Imagine going to see the lions on display in the zoo. Now imagine seeing the same species of lion in the wild on an African safari. Technically, you’re looking at the same animal both times. But they behave differently in the wild than they do in captivity.

You wouldn’t make a judgement call about what MOST lions do based on a lion in a zoo, because MOST lions aren’t in zoos.

Starting and Sustaining: Buy just the book for $29

When I launched Starting and Sustaining, I felt that the book, spreadsheet, and task list were a package deal. One without the others wouldn’t be telling the full story. So I decided to offer them together as a package.

Talking to folks over the last year, I’ve realized that I was wrong. The book by itself can still provide incredible value to someone just getting started. So as of today, you can now buy the book by itself for $29. In addition to that, I’ve also decided to lower the price of the package to $79 permanently.

And finally, I’m now providing the payment processing chapter as the sample chapter. So you can download the chapter about one of the most complex and mystifying topics of running your own web application for free.

Modesty and hubris

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.

The Road to SaaS Revenue is Painfully Slow. Are You Prepared for It?

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.

Reducing Customer Churn Within Account Deletion

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.

We don’t think about individual competitors, we think about problems that people have and jobs they need done. That’s what we’re competing against — people who don’t have things to do those jobs. If you spend time obsessing over individual tools, everyone starts trending towards the same outcome and winds up in the same place. You lose the things that made your product unique.
Love this quote by Jason Fried on The Industry. I’ve always felt this but could never put it into words. Anytime a company is fixated on competitors, it sends up red flags. Like they’re focusing on the wrong things.

I realize it’s awkward, discussing these adult matters with your father, but have your buddies asked you to join a start-up? Be honest—Dad knows the HTML.

Wildbit is Hiring a Senior UI/UX Designer

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.

Shipping Better Software Faster

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.

Making Time for Side Projects

Rachel Andrew comes through with some more great advice on how to create time for your side projects.

Detailed Comments can Level Up Your Issue Tracking

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.

DNSimple Domain Transfer Concierge Service

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.

Inviting Clients to Track Issues

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.

Relative and Discrete Priorities

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.

2014 Gates Annual Letter: Myths About Foreign Aid

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.

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.