Most software founders, particularly in B2B, need to get radically better at sales. @Steli , who is the best person for explaining the scrappy stages in the beginning and then building out a team with scripts and processes, wrote a guide to:
Unlike most sales reps, founders can credibly promise tight feedback loops for product.
"If you go with BigCo, you can call them at 3 AM. Someone will listen to you politely, explain they have no solution, and open a ticket. If you call at 3 PM, same answer."
Many, many technical founders of my acquaintance want to offload this to someone ASAP. I've never seen this work: you need to have a deep understanding of your market and customers to arm that first non-founder salesperson. It is gained by doing.
These folks are capable of writing their own ticket and then, by construction, getting folks to buy it.
Sophisticated, mature processes for marketing to pass leads over to sales for qualification.
Steli is so effective at sales he has closed deals he wasn't even a party to. My favorite anecdote about this:
"Hey apropos of nothing: do you know Steli?"
"Oh yeah he's great."
"He is. Steli wouldn't let me leave lunch...
"He wouldn't, would he."
"OK then; we will."
"Great! Email me and we'll figure out logistics."
More from Patrick McKenzie
Here's how I'd measure the health of any tech company:— Jeff Atwood (@codinghorror) October 25, 2018
How long, as measured from the inception of idea to the modified software arriving in the user's hands, does it take to roll out a *1 word copy change* in your primary product?
How long does it take, measured from initial expression of interest through offer of employment signed, for a typical candidate cold inbounding to the company?
What is the *theoretical minimum* for *any* candidate?
How long does it take, as a developer newly hired at the company:
* To get a fully credentialed machine issued to you
* To get a fully functional development environment on that machine which could push code to production immediately
* To solo ship one material quanta of work
How long does it take, from first idea floated to "It's on the Internet", to create a piece of marketing collateral.
(For bonus points: break down by ambitiousness / form factor.)
How many people have to say yes to do something which is clearly worth doing which costs $5,000 / $15,000 / $250,000 and has never been done before.
Me: Write a million words.
Follow up: “Hah but seriously.”
Me: Start with 20,000 words. Everyone gets to that 50 times in their first million.
Follow up: “No seriously.”
Me: Nobody expects 10 Quick Tips To Play Violin At Carnegie Hall.
The Internet is so much better at teaching writing than the traditional educational system principally because it removes an artificial and limiting constraint on output imposed by ability of gatekeepers’ limited time to evaluate output.
(Interestingly in fields where we actually care about performance we’re good at encouraging students to practice when no one is watching but for writing we basically assume all the value is created by the teacher-minute of attention. Teacher-minutes are scarce and rationed.)
If you ever want to be deeply, deeply disillusioned about the state of the world, compare what we do where we care about output quality and what we do where we don’t, and which domains sort into which column by revealed preference.
Fun going down this list and thinking: "Hmm, plausible at a well-run modern software shop", "Hmm, possible, but requires implausible tradeoffs", "Literally disallowed by languages", and "If you were to attempt doing that our test suite wouldn't let you merge."
I think we as an industry celebrate (not quite the right word) failure too much and don't celebrate success nearly enough. There is no DailyWTF for competent execution, word of which generally stays pretty local to the source while incompetence passes into legend.
Alrighty let me try to thread the needle on being the change I want to see in the world while not giving away anything that will get me in trouble:
Ruby has wonderful developer ergonomics. Typed languages are easier for machines to guarantee the correctness of. We built a type checker for Ruby (and I believe it is slated for OSS release sometime).
On a serious note, it's interesting to observe that you can build a decent business charging $20 - $50 per month for something that any good developer can set up. This is one of those micro-saas sweet spots between "easy for me to build" and "tedious for others to build"— Jon Yongfook (@yongfook) September 5, 2019
Every year at MicroConf I get surprised-not-surprised by the number of people I meet who are running "Does one thing reasonably well, ranks well for it, pulls down a full-time dev salary" out of a fun side project which obviates a frequent 1~5 engineer-day sprint horizontally.
"Who is the prototypical client here?"
A consulting shop delivering a $X00k engagement for an internal system, a SaaS company doing something custom for a large client or internally facing or deeply non-core to their business, etc.
(I feel like many of these businesses are good answers to the "how would you monetize OSS to make it sustainable?" fashion, since they often wrap a core OSS offering in the assorted infrastructure which makes it easily consumable.)
"But don't the customers get subscription fatigue?"
I think subscription fatigue is far more reported by people who are embarrassed to charge money for software than it is experienced by for-profit businesses, who don't seem to have gotten pay-biweekly-for-services fatigue.
How to put this in regular finance terms...
Suppose hypothetically you have an account at a brokerage with some valuable asset in it. You take a margin loan against that asset to fund your normal spending, or pay a tax bill, or maybe buy something at another brokerage.
For reasons known only to the brokerage, they don't denominate your loan in dollars. They denominate it in shares of a money market fund, which are worth $1 +/- epsilon and basically never deviate from that.
And you think "Hmm, I have a large equity cushion against this loan."
One day, a computer system at the brokerage reports, sorta-kinda erroneously, that the value of the money market fund is actually $1.30 per share. The equity cushion is gone. Your valuable asset is sold, at timing you didn't choose, at wrong price, to pay an inflated phantom debt
And your recourse is... probably tweeting at patio11 saying he finds too much joy in this.
Which I don't; I just feel like this is why you don't trust a CPU built out of redstone to build reliable financial infrastructure on top of.
More from Tech
This is exactly the wrong thing to focus on.
You can always reconstruct what changes a commit contains, but it's near impossible to unearth the reason it was done.
Think about the last time you `git blame`d something.
You were almost certainly thinking "WHY is this like this?", not "What is a one-line summary of what happened in this commit?".
Here's the antidote: use this commit template (stolen from @joeferris).
[one line-summary of changes]
- [relevant context]
- [why you decided to change things]
- [reason you're doing it now]
- [does X]
- [does Y]
- [does Z]
Leading with the WHY has tremendous value.
First, it captures context that will be near impossible to recover later. Trust me, this stuff is gold.
Secondly, if you train yourself to ask why you're making every change, you'll tend to make better changes.
Give this template a try for a while.
The first time you see a commit message like the above instead of "refactor OrderWidget", you'll be a convert.
You are interviewed for multiple skills simultaneously. Cognitive skills, communication, leadership are a few to name. If the point is not finding a solution, then what is it? Let me explain.
Your interviewers try to understand what it feels like to work with you on a daily basis. An interview question is just a tool in achieving that, it is not there to specifically measure your skills on a topic but a tool to understand the depth of your thinking.
Before the interview starts, ask them what they want to get out of this interview. Good interviewers should already have a plan and a set of expectations. Ask them what you should do. Don't start coding yet. Ask them you should produce. Discussion, diagrams, pseudo code, code?
Then, start cracking the question. List whatever questions you think it is important to solve this question, ask your edge cases. Get to a point where you are discussing about pros/cons of the solutions. These steps are critical. Don't just start coding. Have a consensus first.
Yahoo, who bought Tumblr years ago, used to have a huge adult presence on the early net. They allowed adult groups and what not.
However, people and bots (just like now) misused the service, and Yahoo were forced to make a choice. They made private the groups (and later closed them down and sold some of it to other companies) and then ended their chatrooms on yahoo messenger...
after a incident with one of the chatrooms vid cams. The damage was done, Yahoo Messenger lost a lot of people - and with the closing of the groups - backpage and Craigslist came more important.
Now backpage is no more and Craigslist is slowly passing away. Tumblr had a semi strong community, but once 2014 came around and both porn, and political bots exploded the quality started to go down,
Differential privacy was invented in 2006. Seems like a long time but it's not a long time since a fundamental scientific invention. It took longer than that between the invention of public key cryptography and even the first version of SSL.
But even in 2020, we still can't meet user expectations.
* Data users expect consistent data releases
* Some people call synthetic data "fake data" like
* It's not clear what "quality assurance" and "data exploration" means in a DP framework
We just did the 2020 US census
* required to collect it by the constitution
* but required to maintain privacy by law
But that's hard! What if there were 10 people on the block and all the same sex and age? If you posted something like that, then you would know what everyone's sex and age was on the block.
Avoiding wars with clients is a matter of how you structure your engagements, along with how you spell out what you're doing in your proposals/contracts. That starts with estimating.
The biggest 2 rules I follow are these:
1. I do not EVER estimate a project in full from start-to-finish.
2. Once we're past initial Discovery (see below), I estimate in small chunks, e.g. "here's what will take us to the next iteration/review."
NEVER estimate past the point where you may get new information based on a build/test cycle.
Believe me when I say that you'll be wrong every time. Ask me how I know ;-)
So instead, first, I estimate a Consult/Discovery part that details what I think we need to do to get a handle on what's actually wrong here, and how long that will take.
You May Also Like
Please take time to read this piece by @DavideAFrench and the 26-page letter written by a first-hand witness. Here are just some of the excerpts: 2/29
"At one point, Ravi suggested to me that the Task Force “issue a statement that they [the Thompsons] are hooligans, they are scoundrels, they are thugs, they are serial extortioners.” If we didn’t do that, he told me, he would ask his attorney to do so on his behalf." 3/29
"...I distinctly recall Ravi & Sanj mocking the Thompsons’ marriage & scornfully predicting how soon Brad & Lori Anne would get divorced. “I predict their marriage won’t survive the year,” Ravi asserted with laughter. “A year?” replied Sanj. “I wouldn’t give it six months!” 4/29
"In 2017, in the early stages of his RICO against the Thompsons, Ravi would often invoke Kelly [his attorney], making statements such as “my attorney said we are going to crush them.”" 5/29
First things first, you’ll need a passport with at least 6 months left on it. And you’ll need full travel/third party/health insurance, since if you get ill or have an accident every penny of your care will have to be paid for 2/
To work or do a gig you’re going to need a work visa, just like you do for the USA. But here’s the thing. Work permits & visas and the conditions attached are a matter not for the EU but for the member states themselves 3/
Yes, every member state controls who comes in and who doesn’t and what the rules will be for work and residency. It’s almost as if the Brexiters have been lying about this ALL ALONG. EU members CONTROL THEIR OWN BORDERS 4/
So you’ll need to get a work permit for every country you’re intending to work or gig in and the rules are often different, as are the rules on eg taxation of that work (eg Spain has a withholding tax, France does not) 5/
Write a tweet, tell your friends, and move on.
Once you own it, you fix it.
99% of people on Twitter/social media/internet won't do this.
Being radically transparent and honest is a competitive (and life) advantage.
From @RayDalio's Principles:
My new product has 14 users and <$400 monthly revenue. I've spent the last 4 months on it.
I'm going through a lot of pain to validate and grow it.
But if anyone asks me how it's going I will tell them exactly that.
If I asked them, I would hope they would give me the raw truth as well. Truth builds trust.
I think that goes for your internet audience as well. Authenticity is attractive.
I see this with @starter_story all the time - people don't want to share their revenue yet because they don't have any, or it's not high enough (not all cases but often).
I wish I could tell them that getting the cat out of the bag would actually fix the problem itself!!
In this thread we will cover the different meanings behind D5 and what the near term might have in store for us.
D5 Multiple Meanings & Outlook:
1. Events that took place on 5th Dec 2018
2. Date of DNI Report regarding unmaski*g of Gen. Flynn.
3. CF Investigation re: Crim*s Against Humanity
4. D5 Forecast 432Hz (Ongoing Investigation re: Election Frau*)
1. Lets warm up with 2 Year Delta Drop 2549:
Role of Huber (as portrayed by 'Q')? What are the odds that Huber would be scheduled to testify re: Clint*n Foundation on D5? What are the odds GHWB passes away and the State Funeral date is on D5? What other interviews and
investigations were wiped clean (postponed) given a STATE FUNERAL takes up media coverage for a week? Why does the FAKE NEWS media [largest in the world] continually attack 'Q'? Why is the WASH POST leading the attack? Think ABC agency. When you are awake you can SEE CLEARLY.
My take: DS tried to cover up Huber BOOM via Funeral Date, but they didn’t realise D5 meant something else…👇