Episode 15: Perpetual Software Product Validation w/Alex Yumashev

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Alex Yumashev (founder of JitBit) joins us to talk about growing into a small software firm with multiple products.  We also touch on how and why Alex is almost constantly doing software product validation for potential new products.

Bootstrapped Product Talking Points

  • Why being a programmer in a bank sucks
  • How long Alex waited to jump to JitBit full-time
  • What Alex thinks of “me-too” products
  • Why avoiding existing competitors is dumb
  • His system for friction-less software product validation

and a whole bunch more.

JitBit HelpDesk – hosted & on-premise help desk software
Me-Too Products Are Fine – Alexs’ article for the Business of Software conference
Joel On Software forums
Balsamiq – Rapid Wireframing Tools
Rob Walling – founder of Drip and HitTail
Andrey Butov – founder of Antair Software
Ian Landsman – founder of UserScape
Patrick McKenzie – founder of Appointmentreminder.org
MikeTaber – founder of AuditShark
Cogeian Systems – Christopher’s custom .NET web apps and SQL Server consulting
SmallSpec – Christopher’s startup; painless web-based functional specs

I really like Alex.  He’s a true bootstrapper, having started way back in the days of download sites like Tucows.  One app at a time, he discovered with delight that he could sell software online, and he learned plenty along the way.

One of the big things Alex learned is to constantly be engaged in software product validation.  Listen for this bit in the interview; he has a dirt-simple, zero-friction method of throwing ideas out there to discover if they have any natural traction.

Sometimes I have joked that JitBit is the company that Cogeian Systems (my consulting firm) wants to be when it grows up, and it’s true.  The small portfolio of eclectic apps that Alex has put together over the years gives JitBit a very unique flavor and, I suspect, makes it an interesting place to work.  Alex contends that there is a downside to this eclectic portfolio though – pay attention to this part of the episode, he tells you why and what he’d do differently.

To cap it all off, Alex gives us the usual three action items I ask all the guests for.  Some of what Alex tells us reinforces what we commonly hear about startups, and some of it does not.  I will leave it up to you to listen and figure out what’s what!

Comments & feedback are welcome via Twitter or e-mail.

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