3 steps to a lean business
Friday, March 18, 2011 at 3:52PM
Angus Bradley

We’re entering Appsumo's Lean Startup competition, and they want to know how lean & cool we are, so we thought we'd share some tips.

Why did we create safedrop?

Angus was getting really narked at having to fire up gpg to send sensitive files over the net. And getting annoyed that legal folk were using legacy carbon heavy tools like motorcycle couriers and printers and CDRoms just to send files securely.

So we bootstrapped safedrop.com in early 2010, and had our first paying customer in August. We’re now in use with 5 of the UK’s largest councils, and our user base is growing at 10% a week. Councils (yes, the folk with the printers and couriers), are saving loads of money, carbon and time by using us. They’re also looking after their private data properly. Resellers are using us for secure file sending, and we stand a good chance of revolutionising the way banks accept documents.

Why is safedrop growing so fast?

Its simple. And it works. And getting things to be simple and work well is a lot harder than you think. try it.

Why are we lean?

With a small team and minimal funding, we’ve had to be focussed and lean.

3 steps to lean business

1 - Outsource all non core activity. Peer1 & Amazon host servers, Jam & Timeetc answer phones, Fuff do design work, Aims do accounts, secretaryinisrael do user testing, and we meet clients in coffee shops instead of a fancy office.

2 - work from home, save carbon, commuting and time‚Ä®. We work from home a lot. To make this work we use a chat application called campfire to provide a central chat space. Pivotaltracker keeps us all up to speed, with 2 weekly iterations keeping things tightly focussed, and ensure we release frequently and often.

3 - stand on the shoulders of giants. We did well choosing the pretty awesome Django framework, as a basis for our product. It provides loads of building blocks that keep development fast. PostmarkApp is amazing at just sending out mails. It looks after all the nasties, like bouncebacks, beautifully. I guess they’re not really giants, but they’ve sure saved us a lot of work!

Why are you cool?

Err. Mark tried to RFID tag a chicken once. And David gave up being an accountant?

Article originally appeared on safedrop - security, simplicity and lean business (http://blog.safedrop.com/).
See website for complete article licensing information.