Entries from November 2009 ↓

Passion as a Competitive Advantage

My roof is leaking. In five places. Whoever thought it was a good idea to build a house with a flat roof should be forced to duplicate Google’s PageRank algorithm in assembler.

So I called a roofer, Fred, to give me a quote to fix this mess. His skin is like leather and his voice sounds like a cheese grater…signs of a good roofer in my book. And damn does this guy knows what he’s talking about.

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Debt, Equity and a Third (and Fourth) Thing that Might Work Better

This morning Seth Godin published a post titled Debt, equity and a third thing that might work better. The third option he covers is pre-selling future income by offering someone $x of every widget you sell forever (it may be a sliding scale that decreases after x units are sold).

I was surprised by this, as I thought Seth was going to discuss another option I’ve seen used with great success: customer financing. That’s when you find one or more (future) customers that help fund your product development in exchange for input into the process and free or highly discounted use of the software.

This situation is so unbelievably advantageous to a startup it’s like strapping rockets to your running shoes. Not only are you getting financing with little risk, but with customer financing you have someone in the industry with a vested interest in your product succeeding.

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Highlights from the 2009 Business of Software Conference

Business of Software is a conference organized by Neil Davidson and Joel Spolsky, and was held this year in San Francisco. The speaking line-up is a who’s who of software bloggers and authors, including Geoffrey Moore, Paul Graham, Dharmesh Shah and Joel Spolsky.

Overall the conference was well executed, the speakers were engaging and the opportunities to meet people abounded. The conference was the second reminder in just over a month that I need to get out of the house more often and meet other developers and entrepreneurs.

After getting used to hanging out with a few hundred people with a shared passion for starting “real” software companies, riding home on the train was a let-down as I realized the excitement of the previous 3 days was over.

There were several great presentations during the conference. These highlights focus on the key points I took away from my favorite talks.

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My Pecha Kucha Presentation at the 2009 Business of Software Conference

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Yep, that’s me (photo by jmpk).

Somehow I allowed myself to get talked into doing the Pecha Kucha at the 2009 Business of Software conference in San Francisco (seriously though, I want to thank Jeff Atwood for convincing me to go through with it).

Pecha Kucha is 20 slides, 20 seconds each…in 6 minutes 40 seconds you are done. And it’s twice as hard as it sounds.

I hope to share a video of the talk with you in the coming weeks, but for now here are a few resources I mentioned during the talk that I want to provide to anyone interested.

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RSS Troubles (FeedBurner)

Apologies to those who read this blog via RSS. For about two weeks no new posts were showing up in my RSS feed, then last week old posts were marked as new with multiple rows of links added below them.

The real issue, though, is that ever since Google acquired FeedBurner there’s no human support so when something like this happens you’re on your own. It’s an interesting twist on the problem of trusting your data to the cloud, and one that has left me spending several hours trying to figure out the problem (a problem that began out of the blue).

In any case, I apologize for the inconvenience. Things appear to be back to normal.