Startup Guide
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Startup Guide

How startups and established companies can create profitable digital products

About the Book

It is a guide that will introduce you to several concepts and techniques to help you create and manage a profitable software product. That is, software that provides some service that generates enough money to pay its own development and operation costs, and still provide some extra money left in your pocket.

On one hand, making a digital product is becoming simpler and simpler. Both the infrastructure needed to keep a product running and the segmented promotion with the help of tools like Google and Facebook have become increasingly more accessible and easier to use.

On the other hand, the technical ability exists: just look at the great quality of apps and web projects that are made for large campaigns or e-commerce sites. Why then don't we see quality software products in abundance in Brazil? In this book, I will share a little of what I have learned over the years in product development at Locaweb, so we can exchange experiences and perhaps inspire more developers to make successful new Brazilian software products.

Before you go any further, a warning: I don't want to talk about private equity, venture capital, seed funding, angel investment, and similar issues since there are many good books and articles about these topics. Therefore, the focus of this book will be entirely on self-funded startups.

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    • Product Management
    • Systems Engineering
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About the Author

Joaquim Torres (Joca)
Joaquim Torres (Joca)

Accomplished technologist and manager with a unique ability to bridge the gap between the technical world and customers needs. Almost 30 years of experience in digital product development and management.

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Table of Contents

    • What is the Startup Guide?
      • Why another book talking about startup?
      • Who is this guy to talk about startup?
      • Startup Guide for Non-Startups
      • What you will find in the Startup Guide
    • Praise for the Startup Guide
    • Acknowledgements
  • Definitions and requirements
    • What is a startup?
      • After all, what is a startup?
      • When does a startup stop being a startup?
      • Can there be a startup within an established company?
      • Think of a startup as an experiment, not as a business
    • What is a software product?
      • Software product
    • Web, mobile or social product? Product for SmartWatches? SmartTVs? Bots?
      • Traveling to the past: web, mobile or social in 2012?
      • Mobile apps
      • Back to the future
      • Understand your user
      • Understand the context
      • Mobile is not “less” than desktop
      • Summing up
    • Every website and web system can and should be considered a software product.
      • Completing the Manifesto for Agile Software Development
    • Why having a startup?
      • Why would I create my startup?
      • Growth startup vs. lifestyle startup
      • What kind of doctor are you?
      • Dalai Lama’s Tweet
      • Ask yourself
      • Example of non-financial return
    • The 99.9%
      • I am part of the 99.9%
      • Keep practicing and do not forget your motivation
    • Who should create a software startup?
      • Multidisciplinary effort
      • Outsourcing options
    • Choosing what to outsource: a case study
      • Software development
      • User experience
      • Product marketing
      • System administration
      • Software product theme
      • Outsourcing cost
    • How much time to devote? Who should I invite?
      • How much time to devote to the startup?
      • Should I invite someone to be my partner?
      • Summarising
  • Ideas and Problems
    • Of course the customer knows what he wants!
      • Problem: People took too long to move around
      • Problem: parents want to go to the restaurant with their young children and want to have a quiet lunch
      • Problem: people want to re-educate nutritionally so they can have a more balanced diet, lose weight and feel better.
    • What is the problem?
      • Many times people do not know what the problem is
      • And sometimes people do not know they have a problem
      • Whose problems should I solve?
      • What a cool technology!
    • How to choose an idea to turn into a web product
      • Can you describe your idea on a single web page?
      • One additional example
      • What is the minimum conversion rate?
    • Problem or need?
      • Is it a problem or a need?
      • Maslow’s Pyramid
  • Hands-on: Making the digital product
    • Why the hurry to make the product fast?
      • Why the hurry to make the product fast?
      • Summing up
    • How to make your product fast?
      • The importance of knowing the customer and his problem
      • Caelum Online Courses
      • ContaCal
      • Good software engineering practices
      • Summing up: make the product fast = know what to do + good professionals + good software engineering practices
    • If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late
    • How long did it take to create ContaCal?
      • Result
  • Hands-on: Managing your digital product
    • My software product is ready, now what?
      • Checklist before “opening the doors”
      • Okay, I am ready!
      • ContaCal launch data
    • Getting Feedback
      • Handling user e-mails
      • Why before the how
      • Example of rush to act due to feedback
    • Be careful when launching a minimal product
      • Be prepared to keep moving fast as you launch your minimal product.
      • Fake feature - a way to be lean
    • How to attract visitors to my website?
      • Paid ways of attracting visitors
      • Free ways of attracting visitors
      • Some examples of how to attract visitors to your website
    • Basic (and not so basic) SEO tips
      • Content posting frequency
      • Basic SEO tips
      • Not so basic SEO tips
    • How to make money with your software product?
      • Software product = software used over the internet
      • Product revenue types
      • Payment types for product usage
    • Searching for revenue: case studies
      • Making it clear why the product is free
    • Gathering user feedback
    • Survey results
      • Revenue from ads
      • Revenue paid by users
      • Price adjustment
      • Be patient
      • byMK /, another case study of search for revenue
    • Go sell it!
      • Go sell it!
      • How?
    • How to set the right price?
      • Demand curve
      • Different prices for different customers
      • Perceived value
      • And the competitors?
      • What about the cost?
    • To offer or not to offer free plans, that is the question!
      • Do I need to have a free version of my product?
      • Next, you need to know…
      • Summing up
    • Widening the funnel
      • Number of people who know that your product exists
      • Number of clicks generated by your ads or by other means
      • Number of unique visitors
      • Number of visitors who become users
      • Number of users who become customers
      • Number of users and customers who are no longer users or customers
      • Widening the funnel
    • Watch your user!
    • Experiment and measure
      • A/B test
      • Practical A/B test example
      • Appearances can be deceiving
      • Keep a change log
      • Beware of the local maximum
    • Track long-term numbers
      • Global numbers: revenue and costs
      • Individual numbers: CAC, LT and LTV
    • Engagement and Churn
      • Engagement
      • Churn
      • Churn is a growth limiter
      • Churn and the lifetime of users
      • Revenue churn
      • How is it possible to have negative churn?
      • Concluding
    • Change of course (pivot)
      • Change of course, a practical case
      • The theory behind practice
    • How long does it take to start having results?
      • What happened?
      • How long to wait?
      • First month positive!
    • Five years later, how is ContaCal doing?
      • The evolution of ContaCal
      • Return on investment
      • So, did ContaCal work?
      • Why didn’t ContaCal scale?
      • Example of a startup that scaled
      • Concluding
  • Startup Guide for non-startups
    • Company that has a non-web software
      • New software marketing model
      • How to transition from non-web to web software?
    • Company that develops custom software
      • Creating a new product
      • Use in customer projects
    • Companies that do not have software development as their main activity
      • How to make it?
      • Outsourceable
      • Most indicated to make in-house
      • Example of a company that does not have software development as its main activity
  • Interviews
    • Cobre Grátis
      • Update
    • Caelum online courses
      • Update
    • byMK /
      • Update
    • Sieve
      • Update
    • Locaweb’s web products
      • Update
    • ​​Aurum’s Astrea
      • Update
    • Eventials
    • ContaAzul
  • Final considerations
    • To learn more
    • Recap
      • Power of synthesis
      • Overview of the Startup Guide
      • Next steps
    • Bibliographic references

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