A geek sifts through the bullshit

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  • - Take a few secs to recognize sign language interpreters\n- Sign for “the livestream is experiencing tech difficulties but one can vaguely make out the sound of a ukelele”\n- “I can listen and talk simultaneously in two languages... I am awesome!”\n- Theme of WebStock 2011: The rules are meant to be broken.\n- Twitter > mine, Doug > me, but I know how to make a profit!\n
  • - I’m a geek.\n- Most comfortable inside a text editor, not phone, not people\n\n\n
  • \n
  • \n
  • - “Coding” -- the one thing I could do\n- “Sales” -- Vulcans vs. Hugh Heffner. - late to training\n- “Enterprise Sales” -- not even sure what that means\n- “Firing” -- confortable? Friend, kids\n\n
  • - “Coding” -- the one thing I could do\n- “Sales” -- Vulcans vs. Hugh Heffner. - late to training\n- “Enterprise Sales” -- not even sure what that means\n- “Firing” -- confortable? Friend, kids\n\n
  • - “Coding” -- the one thing I could do\n- “Sales” -- Vulcans vs. Hugh Heffner. - late to training\n- “Enterprise Sales” -- not even sure what that means\n- “Firing” -- confortable? Friend, kids\n\n
  • - “Coding” -- the one thing I could do\n- “Sales” -- Vulcans vs. Hugh Heffner. - late to training\n- “Enterprise Sales” -- not even sure what that means\n- “Firing” -- confortable? Friend, kids\n\n
  • - Joel on Software: Smart wins\n- 37signals: Simple wins ; Design > Features\n- Eric Sink: marketing from a geek’s point of view.\n\n
  • - Joel on Software: Smart wins\n- 37signals: Simple wins ; Design > Features\n- Eric Sink: marketing from a geek’s point of view.\n\n
  • - Joel on Software: Smart wins\n- 37signals: Simple wins ; Design > Features\n- Eric Sink: marketing from a geek’s point of view.\n\n
  • - “rules” ......\n\n- crazy investor is whisper weird things into your ear\n- beloved customers can’t agree\n
  • - “rules” ......\n\n- crazy investor is whisper weird things into your ear\n- beloved customers can’t agree\n
  • - “rules” ......\n\n- crazy investor is whisper weird things into your ear\n- beloved customers can’t agree\n
  • - After synthesizing the advice, I still don’t know\n- I just forged ahead. 12 years / 4 startups -> learned how to manage the cacophony of advice and know when it applies to me.\n- Like interviewing a Doctor\n- I learned how to learn. Learned how to grow.\n- In the next 40 minutes, you too will know how to sift through the bullshit for yourself.\n
  • - Big unknown for geeks: Marketing. Marketing -> social media. Let’s take blogging\n- 2 1/2 years ago I decided to try my hand at blogging.\n- I’m a coder geek - I don’t know where to start.\n
  • - So I did my research at these sites... \n- SPECIFIC and CONCRETE and PERSUASIVE\n
  • - keep posts short\n- post frequently\n\n\n
  • - headlines like cosmo articles\n
  • - Traffic: Growing, steady\n- Another year until 1000\n- Too much effort\n\n
  • \n
  • \n
  • - “I didn’t stop following the rules because I had some special INSIGHT, BOLD MOVE, ACT OF CONFIDENCE, this was GIVING UP. Deciding “I CAN’T be a BLOGGER.”\n- Get myself off\n
  • - “So are they wrong?” No -- 100s of 1000s of readers & other success\n- “So am I wrong?” No -- obviously not.\n
  • - What does it mean that we’re both right?\n- [2x] What makes or breaks a blog isn’t any of those details.\n- Something else: Great Content? Luck? Dunno, but not a “formula”\n
  • - Liberating!\n- Not just blogging, also marketing, sales, ... all the aspects of your startup\n- If specific rules don’t matter, do whatever’s natural for you; whatever’s easiest.\n- blogs or startups hard enough, you don’t also need to fit into someone else’s box.\n\n
  • - RED doesn’t matter when GREEN makes you fulfilled -- fan mail, sales. Besides your goal isn’t to sell a widget to 6bil people, it’s to sell stuff to enough people who are happy to buy it.\n- Alternative is disinterest, which is death.\n
  • - Problogger is about making money with your blog. So: Maximize page views, subscribers.\n- My blog about earning the attention of startup-loving people because: (a) hiring, (b) invest, (c) alpha testers\n\n
  • - Rather have 50 people follow me into a new startup as friendly, paying, alpha testers than have 50,000 RSS Subscribers\n\n
  • - sales is the opposite of writing code\n- solitary/social || email/phone || logic/emotion\n
  • - play golf\n- fly around in pressed suits\n- talk about the “big game” and know which game that is\n\n
  • - play golf\n- fly around in pressed suits\n- talk about the “big game” and know which game that is\n\n
  • - play golf\n- fly around in pressed suits\n- talk about the “big game” and know which game that is\n\n
  • - play golf\n- fly around in pressed suits\n- talk about the “big game” and know which game that is\n\n
  • - play golf\n- fly around in pressed suits\n- talk about the “big game” and know which game that is\n\n
  • - play golf\n- fly around in pressed suits\n- talk about the “big game” and know which game that is\n\n
  • - more like this\n- and feels like this\n- usually ends up resulting in this\n
  • - more like this\n- and feels like this\n- usually ends up resulting in this\n
  • - more like this\n- and feels like this\n- usually ends up resulting in this\n
  • - more like this\n- and feels like this\n- usually ends up resulting in this\n
  • - “Frank”\n- He’s the old jedi with mind-tricks. He knows: Get in to big companies, extract money, close deals.\n- I was told that a “young kid like me” needs a “gray hair”\n
  • \n
  • - 50% sounds high: $100k/yr run rate, but if gets to $100k/MONTH...\n\n- Shareware; one guy, tin-roofed loft off of TX HWY 183\n- IBM, Adobe, Intuit, Qualcomm, Cisco ........ IBM, BEA, CA, HP, CSC \n
  • - 50% sounds high: $100k/yr run rate, but if gets to $100k/MONTH...\n\n- Shareware; one guy, tin-roofed loft off of TX HWY 183\n- IBM, Adobe, Intuit, Qualcomm, Cisco ........ IBM, BEA, CA, HP, CSC \n
  • - 50% sounds high: $100k/yr run rate, but if gets to $100k/MONTH...\n\n- Shareware; one guy, tin-roofed loft off of TX HWY 183\n- IBM, Adobe, Intuit, Qualcomm, Cisco ........ IBM, BEA, CA, HP, CSC \n
  • - 50% sounds high: $100k/yr run rate, but if gets to $100k/MONTH...\n\n- Shareware; one guy, tin-roofed loft off of TX HWY 183\n- IBM, Adobe, Intuit, Qualcomm, Cisco ........ IBM, BEA, CA, HP, CSC \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • ...\n- Easy to laugh now, but I was convinced.\n- He’s been around the block, I’m just a geek\n
  • - Even with a shareware company like “Smart Bear,” even though I’m just a geek who doesn’t play golf\n\n- Avoided this fatal error only by luck\n
  • - Even with a shareware company like “Smart Bear,” even though I’m just a geek who doesn’t play golf\n\n- Avoided this fatal error only by luck\n
  • - 50% ownership\n- culture mis-match\n- patents\n- SO WHY did I ignore all the BAD SIGN and my GUT?\n
  • - I’m a geek, so what do I know about sales?\n- [x2] Nobody told me I couldn’t do sales.\n- I DECIDED I couldn’t do sales. <--- And that’s the mistake\n
  • - Banish all such phrases. “marketing” “sales” “technology” “design”. NOW YOU ARE\n- Not an “expert,” but not an expert in any of those startup things\n- You’ve been sold to your whole life. (& marketing)\n- [x2] If you decide you cannot understand it, it leads to taking bad advice. (Given up)\n\n
  • - If not expert, how to approach it?\n- Vulcan engineer brain: Logic, evidence, data. But that’s not going to work. You don’t have the data!\n- Ex: hiring -- you know in the first week.\n- Past 10 years learned: NOT that “my gut is always right,” but that my gut is almost always more right than my ATTEMPT at logic\n- Sell your way, write your blog your own way, add the features you feel are cool\n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • - Didn’t hire Frank; dodged that bullet, but it’s never over. Years later I had people telling me that no company is complete a sales organization. (Fogcreek, Google)\n- STATUS: million $ in revenue, 2x YoY, 50% profit margin, employees\n- “Sales” meant: I do demos, no one followed up or ask phone number, tech support is sales\n- Advice: “If it’s this good now, imagine with ‘real sales’!”\n
  • - real sales with a real mission\n
  • - This time not because I CAN’T do it, but because it’s TIME to do it.\n- Long story, summarized as...\n
  • - Didn’t find new customers, couldn’t answer questions, didn’t result in more sales.\n- What was the problem this time? Let’s diagram my decision-making process:\n
  • - (read slide)\n- Just said sales were great!\n- Already what “sales” is supposed to be.\n- So why?\n
  • - [read]\n- Real companies have real sales\n- This is another assumption, like when I decided I can’t do sales.\n\n
  • - is NEVER A REASON FOR ANYTHING. In life or business.\n- an excuse my kid would use\n
  • - Science officer Abigal reporting for DOOTY (with 2 oos)\n\n- You people who HATE BABIES\n\n
  • - Not “all old ideas are wrong,” but it’s not good enough by itself\n- World changes too fast for old ideas to get a pass ((AdWords))\n- Doing different way could be your competitive advantage\n - People buy from me *because* I did the demo, because tech support == sales, because no sales person was dogging them!\n\n
  • - Menubar colors; color density issues, boring logo, red/blue news, broken image\n- You wouldn’t want your name associated -- no!\n- (@christine) “Get me off of this homepage”\n- Worth millions of dollars. LNK, NE == sheep fuckers\n- What does it mean for “how it should be done”?\n
  • - Some advice is good to follow, some isn’t; how do you predict which advice you should actually follow? To make this more concrete, let’s examine a philosophy many of us are already familiar with...\n\n\n
  • - 10 years old || multiple software products || startup book NYT best-seller.\n- Blog has over 130k readers\n- Forceful / Outspoken\n
  • [SIMPLE] “underdo the competition,” software hard enough. Customers want “less.”\n[PLANNING] “Planning is guessing.” Knowledge poor. Things change. Plans = false security.\n[WORK] “Fire the workaholics.” more hours != more productivity. More down-time means fresher, happier.\n- CC is complex workflow problem complex, and beats competition as a result.\n
  • [SIMPLE] “underdo the competition,” software hard enough. Customers want “less.”\n[PLANNING] “Planning is guessing.” Knowledge poor. Things change. Plans = false security.\n[WORK] “Fire the workaholics.” more hours != more productivity. More down-time means fresher, happier.\n- CC is complex workflow problem complex, and beats competition as a result.\n
  • [SIMPLE] “underdo the competition,” software hard enough. Customers want “less.”\n[PLANNING] “Planning is guessing.” Knowledge poor. Things change. Plans = false security.\n[WORK] “Fire the workaholics.” more hours != more productivity. More down-time means fresher, happier.\n- CC is complex workflow problem complex, and beats competition as a result.\n
  • [SIMPLE] “underdo the competition,” software hard enough. Customers want “less.”\n[PLANNING] “Planning is guessing.” Knowledge poor. Things change. Plans = false security.\n[WORK] “Fire the workaholics.” more hours != more productivity. More down-time means fresher, happier.\n- CC is complex workflow problem complex, and beats competition as a result.\n
  • [SIMPLE] “underdo the competition,” software hard enough. Customers want “less.”\n[PLANNING] “Planning is guessing.” Knowledge poor. Things change. Plans = false security.\n[WORK] “Fire the workaholics.” more hours != more productivity. More down-time means fresher, happier.\n- CC is complex workflow problem complex, and beats competition as a result.\n
  • [SIMPLE] “underdo the competition,” software hard enough. Customers want “less.”\n[PLANNING] “Planning is guessing.” Knowledge poor. Things change. Plans = false security.\n[WORK] “Fire the workaholics.” more hours != more productivity. More down-time means fresher, happier.\n- CC is complex workflow problem complex, and beats competition as a result.\n
  • [SIMPLE] “underdo the competition,” software hard enough. Customers want “less.”\n[PLANNING] “Planning is guessing.” Knowledge poor. Things change. Plans = false security.\n[WORK] “Fire the workaholics.” more hours != more productivity. More down-time means fresher, happier.\n- CC is complex workflow problem complex, and beats competition as a result.\n
  • - [explain axis, cell content] (Noam Wasserman)\n- Why Smart Bear doesn’t agree on which problems are valuable \n- Why 37signals exploded at Mint [sold to (my) Intuit for $170m] [“The Next Generation Bends Over”]\n- Where do YOU fit?\n
  • - [explain axis, cell content] (Noam Wasserman)\n- Why Smart Bear doesn’t agree on which problems are valuable \n- Why 37signals exploded at Mint [sold to (my) Intuit for $170m] [“The Next Generation Bends Over”]\n- Where do YOU fit?\n
  • - [explain axis, cell content] (Noam Wasserman)\n- Why Smart Bear doesn’t agree on which problems are valuable \n- Why 37signals exploded at Mint [sold to (my) Intuit for $170m] [“The Next Generation Bends Over”]\n- Where do YOU fit?\n
  • - Not that once you’re in a box NO advice can apply, but:\n - be more critical\n - short on time = myopic\n
  • \n
  • \n
  • - Deep breath: A lot of advice doesn’t matter (problogger vs my blog)\n- Read, notice the things that resonate with WHAT YOU ALREADY ARE.\n- What makes you a better version of yourself instead of into someone else.\n
  • - Hopefully I’ve just done a little inception, planted something in your head.\n- If I’ve done my job, next RSS read, advisor, friend, customer feedback, different experience. Pundits yelling: you’re stupid / you’re not a proper startup if you don’t do that, you’ll have a NEW FILTER, a new PERSPECTIVE. Does it APPLY? Am I PROUD of the fact that I do exactly the opposite of what this guy tells me? not feel GUILTY and OVERWHELMED.\n\n
  • And, maybe then, you can stop worrying so much and just GET TO WORK.\n
  • A geek sifts through the bullshit

    1. 1. From geek to entrepreneur:Sifting through the Bull5h1t N uggets oʼ Truth! Jason Cohen @asmartbear http://blog.ASmartBear.com
    2. 2. coding
    3. 3. coding
    4. 4. codingsales
    5. 5. codingenterprise sales
    6. 6. raising money accounting blogging partnering firingnegotiation coding leadership enterprise sales tradeshowsadvertising marketing hiringbookkeeping selling companies
    7. 7. Help!
    8. 8. Help!
    9. 9. Help! 37signals
    10. 10. Help! 37signals
    11. 11. raising money? accounting? blogging? partnering? firing?negotiation? coding leadership? enterprise sales? tradeshows?advertising? marketing? hiring?bookkeeping? selling companies?
    12. 12. Act IYet another startup blog
    13. 13. The Rules of Blogging 250-700 words 5-10 posts/week bullets good, semi-colons bad short sentences limited vocabulary
    14. 14. Top
10
and
Cosmo 37 ways to GET MORE RSS Subscribers!
    15. 15. RSS Subscribers (1 year) sthttp://blog.ASmartBear.com
    16. 16. Long
ar0cles
with
paragraphs OMG! So many wurdz! Meh head is xplodn!
    17. 17. Me
just
1
every
1‐2
weeks ...looks like itʼs time to blog.
    18. 18. The Rules of Blogging 250-700 words 5-10 posts/week bullets good, semi-colons bad short sentences
    19. 19. Jaso n’sThe Rules of Blogging 1,200+ 250-700 wordsone 5-10 posts/week ru le! drool bullets good, semi-colons badepic short sentences
    20. 20. RSS Subscribers (past 2 years) http://blog.ASmartBear.com20,000 21,00015,00010,000 Stopped following “rules” of blogging 5,000 0
    21. 21. What if weʼre both right?
    22. 22. Lesson #1:You set the rules
    23. 23. Lesson #2:Advice has context
    24. 24. Lesson #2:Advice has contexthttp://WPEngine.com
    25. 25. Act II“Enterprise Sales” & other sorcery
    26. 26. “Enterprise Sales”(a geekʼs conception)
    27. 27. “Enterprise Sales”(a geekʼs conception)
    28. 28. “Enterprise Sales”(a geekʼs conception)
    29. 29. “Enterprise Sales”(a geekʼs conception)
    30. 30. “Enterprise Sales” (Truth)
    31. 31. “Enterprise Sales” (Truth)
    32. 32. “Enterprise Sales” (Truth)
    33. 33. The silver-haired VP of Sales
    34. 34. Expectations
    35. 35. Expectations50% of the company
    36. 36. Expectations50% of the company Get a patent
    37. 37. Expectations 50% of the company Get a patentKnock off early on Fridays
    38. 38. Expectations 50% of the company Get a patent Knock off early on FridaysChange the name “Smart Bear”
    39. 39. Software Test andDeployment Systems
    40. 40. Software Test andDeployment Systems
    41. 41. STDS
    42. 42. STDS Viral marketing!Our invoices flare up every year!
    43. 43. Smart Bear Software 12885 Research Blvd, Suite 210 Austin, TX 78750 512.257.1569 http://smartbearsoftware.com 9/13/2004Quote: Code Reports License - Intuit EnterpriseThe Intuit Enterprise license of Code Reports gives Intuit a corporate-wide, unrestrictedlicense to use Smart Bear’s Code Reports server and client software. There are norestrictions on number of users, number of installed machines, hard copies of thesoftware, etc., except that all use must be on behalf of Intuit and not another company orindividual. This license does not expire for version 1.0 Code Reports (e.g. the currentversion plus bug-fixes and minor feature enhancements).In keeping with Smart Bear’s general licensing practices, this license also includes oneyear of customer support. Support includes basic program questions such as installation,configuration, interpretation, and usability. Smart Bear can also provide professionalservices (e.g. writing custom reports), but this is not included in this license.The software also includes two features which do not exist today: 1. SQL Server is the database back-end, not PostgreSQL. Any number of SQL Server databases can be deployed. 2. A single Code Reports server instance must support multiple version control system sources and multiple database destinations. A UI is provided where each of these sources and destinations can be set up by a user. Any combination of sources and destinations can be configured.It is understood that Intuit wishes these features complete, installed and working at Intuitprior to September 27, 2004, so we will be employing extra help to complete the jobswiftly. We are charging Intuit a fixed price for this development. Any extra chargesSmart Bear might incur for overtime, extra workers, QA, software/hardware purchases,etc. will be absorbed by Smart Bear.Price:Three software developers, each working 140 hours at $90/hour $18,900(Our current estimate of what will be necessary), discounted by 50%because Smart Bear can reuse this development effort.Code Reports software, normally $2000 per version control server, Intuit $30,000having roughly 40 servers, then applying large discount for bulk orderTotal: $48,900. Smart Bear will receive a purchase order, payable when the product iscomplete and installed at Intuit. Intuit will not be charged for additional developmenttime after Sep 27 incurred for bug-fixes and other workmanship defects.
    44. 44. Three software developers, each working 14(Our current estimate of what will be necessabecause Smart Bear can reuse this developmCode Reports software, normally $2000 perhaving roughly 40 servers, then applying largTotal: $48,900. Smart Bear will receive a pcomplete and installed at Intuit. Intuit will ntime after Sep 27 incurred for bug-fixes and
    45. 45. Natureʼs Warning Signs You need a patent.
    46. 46. Heʼs a real salesguy. Iʼm not.
    47. 47. Lesson #3:“Iʼm not a person” is twaddle
    48. 48. Lesson #4:Trust your inexperienced gut
    49. 49. Postscript: “Smart Bear”
    50. 50. Postscript: “Smart Bear”
    51. 51. Postscript: “Smart Bear”
    52. 52. Postscript: “Smart Bear”
    53. 53. Postscript: “Smart Bear”
    54. 54. Act IIILetʼs try that sales thing again
    55. 55. “Itʼs time for real sales!”
    56. 56. Youʼre commissionedto CRM your territory up their pipeline.
    57. 57. Fail slowly &Repeat mistakes
    58. 58. Everything’s going well. Great! Let’s change it.
    59. 59. “Real sales” is how itʼs done.
    60. 60. “Everyone else is doing it.”
    61. 61. “Everyone else is doing it.”
    62. 62. “Everyone else is doing it.”
    63. 63. Lesson #5:“Thatʼs how itʼs done” is bull5h1t
    64. 64. Yeah, so what do I do about it?
    65. 65. 37signals
    66. 66. Tenets of 37signals
    67. 67. Tenets of 37signals Solve only simple problems
    68. 68. Tenets of 37signals Solve only simple problems Planning is silly
    69. 69. Tenets of 37signals Solve only simple problems Planning is silly Don’t work too hard
    70. 70. Smart BearTenets of 37signalsSolve only simple problems Planning is silly Don’t work too hard
    71. 71. Smart BearTenets of 37signals Hard == $Solve only simple problems Planning is silly Don’t work too hard
    72. 72. Smart BearTenets of 37signals Hard == $Solve only simple problems Planning is silly Don’t work too hard
    73. 73. Smart BearTenets of 37signals Hard == $Solve only simple problems Planning is silly Don’t work too hard rs t) a t fi (
    74. 74. 37signals in Context King RichB2BB2C
    75. 75. 37signals in Context King RichB2B 37signalsB2C
    76. 76. 37signals in Context King RichB2B 37signalsB2C
    77. 77. 37signals in Context King RichB2B 37signalsB2C
    78. 78. Common Advice in Context King Rich Jason Fried Steve BlankB2B Joel Spolsky (<2010) Dharmesh Shah Chris Brogan Jason Cohen Matt Mullenweg Eric RiesB2C Peldi Guilizzoni Dave McClure Patrick McKenzie Evan Williams
    79. 79. Dimensions of Advice Rich / King B2B / B2C Bootstrapped / Funded Lifestyle / Growth Pleasure / Pain Confident / Introspective
    80. 80. Dimensions of AdviceMe: Rich / King B2B / B2C Bootstrapped / Funded Lifestyle / Growth Pleasure / Pain Confident / Introspective
    81. 81. Final thought
    82. 82. All generalizations are false.
    83. 83. Less reading.Less worrying. More doing. Jason Cohen @asmartbearhttp://blog.ASmartBear.com WebStock 2011

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