VAT MOSS

Ghost announced it will be moving its company headquarters to Singapore. John O’Nolan one of the founders said, “we’ve wasted tens of thousands of dollars and months of development time [on VAT MOSS] when we should have been making the products we set out to build”.

In the latest issue of The business of Digital Products, Rachel Andrew, a founder of Perch, said that her experience mirrors Johns.

“At the time we became aware of the full implications of the legislation we had an almost ready to ship marketplace for Perch Addons. It still hasn’t launched, partly because our time was burned up getting ourselves ready for VAT MOSS and partly because we would need to make sure that we coped with the situation for anyone selling through our system.”, Rachel said.

The tax situation in America on software companies is unclear as well. I work for a distributed company and I had the task of building out our online store. Anywhere we have a presence, an employee, we have to charge tax. Then it depends on the state on how its charged, some are charged based on county inside the state, others are just the entire state. Not to mention the big confusion around if SaaS apps should charge taxes–most don’t but probably should be. If you’d like to find out more about American software taxes a good place to start is this post on Nexus by Ian Landsman.

The moral of the story. Hire an accountant and pray you don’t get audited.

Business is not a popularity contest

In the book The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau, he interviews a lot of entrepreneurs and shares insights in how each one got their start. One interview that I found inspiring is with Naomi Dunford and here is what she said about business:

Remember that the goal of business is profit. It’s not being liked, or having a huge social media presence, or having amazing products that nobody buys. It is not having a beautiful website, or perfectly crafted email newsletters, or an incredibly popular blog. In larger businesses, this is called accountability to shareholders. Business is not a popularity contest.

It’s easy to look at others followers, retweets, and shares and compare ourselves, but when it’s related to business none of that matters. Sure it helps, but it isn’t the goal. The goal is profit.

Newsletters

Before we continue I think it’s important to define what type of newsletter I’m going to be talking about. There are basically two styles of newsletters, one with exclusive content, and another that is just an update telling you to go read this. Basically, email as notifications instead of RSS.

For this post, I’m talking about the former. Newsletters with exclusive content and it seems like over the last year that style has really taken off. But does it make sense for you to do that?

Continue reading Newsletters

The iPad Decline

Apple reported sales of iPads declined 25% during the last quarter and pundit’s everywhere are screaming the sky is falling.

No one can predict the future and all we have to go on is what is here and now. As an Apple fanboy here is my reason for the decline of iPad sales.

Toward the end of last year, Apple released the iPhone 6s and 6s plus and before the announcement I had been debating between getting a new phone or an iPad. I already had a phone and I didn’t need a new one so I leaned heavily toward the iPad, but the more I thought about it the more I came back to thinking the phone was the right choice.

I made up my mind and purchased a 6s plus. What pushed me toward it was the better camera. (My iPhone is my only camera) It’s always with me and it has cell service.

After using the new phone for a month, I knew I had made the right decision. The screen is smaller than the iPad mini but I can still do everything on it that I could with an iPad. I watch TV, read books, write blog posts, edit images, everything but software development, which you can’t really do on the iPad either.

The only thing I’ve found lacking is some professional apps are iPad only but I can’t fault Apple for that. I’m sure the developers had good reasons to only support the one device.

At the end of the day, iPad sales are declining because of the bigger screen on the iPhone plus model.

Time is Money

When you first start out as a developer you find a problem and build a solution. This is how you learn and progress.

As you become older your outlook changes and you’d rather pay money to save time. Of course, you could still build it, but eventually, you hit a tipping point.

Developers are some of the worst offenders of this problem. We have a problem and spend lots of hours building or own version when we could become typical consumers.

To give a real world example of this, I decided to create a weekly newsletter and instead of paying monthly for a service I did it all myself.

After a few months, I realized I was spending close to five hours a week just getting it ready to send. I then switched to a paid service and it cut my time down tremendously. I could then spend the hours saved on more important things.

Show Your Work

They say reading at night is good for you. It’s relaxing and gets your body ready for sleep. Typically I would agree but not with Show Your Work by Austin Kleon.

It was 10 pm, I was tired, ready for bed, and I assumed reading the first chapter would put me right to sleep. I was wrong. I ended up reading almost the whole book and then couldn’t sleep for another few hours with ideas racing in my head. Finally, was able to fall asleep around 2 am and wasn’t excited about waking up the following morning.

I’ve always been the type of person that enjoys sharing things. That is the reason this site exists and all my other side projects are around this same notion. Even though I share a lot at times I hit that burnout point and Show Your Work happened to be the right book at the right time for me. It helped put clarity and perspective to the things I want to do.

The book is fairly short, around 200 pages, and is a quick read. Here is the list of chapters to give you an idea what it covers:

  1. You don’t have to be a genius.
  2. Think process, not product.
  3. Share something small every day.
  4. Open up your cabinet of curiosities.
  5. Tell good stories.
  6. Teach what you know.
  7. Don’t turn into human spam.
  8. Learn to take a punch.
  9. Sell out.
  10. Stick around.

If you decide to get this book I would recommend the paperback version. It’s small in size at 6×6 but it’s high quality and has lots of little drawing and quotes included like this one.

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Be An Amateur

In the past, I’ve been hesitant to share what I’ve been working on for fear I’ll never finish it. Of course, all the other fears too, like being exposed as an amateur and mocked off the internet. Austin covers all of these excuses and more.

Which brings me to one of my favorite quotes from the book about dealing with people hating your work:

Sometimes when people hate something about your work, it’s fun to push that element even further. To make something they’d hate even more.

If you have the desire to get your work seen, improve your marketing, or just want a nice book to add to your collection pick up a copy. I enjoyed it.