Building software is sorta like a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed camp counselor. At first, kids are dropped off by their parents, one or two at a time. Each kid has some special request that has to be handled. One has a ton of luggage to be stored. Another is a vegan. Another just wants to do archery and nothing else.
Then, busloads of kids start getting dropped off — all who are camping for free, but all have luggage, dietary constraints, planning issues. Not fun.
By the end of the day…the poor counselor is toast.
Software and camp counselors have so much in common.
Buffer made a big splash last year with their transparent salary formula, and now they've updated it again. It's a fascinating look in to how others do business.
"...the mistake most entrepreneurs make is the try to ship most or all of their vision in their first product."
This. So much this. When you try to do too much out of the gate, you make a slew of bad assumptions and many times simply never ship at all. You need momentum and real world usage. Focus your vision early on and ship.
I think we entrepreneurs are people-pleasers. We're also eternal optimists. We have to be to make it through all the ups and downs. But what that translates to is that we end up doing things we think we're "supposed to do" because we read that it worked for someone else. And we try to take everyone's feedback and put it to use. Then we end up building someone else's company instead of the one we want.
Don't do that. Build the company that you want to work for.
When you’re trying to validate a new product, whether it’s a free mobile game or enterprise software, you need evidence it works. That’s where customer stories come in.
Good things happen slow, and since the comeback from the 2008 crash we’ve been living large, investment was easy to come by. But bad things happen fast. And ups and downs are inevitable. Who will survive? As always, the less glamorous, but very hardy Cockroaches.
This is the story of how we made a change to the Basecamp.com site that ended up costing us millions of dollars, how we found our way back from that, and what we learned in the process.