Opinion vs. Skill on Hacker News

Hacker news has been one of my most-visited sites since March 2008. I’m not sure what has kept it so useful and relevant to me but whatever the magic sauce is, it’s reliably one of the highest-value websites to randomly drop in on. Content is refreshed enough to educate and amuse multiple times a day (unlike, say, Google News which can keep shit around for days), and unlike most other sites, it’s typically more valuable to read the comments before the article because someone will extract the nuggets and add insight.

Now on Jekyll. I mean Hugo

False economy time. This site was hosted on Ghost, with a paid-for Cloudflare setup in front of it (I think created before SSL was standard on Cloudflare). My CC bills were feeling a bit harassed by the thousand cuts of small online charges. I was a bit annoyed at blogging so rarely and paying monthly to host it, so put in some time to install Jekyll, which meant installing Ruby, and meant finding a theme, and adjusting all the dates and widgets and…

SMSCustomers released!

Well, soft release. Meaning there are enough things in place that it’s time to allow users to pay. Rather than putting mailing list forms in the way, clear out and let people sign up, test it, pay for it. Now I have a real ticket to the game. Might be dead silence but that’s learning in itself. So, the plan: Adwords. I use this to “force” traffic. It costs money but it helps me shape landing pages and conversions

Why I Like GWT

I’ve recently begun a project with a set of customer-defined technologies. Tons of Angular2, ASP.net Core, Javascript coming out of my ears, half of it in beta. It’s a logical set of choices for this specific customer, given their skill base and overall technology direction. Don’t like it. Now, don’t get me wrong - I’m happy playing with the new stuff. I don’t mind bleeding edge. What does irritate me is the amount of junk you need to add to make up for JS’s flakiness.


How do you decide which features, pages, components, modules to build and where to put the most effort and money? You can’t build every feature and you shouldn’t put an equal amount of effort/time/money into every feature. I try to focus resources on whatever makes the most difference to users. Here are a couple rules of thumb I apply: How many people will use this? How many times a day?

Ideal customer size

Churn vs. company size: Tom Tunguz has a great post on the Innovator’s Dilemma as it relates to SaaS, in which he relates customer size to their churn rates: SMB has a monthly churn of 3-7%, yearly ==31%-58%== Mid-Market monthly is 1-2% and yearly ==11%-22%== Enterprise monthly is 0.5-1% and yearly ==6%-10%== http://tomtunguz.com/saas-innovators-dilemma/ So the bigger a customer is, the less likely they are to churn. It certainly seems intuitively correct.

Countdown to Microconf

I’m going to a conference in Barcelona! A bit under a month to go. I’d like to have SMSCustomers ready to roll by then, and have taken it past a few customers. I’ll get most out of the conference if I have an offering to discuss, rather than arrive there and say “yes, I’m still building”. My designer and I are collaborating quite closely during this last phase. Up until now we’ve spoken every couple weeks and sent each other things, but now we have to deliver.

Why I prefer products to consulting

Products only make promises you’ve put into them. Consulting customers regularly hand you deadlines that are important to them but have very little to do with your own strategy. You take on their promises and work as hard as possible to hit them. And that’s why you’re up until midnight, sans weekend breaks, for a month. I’m really looking forward to only having to fulfil the promises that I’ve made, personally or through my products.

Choosing a domain name

There are only two hard things in online business. Customer validation and naming your startup. - Me. with apologies to Phil Karlton I like keeping my options open. When starting a project I often use a fire-and-forget name and allow myself to change it later. I like finding that one perfect domain because it’s such a permanent fixture, and I periodically reconsider the domain up until the time the current favourite is good enough.

Hello Ghost

I needed a place on the web. I didn’t really want to set a host etc up and thought maybe Google+ was that place, but it’s a bit too annoying to have every friend subscribed to every post. Therefore, here’s a simple blog hosted on Ghost.