Discuss Home · Bootstrapped Podcast · Scribbleton Personal Wiki · HelpSpot Customer Service Software

Hi I'm Daniel Studds from Trace


#1

Really excited about this forum, it’s the forum I didn’t know I needed.

So I’ve also broken the rules a bit and replied in a few discussions while I oriented myself. I’ll have another beer by way or reparation.

I’m an Aussie, from Melbourne originally, now living (for the past 3 months) in Leuven, Belgium. I quit my job about a year ago with a Really Cool Idea for a product that was definitely only going to take a few months to take off, driven primarily by word of mouth. I spent a few months trying to get funding because I thought that was the thing to do, and ended up hating the whole experience. I’d lost my way already.

Then, within a couple of weeks, two things happened. I got offered a decent contract in small-town Illinois, and an angel investor said he could probably hook me up with $150k - just what I’d spent 6 months working towards! Fantastic!

I turned him down and took the contract.

Spent 3 months over Thanksgiving and Christmas is Nowhere, Illinois; worked with some really great, friendly people, it was a good gig. More importantly, with nothing else to do, I spent evenings in the hotel discovering about this whole ‘bootstrapping’ concept. On drives around Illinois, I listened to a few podcasts (although I hadn’t found bootstrapped.fm at that point). Batteries recharged, full of energy, I turned down an extension and went back to the startup!

And, it’s actually a slog, but I’m enjoying it, I’m making progress. I need to step outside my comfort zone and release/sell the damn thing - I’m starting to do more on that front. I probably actually spent the recommended 50% of time on marketing efforts this week :smiley:

This story needs a better ending… that was slightly anti-climatic. Sorry guys. Working on it.

Hey wow, I’ve read back through this and realised I haven’t said annnything about what I’m actually doing. Already too long though. My landing page is at www.traceemailstudio.com, blog is at danielstudds.com. I’m on twitter as @danielstudds.

Looking forward to get to know you all better!


#2

Hi Daniel! Thanks for the feedback on PDF Press, glad you decided to break the “rules” :slight_smile:

Comfort level is huge, it’s freaking scary to put a product out there and charge money for it. I always feel like I have this little hater in my head telling me to hold back and wait. I have to just push through it and ignore the fear.


#3

Same for me. Only way to get good at something is to spend a hell of a lot of time doing it, right?


#4

The space you’re going into is really hot right now and the tools are so much better for dealing with email than even a few years ago so seems like a great idea. Welcome aboard!


#5

Thanks Ian!

I have to say, the choice of market is quite accidental. Basically I’m trying to scale down what I did for enterprises with other people’s product to smaller businesses. I flip between thinking ‘ahh, great, I’m doing something not unlike customer.io and intercom.io, and they have customers - market proved!’ and ‘ahh, crap, I’m doing something not unlike customer.io and intercom.io, and they have all the customers - how can I compete??’


#6

Haha, I never ever worry about competition. The internet is a big place and it’s hardly like those guys are household names.


#7

Hey Daniel,

I’m Colin, CEO of Customer.io. Here’s a link to a comment I made on Hacker News.
https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3794966

It was the 2nd day we were working full time on the company, and Intercom just added sending emails. That post doesn’t quite express the anxiety I was feeling going up against an established competitor.

Since then, Mixpanel added email sending (I freaked out less that time). We’ve had 2 competitors enter the market that look really similar to us ( Userfox.com, and Getvero.com – but I think Userfox died).

Have a vision. Do something better than anyone else and find people willing to pay for it. Everyone started off with 0 customers and no market validation.

@ian is right. The internet is a big place and it’s never “winner take all” with B2B SaaS,
Colin


#8

Thanks @Colin!

I’ve actually rethought what I’m doing and scaling back up to enterprise… :smile: Basically I reached the conclusion that the problem I was passionate about solving wasn’t one that small organisations have. So I had the choice of fighting against passion or using it instead, and decided it made more sense to use it.

In some promising conversations at the moment, so hopefully it turns out well.


#9

@colin @danielstudds one perk of being bootstrapped vs funded competitors is not having anyone to answer to except customers. The threshold for failure is much lower, the demands from investors are typically not there, it’s all about you and the customer. Keep them happy, pivot quick if needed (you’re small and nimble) and ignore the competition, with any good idea guaranteed there will be some.

I had an idea for my SAAS in 2010, there was no one on the horizon at that time, it took three years to get it done, lots of time wasted, and now there are a handful of similar ideas out there. Is it discouraging, a little, but it’s also fuel to do it better.