Creating a Viable Web Business

Post ImageThis should be an interesting session, all about creating a viable web business. On hand is Malgosia Green, Michael McDerment, Albert Lai and Leila Boujnane. Here are my notes (my comments in italics):

  • Leila says it’s not trivial to get someone to pay, its hard to get out of the “free” hell.
  • Michael, from FreshBooks, says that they had to change their name (they used to be 2ndSite or something) because the old name had many shortcomings. The name was not memorable, did not describe the business or industry, etc.
  • Albert says to make sure you do a trademark search, and trademark your name.
  • Albert says to ship early, and ship often. He also thinks that you shouldn’t build desktop software unless you have to.
  • Malgosia says not to get attached to your code. Sometimes rewriting is vital. Alex agrees, you can’t be afraid of shifting gears.
  • Don’t be afraid to reach out to the community, bloggers will talk about you if they like what they see.
  • Enable people to help each other.
  • Michael says the support department is the sales department, they don’t really have a separate group for sales.
  • Support, development, and marketing are like the holy trinity of online web apps.
  • If the application is for something leisure-related, upgrading from a free account to a paid account is’nt as common as something more focused on business.
  • Malgosia says to be humble.
  • Michael thinks that just as important as knowing what you know, is knowing what you don’t know.

There seems to be one session per conference that I don’t pay an incredible amount of attention to, and this one turned out to be the one. Some interesting ideas, but everything is really applicable only on a per-business basis. What works for one of these panelists isn’t going to work for everyone. That, and there’s more than one way to skin a cat.

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