If you’re like me, the startup Gods didn’t bless you with a magical idea that was “love at first site.” Maybe you came up with an idea or two in the shower. Or maybe a buddy had a decent idea that you modified to make your own.
In fact, I didn’t have any aspirations of becoming an entrepreneur until a fateful internship my junior year of college with a megacorp. So I never even thought once about what kind of startup or company I’d like to run someday.
It was only after that internship that I learned corporate America wasn’t for me and I started exploring non-traditional career paths. I started developing real ideas about what I wanted to do with my life’s energy. Ideas I could build a team around.
Posted on May 14th, 2013
Building a company is expensive. Software, especially a SaaS subscription, is not.
I was recently going over our profit and loss statement and checking out some of the expenses at Zapier and realized how minuscule software expenses really are.
In fact, payroll expenses easily blow software expenses out of the water. At Zapier it’s easily 10X, and I’m sure at companies with more employees the ratio gets even bigger.
Posted on May 6th, 2013
Through college and the beginning of my professional life I’ve made many attempts at writing on a regular basis. Judging by the number of abandoned blogs on the internet, it’s pretty obvious I’m not the only one.
All of my previous attempts have been short lived and ultimately I quit writing like many others.
Why did my previous blogging attempts fail?
Posted on April 28th, 2013
My father-in-law has been visiting this past week and I’ve been thinking a lot about work/life balance as a result.
Work life balance is a pretty nuanced topic. For some people work/life balance means creating family and friends out of everyone involved in their startup and abandoning all else. For others work/life balance means separating work and life completely. For a lot of us work/life balance is something in between.
For most of us, there will always be family and friends that won’t be part of our startup other than as encouraging supporters. These are parents and grandparents, brothers and sisters, high school and college buddies, and aunts and uncles.
Posted on April 22nd, 2013
When you are just getting your startup off the ground there seems to be an infinite amount of tasks you have to do to be successful. But the truth of the matter is very few things actually matter on day one of starting a company.
Here’s a list of things that after starting Zapier I realized didn’t matter on day one of the company.
If you’re persistant and continue to grow your company, some of these tasks might eventually matter, but when you’re getting started there are usually more pressing things to attend to than these tasks.
Posted on April 14th, 2013
Over the last month my co-founder, Bryan, has been traveling for a variety of reasons and needed someone to watch his dog, Tuna. His dog is well behaved 99% of the time and I love dogs so my wife and I were happy to do it.
At first I thought it would be a little bit of extra work, but I quickly realized that having Tuna around was actually boosting my productivity rather than putting a dent in it.
How so? Here are a few reasons.
Posted on April 7th, 2013
As a founder, once you reach product/market fit, it becomes easier and easier to hole up in your office and work on growing the company. Talking to customers sometimes gets forgotten.
In the early days every customer interaction was a big deal. After all, a meeting with a customer when you have ten customers is a meeting with 10% of your customer base. That’s a pretty big deal. But a meeting with a single customer when you have 100,000 customers is barely a blip on the radar for your entire customer base. So it’s easy to see how “talking to customers” might seem less important.
Posted on March 31st, 2013
While launch day certainly won’t make or break your startup (AirBnB “launched” multiple times with varying degrees of success), there are plenty of things you can do to boost the success you will have on launch day.
Plenty of people have written checklists about what you should do on launch day, including this great post from Danielle Morrill and this post from Spencer Fry. But there is one simple tactic that works great that rarely seems to get used.
Say Thank You
Posted on March 24th, 2013
Some startups/companies seem to constantly be shipping awesome features, growing steadily, and generally becoming more awesome day after day.
For instance, if you take a look at the Stripe blog it’s post after post of awesome, new features that make accepting and managing payments on the web way easier. GitHub is another company that instantly comes to mind for it’s ability to ship features on a consistent basis.
Posted on March 17th, 2013
On Zapier - “Looks useful. They are in Missouri though, so this will die a quick death.” - Moderately Successful, New York, Angel Investor.
If I ever meet this investor in real life I’m going to have some fun with him.
It’s pretty common from tech industry, the press and venture capital to bask in the glow of the Bay Area. And to be honest the Bay Area has a lot going for it. But unfortunately, this enthusiasm sometimes leads to strange commentary about the impossibilities of building a business outside of major tech hubs like the valley or New York.
Quite frankly, that’s just simply not true.
Posted on March 10th, 2013