Ever see a movie you thought was so damn good you want everyone you know to see it? I just did, only it wasn’t a drama, or reality TV: it was David Heinemeier Hansson (aka DHH) giving a presentation at Y Combinator’s Startup School this past weekend on The Secret to Making Money Online.
No, DHH has not given up on 37signals and Rails to join the rancid ranks of Internet Marketing Mavens – he’s fired off a wake up call to all the startups in the world who’ve decided there’s nothing in between doing a open source project for free and creating some sort of insanely godzilla killer next Facebook app thing that it just has to be bought by Google, Yahoo or Microsoft for a billion dollars.
There is something in between, and it’s called a microISV.
You don’t need a billion dollar idea to launch a microISV like you do to get Venture Capital money to burn scale up; you just have to find a problem someone, anyone, will pay you to solve and work very, very hard. Because if you do the right things to find one customer, then you’ve probably done the right things to find or be found by thousands of customers.
I will warn the easily offended, VCs and those who think programming = vow of poverty this video contains profanity, common sense, a healthy respect for what making good money can do for you and a hell of a lot of great advice. Plan on watching it three times – it’s that good.


  1. +1. I totally agree. I watched it live, then once again after it was posted, then again after it was posted with the slides on omniso. Such a great video. It illustrates everything very nicely.

  2. Go here http://www.omnisio.com/startupschool08 and watch Greg McAdoo’s talk. It was the one that immediately preceded DHH’s. The contrast could not have been more stark.
    I wish I could describe what it was like being there. All morning it had been VC-this and lawyer-that and then DHH blew it up. It was refreshing and energizing.

  3. So worth the 30 minute investment! I’m bookmarking this speech and keeping it for motivation for those days where I need a kick in the ass to get going again. Thank you for posting his speech!

  4. Wonderful talk! Inspiring, confidence building, and funny. Finding one person to pay you first is spot on.

  5. this was the a very exciting talk and the 37Signals folks have been hammering on the point all week on their blog, at least a post a day exploring some variation of the topic. I posted a few videos with DHH immediately following his talk and he makes some great points: http://www.mistone.net

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