Entries from May 2010 ↓

Late Stage Co-Founder Wanted, Screencasting Handbook Released, Triumph of the Nerds on DVD, and more…

Late Stage Co-Founder Wanted[Filled] I’ve been contacted by a colleague who has been working on a SaaS application in a fairly large market. The SaaS (Ruby on Rails) app i complete and needs marketing enhancements in order to launch. You need reasonable graphic design skills, the ability to shoot and edit a screencast, respond to customer feedback, and work on the messaging/marketing. If you are interested drop me a line at rob@softwarebyrob.com and I will send you additional information. No obligation; the current founder will not know who you are unless you decide to contact him.

The Screencasting Handbook – Newly released, this ebook is written by an expert on the subject and is aimed at anyone who is making screencasts. I own it; it’s top notch.

Triumph of the Nerds on DVD – An awesome tech documentary, and I recently discovered it’s on DVD.

What My User Survey Taught Me – Insights from Patrick McKenzie. My favorite quote: “Incidentally, I don’t feel any rancor at folks who believe that everything should be free on the Internet.  I just will not accommodate your preferences.  You’re welcome to use my free competitors if they better fit your needs.”

ABtests.com – Learn more about A/B testing by examining other peoples’ A/B tests, including their take on why one out-performed the other. Many 100%+ improvements.

Ummm…What am I Signing up For? – Seriously, I still can’t figure out the purpose of this site.

iMemories VHS to DVD Conversions

I know this is going to seem like a random post, but I found a killer service and I wanted to mention it here.

I used iMemories last Christmas to transfer a dozen VHS tapes to DVD as gifts for my in-laws and the results were awesome. I also converted about a dozen VHS tapes from my high school and college track and football days. (on

I had intended for years to buy one of those USB VCRs that allows you to convert VHS to digital format, but the setup, time to convert, time to create DVD menus and burn…just never made it on my priority list.

iMemories offers hassle-free conversion of pretty much any analog medium you have (even those old slide wheels and 8mm film) to DVD, and the DVD includes chapters every few minutes, plus a color cover with frames from the video.

You ship the VHS tapes to them, and within a few weeks your video is available through an online portal where you can choose which snippets to include on the finished DVDs. The site uses a custom Flash UI that allows you to navigate and select clips to include.

I realize this is a bit off topic from the typical fare of this blog, but I was so pleased with the service I wanted to help spread the word. If you have VHS tapes in need of a good DVD home, check out iMemories.

How to Avoid the Three Startup Danger Points

I’ve communicated with hundreds of startup founders over the past three years, and I’ve begun to notice a pattern.

There are three points during the creating of a startup where the founders are most likely to close up shop. I call these the “danger points” and this post looks at how to avoid them.

Continue reading →

How to Find Your 4-Second Startup Pitch

This post is an excerpt from my upcoming book, Start Small, Stay Small: A Developer’s Guide to Launching a Startup.

If you haven’t already signed up to receive the “crazy pre-release deal” when the book launches, you can do so at the startup book website.

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One piece of your marketing that you need to nail down is your “hook.”

This is not your Unique Selling Proposition, and it’s not your elevator pitch. It’s the headline of your home page. That single sentence that grabs the reader in and makes her know she’s in the right place.

Continue reading →

StartupSchool Online A/B Testing Class Video is Available

I taught an online A/B testing class yesterday at StartupSchool and the recording is now available on the course page.

It’s 50 minutes long, with about 30 minutes of presentation. The remainder is Q&A (there were some excellent questions asked).

Topics covered include:

  • A/B testing basics
  • Why you should A/B test
  • I create an A/B test “on the fly”
  • What you should test

Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Out

The fourth episode of Startups for the Rest of Us, the podcast I co-host with Mike Taber, is live at our podcast website.

This episode is titled Things We Wish We Knew When We Started Out. It looks back at lessons we’ve learned during our years of entrepreneurship.

This is the last episode I’ll announce for a while so if you’re interested in hearing two software entrepreneurs talk about software and web startups, subscribe using one of the links below. New episodes are out every Tuesday.

Subscribe via:

I’m Writing a Book: “Start Small. Stay Small. A Developer’s Guide to Launching a Startup”

A few weeks ago I asked for your opinion on the focus and format for my book. Since then I’ve worked out a lot more specifics, and today I’m pleased to announce them.

Start Small. Stay Small. A Developer’s Guide to Launching a Startup covers everything a software or web developer needs to know to launch and grow a startup with no outside funding. Sign up to receive a crazy pre-release deal when the book launches.

Here’s a snippet from the first chapter:

Who is this Book For?

This book is aimed at developers who want to launch a software or web startup with no outside funding. This book is for companies started by real people to solve real pain points using desktop, web and mobile applications.

In this book I assume:

  • You don’t have $6M of investor funds sitting in your bank account
  • You’re not going to relocate yourself or your family to the handful of startup hubs in the world
  • You’re not going to work 70 hour weeks for low pay with the hope of someday making millions from your stock options

There’s nothing wrong with going after venture funding and trying to grow a company fast like Amazon, Google, Twitter, and Facebook. It just so happens that most people are not in a place where they can pursue that route.

As I began the writing process I received input from developers who told me they were tired of “filler” material – weak case studies, superficial interviews, chapters describing 10 options for how to accomplish a task but no guidance on which path you should take.

So I’ve focused on providing a practical, step-by-step approach to getting your startup off the ground and focused on making every word count. No filler allowed.

If you aren’t frantically underlining, highlighting or taking notes as you read each chapter, then I have not achieved my goal for this book.

Sound like fun?

Sign up to receive a crazy pre-release deal when the book launches.

Catch Me at the 2010 Business of Software Conference in Boston

I will be speaking at the 2010 Business of Software Conference in Boston this October. Headliners for the conference include Joel Spolsky, Seth Godin, Eric Sink and Dharmesh Shah.

For the full list of speakers, check out the speakers page. With my luck I will speak immediately after Seth Godin.

After last year’s Pecha Kucha at BoS 2009 it took me a few days to recover from the stress. Nightmares about 20-second countdown timers and all. This year I’m looking forward to a more relaxed pace.

If you don’t have your tickets, buy them soon; they are $400 off until July 2nd.

Look forward to seeing you there.