LearnOur idea of success is all messed up

Ryan Carson
writes on April 28, 2008

Update: I’ve added a few more web apps to the list at the end.

My last post on Web Mission stirred up a lot of discussion so I’d like to expand on my original thoughts.

My main point was not that going to Silicon Valley to build relationships is a waste of time or money. Everybody knows that making friends and nurturing connections is of the utmost importance and I’m 100% supportive of that.

Also, if anyone is participating in Web Mission because they’re trying to establish a specific relationship with someone in the USA – more power to them.

So what’s the problem?

Getting the message right

What bothers me about Web Mission is that it sends out this message:

“Web apps need to emulate the Silicon Valley model: Funding, quick growth and exit by acquisition or IPO.”

I disagree. And I also don’t think that that’s the message we should be sending out to the UK Web industry.

David Heinemeier Hansson doesn’t agreed either and makes the point in his post Are you sure you want to be in San Francisco? I think this quote is particularly relevant:

“It [being in Silicon Valley] takes away much of the urgency to make money that I think is critical to build sustainable businesses. It gives you too many resources to be satisfied building simple tools for niche markets. Everything becomes about catching that huge wave.”

There’s glory, money and fame to be made in California but the problem is that only a tiny percentage of web apps will ever find it.

More of us should be focusing on building simple, focused, small-team web apps that meet everyday needs. Am I saying we should kill our dreams of changing the world? No. But we all need to admit that YouTube, Facebook, Bebo, Google and Twitter just aren’t the norm.

Instead of desperately trying to create the next phenomenon, which is highly unlikely, why not aim for something that’s definitely achievable?
If you have a team of two or three and you bring in $1M in revenue per year, I’m guessing you’ll be pretty damn happy with your earnings. And to do that, all you need to achieve is 2000+ accounts at $40 per month. With those kind of numbers, you just don’t need mass adoption.

We’ve done it. So can you.

As I’ve said before, we spent $45,000 on building DropSend. It now brings in profits of over $200,000 per year, and we don’t even have someone working full time on it.*

YouSendIt, our biggest competitor, has raised at least $10 million in funding. I don’t know how big their team is, but I’m willing to bet it’s at least 20 people. So immediately, they’ve created a huge amount of pressure on themselves to generate large revenues. With all that funding and all those mouths to feed, it’s a completely different game.

Could they crush us because they’re throwing more money at the problem? Possibly. But we’re more agile and can react much quicker. Even if they squeeze us out of the market someday, we can easily launch another niche-market web app and quickly become profitable.
I’ve got nothing against taking big risks and betting big, but sometimes it just doesn’t make sense. We’re currently enjoying a lot of profit from DropSend for almost zero risk or stress. Which model is better?

Too simple?

I can see the comments already: “Ryan, you’re naive. It’s not that simple.”  Well, maybe not all of the time, but you know what, most of the time, it is that simple. Build your app on a smaller budget, with a smaller team, focusing on a smaller niche, and you’ll be profitable much more quickly.

With the advent of cloud computing and storage, it’s much easier to build more than one app with a small team. If you build three applications and two of them are mildly successful, you’ve got a great business on your hands.

There’s just no need for being TechCrunched and trying to reach the mass market.

I’m sure someone will say in the comments: “But Ryan, you’re an edge case. You’ve become friends with some of the big names in the Valley and that’s why DropSend is successful – you’ve received a ton of exposure.”

Here’s my answer: 99% of our paying customers have never heard of Web 2.0, TechCrunch or any of our events. They’ve just googled ‘Send large files’ or someone has sent them a file via DropSend so they decided to give it a try.

The bigger question

The real issue I’m getting at here is this: What does it take to make you happy?

Money is important to being happy, I’ll admit that. You need enough cash to live comfortably and feel secure. However, I think it’s dangerous to assume that your company needs to bring in a huge amount of revenue in order for you to live the good life.

Take a minute and do a little exercise with me. Imagine logging into your online banking and seeing a deposit of $10 million – right after you’ve been acquired or sold all your shares.

How do you feel? What would you do with the money? Buy your dream house? Pay off your debts? Get that Audi R8 you’ve been dreaming about? Send your kids to private school?

OK, now imagine you’ve done the things on your list. How do you feel. Any happier? I’d be willing to bet that you won’t actually feel much happier than you do now. You might feel nice for about two months, and then you’ll be itching to do something else.
Happiness isn’t found in being the next company to sell for $100 million. So that’s the whole point – you can have a small web app business and still enjoy the good life.
No Silicon Valley needed.

They’ve done it too

Here’s a list of great web apps that are small, successful, profitable and happy – all without emulating the Silicon Valley model:

BlinkSale
37signals
FreshBooks
WeLoveLocal
Flexiscale
Remember the Milk
Fogbugz (from Joel)
Campaign Monitor
Nozbe
ActiveCollab

There are a ton more, obviously. Please add them in the comments and I’ll update the post.

    * I plan on changing this as soon as I get off paternity leave, I’ll be going back to work full time on Carsonified’s web apps. We’re hiring a full-time developer and we’re hoping to start on our third web app quite soon.

0 Responses to “Our idea of success is all messed up”

  1. What a really delightful 5-Star site! I love Bonsai. I learned that I need to know a great deal before I start.

  2. I absolutely agree – there’s seems to be too much focus on getting angel or VC funding, getting “TechCrunched”, etc – maybe because it is more glamourous. I’m currently putting together a product for new startups and it’s remarkable how much of the existing material in this market focuses on that end of things – we’ll be looking to give a more balanced viewpoint.

    @James Franklin – I’m not sure it’s true there is less room for “killer apps” – they just haven’t been thought of yet! That said, I definitely agree that there is plenty of room for more niche apps. And as Ryan points out, with EC2/S3 etc. it’s getting easier to do.

  3. This is a really great post and echoes something I’ve been thinking about for a long time. There are more and more apps that all do the same thing. Just think of how many to-do lists and invoicing apps there are – plus the multitude of social networking sites and the list goes on. As time progresses there is less and less room for the next big killer app. Not that they won’t continue to happen but the chances become smaller.

    Combine that with consumers and businesses embracing all this in growing numbers, you can see how specialising in niches is the obvious way to cope with a growing and increasingly crowded marketplace.

    When you start to really think about the potential for home grown, local, niche apps that solve real problems (not just ones for web designers) for specific groups of people I’m tempted to say that actually that is where the big money is. Not hugely funded valley start ups, but as you correctly point out, in small teams. Potentially the market for niche web apps will massively exceed our expectations and we’ll be busy building apps for teachers and farmers.

    However, having said all that – I’m going to contradict myself. Because I think that in the future the winners will be not the apps that get into TechCrunch etc but the ones that can market themselves effectively in their niche, which is a completely new set of skills. And that is where having a VC sat on your board can really help, bring new skills to the table – business, finance and marketing experience. Still, there’s plenty of easier ways to go about getting that…

  4. J Coventry on May 5, 2008 at 9:34 pm said:

    Nice post Ryan

    Life is not just about money.. building a business and selling it for squillions of dollars might make you rich, but happiness is very different.

    I love money, but I also love time with my family, my cats and lounging about on the sofa watching telly… the point is I have everything I need… yes I want a fast car, a bigger house and new pants everyday.. (maybe). but who really wants 1 billion dollars?

    I run a design agency with my wife and make a very good living. I don’t want to expand, I am happy to stay very small and use this as an advantage for my clients. As Ryan mentioned smaller companies are leaner and faster and better at many things. I can do stuff fast.. like “this afternoon fast” and thats what my clients want. I could grow and have a £1 million turnover, but do I want it? NO thats the answer!

    I can make £120K a year as I am and be very happy. If that suddenly drops to £30K because of the so called credit crunch then so be it.. at least I won’t have to lay off staff, or sell my house..

    A comfortable living is the best and something that should be advocated rather than this greed for all things money!

    Now I know that I am obviously not a web app.. but the same principles apply.. if you look at small local industrial estates (especially in the UK) there are people making hundreds of thousands of pounds a year and they never even use the internet..! Imagine that! A world without Internet! Yet they make a great living making widgets, or selling machinery or doing xyz.. I think this is in a strange way…the future.. Local, small and agile.. something that the internet is forgetting. The average person making money because they are doing something somebody needs, and not talking bullshit just to get rich.

  5. Well said. Interesting to hear the drop send numbers. Always appreciate your level of openness.

  6. A bit in advance, but I would like to see SlimTimer moving into being a profitable business (presuming they aren’t currently with their lack of monetisation channels), its a great free web app which I’m sure some people will have heard of and are using. Perhaps in 6 months they might be able to be added to your list Ryan!

  7. We have launched Tactile CRM – http://www.tactilecrm.com that is working well for us and we are based in Coventry. Tactile CRM is the first of number of apps we are working.

    We did apply to WebMission but didn’t get on, however my main reason for wanting to go was to increase PR etc rather than get out to Silicon Valley

  8. @Andrew J Scott

    I agree with you, entrepreneur in the US is a much cleaner word than over here and it is harder to get acceptance and be respected for success. Having said that though, sometimes in the US you can be respected for success no matter how you got there. That is one thing I do not want replicated here.

    Making it easier for people to do great things and helping them along morally, financially and physically is not something that is as good here as it is in the US in the tech sector. I have lived in both and while the UK is getting better every day, it still lags behind tremendously so I do agree with you on that.

    Ryan Gallagher.

  9. Considered, insightful and a whole lotta sense. Love your perspective on this one Ryan.

    I actually moved to London (from Sydney) to pursue my web app/start-up… so I don’t know if that puts me on the ‘good’ side of building the scene in London…or on the ‘bad’ scene for abandoning Sydney’s!

  10. Hey Ryan, can you add us to the list? Copper Project, Melbourne-based, no free-accounts, profitable from day one. Why? It’s just a great project management tool for creative teams.

  11. Many great points have been made recently about the “non-vc” route to building a startup. This is another great article that expands on the point.

    We have been building and boot-strapping Vitalist for about a year and a half now and would not have it any other way.

    Great post.

  12. We’ve got one of these apps on the horizon for launch and I have to say, even without any paying customers, it already it feels good. We’re solving our in-house problems first and I’m looking forward to launching it so it can hopefully help some other people out.

  13. @Ryan Gallagher

    Yes, I was referring to modern/recent history. Thankfully, there are a number of examples where individuals have achieved great things; but it is also true that while we champion the underdog (a good thing) we take too much pleasure in cutting down those who strive for great success, or indeed achieve it.

    I completely agree that you don’t NEED $10m VC money to build a great company, to suggest otherwise would be folly; my point is that we don’t seem to be good at building big with modern business. The reasons for which are too complex to decipher here, but certainly aiming “only small” is not the place to start from to reverse the trend.

    The internet industry IS a good example; most of the dominant brands online ARE U.S. based, even if those running them or whom had a big part in doing so, are British, but based in the valley. We should encourage the appetite to do great things and change the world, not repress it and discourage it.

  14. “As an Englishman, I feel to often in this islands history 9especially in recent times) we have aimed too small; confined ourselves to the mediocre or not had the vision to try the impossible.”

    Being British I have to take exception to that, we did after all rule 75% of the planet and have the largest empire the world has ever seen for about 500 years, leaving a legacy (both good and bad) which anyone would find hard to match.

    Even now we have the largest financial capital in the world even though WW2 (which essentially destroyed the UKs economy and boosted many others) was economically speaking, not too long ago.

    I assume you mean on more general terms, maybe in IT in recent years?

    Ryan Gallagher.

  15. “Weâ€re all too aware of how faceless the big-money companies become; we want a face, and thereâ€s something comforting in the knowledge that the people behind our appâ€s are people…well, people just like us.”

    @johno – Totally agree. Thanks for the kind words 🙂

    “Ryan you have been very influential for me personally with your original talk on “how to build a web app for $30k” which made me believe it was possible to start a web business without funding. Without hearing that podcast I probably would never have got anything off the ground.”

    @James – Thanks for letting me know. Awesome to know I was an encouragement to you!

  16. Great post. For a while I thought our company should follow the SV script despite being located thousands of miles away. Over time I realized that slowly building a business and getting to the point where we can fund our own projects by reinvesting some of profits is much more rewarding. Because we didn’t give ownership to an outside investor, we are free to create what we feel like.

    My company is called Flaptor (www.flaptor.com), feel free to add us to the list. One of our products (twist.flaptor.com) was recently featured on Techcrunch just because they liked it, but we spend no money on advertising or marketing.

  17. There’s a certain amount of satisfaction taking an idea through development to being used by customers. On the one hand you can’t deny people the opportunity to get funded to help the development process but it’s important to never forget that it needs to be profitable at some time.

    Not everyone has the luxury or means to self-fund a project and getting funding can provide the cushion needed to reach breakeven. We’ve managed to get http://www.mapmytracks.com off the ground by funding it from profits from our consultancy business. This puts pressure on us to make sure we focus on delivering what customers will pay for. Without that focus most web apps will fall into the category of being supported by a small band of passionate users but it will never break through to the main stream.

    I strongly recommend DHH’s recent speech at Startup School to anyone thinking of starting on the road building a web app or indeed any type of business for that matter.

  18. Good post Ryan. It’s always bugged me that the accepted wisdom tells you that the formula for success on the web is: funding, growth, exit. As pointed out in the comments, funding equals debt.

    There are so many web services out there now, providing all aspects of infrastructure for a web app, that I think the job of building one comes down to knowing which pieces to pull together.

    Someone should start a list or something.

  19. Ryan

    This post clarifies your thinking after the negativity that came across from your first post about Web Mission.

    After reading this post, I really see no conflict. You are happy to have a lifestyle business, or atleast smaller business – call it what you will – which generates healthy revenues for an SME but which sets its goals at a level which makes you comfortable and satisfies your ambitions. Thats fine.

    Some people strive for great success; to conquer the world by a measure which satisfies them as individuals.

    Anyone hoping that money alone will make them happy, is clearly naive; but money gives one does give one choices. More money gives one more choices; both to be happy or unhappy infact.

    Personally I relish the challenge of being attempting to build something which “changes the world” … or atleast makes its mark as a global brand. Furthermore for me, the fruits I may bear as a consequence will allow me to do things afterwards which will require more than $200,000 a year, or even $1,000,000 a year.

    After two months with $50m sitting in my bank I will not be bored or unhappy, but already be out there changing the things in the world that I feel I can change. I already know where I am going with that success when I achieve it.

    And note I say “when”.

    Some people are born with a desire to build big, with a genuine desire and feeling they can change the world in some way. And that’s the thing – its up to the individual.

    If you want to support your adopted home in the way you say (and I have no reason to doubt that at all) then support those who do strive for that illusive goal. As an Englishman, I feel to often in this islands history 9especially in recent times) we have aimed too small; confined ourselves to the mediocre or not had the vision to try the impossible.

    Contrast this with the great achievements that have happened because individuals had the vision and the faith -in spite of much criticism- to succeed. Concorde … Virgin … the jet engine … Winston Churchill.

    If anything, we are shackled in this country by a lack of support for those who want to aim high. Even if it seems to us beyond all reason, perhaps we should support them, not chastise them?

    Having met you briefly at your FOWA conference (in Miami I might add 😉 I was suprised and disappointed to read your original post; this follow up goes some way to explain the message, but stops short of supporting those who want to build big and appears to endorse a “small is beautiful” approach. There should be room for both – and if you really want to support the UK, you should support both.

    Winston Churchill is an obvious and easy example for determination in the face of adversity; but for good reason. Many judged his dominating style and burning ambition as not only misguided but flawed. He wasn’t always right; but the drive that he could and would achieve something nothing short of “saving the country” was he believed his destiny.

    Building a multi-million pound mobile or internet company, is a few steps short of saving the world; and I believe we should encourage – with wisdom and advice along the way – anyone from the UK who wants to do it.

    Arguing amongst ourselves is unhelpful to everyone. I feel you should be supporting those who want to change the world, even if you and your company, are happy not to.

    Sure, many people will not make it to the moon, but they’ll have an amazing ride on the way and a fantastic view – even if they only make it far enough to orbit the Earth … the metaphoric equivalent of achieving less than 1% of what you dreamed to do.

    Andrew J Scott
    Founder/CEO http://www.rummble.com
    A WebMission attendee

    PS> It is worth clarifying that we each paid £1400 to attend. The UK government supported the project in principle but with virtually no cash (other than providing canapes for one evening event with a reception at the Ambassadors house). The remaining events were supported by sponsors; and we paid for our food and incidentals while there and en route.

  20. Hello Ryan and thanks for the great debate.

    Adding to the startups you mentioned – there is mine:

    Nozbe – Simply Get Things Done! (http://www.nozbe.com

    A web application for getting things done launched last year and now one of the leading GTD web apps on the Internet.

    Totally bootstrapped, already profitable and most of all we’re crazy happy about our mission to help busy professionals get more done.

    It works in your browser, mobile phone and on the iPhone.

    I run it from Warsaw in Poland (Central Europe) and most of the clients are in the USA and western Europe. Our servers are located in the USA.

    Yes, I visited the Valley during the Office2.0 Conference where I was a speaker and it was a great visit, but I’m totally happy with running my web app from where I am right now 🙂

    Go Europe go Europe go!

  21. Morning Ryan,

    I think this is just what we need – a little wake-up to the way we run web app companies here in the UK.

    Jerome and I are taking the same approach with our design studio focused on mobile innovation. We’re building up our client list, bank balance and experience working with a great selection of people. After 10 months of running the company, we’ve now reached the position where we’re hiring. We only want to grow at one at a time because as we all know, it’s very hard to get/find the right people (that also fit with our company attitude).

    We’ve not had (and aren’t looking for) any external investment. There have been a few scares along the way that come with running your first business (e.g. cashflow). An injection of cash may have helped, but it would have also changed the structure and running of the company.

    We’re also using a number of different business models with our clients; consultancy models, fixed cost and some quite lucrative revenue shares (we’ve been quite lucky here though, taking on projects that already have consistent and growing levels of revenue).

    We’re learning lots and are aware of some of our weaknesses (i.e. mainly lack of experience of running companies and having to fall back to intuition and talking to a lot of friends and people across a variety of industries).

    ribot

    P.S. We’re looking for an inspiring and energetic (plus points for those that can help us tend to our adopted bonsai tree) interaction designer to join our team at the moment. So if you want to come and work for us by the sea, pop along to our site for contact details.

  22. Ryan,

    i’m guessing that you have vocalised what a lot of companies out there actually think and are actually trying to do – growing organically and building profitable businesses.

    for some though, a “lifestyle” business is just not ambitious enough – they want more. good luck to them.

    Kevin

  23. Ryan,

    great follow-up post 😉 I find it very inspiring to hear someone as successful as you are with your team talk about job satisfaction and happiness, valuing those over the big bucks. Teaching in adult education I am often thrown by the materialistic motivation of some of my students, finding it quite sad how pride and enjoyment in your work, to some people, seems to be less important than being able to afford a life of luxury.

    With companies in so many fields having grown into big faceless monsters, leaving the people aspect behind for sake of making large profits – it is wonderful to find companies like yours who value their staff and aim for a comfortable living, rather than trying to become the next big giant. I think Carsonified are an inspiration, making your points on this topic all the more valid and poignant.

    In the middle of launching a little venture myself with a team of very talented freelancers (more on the design and teaching front than app development) – we are motivated by similar principles, hoping to do work which is worthwhile as well as profitable enough. Valuing our team work, job satisfaction and happiness over the large pay-cheque has been the driving force which will hopefully get us there.
    (actually, I’m hoping you will be doing another ‘start up clinic’ soon? – I’d love to attend and learn from you and your team)

    Thanks for your thoughts 😉

  24. Ryan you have been very influential for me personally with your original talk on “how to build a web app for $30k” which made me believe it was possible to start a web business without funding. Without hearing that podcast I probably would never have got anything off the ground.

    However, it depends on the business you are trying to build – some businesses justify a lot of capital, the problem is when they are forcing themselves down that route.

    btw take welovelocal off the list it just flipped to to G-cap! (plus the guys who built it had a lot of capital to invest from their other businesses).

  25. …and that’s “philosophy” 🙂

  26. I would also add that Carsonified’s size is an element in its success. We’re all too aware of how faceless the big-money companies become; we want a face, and there’s something comforting in the knowledge that the people behind our app’s are people…well, people just like us. I don’t think that you are being in the slightest bit naïve. I think you are merely applying your ‘philoposphy’ of life (and an emphasis on quality of life) to business—and that’s quite refreshing.

    And, as FN wrote, “Success has always been a great liar.”

  27. Ryan

    As I said in my comment on your earlier post, your thoughts on bootstrapping to profitability are absolutely spot on. It’s also great that you raise the subject of personal happiness and fulfillment as this is something that often gets overlooked in the crazy world of tech startups.

    Raising VC puts a bar in place that most entrepreneurs don’t get over. In fact, whilst many VC backed companies go on to great success, the founders are often long gone by the time that happens – a lesson to all of you out there fundraising.

    As you highlighted, creating a “lifestyle” startup is a more viable option than perhaps it’s ever been. Adwords is a distribution channel that’s unprecedented in its simplicity and scalability.

    At the end of the day, the decision about which route to go down (big/VC vs. smaller/lifestyle) will be driven by the entrepreneurs motivations, ego, belief in market potential and a host of other diverse factors.

    This debate seems to have kicked off because the WebMission website used words that suggested there is only one startup playbook and that we in the UK needed to visit Silicon Valley to understand how to use that playbook. I can understand how that annoyed people. However, speaking with a number of the WebMissioners before the event, I don’t think that any felt they were taking part as supplicants desperate to learn from the “big boys”.

  28. Hi Ryan,

    This is an interesting post – but in the end it all comes down to personal choice.

    There’s a difference between happiness and satisfaction – and in my opinion, if you’re not fully satisfied with the path you’ve chosen you can never be truly happy. This doesn’t mean that one choice or the other is better or worst (although I agree with you that the vast majority of companies going for fast growth and sale without any thought of profit along the way fail).

    If what you really want to do is build companies up and sell them, then you can be happier in this process, even through failures, than by building a small but profitable company and living with the knowledge that you’re not pursuing your real ambitions and dreams.

    I’d also say that if we want to keep seeing these big (but rare) success stories then as many of us as possible need to keep striving – if the majority of entrepreneurs didn’t strive for this then there would be even fewer success stories than there are now.

    I’d also point out that there’s a middle route – building a profitable business that can grow fast and has the potential to be bought out. Just a thought:)

  29. As always, nothing is black or white, there are numerous shades of grey. Not all Web apps are created equal, and just like not all can attract enough VCs interest, only some are suitable for growing into a sustainable business.

    I have long ago realized that Web startups can be roughly cast into two categories: on one hand, there are those who have a long-term business as a foundation, and on the other there are those that actually a feature which can’t sustain itself on its own, but can work greatly as a part of a larger suit of apps.

    DropSend, and others you mentioned (don’t forget to add activeCollab on your list), are the perfect examples of the former. However, there are numerous startups — a late example is Zemanta — whose products and technologies could hardly stand on their own, but would work wonders as part of a larger application. Therefore there is a real chance that another player could purchase it and incorporate it into their offering — as was the case with most of the Y Combinator proteges.

    In my book, both approaches are equally valid, and it’s ridiculous to praise one over another — different things work for different people, and different things work for different technologies. So there’s nothing wrong with promoting the build-fund-sell cycle, of course unless it is promoted as the only valid alternative.

    It’s up to each founder to realize which model their product naturally leans to, and to lead the company in that direction. Of course, it is not impossible to build a billion dollar business on top on a single feature, but this will happen once in a million startups and will require tons of VC money.

  30. Ryan,

    Thanks for the mention, I’d just like to point out though, that not everyone on your list I would imagine, is planning on staying small, but definately planning on staying happy 🙂 . (FlexiScale is currently growing around 1% per day)

    As you rightly say, raising mad amounts of money just creates large amounts of additional pressure, which can then kill a great idea before it even gets started. I do understand the need for some companies to get high levels of investment and grow quickly though, in some markets there is no other way.

    This is why we built FlexiScale from the cashflow from our existing revenues (much how you built DropSend I would imagine), and have now got it to the point where we are going to get a small investment in it to grow it further, but from a very solid base.

    I am very much a fan of bootstrapping though, and wouldn’t have done it any other way.

    Tony.

  31. Great follow up post that clarifies where you are coming from and I hope that this inspires more profitable “lifestyle” web app development in the UK.

    On the other side, for any business looking at high growth and requiring investment beyond “bootstrapping” and small business loans etc. then there are definitely lessons that can be learned from other countries and events like WebMission.

    UKTI supports Trade Missions all the time for all sectors and sometimes the reports that are produced following these visit provide useful market intelligence.

    For the WebMission I was expecting more real-time journalism via blogs, twitter etc. sharing experiences with the “community” in the UK but surprisingly this was really poor even though there was a tech journalist in the group – surely there is more connectivity in SF than just the hotel!

    I’ve been saddened by how TechCrunch UK has played the “attack dog” (http://twitter.com/mbites/statuses/796663835) over your original post and this does not help, support or encourage UK development.

    Looking forward to reading feedback on the visit and seeing how the conversation develops re: lifestyle businesses and high growth businesses.

  32. I wholeheartedly agree with the above – I have been working on a web app solo, with a bit of ad-hoc help from other freelancers. Although the going is slow, I see funding as debt, and a lifetime of stress from shareholders, so i’m building something organically, relying on being a freelancer for income in the meantime. My venture also relies on a traditional marketing model rather than mass adoption to be successful, and by successful I mean that it would bring in a modest (or fantastic) residual income, and will one day be worth selling. If I do decide I need funding, I think a bank loan would be the most sensible option..

  33. Thanks Robin! Let’s grab a coffee soon.

  34. And as it happens I was just that chapter in the 4HWW this morning too 😉

    “A small giant” It’s certainly the direction I’d choose as I mentioned here, you guys are doing it and I’m jealous.

    http://www.bytesurgery.com/blog/2008/01/10/small-giants-great-not-big/

  35. Thanks Vijay 🙂

  36. I think after that talk by David in Startup School 2008, there is going to be a slight chance for change – I’m keeping my fingers crossed and hoping for that. I’ve been, for the longest time, screaming my lungs out that the best money to go after is the customers’ and thats the way to build a business. Afterall, what was that whole talk about the long tail and monetization opportunities right? Someone has got to do it, and only a startup without a couple of investors on their back can even dare think about it.

    Well said. Echoes very well on most points Ryan.

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