Art of the Bootstrap
  From garage to $60 million in 8 years




Mike Cannon-Brookes      Scott Farquhar
mike@atlassian.co...
Atlassian
1   Start with two
Share the low points
Share the high points
Share the high points
Half each
biz
2   Need a ^ model   Not all models work for bootstapping
Enterprise Software   Atlassian Model
Model Evolution

•No $ for sales team? Must sell itself
•Sell itself? Must be low price
•Low $? Must sell 000s of copies
•...
Model Evolution

•No $ for sales team? Must sell itself
•Sell itself? Must be low price
•Low $? Must sell 000s of copies
•...
Model Evolution

•No $ for sales team? Must sell itself
•Sell itself? Must be low price
•Low $? Must sell 000s of copies
•...
Model Evolution

•No $ for sales team? Must sell itself
•Sell itself? Must be low price
•Low $? Must sell 000s of copies
•...
3   Use your own product
You are your own best customer
4   Measure everything
Atlass                                                                                                                    ...
Make decisions
Test everything   ... and fail fast!
Trial and error
5   Always be closing
             mark  eting
Be loud & unique

Buy the beer at the conference
Ship something
tangible
Ship something
tangible
Make everything a campaign
Market to your employees
“One of my housemates just had his first day at Atlassian today, and he
came home talking about how when he arrived his wor...
You can be too clever
6   Your first idea will fail
Ours did
Ours did
7   Long-term thinking
The Mission




“To be the best in the world... sir!” - Maverick, Top Gun
The Mission


 “Our mission is to build a different kind of software company.
 A company that listens to client needs, val...
The Mission




          “Create useful products people lust after”
50,000
customers


  Have lofty goals
8   Know when to switch gears
Generalists to specialists
Learn to let people go
9   Build somewhere you want to work
“It is promising that
  Atlassian received
   such high calibre
applications for mine
to be discontinued”
Open company, no bullshit.



     Build with heart and balance.



            Don’t fuck the customer.



              ...
10 Give experiences
Mission Atlassian
Video online:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kncEDi_hVLM
Mission Atlassian
Video online:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kncEDi_hVLM
Events
1   Start with two           6   Your first idea will fail


2   Needs a business model   7   Long-term thinking


3   Use ...
Thank You



Mike Cannon-Brookes   Scott Farquhar
mike@atlassian.com    scott@atlassian.com
Starter day presentation   art of the bootstrap
Starter day presentation   art of the bootstrap
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Starter day presentation art of the bootstrap

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  • I gave this speech over 2 hours to a group of MBA students. I’m hoping you’re faster than they are :)
  • Talk about customers, staff, growth.
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/jinterwas/3867619406/sizes/l/in/pool-44307958@N00/





  • High price, high touch sale
    Aggressive discounting
    High cost / lead
    Expensive sales people
    ~40% prof services revenue


    ‘Self service’ enterprise software
    Straight line business!
    Reasonable price, no discount
    $1-5k / server
    No professional services
    Legendary service
    Extreme openness

    “Cheapware”






  • Story about being shit scared opening a bank account

  • We use Confluence, make it available to everyone.
  • We use Confluence, make it available to everyone.
  • We use Confluence, make it available to everyone.
  • We use Confluence, make it available to everyone.
  • We use Confluence, make it available to everyone.
  • We use Confluence, make it available to everyone.
  • We use Confluence, make it available to everyone.
  • Imperfect information. Not 100% certain
  • Analysis Paralysis - always incomplete information
    Dropped Google Ads
  • Specific hypothesis:
    - needed to be in America. Support, legendary service
    - close to customers: Investment banks, once face to face.



  • Make joke how we’re buying beer today.
    Bought beer at the biz of s/w conference.

    Zendesk have done all their marketing in the flesh.
    Blogging is still huge, but needs to be authentic
    JavaPossie.















  • Hiring 32 people. Starter campaign. Others?


  • Evan Williams - Pyra Labs (project management s/w) -> Blogger. Odeo (video syndication) -> Twitter

    Discuss how we did OrionSupport, and ended up at Oracle. Crappy business, people calling you in the middle of the night.

    Our side project: JIRA. Help support customers. Oracle bought the company, we got shut out.

    And remember - your first idea will fail. Ours did.








  • Profits first
    Don't build to flip.

  • http://www.teamspeed.com/forums/aviation/17910-most-memorable-f-14-pictures.html


  • German & Italian car example
  • Be cheap for long enough. Then don't be.
    Two people in a hotel room. Shared bathrooms $48 / night.
    Borrow office space. Got too big. $100 / month. Time to have our own space for culture. Major transport hubs



  • Shift to SaaS. Big bet for us. CFO asking why spending money on business that is not making money.

    Changing our pricing models
  • Hiring people - at the start, everyone needs to be all-round. Marketing, conferences, write code. Specialists who are great at functions. They cost more.

    Tough to bring in management. The good old days. Some people like being generalists. Tough transitions.

    Had all engineers doing support, as we grew - they sucked. Formation of support team
  • We have let over 30 people.
    Hard & constructive. Hardest thing you have to do, one of the most important. Trust your gut.
    Most of them are doing better than ever.
    80% hiring success rate - if you don’t let them go - you end up with a big company.

    Biz outgrows. 0-50, 200-2000.

    Let a senior person go, everyone shakes their head - why? But then 2 months later, you start finding out - why not earlier?

  • It all starts with hiring.
    First interview - Owen in pub. Slept on floor.
    Behavioural interview. 3 hour. Discuss Ted vs Kevin
    Become known for our high standards
    100 applicants for every job.


  • Everything on the wiki. Sales numbers, quarterly goals.
  • 1% model - 1% revenue, 1% equity, 1% employee time
    Train students, bat habitat, habitat for humanity
  • 5 year bonus is to give people a trip rather than money

    Can't afford the black-tie dinner.

    Anton a weekend away. First time he worked a weekend.

    End of financial year party - slightly off the wall crazy company events.

    Archery is simple, but make it a robin hood day - very different.
  • All the rooms were locked off with tape - projector set up. Everyone told to sit down & wait.

    Movie started playing
  • Split the teams up - team building
  • Talk about Campaign Monitor’s party.
    Talk about taking photos of people in cabs


  • Starter day presentation art of the bootstrap

    1. 1. Art of the Bootstrap From garage to $60 million in 8 years Mike Cannon-Brookes Scott Farquhar mike@atlassian.com scott@atlassian.com
    2. 2. Atlassian
    3. 3. 1 Start with two
    4. 4. Share the low points
    5. 5. Share the high points
    6. 6. Share the high points
    7. 7. Half each
    8. 8. biz 2 Need a ^ model Not all models work for bootstapping
    9. 9. Enterprise Software Atlassian Model
    10. 10. Model Evolution •No $ for sales team? Must sell itself •Sell itself? Must be low price •Low $? Must sell 000s of copies •000s of copies? Must sell globally •Customer must buy, we can’t sell sell itself
    11. 11. Model Evolution •No $ for sales team? Must sell itself •Sell itself? Must be low price •Low $? Must sell 000s of copies •000s of copies? Must sell globally •Customer must buy, we can’t sell sell itself affordable
    12. 12. Model Evolution •No $ for sales team? Must sell itself •Sell itself? Must be low price •Low $? Must sell 000s of copies •000s of copies? Must sell globally •Customer must buy, we can’t sell sell itself affordable global
    13. 13. Model Evolution •No $ for sales team? Must sell itself •Sell itself? Must be low price •Low $? Must sell 000s of copies •000s of copies? Must sell globally •Customer must buy, we can’t sell sell itself affordable global open
    14. 14. 3 Use your own product
    15. 15. You are your own best customer
    16. 16. 4 Measure everything
    17. 17. Atlass ?spaceK ey=Adm ian Da in&title= Added by Sco tt Farq s hboard Atlassian +Dashb oard&.. Prod Labels : sale uhar, . uct S s-repo last ed potli rting ited by ght R Scott Farquh epo rt (G ar on reen Feb 18 , 2008 z one) (view - Rep chang Prod o rting e) Gree u ct Sp n Zo 0+ ne - 200+20 Added by Jo ot light Extra 1 0 1 0 -20 Repo net hn R 101-20 00 oten ys) rt (G stein le (Da , last edite reenz les Cyc 1-100 -1 51 d by John one) boo Sa 5 Roten stein Bam 0 0-50 0-5 on M This ay 11 data , 2010 ys) is de Prod cle (Da rived uct S Week from potlig ales Cy Exclu NetS ht Rep des S uite sa JIRA S 4% ly Sal In futu tarter les fig ort (G ures, reenzo 17% lic es re, w e hope enses upda ted ni ne) to ad ghtly. Target d Act ive U 9/06 = US$ Prod Pleas e sele ser co /10 1 Measu 34m uct ct Rep unts, 0:16 5% evalua re: Sa JIRA ort O ption tions, AM les Stud 13% io s downl Perio oads d , etc 21% Month To re Quart 59% Disp er ach lay Char targe Last t Data Dictio t 12 We Disp lay nary Week 25% ek 57% $755k Av $753k $676k ays d e r 100 d 80% un Marke ting: ays ays) r 100 d ycle (D Insta lls % unde Measu ence Sales C re: In 82 Conflu Produc t stallati ons of 1st ys) cle (Da S ales Cy 6% Q1 Crowd 14% Targe Last t Week 12 We ek Avg 3% 6% 825 1 781 20% 680 60% Suppo r and J t: Confluen 81% IRA S ce Measu LA 00 days re: JIR der 1 issues A and Conflu 80% un not an ence swere d with in SLA days der 100 Targe t Las 97% un t Week 12 We ek 0 Av 0 days 180 in > 30 sented t not 173 d er-repre n ger, bu ill be un ay be lo ug 07, so w cyc le. It m since A m sales only ma ndatory nts the minimu . Sales license O Notes: boo an d Crow ds erver id r evalua tions, th is represe match a previo us eval e above data. Order perations: - Bam y be ea rlie ere we could isions o n th SLA ere ma ses wh any dec Measu - As th ial licen making re: Ord r mmerc ology before ers ta shorte resents co method 24 hou rs to p king m only rep for the rocess ore th - This t Scott an e contac - Pleas Targe t Las t Week 12 We ek 0 Av 55 127 Advoc a Renew tes: als/U Mea sure: pgra des 60 day Renew Labe s of ex als/Up ls piry grades greenz within one -s Target al es = 70% Printe d by Atlass ian C onflu ence 3.3 -b eta2, the E nterprise 1 of 2 Wiki. https ://ex trane t.atla ssian .com 4 /disp lay/G Measure everything REEN ZON E/Pro duct + Spot ligh… onth 20/2/08 s_valu 8:18 AM e=36 &run _1__ more = false &run _1_w idth_ value = 700& r un_1 =run Page 1 of 1
    18. 18. Make decisions
    19. 19. Test everything ... and fail fast!
    20. 20. Trial and error
    21. 21. 5 Always be closing mark eting
    22. 22. Be loud & unique Buy the beer at the conference
    23. 23. Ship something tangible
    24. 24. Ship something tangible
    25. 25. Make everything a campaign
    26. 26. Market to your employees
    27. 27. “One of my housemates just had his first day at Atlassian today, and he came home talking about how when he arrived his workstation and user accounts were already ready to go, and he had a desk with a welcome card and some chocolates. He was really buzzed about working there. I'm sure there are a lot of people directly and indirectly responsible for that experience, but I know how this kind of culture tends to start at the top. I just wanted to say congratulations, because it sounds like you've created the kind of environment where your staff feel valued from the second they walk in the door, and want to brag to their friends when they get home.” Market to your employees
    28. 28. You can be too clever
    29. 29. 6 Your first idea will fail
    30. 30. Ours did
    31. 31. Ours did
    32. 32. 7 Long-term thinking
    33. 33. The Mission “To be the best in the world... sir!” - Maverick, Top Gun
    34. 34. The Mission “Our mission is to build a different kind of software company. A company that listens to client needs, values innovation in development and solves customer problems with brilliant simplicity. Our commitment to legendary service provides consistent, high quality support for all our customers.”
    35. 35. The Mission “Create useful products people lust after”
    36. 36. 50,000 customers Have lofty goals
    37. 37. 8 Know when to switch gears
    38. 38. Generalists to specialists
    39. 39. Learn to let people go
    40. 40. 9 Build somewhere you want to work
    41. 41. “It is promising that Atlassian received such high calibre applications for mine to be discontinued”
    42. 42. Open company, no bullshit. Build with heart and balance. Don’t fuck the customer. Play, as a team. Be the change you seek.
    43. 43. 10 Give experiences
    44. 44. Mission Atlassian Video online: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kncEDi_hVLM
    45. 45. Mission Atlassian Video online: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kncEDi_hVLM
    46. 46. Events
    47. 47. 1 Start with two 6 Your first idea will fail 2 Needs a business model 7 Long-term thinking 3 Use your own product 8 Know when to switch gears 4 Test everything 9 Build somewhere you want to work 5 Always be marketing 10 Give experiences
    48. 48. Thank You Mike Cannon-Brookes Scott Farquhar mike@atlassian.com scott@atlassian.com

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