Thought Experiment: Revealed Passions

Freakonomics co-author Steven Levitt often references his mentor, E.O. Wilson, the best ant scientist in the world. He argues on several occasions that being passionate about your work is an immense competitive advantage. His mentor is the best ant scientist in the world because he absolutely freaking loves ants. He loves studying them, and he thus studies them more intently and more often that someone who’s just in the ant science game for the paycheck and the glamor. Sounds pretty plausible to me. Let’s leave aside for a minute the debate about whether “doing what you love” or earning a good paycheck so you can do what you love is more likely to make you happy. Being passionate about your job almost certainly will make you better at it. And finding work that you are uniquely more passi…

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Putting a Micro SaaS Business on Autopilot

Regular readers of this blog will know that I announced back in February that I’m writing a short ebook on building Micro-SaaS businesses. So, what the heck is taking me so long to finish it? Well, I wrote it with a narrative structure, starting at the beginning, and as the first draft caught up to the present day, I realized it might be a bit premature to publish the book. I had just finished a period of heavy time investment into the business to get it to the point where it generated a comfortable full-time income, but I hadn’t put much thought or work into the end game of micro-SaaS. What was the next, more or less final, stage of Storemapper and micro-SaaS in general. I thought I should work on this in practice before putting a book out there. Three months ago I posted about Storemapp…

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Storemapper

Digging in to the Open Startups List

I’m super honored and excited to see my business alongside six other incredible startups that have embraced financial transparency, and completely opened up their financial metrics on the Baremetrics Open Startups List. I’ve written before here about why I think financial transparency is a huge asset, particularly when paired with a transparent blog or any kind of business advice. This list of open dashboards, which I’m sure will be growing rapidly soon, is a huge assets for current and aspiring entrepreneurs. It’s a ton of data and I thought it would be fun to dive deep and see what we can learn. Introduction to the Open Startups First I’ll do a terrible and cursory introduction to this illustrious list for background. Buffer is an app for finding shareable content and queuing that conte…

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The best networking is not networking

My first job was at a research consultancy. I was learning and writing about the booming wind energy industry. A big part of my job, that of and many of my colleagues, was to attend an ever increasing number of industry conferences. The goal was to be part salesperson, convincing potential customers that the analysts at our firm were smart people with interesting things to say, and to play journalist, getting nuggets of data and an informal consensus on topics for which we lacked data. The fact that I reverse engineered the financial model for a complicated financing structure almost entirely from buying beers for CFOs and managing directors at conferences was probably the only reason anyone in the industry thought I had anything valuable to say for the first few years. These conferences w…

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Technical skills for non-technical people in tech

Tech is one of the few growing bright spots in the job market and understandably a lot of folks want to figure out how to get a job at tech startups. When I quit my job and started getting into tech/software/startup things I was “not technical” — meaning specifically that I didn’t know how to write software. I’ve had lot of conversations with people trying to break into the market who are also not technical, didn’t grow up hacking, didn’t get a computer science degree and can’t write a line of code. I taught myself to code so a lot of the conversations start there: “Should I learn to code?” While I was technically non-technical in startup parlance, I am in fact a pretty technical person and spent a good part of my pre-startup career mastering nerdy things like Excel Macros so it made sen…

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