Getting your first enterprise sales (or investors)

I read a great article on KissMetrics today: “Sales for Startups

It had been sitting in my inbox for a while (published in early January). But, the basic lessons are timeless: set a goal, build a plan in support of that goal (e.g., a set of prospects in a Google Doc), and then work the plan. Each of these steps is important. If you do not set clear goals, you will end up doing a bunch of non-essential activity (and your customers will be taken by a competitor who is clearly focused on adding them the value that you should be providing). If you do not have a clear plan, then you will be unable to transition from dream state to action, and suffer through the rejections that will invariably come as you push your plan in place.

Whether you are selling a product to customers, or your business to investors, each of these steps are key. Goals, plans, and execution. Take a minute to think about your goal. And then take a minute to think about the plans you have in support of your goal. This is the scary part: look back at your last week, and think about how much of your time was invested cleanly in executing the plans that are in direct support of your key goals? If you are a normal person, it is probably less than 50% of your time (and if it is more than 50% of your time, congrats…now get back to work!).

What do you think? Is there more to startups (or life) than goals>plans>execution? Leave a comment!



A couple more great posts from KISSMetrics

How to Create Your Own Promo Video for Under $100

Before building you product, why not build your promo video. Odds are, if you cannot build a compelling video (a video that OTHER people find compelling), there is little likelihood that you can build a compelling product. So start making videos:

The Top 50 Posts from KISSmetrics of 2011

OK, perhaps this is cheating to call this the second post, because it includes 50 gems of marketing/analytics insight from the experts.

Landing Pages by the Numbers

The folks at KissMetrics have done it again, this time providing a clear and simple guide to building a great landing page.

Click Image to Enlarge
The Blueprint for a Perfectly Testable Landing Page
Source: The Blueprint for a Perfectly Testable Landing Page Infographic

You Need to Start Out Testing. And Stay Testing.

I spent a couple of hours (or more) working on an annoying problem. I had been slacking on my tests for a while, and built a bunch of code without any testing. It was Friday night, so I decided it was time to pay down a bit of my technical debt, and now it is Saturday morning. Alas, test early, test always, and I would have caught this mistake way earlier.

Now on to the details. I have a test setup modeled after Ryan Bates, which involves Capybara, Factory Girl, and Rspec. The error I was getting was across a number of my tests:

Failure/Error: click_button 'Log in'
       comparison of Fixnum with nil failed
     # ./app/views/contacts/index.html.erb:30:in `<'
     # ./spec/requests/authentications_spec.rb:24:in `block (3 levels) in '

Literally, there is nothing across all of the Internets that gave me any clues, and I was thinking that it had something to do with Capybara. I was able to interactively log in, even when I fired up Rails in an interactive test environment (rails server -e test).

It turns out that I had not set some variables in Factory Girl, so their values were nil, and when I tried to call a comparison against the nil I got the “comparison of Fixnum with nil failed.” Makes sense, and way easier than some of the stuff that I had considered. But, a couple of hours forever lost because I did not keep up with my testing. Lesson learned. Again:)

If you have better ways to test or debug, I would love to hear them.


Posting code in

OK, this is very easy, and this not is pretty much just for me. Here is how you do it:

1) Switch to HTML view (not Visual view) on New Post

2) Add your code with


You will end up with something like this:


Which WordPress then formats to something like this:

var me = User.first
me.middle_name = awesome

More information is available from the WordPress “Posting Source Code” page.

Happy blogging (and coding).


RailsCast 258 Token Fields bug with Rails 3.1

Ryan Bates does a great RailsCast (as usual) of the jQuery TokenInput plugin from loopj. I had been able to get this plugin working in earlier versions of Rails/jQuery, but when I tried to integrate the plugin into my Rails 3.1 app I kept getting this error:

Uncaught TypeError: Object function (a,b){return new c.fn.init(a,b)} has no method ‘type’

I am not really sure what caused this error, and I could not find any information about the error on the web. I spent a couple of hours (ok, more like 6) fiddling with different things and comparing the working version to the non-working version. I was getting ready to throw it all out and try to proceed with Chosen from Harvest, but I decided instead to try the old “just delete the offending code” trick. So, I replaced this code online 139:

if($.type(url_or_data) === “string” || $.type(url_or_data) === “function”) {

With this code:

 if(true) {//$.type(url_or_data) === “string” || $.type(url_or_data) === “function”

I am sure that this will blow something up at some point, but for now this works like a charm. If anybody has the proper way to do this, please post it in the comments (and I will update the post accordingly).



Audio Post


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.