Garage To Global – My Thoughts
<div align="center"><a href="http://www.atmail.com"><img src="http://www.atmail.com/images/screen_shots/webmail_big.gif"></a></div><br />
Ben (their <span class="caps">CEO</span> and founder) is a top bloke and a deep thinker who I&#8217;ve met at various Sydney events over the years. Scott and I get on well with Ben because we&#8217;ve travelled a lot of the same roads with our companies and quite possibly because he can&#8217;t be much older than us (perhaps even younger?).<br />
He recently spoke at an event targetting young Aussie entrepreneurs and generously put his <a href="http://blog.atmail.com/?p=51">presentation and notes</a> on the
There are a lot of great points in his slides, but I’d like to highlight 3 that I think are especially key from Atlassian’s point of view:
- “Show product pricing upfront” – Hallelujah! This is the greatest thing that determines a software company that gets it from one that doesn’t in my book. If you’re afraid of showing the world your pricing model, change it. If you’re afraid customers will run off because it’s too expensive, change it. If you’re not willing to back it up, change it. Otherwise, put it up online and lower your own sales costs.
- “Pay attention to marketing and let the product speak for itself” – Again, right on the mark. Too many software company websites try to get me into a webinar or white paper without showing me clearly what the product does. Tell me the features, show me a whole bunch of screenshots and be straight with me. I’m a smart guy, I’ll make my own decisions.
- “Enjoy what you do” and “Be passionate” – simple, if your heart’s not in it – customers will notice, your product will probably be subpar and your employees will just tread water. Be engaged in what you do and all the constituents will notice. If you’re not engaged in what you do, go find something that you are engaged with!
The only main point I’d disagree with is Ben’s notion that you should “aim for less customers that pay more”. I’ve always disagreed with people that think this. Unless your product is very niche (webmail? C’mon – hundreds of thousands of potential customers) more customers reduces your inherent business risk – basic portfolio theory of customers.
We made the decision very early on in Atlassian’s evolution that we were going to aim to provide brilliant enterprise quality products to lots of customers at a very low price. Once that decision was made and established, it has shaped so much about:
- how we have grown – we’ll need to grow beyond 8 people to have a support and a hyper-efficient operations team that can cope with volume
- how the products have developed – they need to be easy to install and high quality, or we’ll get swamped with support and bugs
- how our business model looks – no outbound sales people, explain the product clearly on the web as people have to be able to ‘grok’ it themselves, be efficient with online marketing, build brilliant products so word of mouth is friend not foe, no professional services – make it installable!
Agree? Disagree? Read Ben’s post and let me know.