A Ballooning Bestiary of Bootstrapping Terms

I want to share something with you, but ought to admit that i am very scared (terrified actually) of putting it in front of such a knowledgeable and experienced bunch of people:

What I want to share is the glossary of a book I am writing (The book is called “Your First Product” and intends to help developers build humble first products. I’ve been putting it together in my spare time, and it turns out I don’t have any spare time at all, so it’s taking a while.) Anyway… the glossary seems like something it is safe to share:


Any thoughts or feedback welcome.


Leon, looks good. I often like to link to a definition when I am having a dicsussion in social media but a list is less user friendly. If you have the time you may want to create a separate post for each definition and they may be shared more often and increase your SEO. I own term.fyi and I have been thinking about building a group of shareable definitions of terms. I made a shareable section at Settleit. org/strengthen-your-arguments-with-shareables/ to hopefully help with SEO.

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I started doing a glossary of mISV terms myself a while back, but I never got very far with it.

It could really use hyperlinks (both internal external).

Inevitably, some of the definitions could be better and I’m sure there are plenty more terms you could add. But I think its a great start on something that could be a really useful resource (and great for SEO).

If I ever find the time and motivation, I will try to send you some more detailed feedback.

Here is a 10 minute brain dump of some terms (off the top of my head) that you may have missed:

  • VAT - Value Added Tax (UK sales tax).
  • CPA - cost per action.
  • CPM - cost per 1000 impressions
  • Invoice
  • Adwords
  • Proforma invoice
  • Reseller
  • Affiliate
  • B2G - Business to government
  • monetization - ways of making money from customers other than charging them, because your product isn’t actually worth paying for. ;0)
  • niche
  • validation
  • crack
  • keygen
  • outsourcing
  • virtual assistant
  • remarketing/retargeting
  • shareware
  • digital certificate
  • sitemap
  • analytics
  • purchase order
  • usability testing
  • localisation/internationalisation
  • positioning
  • segmentation
  • white label
  • survivor bias
  • cross selling
  • up selling
  • customer development
  • freemium
  • ebook
  • price alasticity
  • cold calling
  • DOS - denial of service
  • DCMA takedown
  • work for hire
  • above the fold
  • long copy
  • chargeback
  • virtual/shared/dedicated hosting

It might also be worth explaining the difference between sales (1:1) and marketing (1:m).


I disagree with part of your NPV description “This is a codification of the saying “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”” because that saying is about risk rather than simple depreciation. I’d just drop that sentence.

It seems weird to mention hg without git, which is wildly more successful.

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Thanks so much for the feedback Andy, Andy and Bentley.

I’ll split that page into multiple pages. (Not manually… I’ll make the site do it for me.)

Great suggested words Andy Brice. Many of these are touched on in the book, I need to go through very carefully looking for ‘terms of art’. It’s so easy to become blind to the jargon. At the same time I have to avoid any attempt at being comprehensive/encyclopedic. Shipping is a feature.

I wasn’t going to mention resellers at all. Y’know from experience I see them as a largely British thing. Other countries have them, but to a much lesser extent (I have no metrics to back me up on this). Are they declining do you think or will they always be with us?

One other thing re:

It could really use hyperlinks (both internal external).

I’m using gitbook to build it, and it cross-links the terms for me, including links to where in the book the term is used (often multiple places).

But for publishing this file online I’m just grabbing the raw markdown, as simply as possible. If I manually add links (even between terms) I then won’t easily be able to republish from the latest draft.

The programmer in me says “then I need to write a parser that re-generates the inter-links! Fun!” But the business guy says “this will do… now get back to writing dammit!”

I don’t think resellers are at all unique to the UK.

The problem is that ‘reseller’ covers at least 3 classes of people:
-full fat payment processors such as Avangate are technically resellers - buying licenses from you and reselling them to your customers
-value added resellers who actively sell and support a catalogue of solutions
-value subtracted resellers (my term) who are just outsourced purchasing departments

A lot of big US companies use value subtracted resellers.

See also:


Yeh I’ve definitely had more experience with the second type than the first (from your article).

Corr blimey, I was just writing a section on setting up a domain/configuring email (via MailGun) and all of these terms needed to be added to the glossary.

  • A record
  • API
  • CNAME record
  • Domain
  • DKIM
  • DNS
  • DNS Records
  • IP Address
  • MX Record
  • NS Record
  • Registrar
  • SMTP
  • SPF
  • Subdomain
  • TTL
  • TXT record

I wonder if there are developers who have launched a software product without at least a passing familiarity with all of these terms? None of the terms above are things I learnt for fun… they were just part of what was needed to get things up and running. Seems like the “concept count” is awfully high.

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