It wasn’t hard for me to create fame or influencer status in a community that never had that level of exposure. Well, except for maybe those open-sourced software nerds who would flex the GitHub stars from how many times their code was favorited. But for the purposes of this story, that doesn’t really count.

I’m talking about generating millions of views and breaking the internet, which I’ve done more than once. We’ll get to that in a moment.

But first, let’s take a step back and talk about how I got here.

My industry, software consulting, is predominantly boring —…

What a year…

I hadn’t envisioned myself writing this Year in Review because, like most of us, I was hoping to call 2020 a wash. But in keeping with my annual tradition, I think there are plenty of learnings and takeaways from this year, maybe even more so than previous ones.

I also feel extremely privileged for having worked in the knowledge economy for the past 10 years and for having very little transition during this challenging time, especially when so many are on the brink of collapse — mentally, physically, emotionally, and financially. …

It feels weird writing this letter, and if we’re being honest, I’m not sure I ever pictured myself writing it at all.

You see, you kind of have this idea that your baby (or company) evolves into something else, and someday you get this magical liquidity event and can retire in paradise drinking a Margarita.

But you never realize there are 25–30% taxes in your dream.

Or earn-outs. Or restrictive covenants. Or a million other things that come with exiting a business.

At first, I was going to start this letter with something like:

“It’s with an extremely happy yet…

This year marks Rootstrap’s 8-year anniversary.

A lot has changed in that time.

For one, we weren’t always called Rootstrap: the first iteration of our agency business was Neon Roots.

NR was born scrappy. We started out as 3 engineers, 2 MacBook Minis, and one client.

But we were determined to be great. And since those fateful days, this agency has gone through a lot of changes. We’ve changed our name, changed our service offerings, and changed our size. Those 3 engineers are now a team of over 85 employees across 3 continents.

We’ve also changed our look.

Looking back…

Do I lose sleep over the thought of robots replacing me?

Not for a minute.

Between Wednesday night episodes of South Park and getting my daily dose from Anand at CB Insights, it feels like I’m reading or watching this everywhere.

“They took our job!”

Me? I’ve learned to niche out. It is the only way to survive.

I’ve productized my consulting business with Roadmapping, our founder bootcamp by Rootstrap. We now hit capacity every month for our founder dev bootcamps in LA and NYC.

I started creating high-quality content years before my competitors could find a decent copywriter to…

The most sought-after skill in tech may not actually be your best bet.

By Ben Lee

Do you need to learn how to code in order to manage a tech product? Well, I’ve overseen the launch of more than 250 successful products, and I’m here to tell you plain and simple: the answer is no.

I started my career originally learning front-end scripting. I quickly realized that it was a terrible use of my time, as nobody else could focus on business development or playing the rainmaker.

I needed to hire someone local, and I did. I met Jonathan, who handled all our front-end, typically $1000, $2000 budget sites, quick turnarounds. This led…

Best friends isn’t always best.

Brandon Morgan

At most modern startups, the line between co-worker, friend, and even family member gets blurred. Walk into most startups in 2017 and you’ll find working teams that look more like crews of college friends than corporate enterprises. ✌

Moving from Early Adopters to Early Majority

Wil Stewart

If you’ve successfully defined your initial target market, created an MVP for your product, and put it in front of customers, congratulations: you’re farther along than probably 75% of people who say they want to start a business. If you’ve revised your product based on feedback and actually have a few customers willing to pay you for it, go ahead and pat yourself on the back — that is truly remarkable progress in the scheme of things, and you’re well on your way to building a sustainable, successful business.

Hold off on the champagne, though — you’re not quite there…

The hardest part of starting a business isn’t the workload.

It’s not the hours, the foresight, or the innovation required. It’s not thinking of a good idea, coming up with an innovative solution, or even building out the first iteration of the product. No, it’s much simpler than that. The hardest part of starting a business is getting somebody to pay you.

The truth is, you don’t have a business until you have a customer willing to give you money for your product — and getting there is arguably the most arduous step of starting a company. So how do…

At Neon Roots, we love to blur the lines between work and play. For us, this means connecting with our friends, coworkers, and other industry professionals and getting to know each other outside of the conference room. With West Hollywood as our backdrop, we threw a massive post-Valentine’s Day bash at our new creative studio to christen the Wave House and give others a peak inside. Boasting a stacked guest list ranging from influencers and entertainers to artists and developers, our Valentine’s Day Soirée was a massive success.

All in all, the Post-Valentine’s Day party was a blast. It…

Ben Lee

CEO & Cofounder, Neon Roots. Forbes Top 15 Influencer. Inc. 30 Under 30 CEO. Helped 500+ brands generate a combined $700M in revenue. Full-time coach.

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