@ASmartBear

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Latest articles

What’s The Important Thing, that is powerful enough to override all your deficiencies?

Do you feel the crushing weight of the disadvantages facing every new company? No brand, no features, no customers, no money, no distribution, no search engine rankings, no efficient advertising, no incredible executive team, no NPS, no strategy. How do the successful startups rise above all that? Do they solve all those problems at once, or...

Capturing Luck with “or” instead of “and”

I won a fake stock market competition in elementary school.  I put all my money in a few penny stocks — where prices are less than a dollar, and because of their small denomination, their value (as a percentage) fluctuates wildly. Some days I had the worst portfolio, other days I had the best. The competition happened to end on an up-day. ...

Kung Fu

Startup strategy is like Kung Fu. There are many styles that work. But in a bar fight, you’re going to get punched in the face regardless. I can only teach you my style. Others can only teach you theirs. This is my style. “MVPs” are too M to be V. They’re a selfish ploy, tricking people who thought they were customers into...

When “fits and starts” is the most efficient path

You roll down the windows and wear a helmet when you take your car to the track. This does not make me less terrified of a fiery death. The American Autocross champion was sitting in my passenger seat screaming at me to not let my foot off the pedal until I bounced off the RPM limiter. She was properly intense. I didn’t know what I was doing, but it’s...

A Scorecard: Should a decision be fast, or slow?

We all know that startups should make decisions quickly. Fast decisions leads to rapid action, which accelerates the loop of production and feedback, which is how you outpace and out-learn a competitor, even one that already has a lead. But some decisions should not be made in haste, like a key executive hire, or how to price, or whether to raise money,...

How repositioning a product allows you to 8x its price

Pricing is often more about positioning and perceived value than it is about cost-analysis and unconvincing ROI calculators. As a result, repositioning can allow you to charge many times more than you think. Here’s how. You’ve created a marketing tool called DoubleDown that doubles the cost-efficiency of AdWords campaigns. You heard that right folks —...

WP Engine passes $100M in revenue and secures $250M investment from Silver Lake

People said there’s no money in hosting. WordPress is just a toy. After the success of Smart Bear, I should be setting my sights on something big, not this. I’m sure people said similar things to Heather when she joined as our CEO. The Silicon Valley-oriented technology press outlets don’t cover us because we’re not in San Francisco, even though we’re...

Brittleness comes from “One Thing”

We’re tired of hearing how small software companies usually fail. The data show that the two most common causes are: (1) Product isn’t useful to enough people, and (2) Problems with the team. But what about the companies that die even though they did sell some copies of software, and where the early team isn’t dysfunctional? I don’t have data for...

You can have two Big Things, but not three

Forget work/life integration for a minute. How much time do you have, regardless of partitioning? From your 24-hour daily allotment, the 1950s-style break-down is 8 hours for work, 8 for home and commute, and 8 for sleep and ablutions. So, “work” and “home” are the two things in which you can spend 40+ hours per week. This is the amount of time it...

The fundamental lesson of the forces governing scaling startups

  Idealistic founders believe they will break the mold when they scale, and not turn into a “typical big company.” By which they mean: Without stupid rules that assume employees are dumb or evil, without everything taking ten times longer than it should, without wall-to-wall meetings, without resorting to hiring anything less than the top 1% of the...

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