After 14 years and 566 posts and counting, it has gotten a little unwieldy to just point people at the first article and ask them to read to the end. (If you’d like to try anyhow, this is the first post.)
For folks who would rather just get to the good stuff, I try to periodically curate a list of the posts which are most valuable.
I have some weird hobbies. Some people have, probably justly, accused me of having a hobby of having weird hobbies. Occasionally I write what I learn from them:
I present at conferences about 4~5 times a year, and generally request that the talk be made available after the conference.
I’ve spoken at Microconf almost every year and consider that community my home-away-from-home. You should absolutely attend if you are at all interested in running a software business.
My talks, in order (since there is a sense of progression to them):
- 2011: A Software Business on 5 Hours a Week (not recorded, but I have the slides)
- 2012: How to Engineer Marketing Success
- 2013: Building Things to Help You Sell the Things You Build, mostly on the mechanics of engineering sales and marketing.
- 2014: I’ve always said that the only thing that could keep me away from Microconf was the birth of a child. In 2014, we were blessed by the birth of our daughter Lillian.
- 2015: Leveling Up, on how entrepreneurship effectively has a career ladder, where what you learn doing one company can be used to help jumpstart the next.
- 2016: I attended Microconf but was hip-deep in Starfighter and didn’t present.
- 2017: Paint by Numbers: From Productized Consulting to SaaS. No video yet but I have the slides. This is the glide path for bootstrapping a software business off of a consulting/infoproduct sort of offering, and helps you avoid the long slow SaaS ramp of death.
I also periodically speak at other conferences, on a potpurri of topics. You can find many of my presentations on Slideshare or SpeakerDeck.
- Andrew Warner interviewed me on Mixergy. (About one hour, comes with transcript half-written by me.) Andrew is, by the way, the best interviewer in technology today. You cannot do better than some of the insights he teases out of guests, and he has a wonderful way of making people so comfortable they forget to not answer the tough questions he slides in there.
- Gabriel Weinberg interviewed me with specific regards to SEO, mini-sites, and conversion optimization. (About one hour, comes with transcript written by me.)
- I did a 7.5 minute lightning talk on selling software to underserved markets at Business of Software 2010.
- I spoke on Productizing Twilio Applications at TwilioConf 2011.
- Google brought me in to do a tech talk about What Engineers Don’t Know We Know About Marketing.
- Before launch (July 1, 2006) I had a rough cut of my content creation strategy and figured out there would be seasonal elements to it.
- Right after launch, I stumbled on what turned into my first major SEO opportunity: Dolch Sight Words. This started working rather quickly (was my main source of sales for almost a year), both for traffic and for backlinks.
- Optimizing your website for snowflake queries: the ones Google only sees once. This eventually formed the core of my content creation strategy: as many pages as possible, each targeted at one specific, narrow interest.
- Most recommended series: After seeing the results of doing content creation by hand in notepad, I started trying to scale it up using Rails and get the content written by freelancers. This ended up getting early positive results and eventually virtually taking over the business (now accounting for some 50% of sales and 75% of profits, give or take). I eventually distilled this strategy into a presentation on SEO for software companies, which is my conference shtick of choice.
- Using evergreen content (that which is perpetually useful to consistent, unchanging needs of your customers) to make sales. (Note: anti-pattern of a 10 year old blog post outranking product site happens frequently in consulting!) My little brother busy trying to break into comic book writing advice also has thoughts on this here.
- I have a variety of mini-sites focused on my best performing single pieces of content, beginning with an experimental one for Christmas back in 2008. They tend to work exceptionally well in their second and third years.
- While originally I wrote these by hand, after expanding from the Halloween/Christmas/Valentine’s triumvirate to second-tier activities like Thanksgiving bingo cards, it became more rational to get freelancers to do it for me.
- Relatedly, I wrote up some tips on how to do holiday promotions.
- See everything I write about content creation, as they’re deeply entwined for me.
- Tactics and strategy for more effective link building.
On Page SEO:
Tough To Categorize But Still Useful:
- Year in Review Posts: 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 (skipped), and 2016.
- I also wrote about my impressions after working at Stripe for two years
- Previously, I had automatically maintained sales/expenses figures from one of my businesses publicly available, but after selling that business the new owners decline to make their historical data available. That’s fine by me.