By Mike - December 22/2006
From the FreshBooks Blog:
My friend and fellow Canadian entrepreneur Austin Hill sent me the following note:
I’m working on a project related to my new startup called Gifter.org and I would really appreciate you putting the word out to your friends or on your blog about it. We are going to raise $1 million dollars for charity. If you have friends that you would help us share this with, it would be really appreciated. Especially if you could ask some friends to vote for us on Digg or Netscape, so we can get some more attention for this worthy cause.
In lieu of sending holiday cards this year, we have decided to run a social giving experiment called the Million Dollar Blog Post. You can go the post, and make a wish for the world. We are arranging for $1 to be donated to charity for every wish left in the comments of this post. Feel free to share a few wishes with your friends, family or co-workers, or in your case if you think it would be of interest to your listeners let me know. We would like to collect a million wishes, and a million dollars (for charities). We aren’t sure how long this will take, but given the speed at which ideas spread on the Internet, we are optimistic about our goal.
Just go have a moment of fun and make a wish for the world on us. Project Ojibwe
has donated to the following charities so that you could make a wish for the world. (Our next sponsor has another sample here)
If you are interested in sponsoring someone else’s wishes, the instructions on how to do this can be found here. It can be a great way to promote to the world what you care about.
Happy holidays, and I look forward to reading your wishes.
I’m headed off to post my wish right now. I hope you will post your wish too.
By Mike - December 15/2006
From the FreshBooks blog:
When you run a small business or you work in teams, you have a lot of decisions to make. Reaching conclusions can be really challenging sometimes and exchanges can get heated.
Here at FreshBooks we are consensus builders. Ideas come from anyone and everyone, and no one’s point of view is a safe from attack. This way of decision making can present challenges though, mainly because it is impossible to get everyone to agree all the time. So, one thing we learned a long time ago – back when it was just Joe and I building the business, and both of us are fairly determined to see our points of view through – is we learned to say, “Ok…let’s sleep on it”.
We resort to “let’s sleep on it” as soon as we feel we have exhausted the productivity of a conversation. This happens frequently in meetings and via email discussions. Recognizing that moment when your discussion ceases to be productive is a skill and it can be honed over time. For us the upside of “sleeping on it” is that invariably we come – as a group – to the right decision the next day…which may be a mix of two or more points of view. Better still when we do decide, everyone feels they had some ownership of the outcome.
In decision making it is rare that you have to make a decision RIGHT NOW, so don’t be afraid to sleep on it.
By Mike - December 11/2006
One of my themes on this blog has been, “You need to spend on marketing if your web app is going to succeed”. There are exceptions to every rule, and these exceptions are most often the “Success Stories” that get press. This does would-be (naive?) entrepreneurs a disservice in my opinion because it sets false expectations for people building and releasing new tools.
Ryan Carson – who is almost single handedly trying to dispell these kinds of mistruths with his Bare Naked App project – just posted a piece that describes some of his growing pains with Amigo and how he is coming to the realization that spending on marketing may be necessary. It’s a good read and the comments are interesting too.
I replied and said this:
Great post…I think a lot of web app developers will be wrestling with the question of “how much to spend on marketing” over the next few years and I think that is only a sign that the web app space is growing up a little…and that’s a good thing.
Here is a post I wrote a while back that touches on the fact the you need to spend:
So, if you want to bootstrap and grow organically (which is a wonderful way to run your own business, it just takes a little longer than the traditional VC route of FAST, FAST, FAST), then challenge is finding your balance between spending and not spending on marketing. It’s a tough balance, but definitely something you will need to put some thought into as more and more apps are released and things get crowded.
I also touched on some of these things in a Work Happy interview here:
Probably worth a look for anyone starting a web app.
This trend is something that was inevitable and it is something I touched on a while back in my From the Web 2.0 Trenches: How to Build Real Businesses post/essay last November.