How to Feed Your Inner Geek


Step 1: Determine what kind of geek you are

I’m a business geek, not a product geek. I get more excited about business models than product roadmaps. I may have just confessed a sin in certain circles, but that’s the truth.

I’ve Founded and led a product company, Brandfolder. I did an ok job. You can read about my learnings as a first-time CEO here. I’m just not the guy to obsess over “product” or UX, pixels, architecture. I am definitely not a Product CEO.

I’m not the earliest adopter of consumer-facing products. I don’t pore over Product Hunt on a daily basis. Don’t get me wrong: I like product, I just don’t love it. I know people who love it, and I’m just not them.

I like to create via business. I’m a Finance guy. I geek out on strategic finance: crunching out analysis in spreadsheets and thinking about business problems. I’ve been doing this for years, but it just occurred to me recently to really focus here and stop trying to be something I’m not, which I’ve done in the past.

For me, product is a hobby, it’s a nice to have. I like to tinker and mini-hack, brainstorm, provide input, evangelize and support. Building business(es) is a passion, something I must do. I love the ideation, the strategy, the putting together of the pieces, the results.

Step 2: Channel Your Geekiness

More recently I have founded my second company, Bigfoot Capital, a financial services firm focused on providing seed stage SaaS debt. I feel much more in my wheelhouse this go around and my excitement level is ramped up because I’m operating in my domain of expertise and passion.

It’s a full creative effort from product conceptualization and development (granted credit product, not software products), brand building and market development, customer targeting, acquisition and service, fundraising, risk management, the whole gamut of business building activities.

Many people would abhor spending their days doing what I’m doing to build this business, but I can truly say I’m excited to get up every day and start tackling a whole host of differing tasks, that require me to wear different hats. I get to be a chameleon in a specialized fashion. Now, I don’t love every single task, but I do the satisfaction of knowing the steps I am taking are business building steps. My business building steps.

Step 3: Geek Hard, Geek Often, Geek with Pride

Now that you’ve been self aware and done some channeling, keep it up. Create things that you’re excited about and put them out there for others to get value out of. My geek crushes: Tom Tunguz and Anand Sanwal. Consistently rigorous analyses, simply conveyed, and I can tell they both geek doing what they do.

So, what kind of geek are you? How do you geekshine (just made that up)? Who’s your geek crush?


Denver SaaS Stallions Meetup #1


it’s subtle, wouldn’t y0u say

We had the first gathering of our Denver Stallions crew last night. The early days of our community are very encouraging. We’ve seen some good engagement on Slack, and now we’ve take it offline to the real world, all in less than two weeks!

If you’ve stumbled upon this and wonder what the hell I’m talking about, we’ve started a community for folks involved in SaaS businesses who are interested in contributing to cross functional, peer-to-peer learning and development. Quick blurb here.

The Recap

11 of us convened at 5:30 and I was the first to leave at 7pm. I consider that a success! That’s really the hallmark of a good network, one that can thrive without you (the Stallion bus factor is very low at an early stage).

I had two deep conversations with entrepreneurs of a different cut. I’ll cover one of those here and the other in a following post.

Conversation #1 with Royce: Engineer turning bootstrapped entrepreneur

Royce is an engineer with deep product experience across multiple startups. One has exited to a large strategic (company with $$$), one is tying the web together and another I’m not so sure about.

He’s at a point in his life where he’s interested in expanding his skill domain beyond engineering into the more business-oriented facets of business building (he’s considering an MBA in fact).

He is scratching his own itch as a father of a toddler that needs a nanny (he and his wife both work). He’s built a niche B2C product that has achieved initial traction in the form of organic signups. He has also hired a market-facing resource who is a well-known blogger in his space to help spread word about his produce.

As far as I’m concerned, Royce, should he choose, is well on his way to having not only a product, but also a business, he can grow in the bootstrapped manner he desires, here’s why:

  1. He Knows (and embraces) his role: Royce knows his highest value delivery is as an engineer, and he has already made a move on his own to engage someone who can help him with distribution (I don’t think he really appreciated this, but from my perspective he is already selling the vision and collecting people as a Founder)
  2. He’s thinking about what he wants: Royce is thinking long-term (next 10 years) about what he wants. In fact, he asked me out of the gates what my 10-year plan is, which signifies to me where his head’s at. I’m not going to say he has a crystal clear vision 10 years down the road, but the fact that he’s planning at that scale is cool and evident in the decisions he’s making (e.g. not taking money that has been offered to him, considering pursuing an MBA).
  3. He’s aware of and interested in complementing his weaknesses: Royce has an innate sense that he’s not the one to go market his vision to the masses. He wants to focus on engineering and product vision and is confident in his ability to deliver on these core aspects of the business. He’s already found someone in the space to help him out via his own hustle (awesome!) and just by being self-aware and real and voicing what role he really wants to play in the business and not pretending like he’s got it all covered, Royce has put himself in a position to be helped (basically he has a very targeted ask: “I need help with distributing this product”).
  4. He’s done his homework: We chatted about the market and the dynamics at play, and guess what, Royce already has organic signups from big-time players (who could really like what he’s building…). He mentioned that he noticed some signups happening across geographic markets and with known domains. When I say noticed, I mean he hadn’t looked at the app in 6 months because of having a baby, a job and a move into a new house. These things happen.

What doesn’t just happen, and what I want Royce to know, is ORGANIC SIGNUPS IN THE HUNDREDS WHEN YOU’RE TOTALLY NOT PAYING ATTENTION.

Bottom line: Great conversation with Royce and happy to report that he was having a probably even greater conversation with Paul Arterburn when I checked out.

In the meantime, if you, or someone you know, could benefit from some nanny-sharing, sign up for Royce’s app at