Entries from July 2011 ↓

Why Making Something Customers Want Isn’t Enough

Photo by Stinkie Pinkie

In his essay How to Start a Startup, Paul Graham famously stated there are three things needed to create a successful startup:

  • To start with good people
  • To make something customers actually want
  • To spend as little money as possible

This list is pure genius. However, over the past several years running my own businesses and working with hundreds of entrepreneurs, I’ve found a fourth ingredient that’s necessary for a company to succeed:

Customers must give you more money than what you spend to acquire them.

I realize this is an obvious statement. But here’s the kicker…

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How Can Software by Rob Better Serve You?

Photo by arquera

I posted last week about the enormous value of the information I received from surveying my DotNetInvoice customers through survey.io.

Today I want to ask you the same 7 questions, but in reference to this blog. Your answers will no doubt shape the future of what happens here.

You can answer anonymously at:


Four Things I Learned From Asking My Customers

Photo by Eleaf

Survey.io is a tool that helps you edge into customer development. It’s a free tool put together by Sean Ellis and Hiten Shah as a way for product owners to easily survey their customers using pre-written questions.

You enter your product name and voila – 8 questions that Sean Ellis has used many times to achieve his massive successes with companies like DropBox, Xobni, LogMeIn and Lookout.

I’ve had this on my to-do list for DotNetInvoice since Survey.io launched, but wanted to wait until our QuickBooks integration launched, which finally happened last month. I was further spurred into action at MicroConf; one of the key takeaways from the conference was that I need to be talking more to my customers.

So two weeks ago I dove in head first and emailed the survey to all of our customers. The results were surprising…

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Choosing a Domain Name When YourApp.com is Taken

Photo by Kevan

A reader recently emailed with the following question:

I am working with my business partner on building a web application and the domain name I’m looking for is already registered.I have done a ton of searching on the web, including forums like OnStartups and can’t seem to figure out which way is the best. Everyone seems to have contrasting opinions.

I am thinking of other ways to register my applications domain name, and I thought of a few possible solutions:

  • www.my-site.com
  • www.mysiteapp.com
  • www.mysitehq.com (I saw that 37signals uses this for some of there web apps and liked the idea)

I was wondering if you thought this made a big difference or not.

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