It’s useful to learn as much as possible from others who have launched businesses before you, but it’s just as important to remember that it’s never the full story. So many things happen behind the scenes that contribute to success or failure. So anytime you read about someone’s story, mine included, remember that it’s just one small piece of a much larger picture.
Of course ‘painfully’ is subjective, but the point is that almost all bootstrapped startups take longer to rampup than you’d like as a founder. That means a year or three of living in two worlds and juggling bill paying work with growing that side project.
The absolute best way to grow a side project into something big enough to sustain you is to have realistic expectations. A big dramatic switch from a 9-to-5 to a side project almost never happens overnight.
On a related note, it’s useful to remember that having something grow too fast means you’re going to be spending a lot of time playing catchup. So slow and steady isn’t always a bad thing as long as you’re ready for it.
A great set of ideas not for getting in the way of a customer when they want to cancel but for doing your best to help them at a moment where they might genuinely want some help.
If you’re a designer that wants to work on great products with a great team, @wildbit is hiring. If not for Sifter, working with them would be my first choice without a doubt.
Bug and issue tracking is just one small component of increasing the quality of your software. I shared a chapter from the book that begins to cover some of the other tools and processes involved in helping you ship faster and with fewer problems.
Rachel Andrew comes through with some more great advice on how to create time for your side projects.
It’s easy to get so caught up in the act of doing things that we overlook the value of documenting what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. Investing time in writing detailed comments in your issue tracker can really help.
I’ve been using DNSimple for a while and absolutely love it. Now they’re offering a free concierge service to help you transfer your domains from your current registrar over to them.
Having an issue tracker is important, but ensuring high levels of participation and understanding by non-technical users doesn’t happen automatically. Making sure that clients and anyone new to your processes and workflow are comfortable and understand its importance is can work wonders in improving participation.
Issue tracking and workflow is a nasty problem. There’s no doubt about it. Team size, skill set, and location. Technology stack. Multiple tools and systems. It all factors in, and it’s all messy. But I feel like we can make it better if we take a hard look at some of the decisions we make and the resulting complexity that we introduce.
If we can simplify workflow, the productivity gains are huge. Instead of spending time fiddling with bits, we can focus on the real creative work and delivery of that work. This isn’t about dreaming up perfect workflows, but about looking for the parts of our existing workflow that we can remove.
If you only make time for reading one thing today, it should be this. It’s so easy to become jaded and believe that things are getting worse rather than better, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
By almost any measure, the world is better than it has ever been. People are living longer, healthier lives. Many nations that were aid recipients are now self-sufficient. You might think that such striking progress would be widely celebrated, but in fact, Melinda and I are struck by how many people think the world is getting worse. The belief that the world can’t solve extreme poverty and disease isn’t just mistaken. It is harmful. That’s why in this year’s letter we take apart some of the myths that slow down the work. The next time you hear these myths, we hope you will do the same.
One of the most important takeaways from this for me was a reminder that nothing changes overnight. Not personal health or well-being. Not personal success or failure. And certainly not the entire population of the planet.
With analytics everywhere, it’s so tempting to do one little thing, measure, and then be disappointed because it did’t change the world. Measuring is important, but it’s much more useful on a long-term scale. Chances are that if you feel like you’re working on the right things to make some sort of a difference, you’re on the right track.
Apparently credit cards don’t immediately stop working upon expiration. In some cases, they’ll still work for six months after the expiration. Good to know if you’re running a business that relies heavily on credit cards.
Seth Godin points out that that value of being able to say, “that’s okay, it’s not for you.” This has always been how I’ve felt about Sifter. There’s countless issue trackers out there, and none of them are good or bad per se. Only a good or bad fit.
While ‘artist’ may pigeonhole the idea, the same thing applies to software. The only difference is that in software, there’s the unyielding pressure to handle these different desires through preferences so that it can appeal to everyone.
Reminds me of the quote by Bill Cosby:
I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.
It’s not only a matter of success or failure, but happiness. The times when I’ve been least happy with any given piece of work are when I’m searching for the “perfect” solution that will make everyone happy.