for most asked features.
  89. 89. Usability Tests – just sit down next to someone, give them a direction, don't say anything and see what they do </li></ul>
  90. 90. Do Support <ul><li>Telephone Interviews are a must. Prepare a survey, and when asking about benefits keep the question open ended. “ In your own words, what's the single biggest benefit of our service?”
  91. 91. Decisions = dope. Decisions are part art, part science.
  92. 92. You are the editor / curator of the web app.
  93. 93. Can't please all the people all the time.
  94. 94. If you aren't sure if you need to add a feature, don't do it.
  95. 95. If you do support, you'll know what to add.
  96. 96. Wait, wait, wait. Don't jump into building a feature right away.
  97. 97. Remove the pain, stay true to the vision. (Does this feature fit with my plan and dream?) </li></ul>
  98. 98. Part Four: Metrics Hope You Are Comfortable With Math
  99. 99. Hope You Are Comfortable W/ Math <ul><li>Expenses:
  100. 100. Hosting ~10% revenue.
  101. 101. Acquisition: CPA < 10 * ARPU
  102. 102. Burn Rate: Monthly exp – monthly rev = Burn
  103. 103. Run Rate: Monthly Revenue * 12 = Run rate
  104. 104. VC asks you burn rate
  105. 105. What % of emails are “glowing”, what % of people who would refer you to friends and family.
  106. 106. Job satisfaction
  107. 107. Days you did not want to work </li></ul>
  108. 108. Part Five: Funding When To Raise Some Dead Presidents (Money)
  109. 109. When To Raise Money <ul><li>Raising Money Is The Beginning Of A Buttload Of Work, Or The End.
  110. 110. Ask When you Don't Need It, Aren't Begging For It
  111. 111. When you know your users better than anybody
  112. 112. When you have a formula for the $$$
  113. 113. When you've got traction
  114. 114. Web apps are so cheap to build, there's no excuse to building one before asking for venture dollars.
  115. 115. When You Know Your Market Size </li></ul>
  116. 116. Part Five: Funding Where To Find Money
  117. 117. Where To Find Money <ul><li>Consulting Businesses
  118. 118. Personal Savings
  119. 119. Love Money (From Family/Friends who don't expect to get it back)
  120. 120. Angels and Advisors
  121. 121. Your Mortgage
  122. 122. The Bank?
  123. 123. Venture Capital / PE
  124. 124. Capital Markets (When Going Public) </li></ul>
  125. 125. Part Five: Funding What To Look For In Investors
  126. 126. What To Look For In Investors <ul><li>Shared Values
  127. 127. Conviction
  128. 128. Trust, honesty
  129. 129. Operational experience
  130. 130. Domain expertise
  131. 131. 3am test
  132. 132. it's a marriage </li></ul>
  133. 133. Am I Still Alive? <ul><li>David Bisset
  134. 134. Twitter: @dimensionmedia
  135. 135. www.davidbisset.com
  136. 136. http://www.linkedin.com/in/davidbisset
  137. 137. Frontend Development, Wordpress
  138. 138. Just Offer Free Pizza, And I'm There </li></ul>

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