20+ Attendees share their key takeaways from MicroConf Europe 2016 [Expert Roundup]

At MicroConf Rob Walling and Mike Taber encourage the attendees to set their goals for the conference as follows:

  • gain 3 actionable take-aways that you want to implement in your business
  • find 3 people that you want to build a relationship with over the next year

And boy, there were more than 3 ideas to take away from MicroConf Europe – and way more than 3 people that I would love to build a relationship with.

But I wanted to know what other founders took away from MicroConf Europe 2016. So I asked them to tell me which 3 key lessons they learned at the conference in Barcelona and here are their answers.

James Mayes

@james_mayes | MindTheProduct.com

  1. Ask for help. There’s always someone who faced and solved the problem before.
  2. Explore more tools to make better use of time
  3. Remember to look at long term strategy regularly and not get stuck in the weeds!




 Victor Purolnik

@_recurse | nontechfounder.co

  1. “If we’d stopped coding ourselves earlier we would’ve gotten to 12MLN faster.” –Peter Coppinger, Teamwork
  2. “Don’t rebuild the frontend and backend at the same time.” –Janna Bastow, ProdPad
  3. “Developers don’t estimate in time time, they estimate in flow time” –Anders Thue Pedersen, TimeBlock.com




Rachel Willmer

@rwillmer | luzme.com

  1. It’s more profitable to retain customers than to gain them
  2. It’s important to focus. Don’t spread yourself too thin.
  3. Just because it’s hard, doesn’t make it valuable.




Robin Warren

@robinwarren | getcorrello.com

  1. Talk to customers (more)
  2. Increase my prices (based on Patrick’s approach)
  3. Email might be how people use my app more than through the web interface



Christoph Engelhardt

@itengelhardt | SaaSEmailMarketing.net

My 3 big take-aways (along with a bunch of smaller ones) were:

  1. Gamified trials as described by Janna Bastow in her excellent talk. When she presented that idea I remember sitting there with my mouth wide open for a minute or two. Mind blowing!
  2. In some situations doing more customer development correlates with a failing product: If you have to talk to 200 people to get a dozen presales of your product, you do not have a winning product. Luckily, when you’re doing customer development AND asking for the sale, you’ll notice the pattern long before the 200th prospect.
  3. Giving an attendee was fun and it’s great to talk with attendees afterwards. I’m definitely going to repeat that next year



Kamil Toman

@katox | leafclick.com

  1. Don’t even think about coding, do your market research and validation homework first.
  2. Selling is uncomfortable and it doesn’t get any easier over time.
  3. Focus on important things disregard the rest. There are always too many things to be done.



Carlos Hernandez

@polimorfico | quaderno.io 

  1. Stop obsessing on acquisition. Work more on monetization.
  2. Founders must create and test their own predictable & scalable sales funnels.
  3. The best time to sell your business is when you don’t need to sell it.




Anders Thue Pedersen

@andersthue | Timeblock.com

  1. Ask for the close
  2. Working on being more aware of what is bothering me and what is bothering my employees
  3. Create buyer’s personas for my product




Martin Judd

@Martin_judd | www.kidsclubhq.co.uk 

  1. Need to get more leads and turn them into customers rather than spend time improving the product at this point
  2. Need to define personas for my customers to help with marketing
  3. Need to ask new customers to give me a referral to others they think may benefit from the product




Chris Kottom

@chriskottom | ChrisKottom.com

Here are a few things that I have already implemented since MicroConf Europe

  • Quantified sales funnel for my book
  • Planned new content for September and October
  • Released a simplified testing cheat sheet
  • Contacted several friends from MicroConf and scheduled follow-ups

And here are a few things that I am going to work on over the coming months:

  • Process feedback on new product ideas, make decisions on what’s next
  • Read through some of the book recommendations I got
  • Write up my own take-aways and post to blog



Benedikt Deicke

@benediktdeicke | StageCMS.com

I got my main takeaways during conversations with fellow attendees. They mostly revolve around changes to my product and the packages I’m offering.

I’ll most likely start to offer a “Done For You” package and focus more on the higher tier plans, maybe even discontinuing my cheapest plan.

I also got some good input on new ways to reach my target audience.

To sum it up: While the talks were great as usual, the main benefit for me was the hallway track. I’ve never had so many conversations with people at any other conference, but MicroConf.


Stephen Kellett

@softwareverify | SoftwareVerify.com

  1. Improve onboarding
  2. Improve email marketing

What I will do in the next few months? Who knows, I never get time to do what I want in the order I want!




Thomas Smale

@thomassmale | FEInternational.com

  1. Facebook Live & Facebook Ads are a great combination
  2. Selling a large business is an emotional process





Damian Thompson

@damianthompson | LeadFuze.com

My key take-away is to focus on funnel backwards:

  1. retention
  2. ARPU
  3. acquisition




Lukasz Bilangowski

@blukasz | MintRock.com

I have one main take-away: Lead source is more important than sales skills.




Daniel Hepper

@danielhepper | epicco.de

My main take away was that even the most successful folks struggled at some point. I’m going to implement what I should have done last year: start a Mastermind group





Alex Yumashev

@jitbit | www.jitbit.com

  1. Quantifiable customer personas – a metric-based portrait of your customer
  2. Gamifying trial experience (Janna’s talk) – adding tasks and rewarding users with more trial time on completion
  3. Concentrating on improving churn and trial-2-customer conversions instead of just customer acquisition (paid or organic)



Simon Nordberg

@simonnordberg | simonnordberg.com

I really started realising the importance of timing and seemingly random events. Spending more time on customer development might not be a silver bullet. Depending on analytics to make decisions during the early stages of a product/service may be counter-productive. Relationships are key.




Drew Sanocki

@drewsanocki | NerdMarketing.com 

Biggest thing for me was just meeting like-minded entrepreneurs. I learned a lot but more important was personal connection which got me thinking of a lot of new things.




Jacob Lonroth

@lonroth | mokini.com 

Janna from ProdPad showed us how they had implemented gamification of trials days. In their product a trial user starts out with 7 trial days and then based on the actions trial users make inside the SaaS give them extra days, e.g. +1 day for filling in your company name. Super smart and something I will try for sure!


Damian from LeadFuze told me the two reasons people buy and that it’s totally different if you sell to founders or employees. If you pitch to a founder you can

  1. save them money or
  2. make them money.

But an employee doesn’t give a #€%& about this, the only reason they buy is to

  1. Be the hero (i.e. get promoted) or
  2. Save their ass.


Patrick from Price Intelligently showed us combined metrics from 2k SaaS companies and introduced the concept of adding valued features, least valued features, WTP, CAC and LTV for each of your customer personas to make better marketing decisions which is a great suggestion and something I will implement for my SaaS.

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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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