Matt Mullenweg on Shipping Your Product

WordPress founder and TechStars mentor Matt Mullenweg on shipping your product: Usage is like oxygen for ideas. You can never fully anticipate how an audience is going to react to something you’ve created until it’s out there. By shipping early and often you have the unique competitive advantage of hearing from real people what they think of your work, which in best case helps you anticipate market direction, and in worst case gives you a few people rooting for you

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The Difference Between Winners and Losers

From Steve Blank‘s Four Steps to the Epiphany: The difference between winners and losers is simple. Products developed with senior management out in front of customers early and often – win. Products handed off to a sales and marketing organization that has only been tangentially involved in the new Product Development process lose. It’s that simple.

Study Shows Self-Employed Most Happy in Their Occupation

Two recent articles report that business owners and the self-employed are the most happy in their occupations. The results are from a Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index poll data. The findings, psychologists say, reflect the importance of being free to choose the work you do and how you do it, the way you manage your time, and the way you respond to adversity. Regardless of occupational field, the survey suggests that seeking out enjoyable work and finding a way to do it

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Lean Startup Dinner with Eric Ries

Last night I attended the Lean Startup Dinner with Eric Ries hosted by TechStars. If you’re not familiar, Eric writes the Lessons Learned blog and actively promotes ideas for running lean startups based on his experiences. I’m particularly fond of the minimum viable product (MVP) concept and have been using that from the beginning with my company’s new product, StatsMix. The essential idea behind MVP is to determine as early as possible the core set of features that solves a

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Lessons Learned from a Screencast Business

Geoffrey Grosenbach runs a company called PeepCode Screencasts that produces outstanding screencasts for learning a variety of programming topics mainly around Ruby on Rails. I’ve purchased a bunch of them and they’ve all been fantastic learning tools. Recently he posted a transcript of a presentation he gave on the lessons learned from three years of running PeepCode. One skill that is important is being able to respond to change. I frequently think back to a quote I saw in a

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How Social Media Really Works

Great thoughts on building your products from A Whole Lotta Nothing: So maybe instead of getting your company on twitter, paying marketers to mention you are on twitter, and paying people to blog about your company, forget all that and just make awesome stuff that gets people excited about your products, hire people that represent the company well, and when your stuff is so awesome that friends share it with other friends, you may not even need “social media marketing”

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More ways to kill your business

I’ve been trying to write about the lessons learned from the failure of my last company (albeit quite slowly) and I read a post this morning from Mike McDerment of FreshBooks that covers some similar topics. His post is titled 7 ways I’ve almost killed FreshBooks and I can second every single point he makes. Luckily for FreshBooks, they’re still around and thriving. I especially appreciated his first point – “Thinking we had to move faster than we did” As entrepreneurs, we tend to immediately

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Lessons From a Failed Startup: Create Administration Tools Early

The lessons learned from the failure of my company are going to be in no particular order, so I decided to start with one that I’m already applying to my next project – creating admin tools as early as possible. With FeedCraft, we took the approach of getting the application launched as quickly as possible with the main features we needed (which I think was wise, but I’ll have some thoughts on this in later posts). In the rush to

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The formula for building web applications

I read this article on Mashable (via Fred Wilson‘s tweet) and had to post this quote on building web applications: Determine a basic need -> Create a service that satisfies it in the simplest way possible -> Open it up. It sounds simple, but it’s not; determining a basic human need, like the need to share photos or the need to communicate with short text messages is a hit and miss affair. … I believe now that in many cases

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