Category: Bootstrapped


Stay inspired, not on auto-pilot – An interview with Fantastical’s Founder

Fantastical is an all new calendar for Mac, which works as a (beautiful) front end for iCal, Outlook or Entourage. It offers one of the most well designed user interfaces of any Mac application on the market. To share the background story on Fantastical, and to offer his advice on the world of startups we invited the co-founder of Fantastical, Michael Simmons, to have a chat.


Don’t think of non-paying users as a burden, but as an advertising expense.

When you are trying to earn revenue from your freemium product, the non-paying users can often seem like an unnecessary expense – you end up paying more for hosting and support for the free users than the paying users, and that is a frustrating predicament to be in. To make the experience that much more bearable, thinking of those users as an advertising expense rather than a pointless burden will be very helpful.


How changing the name of my webapp quadrupled signups.

The name of a product often means a lot more than many people realize: it plays a major role in determining both the quantity of media coverage that the product receives, and in shaping how potential customers view the application. This is the story of how a developer, by simply removing the vowels from the name of his web app, literally quadrupled monthly signups instantaneously.


Is it impossible to succeed in a crowded software market?

With the emergence of low-cost publishing solutions in mobile app stores the software market has become crowded in a number of niche areas. The concept of ‘first in wins’ in regards to launching a product has meant that skilled software developers are choosing not to enter niche markets poised for reform simply because the market is crowded – and that is detrimental for both the industry and for consumers.


How my startup launched to 50,000 daily pageviews with just a few emails.

The launch of any startup is often the most important factor in determining the success of the product in the short-term, and consequently it’s vital that it is done successfully. Today we are sharing the story of a Windows software developer who launched his bootstrapped application to 50,000 daily pageviews with just a few emails to a number of select technology websites.

profitability growth

Why your startup shouldn’t focus on growth OR profitability.

Within the world of startups today, there are two distinct opinions on the importance of growth and profitability in a business: those who believe that profitability should always be secondary to rapidly expanding the user base of the product (Facebook-style, if you will), and the alternate view that founders should focus on turning a profit before gaining millions of users. In reality, neither is perfect.


How I doubled the price of my software product – and sold ten times as many copies.

Decreasing the price of your software product doesn’t necessarily mean you will sell more copies, and increasing the price certainly doesn’t mean you will sell less: today we are sharing the story of a Windows software developer who, by increasing the price of his software, managed to significantly increase the number of licenses he sold.


‘Not failing’ should be the central aim in the first six months of any startup.

During his backstage interview at TechCrunch Disrupt last week, Ashton Kutcher made an offhand, exceptionally insightful comment regarding his investments in startups: ‘I don’t like to fail’. While obviously simple, the notion of just ‘not failing’ can be a crucial step in launching a startup – in most cases, if a startup can get through the first six months without ‘failing’ it has a great chance of success.


Forget about raising capital for your startup and just build it.

Raising capital has almost become the new ‘must-do’ step in launching a startup, just about every new founder seems to feel that finding investors is essential to succeed. With popular startup sites like TechCrunch constantly reporting on which startup has received funding, or who has entered into a new round of funding, it’s very easy to get caught up in the notion that funding is essential. In reality, that just isn’t the case.