Whether you’re building the next software unicorn or a more humble (and realistic) self-funded startup, building that startup requires information from others. You’re going to need a reliable way to gather those various bits of information. It needs to be branded with your brand and identity. It should be attractive, very easy to maintain and deploy.

So here’s how JotForm and its new take on surveys, JotForm Cards, can take a lot of the pain out the process of gathering information for your startup. Along the way, I’ll point out features that I’m impressed with that especially make JotForm stand out from the other survey companies. …

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When you think about it, building a startup is the process of taking a blank canvass and filling it with your app, with a market that wants your app, and the character and culture of your company.

Along the way, you’re going to need to deal with all sorts of information: What people think of your idea, of your app at as it grows, and all sorts of interactions as your company grows from you to well, a company. You’re going to need among other things a tool gathering, managing and using all that ancillary information. …

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Is your startup’s headline getting lost on your site?

It’s easy to get so wrapped up in our startups that’s impossible to see them as a stranger does.

A stranger visiting your site knows literally next to nothing about you. They probably got there via Google when they were searching for a solution to a particular problem, be it invoicing for freelance work, teaching their children Italian or dealing with contaminated medical waste.

Your startup is just another link to them, another tab out of the 20+ tabs they opened from Google. After looking at your competitors’ sites, they get around to looking at your site.

What’s the very first thing you’ve got to tell them? A compelling reason to spend one more second on your site. If you don’t connect with them, demonstrate you at least understand them and have something that is going to help them the way they want to be helped, they’re gone. …

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Picking the right tools matters.

While I’ve already started writing “VS Code Mac”, I kind of look at this time of year as the prep time for that new shiny year to come. So here’s my thinking on how to write a book-length project as of now. Please let me know if you’ve got any better alternatives!

Building and Maintaining the Book Outline

Hands down choice: Workflowy. A non-fiction book needs an outline. Without an outline it’s way too easy to miss entire topics that you should have included and way too hard to maintain continuity as you write. You need that “forest view” so you are comfortable tackling each tree.

Also, expect to rewrite, rearrange and hack apart and reassemble that outline as your perspective on what you’re writing evolves. …

A funny thing happened two years ago this weekend: Microsoft released software for developers that did not suck. It wasn’t Microsoft’s way or the highway — it was honest-to-God open source software in the form of a screaming fast code editor, integrated with Git out of the box, and now with a huge community of extensions. And it ran on Mac OS, Linux, and oh yeah, that other platform.

I knew then what I know now: every bit of time spent improving your relationship as a developer with your primary code editor paid off handsomely every hour you spent coding. Every small enhancement or major leap forward (like say multiple cursors) reduced the distance between my brain and my code. It made me faster. It made me better. It made me stronger. …

The one question founders have asked me in my {volunteer} role successfully sponsoring 350+ startups into Microsoft BizSpark is why Microsoft declined their startup. Sometimes the applicant will wait weeks only to get declined; sometimes it takes mere minutes.

Nearly always the founder/applicants are shocked, hurt, frustrated: Can’t Microsoft see what a great startup we are? Don’t they care?

Well, they do and they don’t. Let me explain.

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Let’s assume you meet BizSpark’s qualifications. And, let’s assume you’re not a development shop, custom software business or something else that’s not a software for-profit startup.

The key question is, do you look like a startup? Do you walk, talk and quack like a startup? Is it blindingly obvious you are a startup bringing to market commercial software? …

This morning I saw this excellent post by InVision re 30 good Sketch plugins — my goto tool now for high fidelity wireframes. Well written, nice screenshots, nicely done. And that’s the problem, and I bet if you are a developer, you have the same problem.

30 new things to learn at once makes my head explode.

(yes, there’s probably some horrible gif I could use here. But I won’t. Instead, here’s a shot of this post:

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As much as I’d like to actually learn each of these plugins, I just cannot do it in one sitting. And if I don’t absorb it in that one reading, it’s going to float away on the river of posts I get each and every day. …

If you expect people to sign up and perhaps pay for your startup, you have no chance in hell if you don’t explain in credible detail who you are.

Here’s an example (as of Wednesday; May 10, 2017) — everydaycheck.com, a habit-building saas going for $12/year. Looks awesome, and attractive. Chance of me or normal person with a credit card signing up?


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There’s a small link to Joan Boixadós Twitter account in the footer. That’s it. If I check out her Twitter feed, it looks like Joan is an excellent and professional developer, living in Spain. That’s nice. But there is zero, none, nada chance I’m going to sign up to even try everydaycheck.com …

So welcome to your new, fully-digitalized career! Whatever your current occupation, you can expect to be hopping jobs every three years (or less).

When you go after your next job, you’re more likely to be screened by software before you get to talk to a person. If a recruiter is in the mix, you can bet (94%) they’ve already eyeballed (or their software has) your LinkedIn profile. If you do get to talk to a manager, expect them to have an analysis of your social media habits and participation in front of them.

Oh, and by the way, did I mention that an average of 250 people will apply for the job you want, with the first resume being received within 200 seconds? …


Bob Walsh

Consultant to self-funded startups looking for more sales, a Rails/JS developer, and writer of engaging tech content. More at https://47hats.com.

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