Key Takeaways from the Freshbooks Workshop

Mike McDerment was in town last week to give his first How to Build a Web App Workshop in Vancouver in partnership with us.  He kicked things off around 9:30am with a poll to find out how many attendees were currently building a web app business or thinking about it.  Upon a show of hands, I would say approximately 40% of the audience was in the process of building a web app.

Mike’s workshop was about setting up your business to provide you with the best chance of success and was more marketing/business focused than technical.  He shared stories and lessons learned from the early days of starting Freshbooks (originally named 2ndSite) in his parent’s basement until today (1.25M customers and growing!).  Here are a just a few key takeaways from his workshop:

  • Build the least number of features you can. Until you get it out there and get people using it, you know nothing!
  • Set a deadline for launch and stick to it.  There will always be a feature to add but you are lying to yourself if you say “we can’t launch without this.”
  • Invest your time and energy into customer development.
  • You can’t go it alone. Find founding team member(s), who are passionate and will be motivated by tiny successes.
  • Own or be a leader in a category.

Here are a few Tweets from workshop attendees:

We didn’t announce a standard #hashtag at the beginning of the workshop so it was hard to find all of your comments online but it is not too late. If you attended, we would love to hear your thoughts about the workshop overall and what you learned or perhaps, wish Mike covered.  So, feel free to comment on this post.

If you have specific questions about Freshbooks or the content of the workshop, you can give them a holler
in Toronto.

Thanks again, Mike for joining us in Vancouver.  Let’s not wait another 10 years to do this again.

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