EP16: Nathan Barry’s story; building iPad apps, ebooks and web apps (part 1)

Nathan Barry is an amazing individual: when you spend time with him you can’t help but be inspired to create and launch your own stuff. As a young man he’s had tremendous success is releasing his own products: an iPad app called One Voice, two really successful ebooks, and a new web app called ConvertKit.

Show notes

https://twitter.com/nathanbarry
http://nathanbarry.com
http://nathanbarry.com/app-design-handbook/
http://nathanbarry.com/webapps/
http://nathanbarry.com/2012-year-quitting-job/
http://unicornfree.com/2013/difficulties-for-nathan-barrys-app-experiment
https://convertkit.com
http://nathanbarry.com/competitive-advantage/
http://thinktraffic.net/most-common-pricing-mistake

Sponsors

This episode by Sprint.ly!

At our day jobs we’ve switch to Sprint.ly, and it has really simplified our development process. Now, everyone on the team has a simple view of our company’s development: on one screen, we can see what’s in the backlog, what people are currently working on, and what’s been completed and is ready for testing.

I’d like you to try Sprint.ly out for free: you can sign-up for a 30 day trial at www.sprint.ly

Shout outs

This is a chance for you to advertise your bootstrapped product, a job opportunity, or your side-project to our audience of product people, entrepreneurs, developers and designers. The cost starts at $39 per episode, and it’s a great way to reach thousands of people. To purchase a shout-out go to: productpeople.tv/shoutout

This week, we’ll give you a sample of what shout-out sounds like by promoting some of our projects here at Product People:

First shout-out: the best way for you to help share our show with others is to rate our show in iTunes. If you go into the iTunes store and search “Product People” you’ll find us. Then, it’s as simple as clicking 5 stars.

From Canada:
Add it to your weekly listens — 5 stars
– by Timothy Fletcher from Canada on 2013-02-14
Fascinating interviews with entrepreneurs that have been there and done it. Plenty of useful tips for building your own SaaS apps. Definitely worth a listen!

From the USA:
thorough, no-fluff advice for creating & selling your own products — 5 stars
– by RobertWilliams88 from United States on 2013-02-18
These guys do an awesome job asking questions. I find myself begin to wonder about a topic, then *BAM* someone asks it. They already have a bunch of my favorite people interviewed, I’m looking forward to what comes next. This is my favorite podcast.

From Spain:
Very insightful interviews — 4 stars
– by Amaia Castro from Spain on 2013-02-07
I’m thinking about making my own products and listening to this podcast is really helpful. Thanks for all the insightful interviews.

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Second Shout-Out: you can follow us on Twitter at @productpeopletv

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Thanks for listening, we’ll see you next week where Nathan returns to give us specific steps for building your own info-product.

EP14: Kyle Fox on launching, metrics, and lessons learned (part 2)

Kyle Fox is back for another episode: this time he talks with Justin about the power of design, how big their launch mailing list was, and why it’s important to track your metrics from the beginning.

How should you run your beta program? Should you give beta testers free access for life?

Besides co-hosting this podcast, and working as a Product Manager at Granify, Kyle runs his own SaaS app on the side: FotoJournal. FotoJournal allows photographers to create a professional looking photo blog.

Show notes

FotoJournal
Buffer
Jon Smelquist
Techvibes write-up on FotoJournal
Petapixel write-up
FotoJournal launch party
Mixpanel

EP11: Brennan Dunn on building his startup, Planscope

How do you make a name for yourself, and your product?

That’s the question we posed to Brennan Dunn. It seemed like almost overnight he was everywhere: blog posts on Hacker News, popping up in my Twitter stream, and promoting a new product for consultants called Planscope. In this episode we delve into how he made this happen: we asked him how he got his start in products, how he promoted himself, and what Latin has to do with all of this.

Highlights

  • “Businesses value [services] more than consumers, because [time lost] is literally costing them money.” – Brennan Dunn
  • “Listen to what people, who have a financial interest, are complaining about!” – Brennan Dunn
  • It’s clear that Brennan’s real advantage is that he’s passionate about his customers: he honestly wants to make their lives better.
  • “People don’t buy software, they buy outcomes” – Brennan Dunn

Show notes

Planscope

Build a consultancy workshop

Book: Double Your Freelancing Rate

Book: Sell Yourself Online

37signals on Apple.com

Brennan Dunn (@brennandunn) on Twitter

EP10: Rob Walling – outsource on oDesk, find your idea, market your product (part 2)

Have you ever wondered how much personal brand affects software sales? Check out this is great episode with Rob Walling. In our interview he reveals a ton of tactics for outsourcing your development on oDesk, finding a good idea for your business, and marketing your product effectively. If you’ve ever wanted to start and launch your own software products as a solo-founder, this episode is full of practical advice you can use. Rob is the founder of HitTail, and co-founder of Startups for the Rest of Us and the Micropreneur Academy.

Highlights

  • How to outsource your work: techniques for oDesk:
    • Browse the listings: look how boring most of the tasks are!
    • Post an interesting job description
    • Build relationships, and treat the people you hire well
  • What makes a good idea, in terms of building a business?
    • Build something people want, solves a problem (problem-solution fit). Rob recommends Steve Blank’s customer development approach: contact people, tell them what your product does, how much you’ll charge, and ask them if they’ll pay for it. Rob
    • And you can find that market fairly easily: if you can’t communicate to them easily, you don’t have a business
  • What is the actual genesis of a good idea?
    • You can solve your own problem: but make sure you validate it with 10 other people. Also, think about how you’re going to market it to “people like yourself”. “Scratching your own issue isn’t enough”, says Rob, “you have to solve a problem and have a market.”
    • You can also find a market that you find interesting, and where you have some sort of traction in. Then you can look for problems to solve. With Drip, Rob chose it because he really likes working with the entrepreneur market.
  • What are the characteristics of a good market? (and a bad market)
    • “There are no bad markets,” says Robs, “some markets are just harder to communicate to than others.”
    • Rob likes markets that are online, that talk to each other (virality), and open to trying new things. (For example: Realtors and lawyers are not as open to trying new things)
    • Ability and willingness to pay: don’t create an app for college students or school teachers! There’s a lack of an ability to pay.
  • Which is better: B2B or B2C?
    • “I prefer B2B because businesses purchase based on value”, says Rob, “if you can save them money or make them money, you can justify your price. Consumers don’t value their time as much.”
    • Should you go after hobby markets? Rob thinks they can work for info-products and mobile apps, but not SaaS apps.
    • “Consumers are harder to support” – Rob
  • How to market your product:
    • Personal brand: “Personal brand has very little to do with B2B sales,” comments Rob, “in terms of HitTail’s growth, most of it has come from other channels.” He says that books, conferences, and training courses can benefit from a strong personal brand. You have to have an interesting perspective: this is often formed by what you’ve achieved (personally). What projects and products have you launched? “The earlier you can be laser focused on a certain audience, the faster you’ll build a following. Rob started focusing on solo-founders, who were bootstrapping.
    • Content marketing: this is building info graphics, writing viral blog posts that get shared: it’s socially driven. It can be really effective: The problem with this approach is that it’s time-intensive and can be expensive. Look for long-tail search terms: these are low competition phrases, that can still attract a significant amount of traffic. This is why Rob bought HitTail: it surfaces those long-tail keywords for you. Rob currently has his Product Manager do a lot of writing for him, he outsources other things (like the infographic). Rob outsources as much as possible. “Be sure to measure”, says Rob, put out a lot of content and then look at the ROI for each.
    • SEO: this is finding keywords, and writing good content that matches those keywords. “This isn’t just ranking in Google; it includes ranking in Amazon, in YouTube, in the iPhone app store, ranking in WordPress theme directory. It’s really hard to contract out SEO. “What has always worked is writing good content,” says Rob, “start with keywords that people are going to be searching for, blog about it, and then get links to those posts. It is a lot of work.” There’s not as much opportunity to game Google.
    • Advertising: It’s hard to get right, but it can really grow your customer base. “You really want to have a customer lifetime value over $150 to even look at advertising”, says Rob. Click advertising has gotten really expensive (especially on Google Adwords). New opportunities: Facebook ads, depending on your market BuySellAds, Reddit ads, LinkedIn (you need a higher lifetime value for it), and StumbleUpon ads. Rob manages all of his advertising campaigns in Google Analytics – use the Google URL Builder to identify which campaign you’re running.

Show notes

oDesk.com

Software by Rob

GetDrip.com

13 pre-launch marketing strategies

Google URL Builder

HitTail

justinjackson.ca

Startups for the Rest of Us

EP07: Creating info-products with Sacha Greif (part 1)

What are some good strategies for creating, pricing and selling an ebook? In Part 1 of our interview with Sacha we discuss what he learned launching his first book, and what he plans on doing next time. We also take a look at Meteor, “an open-source platform for building web apps” using pure JavaScript.

Highlights

  • Sacha kick-started his product career by selling themes on Themeforest. “I was doing products before I knew I was doing products.”
  • His first real solo product was his ebook: Step by Step UI Design. He recommends starting small: “I didn’t set out to write a 200 page book. I set out to write a 40 page book.”
  • Sacha based the price of his book on what iOS apps were selling for ($2-$5): “It turns out, that’s a bad way to do pricing.” For his next book, he’s going to employ a higher price strategy (similar to what Nathan Barry did for his ebook).
  • People on Hacker News balked at Nathan’s high ebook prices. Sacha thinks: “People don’t understand how segmentation works. If you want to buy a car, you could buy a Ferrari or a Honda. You know those two cars are for different audiences. No one complains about the price of Ferraris; people understand that they are expensive. It’s the same with ebooks; just like you can buy a cheap car or expensive car, you can buy a cheap [ebook] package or expensive package. If you think the expensive package is too expensive, it just means you are not the target audience.”
  • Sacha on segmentation: “People think it’s crazy that Nathan Barry is charging $200 for his ebook package; but they’re not the target audience. He doesn’t want you [the individual] to pay that; but rather the office manager at the big company (who isn’t spending his own money) to purchase it.”
  • How Sacha plans on promoting his next book: “I’ve started setting up a mailing list on the Telescope site. There’s a small sign-up form for the book’s mailing list on there. I’ll be sending sample chapters to these people and asking them for feedback.”
  • Meteor is a step above [other frameworks]. I think it’s the future,” says Sacha.
  • “I wanted to build a Hacker News for designers; because I think that’s missing right now”, comments Sacha. This project became Sidebar.io.

Show notes

Telescope
Sidebar.io
Sacha’s website and blog
“You don’t have to be local” (Derek Sivers)
Themeforest
Sacha’s ebook: Step by Step UI Design
More money from fewer ebook sales
Nathan Barry’s new ebook: Designing Web Apps
Meteor