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mesh – Viable Web Applications

May 16, 2006

Live blogging is something I saw Stephen Downes do last year at the This is IT Conference in North Bay. As I watched him blog during the sessions, I wondered how and why he did it. I can’t answer for him but now that I’m blogging my way through mesh, I’m finding it helps me focus! It’s not doing 2 things aat once, it’s sort of like taking notes in a lecture, where you ‘get’ more of what’s being said because you write it down.

I’m in Idee‘s Leila Boujnane’s session on Creating a Viable Web Business, with Michael McDerment of FreshBooks, Malgosia Green of Nuvvo and Albert Lai of Nuvvo
They are describing the start-up mistakes they made, and what they would do differently if they were to do it over.

  • Being flexible and responding to change seems to be central. Feedback is essential.
  • Different patterns for getting your name out, some through the blogosphere, some more traditional newsletters etc. plus the blogosphere.
  • Making things simple to use and having good customer support are really important
  • Different approaches for tech support, one by phone, others by email and forums
  • Your tech support can be your sales department – you build loyal users who stay and refer others
  • Nuvvo – most users are free, then they can subscribe for more robust services. The free users are more forgiving of weak support.
  • Bubbleshare and Idee find customers want to help each other, (like on MySpace)
  • This conference – mesh – was advertised by 4 guys writing on their blogs, and the news spread.
  • simplicity of use, a fluid user-experience, is what users find attractive. Design for these, not for elite super-users
  • Understand the purchasing process of your customers, and it’s different for different applications
  • Set up almost a funnel – first someone looks, then a free trial, then full users – about 5% of the lookers
  • Raising money takes a lot of time
  • Recruiting talent is tricky
  • Knowing enough to know how to communicate with employees is important, worth taking some courses in their areas.
  • churn is scary but a chance to learn
  • mentors are a real help


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