The brilliant Mikael Runhem, CEO of Pergite Software AB and owner of the world’s best business cards spoke at BoS UK on ‘How to Launch Successful Products in 12 hours’. Listen to Mikael if you want new methods to build and test your products fast and thoroughly, and to reduce your exposure to duff ideas.
Learn how great companies are run
At BoS we run events and publish content that is highly valued by anyone trying to build, run, and scale a great software company.
Sign up for a regular dose of actionable and useful content:
Mikael: Hi, my name is Mikael Runhem, and I’m not from around here. Any guesses where I’m from?
Mikael: … Sweden! That’s not the Prime Minister; it’s the Swedish chef in the Muppet’s show. That was actually a true story, sadly. It was one of the hosts at America Today, I think, the morning show, it was a Swedish chef, and he had his bad night out on the town, and he appeared on the show speaking Swedish English. So forgive me if I revert to not a proper, correct language here in Cambridge.
Anyway, after I sold the company, I decided “I’m going to build the best house in Sweden,” and I spent the last six/seven years doing that. Over the time I became a pretty good carpenter, if anyone wants to rent me for a house renovation.
I thought I could do that [referring to a pier on slideshow] in 40 hours, then I thought 80 hours, and it took me the whole summer to just put the wood on that. There’s not one single nail in that, and everything’s grinded, and… yeah, it’s one of the best piers in Sweden.
I’m not afraid my house will vanish in a storm: we put some heavy stuff into that. I learned to do CAD drawings, because my wife, she’s not really into drawings, but she can understand the dollhouse concept of how things look, so I had to learn some CAD. The house got sort of out of hand; we have three or four floors underneath the ground. I built it in old-fashioned fortress style. So we… here’s how the fortress used to look… so I made up this book and the story about the whole building. We blasted away some 6,000 tons of rocks, that’s about 600 truck-loads, took about six months to do that, and the neighbours were woken up every morning by the first blast. So you can see the small guy down here, so all of this is underground now, so… I’m not kidding. Anyway, here’s how it looks inside, here’s the tunnel underneath, between the house and the basement. Here’s the cinema. And we even have the dungeons to put the youngsters in, to keep them inside in the evenings. In total we spent about 65 years of labour building this. I had a team of 15 guys working three and a half years full-time, and then we had some smaller teams. So if you’re wondering if I have gray hair, this is one of the reasons. And of course every great house has a shooting range, so that’s very important.
Some other things on…
There’s not a clear structure in my life. I’m a soldier at Swedish National Guard, I had cocktails at 10 Downing Street, I sailed across the Atlantic, I worked with the new hydrofoil construction for boats with some inventors… and so on and so forth. Anyway, as I said, I’m getting old. How can you tell you’re getting old? Well, you have this really short email address [referring to “email@example.com” on slideshow]. So I was around when the internet was just a small grain, before the big bang, so everything was up for grabs. And what did I grab? I grabbed that one. Sorry for that.
Anyway, so here’s my smorgasbord of accumulated knowledge, and it’s not about science. I have no higher education. I’ve been running my company in the trial-and-error mode, and believe me; I made a lot of errors. I have a very, very expensive education. A Cambridge education is nothing compared to how much money I burnt on the wrong things during my life.
So we talked about… we heard a lot about psychology today. I’m going to follow up on that on my more dumb approach on things. First of all: how are we working as people? If you’re running a small business, you’re going to have a bunch of people — not as many people, just a few. How do you know it’s the right guy? One of the first lessons is this a big company guy or a small company guy? And to give you an example, in the morning, someone opens up the door, he steps over the stuff inside the door, the phones are ringing, he goes straight into his room, hangs up his jacket, and starts typing emails. That’s a big company guy. The small company guy comes in, “Hey, why isn’t anyone answering the phone? Shit, we must clear this, I have customers soon. How are the toilets, are the toilets clean?” That’s a small company guy. And these have different advantages and disadvantages, and over the time, as the company grows, the small company guys, they leave the company, and the big company guys stay with the company. So over time you will get a lot of big company guys and the internal meeting rooms will be booked 24/7 and stuff like that.
Ok, I’m a 75 percentage guy. So what does that mean? Yeah, for one… one example is, I’m not the guy who makes the presentation three weeks ahead. I’m making that up to ten minutes ago, adding some slides, doing everything at the last minute, everything at the last minute. Or, if I can’t do it myself, I find someone else to help me: my wife, or some project leader at the company. And this dates back to when I talked to a customer about a job that one of my employees did, and he didn’t really finish that, so I scheduled a follow-up meeting with myself, to finish the job. And he said, “Well, this other guy, this low-percentage guy…” and I started thinking, “What do you mean, low-percentage guy?” So, my whole notion of how people work is around percentage. So I put myself in the middle, and you can do the same with you, it has no science, it’s just how you perceive other people. And it’s not about how much you get done, its how you do it. We can take… if I’m the average guy, we’ll get back to that later on, here’s the 90 percentage guy. His desk is clean, he spends most of his time on product meetings, writing product plans, he follows up, everyone should do what they do, and so on and so on. Very structured guy, extremely structured. And perhaps not the most flexible guy. He does one thing at a time, he’s more or less essential for a success, and we can have some examples later on here, but he or she gets the job done and usually ends up in some kind of management position. Here’s the 55 percentage guy. Someone said it’s Mark’s desk, I have no confirmation of that, but…
Audience sparker 1: [speaking, unable to hear]
Mikael: … judging from what you’re wearing…
Audience speaker 2: You can see desk!
Audience speaker 3: Mark’s desk… [unable to hear]
Mikael: So, these low percentage guys, why do we need them? I mean, if everyone were a high-percentage guy, the world would be better, right? Well, for one thing, they’re very good at multitasking. They often have social skills. Typically they are in some kind of sales and marketing… the code normally is not that structured, so programmers tend to have a bit of a higher ranking. Frankly, they’re pretty important. The best sales guy I ever met, Leo, he was selling by himself about 80% of the total sales of the company, he was brilliant as a sales guy… and a total disaster of administration. You had to surround him with sales assistants just to shield him from the rest of the world. They often get highly paid, I don’t know if it’s true here, but anyway… and they never read the manual. On the positive side, they’re kind of stress-tolerant. They’ve been doing this for their whole life; it’s not some recent invention. They can do things simultaneously: a little bit of that, a little bit of that. And their whole approach is, “What fires should I put out today?”
Ok, so here comes the culture crash. Imagine this: high-percentage guy comes to low-percentage guy and says, “Hi Leo, we’ve got to implement this new REM system today.”
[Mikael as low-percentage guy] “Oh, yeah, right, okay.”
[Mikael as high-percentage guy] “So, you’re the only that hasn’t logged in, should I help you with that?”
[Mikael as low-percentage guy] “Mmmm… okay, yeah, okay.”
[Mikael as high-percentage guy] “So first of all, when you make this sales call, you have to fill in this web form; it looks like a Polish tax-declaration form. Yeah?”
So Leo, he says “Okay, right, yeah, right,” and then pretends to be happy about it, but in the back of his brain he thinks, “Hey, I’m not a typing monkey, I’m a sales guy. Why should I fill in all this for every phone call?” And soon enough he’ll find a reason not to use this new REM system. “Well, I can’t have contacts not connected to a company… I have lots of contacts not connected to companies, so I can’t use this.”
[Mikael as high-percentage guy] “Why didn’t you just say that? You were in the reference group!”
[Mikael as low-percentage guy] “How could I know it was so stupid?!”
Anyway, so this is why most of the implementations of big complex systems fail, it’s because of the low-percentage guys. And I had a hard time figuring out myself… I had this really good software developer manager, he was managing the whole team, and I’m a guy with lots of ideas, so usually I’d just open up his door and say, “Roger, I have this idea!”
[Mikael as Roger] “Mikael, I’m doing this now, can we do it later?”
[Mikael as himself] “Why can’t you do something at the same time as you’re doing the other thing?”
So I thought he was rigid and he was probably blaming me for destroying his circles and concentration. So it took some time to understand the difference between him and me, how we should interact together. I must pay him respect, I must… “Roger, when you’re finished with that, I have this really good idea, please please please. I’m a small child, I don’t have any memory, and I need to get it out now, please.” So, I have to keep some distance on.
Okay, you’ve probably never experience this in your companies, so everyone is high-percentage and structured and having… working with these big plans and everything, but if you do, you can remember this.
So, how to classify a guy? Well, at the job interview, ask these strange questions:
[Mikael as interviewer] “What game do you prefer?”
[Mikael as interviewee] “Huh?”
[Mikael as interviewer] “Yeah, if you would like to play a game, what kind of game would you play right now?”
[Mikael as interviewee] “Um…”
[Mikael as interviewer] “Tetris?”
[Mikael as interviewee] “Ahh!”
High-percentage guy likes to stack everything in neat rows and everything, so… okay. Or…
[Mikael as interviewer] “How many emails do you have in your inbox?”
[Mikael as interviewee] “What do you mean?”
[Mikael as interviewer] “Well, if you look into your inbox right now, is the figure on the lower right… does it say 5,000 or 50 or…?”
[Mikael as interviewee] “Well, about this time I think it’s… 15?”
Okay, so he’s a very structured guy. Great. And then you know what he’s good at and what he’s not good at, as a general rule.
Okay, let me tell you a little bit about self-image, or the view of yourself. This is one of the cruise ships going daily from Stockholm, on a 24-hour cruise. A company decides to have their kick-off at this ship. And in the morning, two guys wake up, each in different cabins. Besides each guy there is this woman who was very beautiful the night before, and perhaps not this morning, but she asks him, “[xxx] Pass me the cigarettes please.” So this guy gets real awake, and he looks at the lady and runs out to his own cabin.
These two guys will spend the rest of the morning in total different experiences. The first guy, he takes a shower, puts on some fresh clothes, goes down to breakfast, and has a chat with his mates. Yeah, no big deal, he loves his wife, and… no big deal. The other guy, he will be so, so desperate, he will lock himself into the shower for about two hours or something. He will leave the ferry one or two hours after the rest of the staff… he will be so ashamed. And what’s the reason for that?
Identical behavior, different personalities. And that’s the thing: the first one, he had a notion about this since forever, it was perhaps not the first time or whatever, and it’s not a big deal. The other guy, he would have a total different self-image, “I would never do such a thing, and I could never cheat on my wife.” And suddenly he realized he’s as bad as the other guy, and he will feel bad for months to come. And what’s the reason for that? The reason is that you can raise your own perception of yourself quite easily: “Hey, I’m the biggest, best software developer in the world! I just sold my company! I’m super-rich! Hey!” That can go in an instant. But lowering your image of yourself, that’s a very, very tough subconscious process.
And the guys I’ve seen hitting the walls have without with any exception been high-percentage guys. And judging from you guys here, I think the average here is about 80, 83 percent. Just looking at everyone taking notes, a low-percentage guy would never take notes, so you’re in the danger zone of hitting the wall or getting burned out. And why’s the reason for that? Well, if you’re about to… you’re the good guys, you’re delivering things, but you get more and more work. You prioritize, delegate, and it still keeps piling up in your inbox. And then something happens, some little thing, like you have to be… you get sick for a week or something that trips you over, and you fail to deliver something. You miss a meeting; you’re failing to deliver something. And suddenly, you’re not who you thought you were. All these years, your subconscious built up this image of you, and suddenly you’re not that person. You’ve failed, you slipped, you’re not… you’re as bad as the other guy. And that will make you get into some problems: you will have a hard time sleeping, and you will get more and more irritated, and you will miss more deliveries. And that makes it even harder to sleep. And over and over that gets you into an evil circle, and suddenly these guys hit the wall. I’ve seen two or three examples of that, and it’s not a [xxx]. These guys start screaming, you’ve never heard them screaming in their life, towards the kids, towards their friends, whatever. Really irrational behavior. And the wheels keep spinning even faster, and boom, they hit the wall. But the low-percentage guys, they have a vaccine. They can’t get overstressed. “Hey, so I fucked up! What’s the big deal? I’ll fix it next time.” So be aware of that, you’re in the danger zone.
Some learnings: you can’t change a person more than a few percent. Their parents try, the military service, their wives, whatever. It’s impossible to change a person, even themselves, they can only change it a few percent. So when we try to implement an SAP system or something, remember that: it’s really hard to change a person. But also remember what the advantages are, and take advantage of those. And set a percentage of yourself, so you can relate to others around you, it will make it easier to interact in a team. And, here’s the big one, build your software for the low-percentage guy. The big-percentage guys, they don’t need the software. They can make out product plans or whatever on a napkin. What you really need to do is build it for the low-percentage guys, the guy who never reads the manual.
And here’s some math for you. Here’s your target group: lots of people who can buy your software. But if you’re only targeting the high-percentage guys, it will look like this [referring to slide of a crowd with many people’s faces blocked out], so you automatically take away a huge chunk of the world’s population by not aiming for the low-percentage guy. That’s the persona you’ve got to aim for.
Okay, some percentage bingo. [Slide of SAP logo] High percentage or low percentage?
Mikael: High, yes. Microsoft Project?
Mikael: High. Trello??
Mikael: Low. Okay, you’re good at this. Sales force?
Mikael: High. Okay, text messaging?
Mikael: Low. You’re getting the hang of it. iPad?
Mikael: Low. Anyone said high? I can prove it’s not. Even these guys are using iPads [referring to slide of homeless man holding a sign with an iPad], and myself, so it couldn’t be high.
Okay, projects. In the old days, we had these Russian plans four or five years in advance and we were building these really complex things and we didn’t have to upgrade, you had to purchase upgrades, and it was a really, really long project. Nowadays, the world is a little bit different. You expect an upgrade at least once a year, or preferably twice a year, but at least once a year. We have these 3-D printers; we have this App Store and all that that drives this evolution. So how to cope with this? Well today’s projects, they are as big as before, or even bigger. We have many participants, lots of meetings, lots of confusion, lots of different areas of the company, lots of new roles that didn’t exist a couple of years ago. What could possibly go wrong? I’m not a software developer myself, I can’t write two lines of code, so mercifully I’m keeping out of the whole scrum idea. But being a manager and asking these guys, “So when is it going to be ready?”
[Mikael as co-worker] “Mikael, how long does it take to catch a fish?”
[Mikael as himself] “Okay… yeah, uh… can you show me where you are?”
[Mikael as co-worker] “Yeah I can do that… [Unintelligible speech]”
[Mikael as himself] “Okay… yes, okay okay, but marketing and training, they need to know.”
[Mikael as co-worker] “Well, you know the fish…”
[Mikael as himself] “Okay, okay.”
So, how to get an overview? How should I know what is going on and when to do things? This is getting kind of complex. It normally ends up here… fuzzy view, “I didn’t know!” So I thought of this, and I came up with this brilliant idea. So let’s pretend this is your team [referring to slide with images of Paul Walker, Barack Obama, Jennifer Aniston, Christopher Walken, and Kim Jong-un], you’ve got some of the best guys in the world, and one dictator to finish it off. So what do these guys have in common?
Yeah, yeah, might be. Might be the watch! Everyone is having a watch! Yes! And it works across cultures and everything. So, a watch, that’s a good common ground.
So, how to use this? Well, let’s think of a project or something like a clock. So you have the idea, 12:00 or zero-o’clock, ground zero. Okay, what comes next? What comes first?
[Mikael as co-worker] “Well, we make a project plan and we research and blah, blah, blah.”
No. You will make a brochure. Normally that’s the last thing you do: the night before launch, you write a brochure, it comes right out of the printing press to the trade show or something, and the guys that are most interested in the brochure, frankly, are your own guys, the members of the team.
[Mikael as co-worker] “Oh, is this what it… I thought we should have 64-bit support.”
[Mikael as himself] “Well, weren’t you at the project meeting? We took that away.”
[Mikael as co-worker] “Well, I… I’ve sold that to a couple of customers, so… okay.”
So, until that point of time, everyone is in great confusion. And the confusion goes on as the product goes on. So starting with the mock-up, two pages, and you put some “Internal Use Only” blah, blah so you don’t have to be embarrassed about the poor graphics, and you put the bullet points into the product sheet.
[Mikael as co-worker] “Okay, so we should have… design it for 10 million users, and it should cost 10 bucks a month. Okay… that’s a challenge.”
Instead of finding that out the night before launch. So make a brochure, and the good thing with this: instead of you finding out, after putting 10,000 hours into development that this doesn’t fly, you can actually put the brochure into the hands of a prospect. And you can detect, is this a good idea or a bad idea?
[Mikael as sceptical prospect] “Hmmm… yeah, hmmm… looks like…” or,
[Mikael as enthusiastic prospect] “Yeah! We want this! Can we…?”
[Mikael as himself] “Okay, you can be on the BETA, but the BETA’s not probably due for later this year…” and we haven’t even started developing it.
So, okay, at least you have one customer who can test the pricing model or whatever — it’s a really, really inexpensive way to do things.
Okay, so back to the clock. You have the idea, 12:00. You make the brochure or mock-up or whatever to try on the market, but even if you make a mock-up, please make a brochure. And then you can add things to the clock as you like, this clock won’t fit any company, so you have to put in your own milestones and things. But the good thing, if you follow the clock metaphor, is you can do as John Cleese: “What time is it?” Well, for our FreeBu project it’s just quarter past one, and Fröken Jansson and Ms. Moneypenny it’s not going anywhere, and Blippa is just 1:00.
And here comes… how can you turn the time? How can you turn the dials further? Well, we need to make a time assumption, we need to make a budget, we need to… in order to pass 3:00 we need to take a decision at the board or at the management group to go ahead with this project, and we haven’t done that.
So just by asking this question among the participants, “What time is it?”
[Mikael as co-worker] “Well, I think it’s 9:00.”
[Mikael as himself] “9:00, are you mad?! We haven’t even gone to BETA 1 yet!”
[Mikael as co-worker] “Well, okay, so what’s the time?”
[Mikael as himself] “It’s quarter past three.”
[Mikael as co-worker] “Quarter past three?!”
So you get all… everyone can relate to a clock and can discuss a clock. You don’t have to be a professor or a high-degree guy to discuss a clock. So that’s one of the learnings I want you to take with you today.
Okay, Part 3: The Power of Many. This small software company, EPiServer, I told you about, we were really small. We were sitting on top of the Microsoft building, which was great, but we only had like 15 developers, and Microsoft and Adobe and these big guys were going to crush you. So, we thought about that, and, okay, how to conquer these elephants? We only have spears.
This is from the last EPiServer day I was attending in Stockholm [referring to a picture of a crowd], we had 1,500 attendees, and we did bigger events than Microsoft. And how come? This small Swedish company, we got delegates from all over the world, partners from as far away as New Zealand coming to our events. And the reason for that is, first of all, we didn’t build a product, we built a platform. The platform, if you compare it to a house product, our product was just some rusty iron bars coming up from the ground, versus competitors like Microsoft SharePoint, they had this big fancy house, five floors, and you can have a shopping mall at the first floor and then whatever you like on the other floors. But you couldn’t really put a parking garage up there, it wasn’t really built for that, and it was just five floors, you couldn’t extend it into a [bouche a la rab?] or a skyscraper, versus EPiServer was just the foundation, but we had like 10,000 tons of concrete in the basement, a security system, everything you need to build a really big house. And there was no limit: the partners could build really, really big systems on top of EPiServer. So that’s a learning: build a platform. Nowadays we only speak about API’s, but we made it so that partners could add functions inside our product, inside the menus, so it felt like a native part of our product. That’s a scary thought, isn’t it?
Anyway, we made a partner model that was the total opposite of Microsoft. We said that, “Okay, our license should not be more than 20% of the total project cost.” Leaving 80% for the partner, versus Microsoft and the other guys, who say, “Hey this is the license cost, you can put some services on top of that.” So, by making this model really profitable for the partners, they were running like wild to sell our software.
The community, I talked about the big meetings, that were also a success factor. We invited the best speakers from the best companies, even competitors, we had different tracks, we had the exhibitions, all the partners that were in third-party relationships with us, exposed their products and so on and so forth. So we were the center of this business for many web masters or site owners. And also our partners became our sales staff. Instead of our two sales guys, we had 200 sales guys. Everyone at our partners, when they heard about a new web product, they asked the customer, “Have you looked at EPiServer? Our software works great with EPiServer, our search engine is built for integration with EPiServer,” and so on and so forth. So our sales staff were actually larger than many of the big competitors.
And the offering was much broader. Our customers can choose from five different search engine, library image banks, and so forth.
Some years ago, I said to the management team, “I want a developer community online within the end of the year.” … and it didn’t happen. So I got furious, and, being the owner of the company has some perks, I had my own research development team, so I had four of the best developers sitting outside my door. So, we built our own developer blog. And this is the tricky part, how do you get developers to write a blog?
[Mikael as developer] “I’m not a blogging person!”
[Mikael as himself] “No, I know you’re not, but can you please help me by writing a real technical, geeky article about EPiServer technology? It’s not about you, it’s about the technology, that’s the rule of the blog.”
[Mikael as developer] “Well, okay, I’ll try.”
So I get two of the best developers doing that, and those were great blogs, so other guys started… “Eh, I can… I would also like to write!” So suddenly I’ve got the whole development department writing these technical blogs, and then came the real beauty of things: people from outside knocked at my door and said, “Hey, Mikael, can I have a blog with you?”
[Mikael as himself] “Well, okay, have you written anything, anything good?”
[Mikael as outside blogger] “Well, I’m about to; you can see it before I publish.”
[Mikael as himself] “Okay.”
So we’ve got these guys involved into our website just as our regular guys, and this created status, so we invented medals. You know how it works in war, “If you run over this field, this muddy field, and get shot, I’ll give you a medal.”
[Mikael as soldier] “Hey, great!”
So people do lots of things for status, so we created this EPiServer Most Valued Professional program. We copped it more or less straight out of Microsoft, with some add-ons, so you can’t apply to become an EMVP, you’re invited, and the only way to get invited is to do good things. But the best thing here was to maintain your status; you have to publish a really good blog post every 60 days. So within one year, with this Skunkworks product, we produced more content and better content than the whole document… training department that were in short for documentation at EPiServer. So this was a real success story and it didn’t cost anything except these medals, these icons [unable to hear]. At the EPiServer days we have these corners with robes, champagne, guards, so only for EMVP, only invitation-only, and we had these other colours on the name badges, these were really, really high class guys, and they put that in their resumes. And it even went so far that last year I heard of a guy who was offered a job at the core team at EPiServer, being a core developer, and he was this close to rejecting the offer because he didn’t want to leave his EMVP status away, because the rules stipulated that the employees couldn’t have this status, so he had to give it away, and he was this close to saying no to the job, so they had to create a new status that was available for staff as well. So that’s how powerful it is.
Before we close this, we have about four minutes to lunch, I’m going to show you something that… the project name is Fröken Jansson, in England it would be probably Miss Moneypenny. It’s a secretary. Being a low-percentage guy, you don’t have that much administrative skills. My friend Johan, he’s one of the top ten developers in Sweden, excellent developer, but he doesn’t really prioritize the administrative side of things. So, working with the consultant side of things, I’m on his… every day I ask him, “Okay Johan, I really need the time reports.”
[Mikael as Johan] “Eh, I’ll do that before I go home.”
[Mikael as himself] “Okay, can you promise this? Because we’re really a couple of weeks late”
[Mikael as Johan] “Mmmm… I’ll fix it.”
So naturally, you have to do the same tomorrow morning as well. And as a business guy I know that for every day that passes since you did the consultant’s work until you report the consultant’s work, he loses a few percentage: half an hour, a quarter, or whatever. And over time, that adds up, and that affects the bottom line of a company directly. So, we asked… we had the discussion, how can we do the best time-reporting system for guys who are allergic to administration? So we came up with this chat system. You have a buddy called Fröken Jansson at your buddy list, and… let’s see if this works. It looks like this; Fröken Jansson is a cartoon character, a childhood character. You can speak with her, you can ask “Help?” hopefully… this is just one or two days into her product, so she has some… this is what you can type, you can type “New Customer.”
[Fröken Jansson system] “Okay, what’s the name of the customer?”
[Mikael typing] “Volvo.”
[Fröken Jansson system] “Okay, customer is added.”
Great! I can either enter two hours, or I can just press start, and I can press start, and she added 15 minutes to this customer.
[Fröken Jansson system] “Okay, what customer should it be reported to?”
[Mikael typing] “Volvo.”
[Fröken Jansson system] “Okay, find a short description.”
[Mikael typing] “Demo.”
[Fröken Jansson system] “Fine, added 15 minutes to Volvo.”
She didn’t ask me about, “Okay, who’s the contact? What address?” Things that will keep the low-percentage guys off. She just asked the minimal questions. Then, when we send the invoice, then we need some more information, but that’s not the problem, it’s a problem to get the time in.
So, I can see what we can do to get a time report. Invoice, try with ‘I.’ Okay, here is a time report in Excel. Okay… it’s probably somewhere here… okay, it should be here. Okay, so we get the time report. And the learning from EPiServer was that you can’t beat the world by yourself, you need to have help from others. So, what we’re doing is that we are invoking a function that you other guys could use, so you can create function. Okay, Miss Moneypenny will ask you, “Okay, to which URL should I send the data?”
[Mikael as himself] “You should send it to Mike’s wardrobe/raspberry pie/PDF generator.”
[Fröken Jansson system] “Okay, what should we call this function?”
[Mikael as himself] “Mike’s PDF generator.”
[Fröken Jansson system] “Okay, in which format…” and so on and so forth.
So then I can type, instead of just pressing ‘i’… or I can type ‘i – Mike’s PDF generator’ and some other commands and I will get this invoice in PDF format. Great! But what about if someone else here says, “Okay, I also want to use that.” Well if you pay us 10 euros a month you can do that, no problem. And then someone finds out about Mike’s PDF generator and starts using that. And here comes the beauty, we have like an ‘app-ify’ approach on things, so if someone is using my function, I would get a percentage of that 10 euros a month sent to my account. So we will set aside 40% of the revenues to the third-party developers, and suddenly someday your revenues will degrade because someone else has made an even better PDF generator, so we will have a Darwinistic approach on things, how to conquer the world. So this is just a small example of how to think if you’re going to conquer the world and beat the big guys.
So, some quick conclusions. Remember the 75%er or who you are. Remember the clock — it’s not that hard, you see it every day. Remember the brochure — one of the most important things to save money. And remember how to beat the big guys. And, for you entrepreneurs: Never, ever, ever participate in the reality. Thank you very much.
Mark Littlewood (Founder, The BLN): I hope you enjoyed that, we certainly did. For more talks from Business Software Conference and other BLN events, visit thebln.com or come to our next event. You’ll love it as much as we do.
Learn how great companies are run
At BoS we run events and publish content that is highly valued by anyone trying to build, run, and scale a great software company.
Sign up for a regular dose of actionable and useful content: