Josh Kaufman “Shut up and Take My Money” – How to Find Business Ideas Customers Want – MicroConf 2013

I will try my level-best to edit and improve on this. Suggestions are VERY welcome.  I had a hard time keeping up with the speed

The MicroConf Hub Page with links to all the notes for all the talks can be found here.

Speaker: Josh Kaufman (@joshkaufman)


  1. Sit in front of customer
  2. tell them about your product
  3. get interrupted with “Shut up and take my money”

Market Evaluation

  • Two-way process: make customer happy, but make yourself happy too
  • Key issues: Uncertainty & Change
  • book recommendation: “The Checklist Manifesto”

The Iron Law of The Market

  • Markets that don’t exist, don’t care about how smart you are

Failure Modes

Main causes for long-term business failure:

  • “I can’t find people who are interested in what I offer”
  • “People say they want what I offer, but no one actually buys from me”
  • “I can’t bring in enough $$$ to make my effort worthwhile”

5 parts of every business

  1. Value-Creation: create something of value to other people
  2. Marketing: People need to be aware that you have something to offer
  3. Sales: Money changes hands
  4. Value-Delivery: You got the money, now GIVE VALUE (else it is called a ‘scam’)
  5. Financae: Do I bring in more than I spend? Is the difference worthwhile the effort?


  • More awesome
  • less awful

the hassle premium

  • falls into “less awful” category
  • the larger the hassle, the bigger the business opportunity
  • removing friction


  1. Urgency
  2. Size
  3. Pricing Potential (cereal bar vs. aircraft carrier)
  4. Cost of Customer Acquisition
  5. Cost of Value Delivery
  6. Uniqueness of Offer (are you the only seller?)
  7. Speed to market (first to market with patented drug => $$$$$)
  8. Costs of Creating Product
  9. Upsell Potential (Gilette blades –> Gilette shaving foam, Gilette after-shave, Gilette Everything)
  10. Evergreen potential

Forms of Value

  1. Product
  2. Service (barber, hair stylist)
  3. Shared Resource (museum, amusement park)
  4. Subscription
  5. Resale
  6. Lease
  7. Agency (selling something you do not already own – think AirBNB)
  8. Audience Aggregation (Advertising)
  9. Insurance (transfer risk from customers)
  10. Option (selling just the option to use something)
  11. Loan
  12. Capital


9 Universal Economic Values

  1. Efficacy (How well does it work? Does it work better than other options?)
  2. Speed (How quickly does it work?)
  3. Reliability (Does it work all the time? )
  4. Ease of Use (How easy is it for me to understand?)
  5. Flexibility ( Can I use it for many different things?)
  6. Status ( How does this make other people perceive me? Walmart watch vs. Rolex – both tell the time)
  7. Aesthetic Appeal ( How cool does this thing look? )
  8. Emotion ( Does it make me happy to use it?)
  9. Costs (What do I have to give up to get it?)


  • Outcome: Prototype / Sell Sheet
  • Talk to your ideal prospects
  • Ideal method: Collect pre-orders
  • At Minimum: Collect email addresses

Share Button
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.


  1. Fantastic notes – thanks for putting them together, and great to meet you at MicroConf!

    • itengelhardt says

      Thanks a lot for giving the talk and taking the time out of your busy schedule. 
      I really appreciated listening to your wisdom!


  1. […] Kaufman: "Shut up and take my money" (needs a lot of […]

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.