Today marks the beginning of the Business of Software conference in Boston. This is the 11th year that the conference has been running in Boston. It is a single track intimate conference which really focuses on all of the attendees being able to help one another solve any problems they are currently facing.
Jason Cohen – Healthy, Wealthy and Wise
Jason has built four software startups, both bootstrapped and funded, both alone and with co-founders. All of them grew to more than $1m annual revenue.He sold two, and currently serves as CTO of the fourth, WPEngine, with 500 employees headquartered in Austin, Texas.
Jason kicked off the conference by talking about the importance of being happy in your job. He shared a post which he had found in a magazine which was from a very unhappy founder. We discussed the meaning of the post in greater detail. He went on to mention about how he felt when Smart Bear was acquired and how he felt about stepping down as the CEO.
Seth Godin – Lessons Learned/ Problem solving workshop
Seth’s been in the software business for 33 years: at BoS USA 2017, he shares lessons learned during that time.Seth writes about the post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, marketing, quitting, leadership and most of all, changing everything. He is the author of 18 books that have been bestsellers around the world and have been translated into more than 35 languages – you might be familiar with Linchpin, Tribes, The Dip and Purple Cow. In addition to writing and speaking, Seth founded both Yoyodyne and Squidoo. His blog (which you can find by typing “seth” into Google) is one of the most popular in the world.
Seth gave a fantastic talk about about how your product needs to be remarkable to sell. In order for it to be remarkable you would need to forget about the funnel process and to turn the funnel on its side in order to make it a megaphone. Seth also went on to take questions from the audience about how to be a David amongst Goliath’s and how you could use this to your advantage.
Natalie Nagele – Keeping fun in your business life
Natalie shared the 16-year story of Wildbit and why at every point in the growth of the business, when it comes to making big decisions – about hiring, new products, culture – she’s come to believe that the most important thing in business is to keep having fun.
Natalie spoke about the importance of not letting what the company wants (the beast) take over the reasons for running a start-up. She went on to discuss the moment that she and her husband Chris (a co-founder) decided to put the team first. They did this by having the team create a list of 10 values that the company would stick to.
Chris Savage – Growing and Scaling
Every business goes through a series of seismic shifts as they grow, but often the people in the business don’t realize they are happening until after the fact. Chris shared some of the critical moments in the growth of Wistia where he realized his approach to leadership had to change and how some of those decisions have meant that Wistia isn’t a company he could have imagined it to be 11 years ago. He gave practical advice that helped us assess our own goals and objectives as well as a few lessons he’s learned from his users.
Chris discussed the things he wished he knew when scaling the business from 20 to 100 people such as communication becoming harder, big problems becoming scarier and harder to handle and the lack of time to think. He went on to discuss the importance of not burning out and being able to set time aside to be able to think and process things.
Sherry Walling – How to stay at the top of your game
Dr. Sherry Walling is a licensed psychologist and the co-host of the ZenFounder podcast. She helps high-performing professionals maximize their potential while also maintaining life satisfaction and personal fulfillment. She regularly consults about the “tough stuff”- interpersonal conflict, burnout, depression, anxiety, existential angst, major transitions, and personal imbalance.
Sherry gave a fantastic talk on burning out and what it was and how you can prevent it from happening or how to deal with it if it has already happened. She took some fantastic questions from the audience at the end of her presentation where she explained how to deal with a member of your team who you might feel is going through a burnout and how to handle the situation.