The Developer CEO – Peter Coppinger – MicroConf Europe 2016

The MicroConf Europe 2016 Talk Recaps can be found on the central hub page.

Twitter: @irltopper

  • In 2006 we were busting our asses off and still broke

2007 – Getting Organised

  • We doubled prices to $200/h
    • even our existing customers did NOT complain
    • started charging for extras
  • Whiteboard just wasn’t enough
    • No apps met our needs
    • We
  • Key takeaways
    • Consultancy sucks
    • Don’t target a small market
    • Don’t sell software components to developers
    • Consultancy-ware software is no fun to build or sell
    • Treat your customers with respect
    • Sometimes you need to go with your guts

Build it and they will come

  • Finding the time: we needed to dedicate one day per week to our product
    • No matter what, friday was product-day
  • Product Design? Specs? We just started hacking… hackedy hack hack!
  • Preparing for Launch – eat your own Dog Food
  • First domain:
    • insanely stupid domain
  • Worst. Product. Launch. Ever.
    • No market research
    • no PR outreach
    • no email blast
    • no landing pages
    • No unique positioning
    • Just an akward high-five!
  • Marketing? Who needs Marketing? Hackedy hack hack!
    • One exception: Engineering as Marketing
    • We implemented an import feature for main competitor
    • We had a monthly newsletter highlighting new features
  • We did only 3 things right
    • built great product
    • treated customers like honored guests
    • took every suggestion onboard
  • Made $191 in the first month!
  • 50 months after we launched we hit $1M ARR (December 2011)
  • Hell night in August 2012
    • everything was down –> PANIC!
    • website completely dark, no response from hosting providers
    • flood of tweets coming in
    • We decided to move over to AWS over the next few months
  • Hockey stick growth hit us when we purchased
    • Initial requested price was in the millions
    • Randomly emailed the guy two years later, offering him $100,000
      • Response: “Same lowball offer again? Thanks”
      • Responsed: “What would you consider?”
      • 30 seconds later he wrote: “675k”
      • Pushed my board to agree. I went all Martin Luther King on them.
    • It proofed to be an inflection point – product revenue grew like crazy after that
  • Time to be an actual CEO
    • This is my job!
  • Things we fixed
    • Meetings suck. But get over it!
      • Quarterly meetings to identify top 5 problems
    • Set the vision: $100M ARR
    • We started hiring deliberately
    • Sculpting our culture
      • Golden rule: Don’t be a dick!
      • Never argue over IM or chat
    • Got a proper marketing team
    • Got a sales team

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About Christoph

Christoph lives in Munich, Germany and is bootstrapping his own SaaS application as a part-time entrepreneur.

He likes to write on this blog about anything of relevance to single-founder bootstrapped software startups.


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