Patrick McKenzie (patio11) blogs on software development, marketing, and general business topics.
Kalzumeus Podcast Episode 14: Running A Business Portfolio with Jonathan Siegel
Jonathan Siegel is a buddy of mine who lives in Tokyo. I can’t decide whether I’m more floored by the fact that he runs five businesses at once or has eight kids. He recently wrote a book The San Francisco Fallacy, mostly to share his experience with running software businesses for the last two decades with folks who might be getting a wee bit too much of their advice from Techcrunch. I think this makes an interesting companion interview to the last one we did (~6 months ago) with Thomas Smale, who runs the firm which helped me sell both of my businesses. Jonathan is an operator but he’s also a buyer of businesses, as opposed to me (an operator who recently sold businesses) or Thomas (a broker of them). [Patrick notes: As always, the below transcript occasionally has my thoughts inserted in this format.] What you’ll learn in this podcast: Why folks with successful businesses sometimes sell them (and how this creates opportunity for buyers) Why to make good decisions as a businessperson so that you can make “bad” decisions as a coder/artist/etc How to run five businesses at once (spoiler: put people in charge of the day-to-day work) How two entrepreneurs have found their goals changing over the course of their careers Running A Business Portfolio with Jonathan Siegel Patrick McKenzie: Hideho everybody. My name is Patrick McKenzie, better known as patio11 on the Internets, and I’m here today in Tokyo with my friend, Jonathan Siegel, who also lives in Tokyo. Jonathan is a multi-time entrepreneur, but I’ll let him give his self-introduction. Jonathan Siegel: Thank you, Patrick. It’s a pleasure to be here. I’d say my background is easiest to understand if you really think about me as a techie. I grew up loving anything that had a battery or I could plug it in the wall. I took apart everything, tried to put it all back together, and it rarely worked. I remember when I was 12, got my first computer. It was a 286 12 MHz. Took it apart, put it back together, and it actually worked. That’s back when you had the big cards in the computer with the hundred little ICs on the green silicon chips. Then after that, I got fascinated, and just did everything else that I possibly could...
For the full transcript see https://www.kalzumeus.com/2017/05/10/kalzumeus-podcast-episode-14-running-a-business-portfolio-with-jonathan-siegel/
Kalzumeus Podcast Episode 13: Selling Online Businesses With Thomas Smale
I sold Bingo Card Creator, the business I’m probably best known for, through FEI last year. Thomas Smale, the principal of that brokerage, is now a buddy of mine, and he agreed to chat with me a bit about what goes into buying and selling online businesses. I think it is of particular interest to those of you with SaaS businesses already, but it might also be interesting for those of you who might found one eventually, as you can make early decisions (like e.g. technology stack) which built improved saleability into the business from day one. I’ve previously written about the BCC acquisition here. Note that this interview doesn’t go into much depth about that acquisition per se, partially because that isn’t a new topic for me and partially because I’m NDAed with regards to specifics. [Patrick notes: As always, the below transcript occasionally has my thoughts inserted in this format.] What you’ll learn in this podcast: Why SaaS businesses (and others with recurring revenue) receive a valuation premium Why you should use a broker to sell a business How to start getting a business ready for sale months before the process formally starts How to ease the acquisition process, both for the buyer and the seller Selling Online Businesses With Thomas Smale Patrick McKenzie: Hideho everybody. My name is Patrick McKenzie, better known as Patio11 on the Internets. I’m here for the 13th episode of the Kalzumeus Podcast with my friend Thomas Smale, who runs FEI. It’s a brokerage for online businesses, which I used last year to sell Bingo Card Creator. Thomas Smale: Hi, Patrick. Thanks so much for having me on. Patrick: Thomas, last year, you helped me sell Bingo Card Creator, which was the first business that I had been running from about 2006 through 2015 selling bingo cards over the Internet to elementary school teachers. Do you guys do a lot of work with SaaS companies? Thomas: In the last 12 months, just to put it in perspective, we did about 80 deals, and this year, we’re on track to do around 100 deals. At the moment, around a third of our business is in the SaaS or software space. It’s not all we do, but it is quite a big focus internally. Patrick: Just out of curiosity, what...
For the full transcript see https://www.kalzumeus.com/2016/08/26/kalzumeus-podcast-episode-13-selling-online-businesses-with-thomas-smale/
Kalzumeus Podcast Episode 12: Salary Negotiation with Josh Doody
Several years ago I wrote a blog post on salary negotiation for engineers. This probably created more value than anything else I’ve ever written — I have a folder in Gmail with thank-you messages from people, and my running total is something north of $2.3 million in added salary per year, mostly in $15k to $25k chunks. A buddy of mine, Josh Doody, has decided to thoroughly own this area, and published a book (Amazon link) on the topic. I rather enjoyed the book, and thought I would have him on the podcast to talk about the topic in more detail. [Patrick notes: As always, the below transcript occasionally has my thoughts inserted in this format.] What you’ll learn in this podcast: How to avoid the “What is your desired salary?” question How to trade off across multiple axes when doing a salary negotiation (salary, vacation days, equity, etc) How to get raises after being hired A brief announcement: Keith Perhac and I have parted ways with regards to the podcast, amicably, largely due to scheduling issues. Both he and I have been quite busy with business and life, and we’ve moved to different countries, so we’ll be running our podcasts independently in the future. We’re still great friends and will probably appear on each others’ programs occasionally. Salary Negotiation with Josh Doody Patrick McKenzie: Hideho everybody. My name is Patrick McKenzie, but I’m known as Patio11 on the Internet. This is the 12th episode of the Kalzumeus Podcast. Things are going to be changing a little bit. Keith Perhac and I have been co-hosting this podcast for the last couple of years, but we’ve moved in different directions in our personal and professional lives. Both of us have young daughters. We’re now living in different countries. It’s difficult for us to make the time to do this on a weekly basis as you might notice because we’ve only done 12 episodes in something like four years now. We’re going to be podcasting independently. We’ll probably still be guests on each other’s programs in the future as is now, I guess, just the “me” podcast for the moment. I’ll have a variety of guests on. Today, I’ve brought Josh Doody. John is a buddy of mine. We came up in the MicroConf community...
For the full transcript see https://www.kalzumeus.com/2016/06/03/kalzumeus-podcast-episode-12-salary-negotiation-with-josh-doody/
Kalzumeus Podcast Episode 11: Bootstrapping vs. Raising Money
Keith and I are joined by special guest Jay Winder, CEO of MakeLeaps, in this 11th episode of the podcast. We talk a bit about doing business in Japan, raising money vs. bootstrapping as a SaaS company, how AngelList is going to eat the world, and the usual eclectic mix of topics. [Patrick notes: The transcript below has my commentary inserted like this, as usual.] What you’ll learn in this podcast: Why you should negotiate from a position of strength and abundance. How to raise a round of funding through AngelList while not being in Silicon Valley. Why AngelList Syndicates are the future of seed stage fundraising. How to manage relations with investors when you have lots of them. How running a bootstrapped SaaS company is different than one which has raised early investment rounds. How the SaaS market is different in Japan. A bit about Jason’s new project, Sales for Geeks. A brief announcement: Keith and his co-founded Rachel launched a new product recently called Segmetrics. It’s Baremetrics, for InfusionSoft — gives you actionable, one-look insight into which of your InfusionSoft segments (e.g. traffic sources) are producing results for your business. If that sounds relevant, make with the clicky-clicky. Podcast: Customer Onboarding MP3 Download (~60 minutes, ~59.3 MB) : Right-click here and click Save As. Podcast format: either subscribe to https://www.kalzumeus.com/category/podcasts/feed in your podcast reader of choice or you can search for Kalzumeus Podcast in the iTunes Store. [powerpress] Transcript: Bootstrapping vs. Raising Money Patrick McKenzie: Hello, everybody. Welcome to the 11th episode of the Kalzumeus podcast. I’m Patrick McKenzie, here with my noted co‑host, Keith Perhac and our good friend, Jay Winder as CEO of MakeLeaps here in Tokyo. Keith Perhac: I’m Keith. Welcome to the 11th episode. I can’t believe that we got this out, literally one week after our last episode. Patrick: This is downright scary. Keith: This is scary. Patrick: It’s almost like we have an actual podcast. Keith: I don’t think so. All right. Cool. Welcome, Jay. Jay Winder: Thank you. Hello. I appreciate the welcome. I was looking at you guys doing a podcast behind a thick Plexiglas window and I think, “Geez, that looks really warm and cozy inside that little podcast igloo”, so thank you very much for inviting me in. It’s a pleasure to be here. Patrick: We’re happy to have you from...
For the full transcript see https://www.kalzumeus.com/2015/02/26/kalzumeus-podcast-episode-11-bootstrapping-vs-raising-money/
Kalzumeus Podcast Episode 10: Putting the “Family” in Family Business
Keith and I are back with the 10th episode of the podcast. This time we’re talking about our wives and kids, how much they mean to us (lots!), and how we try to fit being good husbands/fathers around our mutual desire to keep growing the businesses. [Patrick notes: The transcript below has my commentary inserted like this, as usual.] What you’ll learn in this podcast: What Keith has been up to with Summit Evergreen and what Patrick has been up to with Appointment Reminder. How having children changed how we run our businesses. How delegating tasks is key to making sure we can spend appropriate amounts of time/brainsweat on being good husbands and fathers, as opposed to optimizing Nginx config files. How Japan’s poor systematic answers to the question of work/life balance decreases the birth rate here. (Who said this podcast wasn’t educational?) Podcast: Putting the “Family” in Family Business MP3 Download (~53 minutes, ~50 MB) : Right-click here and click Save As. Podcast format: either subscribe to https://www.kalzumeus.com/category/podcasts/feed in your podcast reader of choice or you can search for Kalzumeus Podcast in the iTunes Store. [powerpress] Transcript: Putting the “Family” in Family Business Patrick McKenzie: Hi, everybody. Welcome to ‑‑ what is this? ‑‑ the 10th episode of the Kalzumeus Podcast. I’m Patrick McKenzie, better known as patio11 on the Internet. I’m here with my buddy, Keith. Keith Perhac: Hi, this is Keith. We are on the 10th episode, three and a half years in the making. Probably the slowest podcast ever. I know every time we say we’re going to make these a little bit faster and do this a little more regularly. Hopefully, in this new year, 2015, we’ll actually get that done. Here’s knocking on wood. Patrick: Knocking on wood. I think we ship products and children about as quickly as we ship podcasts. Keith: [laughs] Patrick: In fact, I think that’s almost literally true. [crosstalk] Patrick: This segues nicely the topic for today. We’re going to be talking about what it’s like to run a business as two guys who are very committed to being family men. Not just to grinding away and burning the midnight oil and the work stuff, as we might have done in our younger and stupider years. Keith: [laughs] I don’t know. I still do that on occasion, but having a family has definitely changed it. Patrick: Yeah, so we are going...
For the full transcript see https://www.kalzumeus.com/2015/01/15/kalzumeus-podcast-episode-10-putting-the-family-in-family-business/
Kalzumeus Podcast Episode 9: Customer Onboarding With Samuel Hulick
Samuel Hulick, one of the guys I trust most with regards to SaaS user onboarding, joined us for this episode of the podcast. I met Sam first when he was writing a book on the topic. The best evidence I can give you for the proposition “Sam knows more than the vast majority of people about user onboarding experiences” is the fact that he’s written up 25+ of them publicly (e.g. Basecamp’s) and that the writeups are of very high caliber. Check them out sometime. [Patrick notes: The transcript below has my commentary inserted like this, as usual.] What you’ll learn in this podcast: What mistakes SaaS companies frequently make with regards to user onboarding. How to start preparing users for success pre-signup, using site copy and appropriate expectation setting in marketing. How SaaS companies often botch product tours, and how you can make yours serve the user rather than serving the product team. How to use lifecycle emails to make customers more successful. How organizational issues at SaaS companies often directly cause problems in the artifacts given to customers, and how you can avoid this. Podcast: Customer Onboarding MP3 Download (~75 minutes, ~110MB) : Right-click here and click Save As. Podcast format: either subscribe to https://www.kalzumeus.com/category/podcasts/feed in your podcast reader of choice or you can search for Kalzumeus Podcast in the iTunes Store. [powerpress] Transcript: Customer Onboarding Patrick McKenzie: Hideho, everybody. This is Patrick McKenzie, here with the ninth episode of the Kalzumeus Podcast. Our guest today is Samuel Hulick, who is behind useronboard.com. My usual co‑host, Keith, couldn’t make it today. I moved down to Tokyo recently [Patrick notes: And will talk about that more some other day.], so it’s a bit of logistical nightmare getting everybody together, but hopefully that’ll work out itself over the next couple episodes. Anyhow, it’s great to have you here, Sam. Samuel Hulick: It is wonderful to be here. Patrick: I think today we’re just going to talk a little bit about what you’ve noticed in your experiences as a consultant/author on the topic of user onboarding, what software companies typically do well, do poorly, how they can improve on it. Also, on a meta-level, I’d like to ask about your experiences of building up the reputation as an expert in this emerging field of dev‑related...
For the full transcript see https://www.kalzumeus.com/2014/10/15/kalzumeus-podcast-episode-9-customer-onboarding-with-samuel-hulick/
Patrick and Keith give a deep dive into the reality of running a software business: the ups, the downs, the family aspect, and the lessons learned. Highly recommended.
Detailed discussion at the cost of being coherent
You get an episode once every x months. When you do get it, Patrick discusses things in his detailed, analytical style. However, the production values are lacking and there is no strict attempt made to educate developers. Just letting us peer in into a world they have experience with
Pat knows his stuff
I've followed Pat from his blog and speaking at MicroConf and I feel he really knows his stuff. He's worth listening too, without a doubt. Keep up the great work!