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Founders Talk Founders Talk #72

Slow and steady wins

Jeff Sheldon is the founder and creator of Ugmonk. Jeff is a designer by trade, and an entrepreneur by accident. I been following Jeff’s journey for the better part of Ugmonk’s existence. I’m also a customer. Jeff and I hold several similar values near and dear to our hearts. In addition to my appreciation for Jeff’s product design abilities, and how he leads his business, I also appreciate Jeff’s awareness and focus on the long hard path.

Adam Wathan adamwathan.me

How Tailwind CSS became a multi-million dollar business

Adam Wathan shares the backstory of Tailwind CSS, from humble beginnings to a multi-million dollar business. Thankfully, if you read the story, Nathan hated Sass enough to do something about it. Sometimes changes to our tools force us to change as well, and that change JUST MIGHT lead to scratching a multi-million dollar itch.

We’re also about to cross $2 million in revenue from Tailwind UI, our first commercial Tailwind CSS product which was released about 5 months ago — a bit under two years after the very first Tailwind CSS release.

Here’s the story from the beginning, while it’s still fresh enough to remember…

Clojure building.nubank.com.br

Nubank and Cognitect are joining forces

Edward Wible, Nubank’s CTO, shares his perspective on the future of Clojure and Datomic, and how the powerful ideas that guide these technologies helped shape Nubank’s culture and business.

Funny timing. Just the other day José Valim was telling us how Nubank is big on Clojure:

Come to think about it, they are one of the biggest cases of large companies using Clojure at a really large scale… So it’s actually interesting to hear about everything they are doing with Clojure, and the interesting cases, and how they are using the Clojure stack… And they write about it, they give talks, so it’s very interesting to check that out.

So in that sense, if they brought me, maybe they would be bringing Michael Jordan to play soccer… 😆 That’s not going to be a good fit, right?

If you’re wondering if José is audacious enough to compare himself to Michael Jordan… he didn’t. I did.

Vlad Mihalcea Twitter

You can write a software book and make over $100k

Here’s what worked for Vlad Mihalcea…

  1. I started a blog first. This allows you to practice your writing and build an audience.

  2. I self-published my book because publishers only wanted to give me just 10% from the profit. I used Leanpub to write and sell the book while I was still writing it and Teachable to sell it when it was done. Leanpub gives you 80% royalties. Teachable gives you around 95%.

Check his Twitter thread for the other twelve (12) things he did to make money with his book idea.

The Changelog The Changelog #402

What's next for José Valim and Elixir?

We’re joined again by José Valim talking about the recent acquihire of Plataformatec and what that means for the Elixir language, as well as José. We also talk about Dashbit a new 3 person company he helped form from work done while at Plataformatec to help startups and enterprises adopt and run Elixir in production. Lastly we talk about a new idea José has called Bytepack that aims to help developers package and deliver software products to developers and enterprises.

Founders Talk Founders Talk #71

From acquisition to full conviction

Guy Podjarny is the Founder of Snyk, a security platform that empowers software-driven businesses to develop fast and stay secure. Prior to Snyk, Guy founded Blaze which was acquired by Akamai and became CTO. We talked through the topic of acquisition — the sale, the merge, the learnings, and why Guy might not be planning for Snyk to be acquired anytime soon. We started the conversation with Snyk’s recent raise of $150 million dollars.

Medium Icon Medium

Unicorns are out, profits are in

This seems like a natural counter-weight to the go-big-or-go-home strategy of many venture capitalists:

Over five years, Indie.vc has backed 34 companies — half of which are women-led companies and 20% are Black. And while there haven’t been any big exits yet, the companies that receive Indie.vc funding seem to be much more robust than their peers, especially in a challenging economic climate. On average, they’re growing 100% in the first year, and 300% the second year, says Roberts. Plus, the fund’s mortality rate is 10% — compared to about 44% with traditional VC-backed companies.

Indie.vc’s next application window is “Fall 2020.”

Founders Talk Founders Talk #70

Leading GitLab to $100M ARR

Sid Sijbrandij is the Co-founder and CEO of GitLab — an all-remote company and complete DevOps platform. As a company, they have their eyes set on taking the company public to IPO and they’re very outspoken about their culture, open handbook, and how they work as an all-remote company. We talk through where Sid came from, the early days of GitLab, why IPO vs a private sale (like GitHub), what it means to put “family and friends first, work second,” how we should view work, and his biggest fear — the company failing.

Startups dannorris.me

Your business idea will probably fail (here's why)

Dan Norris shared nine reasons why business ideas fail. This coupled with this recent advice from Tim Ferriss on being a specialist or a generalist is golden 💰

The startup community likes to glorify failure but I don’t. Failing sucks. Failing slow sucks infinitely more. That’s why it’s OK sometimes to give up, to free you up to move onto an idea that could bring you something that the startup community doesn’t talk about near as much: actual fulfillment and success.

Here is a list of things to look out for when things might be set for failure. These are based on my failures and the failures I’ve seen around my circles (mostly self-funded online business folk).

Security keybase.io

Keybase bites the dust, joins Zoom

Welp. At least they aren’t sugar coating it.

Initially, our single top priority is helping to make Zoom even more secure. There are no specific plans for the Keybase app yet. Ultimately Keybase’s future is in Zoom’s hands, and we’ll see where that takes us. Of course, if anything changes about Keybase’s availability, our users will get plenty of notice.

Good move by Zoom. We sure know they could use the security help. For Keybase users seeking alternatives, here’s a nice thread of them on Hacker News.

Startups feedback.vc

But how does it make money??

I hate to let the cat out of the bag, but it’s not a huge surprise to me that the underlying economics of the business would be the strongest predictor of interest for VCs. Still though, you should at least skim this…

We analyzed the results of our first 500 reviews and calculated the correlations between high marks in categories like team, problem area and business economics with the number of requested intros from our reviewing VCs. Overall, high scores on the review were a strong predictor of VC interest, but the results of the scores of the individual categories might surprise you.

Startups blog.taskade.com

Google Wave’s failure is a great lesson for modern real-time collab tools

Google Wave was all the rage in 2009, but interest soon fizzled. This post takes us through that history, answering this question along the way:

With the full weight of Google 💰 behind it, why aren’t we all using Wave today? What caused a revolutionary, real-time collaboration tool to fizzle out in just a few short years?

What can we learn from Wave’s failure? The author has one key takeaway that will serve all of us well to keep in mind.

O'Reilly Media Icon O'Reilly Media

O’Reilly Media shuts down in-person events division

From Laura Baldwin (President, O’Reilly Media):

Today, we’re sharing the news that we’ve made the very difficult decision to cancel all future O’Reilly in-person conferences and close down this portion of our business. Without understanding when this global health emergency may come to an end, we can’t plan for or execute on a business that will be forever changed as a result of this crisis.

…and they are making the move to online-only.

…we believe the stage is set for a new normal moving forward when it comes to in-person events. We also know we are poised to accept that challenge, having already delivered a version of our Strata event on-line to over 4600 participants last week. With over 5000 companies and 2.5 million users on our learning platform, we look forward to innovating and bringing together the technology communities and businesses we serve in new and creative ways.

Jennifer Yip lunchbag.ca

The biggest mistakes I've made with Lunch Money (so far)

Love this humble transparency from Jennifer Yip on her journey so far with Lunch Money.

This whole journey is a learning process and I’m grateful to be able to share mine transparently. It’s important to not only celebrate the highs and stay humble, but also face the lows and forgive yourself.

I’m sure there are many more mistakes to be made on the horizon and I look forward to writing and laughing about them in another 6 months!

Startups gkogan.co

Simple systems have less downtime

As a former naval architect and a current marketing consultant to startups, I found that the same principle that lets a 13-person crew navigate the world’s largest container ship to a port halfway around the world without breaking down also applies to startups working towards aggressive growth goals

Tagging this one Startups because that’s what Greg is talking about, but the principle applies to any and all systems, including software systems.

Sam Altman blog.samaltman.com

Hard startups

Sam Altman shared an interesting post last week about hard startups. I think some of the wisdom shared could be expanded to starting a side project or a successful open source project. Let me give a terse example…

I remember when Instagram started to get really popular—it felt like you couldn’t go a day without hearing about another photo sharing startup. That year, probably over 1,000 photo sharing startups were funded, while there were fewer than ten nuclear fusion startups in existence.

Compare sinatra/sinatra to rails/rails and you’ll be reminded of all the Ruby frameworks that started up while Rails went “nuclear fusion.”

Here’s my favorite wisdom shared by Sam — because it’s easy to start, but hard to remain committed and finish.

Be willing to make a very long-term commitment to what you’re doing. Most people aren’t, which is part of the reason they pick “easy” startups. In a world of compounding advantages where most people are operating on a 3 year timeframe and you’re operating on a 10 year timeframe, you’ll have a very large edge.

Startups joisig.com

23 rules to run a software startup with minimum hassle

Rules is a catchy/harsh way to position these, but there’s a lot of lessons to be learned by putting some thought into what he’s saying.

Over the last 5 years of bootstrapping, I’ve tried a lot of things, and discovered there are many ways to create hassle for yourself that wastes time and energy and distracts you from building value in your business… If you want to absolutely minimize hassle as you run your software business, you can stick to each one of these rules, which I present in no particular order.

Here’s a sampler:

  • Rule #1: Recurring revenue is the way to go
  • Rule #7: Choose simple, boring technology
  • Rule #14: Don’t take in any investors

Michael Lynch mtlynch.io

My second year as a solo developer

Michael Lynch:

Two years ago, I quit my developer job at Google to build my own software business. A year later, I posted an update about my finances, happiness, and lessons learned. Today marks the end of my second year, so it’s time for another update.

This is a deep dive into all that Michael is doing to make more money then he spends (not quite there yet, but looking like soon). I’m impressed by how he frugally he lives and how hard he works in an effort to live the kind of life he wants to live.

My second year as a solo developer
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