Bootstrapping: Building a Business Funded by Revenue

by Greg Cangialosi on December 6, 2009

I recently had the opportunity to speak at this years Web 2.0 Expo in NYC. I was part of the Web2Open sessions that were organized by the Podcamp Foundation (Hats off to Whitney Hoffman), and in traditional “unconference” fashion, those of us who were asked to speak could do so on any topic we wanted.

The theme of this year’s Web 2.0 Expo was “The power of less,” and with that in mind I took this opportunity to do something I’ve been wanting to do for a while, get back to my roots and start talking about my experiences with entrepreneurship, starting a business, bootstrapping, and all of the lessons I have learned along the way…. so far. The Web 2.0 Expo theme was a perfect fit to “beta” a presentation I dubbed: “Bootstrapping: Building a Business Funded by Revenue.”

The Web 2.0 talk was the first step in developing a series of posts and presentations that I will be focused on throughout 2010. Though my story is still very much “in progress,” I have started several businesses, and have been building my most recent company, Blue Sky Factory, for almost 9 years. I’ve learned a wealth of lessons through my experiences building a business from the ground up with zero funding.

The Framework:

As mentioned earlier, the Web 2.0 talk was in “beta,’ as I am still very much flushing out the various topics and segments I would like to cover. As I have been thinking through things, there have been three main topic areas that seem to encompass the spirit of what I would like to talk about. They include the following:

1. Start-up Lessons

Just as it sounds, and what essentially encompasses most of the presentation below, there are oh so many start-up lessons to discuss, and every entrepreneur has their own. Sometimes, more often than not, they all have their own version of the same lesson. I plan on discussing several of the ones that I have experienced and have processed.

2. Building a team

At the end of the day, any good entrepreneur will tell you their company is only as good as its people. It is so true. Over the last 9 years there have been many different people who have joined my company, and each one of them play a key role in our operation. I plan on talking about building teams who are aligned, motivated and constantly executing.

3. Managing growth

It is often said that managing growth is simply the act of trading one set of problems or challenges for the next. There is a lot to be said for that statement. Growth isn’t easy, but if you find yourself managing it, then you are doing something right! There are a several “stages’ of growth to be discussed in a variety of topics (team, technology, infrastructure, finance, sales, etc).

Below, are the slides from the Web 2.0 talk, which tend to focus mostly on the first topic of “start-up lessons.” I would love to hear your input, or questions in the comments below. I will be continuing on this topic organically, and hope to begin to drill down on the high level topics listed above shortly.

Bootstrapping: Building A Business Built By Revenue

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Niccolo Favari December 6, 2009 at 9:45 am

Nice stuff. I think I'm going to learn something about building and managing a team, as of right now I'm doing it all alone.

Fact is that I don't want to have scalability, I want to have performance.

Like Kastner said on Twitter (http://twitter.com/kastner/status/6213493845):
performance: 9 women can't make 1 baby in 1 month.
scalability: 9 women CAN make 9 babies in 9 months.

When I worked with a friend of mine, in my studio, we were doing scalability stuff. So it has to do with building "and managing" a team the correct way. And I'm doing it wrong.


Mike Subelsky December 8, 2009 at 7:17 pm

Hey Greg, this is pretty tantalizing. Would you want to give a version of this at Ignite Baltimore #5 on 3/4/10?


Greg Cangialosi December 8, 2009 at 8:45 pm

@niccolo thanks for reading, I appreciate it. best of luck with your new venture! Send pix of that new studio in Italy!

@mike – wow interesting concept. I wonder if I could wrap up something like this in 5 minutes :-) I think I could do it. whats involved? Ping me via email. thanks!



Gordon February 9, 2010 at 2:51 pm

maybe you could narrow down an Ignite presentation to team building in Baltimore


Arsham Mirshah April 23, 2011 at 7:42 pm

Love the presentation Greg.. last slide is the best: "Start now, Recessions Rock"

Couldn't agree more.


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