Schedulefly Stories

Growing a software business one restaurant at a time

Month: May 2017

Dedicate your life to one species, and you’ll be the best.

“He dedicates his life to it. To one species. Tarpon. And if it’s all you think about is one certain species for 20 years or however long, I think you will become the best”.

~ Brett Martina

I agree with Brett. I believe that if you have an intense focus on something – whatever that thing is – for many years – you will be eventually become one of the very best at that thing. You can’t 1/2 ass it. You can’t hope you’ll get there quicker than than it’s going to take. You won’t. You have to be all in. You have to eat, sleep and breathe the focus and be stubborn as hell about it. You have to ignore people who think otherwise. And depending on what it is your focusing on getting really good at – it may take your whole life. Or maybe it just takes 10 years. But it’s going to take a long time. And because of that, it will be tough and often very lonely. Becoming the best at something is lonely – because eventually you’ll be better than everyone else and they won’t understand what your doing. They won’t believe your going down the right path because they don’t understand. They have not been there.

I don’t like to give advice and I don’t mean for this to be that. But I know what I am talking about because I have been focusing and trying (with my badass team) for 10 years with Schedulefly and ignoring everyone who does not understand and swatting off would-be partners and investors and non believers. It’s been real lonely. But it’s worth it. It’s worth it to control our own destiny. It’s worth it to have the time to do what we want to do and work when work needs to be done. It’s worth it to wake up every single day not caring (or even knowing) what day it is. It’s worth the focus. And I really think – after years of stubborn focus – we are becoming the best at what we do.

So anyway – please watch this. Make it full screen and turn up the sound. It’s a great short story about a fly fishing guide who has become the best at fly fishing for tarpon. It’s a very very difficult thing to do – to catch a tarpon on a fly rod. You can see it in his eyes. Dave is the best at taking to people to do it. It’s a fantastic short film about focus and obsession and stubbornness and success.

Click here to watch the film if it did not show up in the email.


Rebuilt from the ground up to be simple and fast

Recently I heard an ad on a podcast for a major, well-known accounting software that has millions of customers. The ad focused on how the software had been “rebuilt from the ground up, focusing on simplicity and speed.” That made me laugh.

When you build a software to solve a common business problem, you almost always start out focused on simplicity and speed. You provide a clean, quick solution to a common business problem. If you can do that, customers will gladly pay you.

Clearly this company did that when they first launched, years ago. That’s why so many people became customers. But they fell for the trap many software companies fall for:  the feature trap. They kept adding tools and buttons and settings and features and so forth, thinking more is better.

It happens all the time. You tell yourself that if you add this feature or that tool you will keep more customers or get more customers, but what ultimately happens is you upset the customers who loved your product for it’s simplicity and speed, and you turn off potential customers who are looking for those qualities.

This is common when you start out serving small businesses, who have simple needs, but you get enamored with the idea of serving larger businesses because they would pay more money for your services. They have more complex needs (or at least they think they do, and convince themselves they do, but that’s for another post), and they convince you to keep adding to your software. Before you know it, simple and fast becomes complicated and slow.

At this point your original customers are pissed because you’ve ruined the experience they were used to, and your big company customers don’t like it because they want you to add more features, while also keeping the product simple and fast. You wake up and realize you aren’t making anybody happy, so you decide to rebuild from the ground up, focusing on simplicity and speed.

We learned early on that we didn’t want to serve chain restaurants. We’ve talked about that in this post and this one and probably some others, so for ten years now we’ve always stayed focused on what independent restaurants want. You can guess what that is…

Simplicity and speed.


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