MicroConf: Things That Rocked and Things That Could Have Been Better

MicroConf Speakers
Photo by Dave Rodenbaugh

MicroConf Badge

Anytime you spend 3 months planning an event, whether it’s a wedding, a product launch, or a conference, you need a post-mortem. A time to reflect on things that went right and things that needed work.

This post is my post-mortem for MicroConf 2011, which took place last week in Las Vegas, NV.

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“Startup Wisdom” Ebook from Hiten Shah, Noah Kagan, Patrick McKenzie, Myself, and others

Hot off the presses, download a free copy of this 52-page ebook for the price of a Tweet (or a share on Facebook). Visit www.MicroConf.com to make it happen.

Six Startup Marketing Lessons in Six Photos

I snapped each of the following on my iPhone during the past 8 months.

“Wines sell better when we put these orange ‘sale’ tags on them so let’s put one under every bottle!”

Lesson: Too many price reductions diminishes their impact along with the value of your product.

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What the Hell Does a “Business Guy” Do?


Photo by Dan Taylor

I try to hang around with entrepreneurs as much as possible. I dig people with an insatiable desire to create things, and I’m not anywhere close to being cool enough to hang out with painters and musicians.

One term I hear thrown around now and again among technical founders is “business guy” (or gal…except it’s always “guy” when I hear it). This is the mythical person who’s going to swoop in once your app is built and handle all of that business-y stuff.

You know…the stuff we technical founders scoff at as tertiary to our product’s success:

“I don’t need no stinking MBA. I got code to write!”

Code that will be magically catapulted into the hands of millions once the business guy steps in.

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Guest Post for OnStartups: “The 5 Minute Guide To Cheap Startup Advertising”


Photo by Stephen Poff

I’ve written a guest post for OnStartups titled The 5 Minute Guide To Cheap Startup Advertising. If you have a small ad budget and are trying to find inexpensive clicks online it’s probably worth a read. Learn from my mistakes!

It includes strategies/examples for:

  • Niche advertising
  • Google AdWords
  • Facebook ads
  • StumbleUpon ads
  • Reddit ads

Read the complete article here.

How to Talk to Your Kids About Star Wars, Roll Your Own Linkbait Headline, I’m Speaking in Vancouver, and more…

How to Talk to Your Kids About Star Wars – A must see if you have kids and like The Trilogy. “Jar Jar only kicks the puppies he doesn’t eat, Junior!”

Roll Your Own Linkbait Tech Headline – I never tire of these phrase generators. Some of my favorites from this one include:

  • 5-Year-Old Makes 110K On an Annual Holiday With Clever E-Trade Hack
  • Linus Torvalds Goes Missing For 20 Days
  • Torrent of all Zynga Passwords

Let’s Hang in Vancouver – I’m speaking at the Lean Startup Conference in Vancouver, B.C. May 5th and 6th along with Ash Maurya and the authors of The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Customer Development for Tech Startups.

Learn How Google Works in Gory Detail – Quite an infographic on how Google generates north of $20B per year.

Why Startups Fail: An Analysis of Post-Mortems – The top 20 causes of startup failure based on 32 post-mortems.

The Micropreneur Manifesto: How to Stay Solo, Bleed Passion, and Build Products that Matter

Hot off the press: my Micropreneur Manifesto was just published on Change This, a popular platform for spreading ideas. The manifesto is a look at what I believe are 16 key tenets for success as a solo entrepreneur. It’s more of a high-level view than my typical writings, but hopefully it’s worth your while.

The manifesto is free (no email required), 14-pages in PDF, and was generously formatted by the ChangeThis crew.

An excerpt:

At this moment in history, we as entrepreneurs are able to do something never before conceived: launch a product completely on our own, with no employees and no outside funding, from anywhere in the world.

These single founders creating products for niche markets are known by another name: micropreneurs.

Micropreneurs may write software. They might design themes for a blogging platform. They may produce exquisite wedding invitations, or how-to books. Micropreneurs are agile, inspired, independent, knowledge seekers who can’t live with the 9-to-5 status quo.

Download the manifesto here. And if you enjoy it, share some tweet love!

Announcing MicroConf 2011: The (Laser-Focused) Conference for Self-Funded Startups and Single Founders

I’m pleased to go public with something I’ve been working on behind the scenes for quite some time:

MicroConf: The Conference for Self-Funded Startups and Single Founders

Speakers Include

A limited number of discounted pre-release tickets will be available soon.

Who Should Attend?
Anyone launching a startup with no outside funding who wants to hang out with and learn from 225 of today’s leading founders and entrepreneurs.

Sounds Awesome, What Should I Do Next?
If this is up your alley, here are the next two things you’ll want to do:

  1. Sign up to be notified about discounted pre-release tickets at MicroConf.com
  2. Tweet it!

More info to come. I look forward to seeing you in June.

The 80/20 Rule of Startup Founders


Photo by dierken

Note: Some readers disagree with both the mathematics of this post, as well as its conclusion that “many try, but few succeed.” Please keep that in mind as you read.

Our best estimates put the number of developers in the world at around 5 million.

If you appply the 80/20 rule you can estimate:

  • Of those, 20% (1 million) want to launch a startup
  • Of those, 20% (200,000) have enough motivation to start educating themselves about the process
  • Of those, 20% (40,000) will actually start building something
  • Of those, 20% (8,000) will actually finish building something
  • Of those, 20% (1,600) have prepared themselves enough to achieve some measure of success

To make it into the last group you have to make it through the four above it. What have you done today to move yourself closer to the last group?

I Have Never Been So Happy to Give PayPal $30/month


Photo by The Consumerist

The process of opening a credit card merchant account is like getting an enema with a rusty potato peeler. It’s something you don’t really want in the first place, and the longer it drags on the more you regret doing it.

This was the situation I found myself starting almost a year ago today (applying for a merchant account, not getting an enema).

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