Lessons From Our Startup Garden

By Dan Stewart, CEO

Ideas Require Patience

Some things about me: I’m an entrepreneur.  I love solving problems.   I love tinkering.  I know myself and what I need to produce my best work.  I’m painfully honest.  (I also suck at some things.)

This means that I won’t blog just to blog.

I share this because it’s absolutely in my nature to have frenetic periods of creative productivity followed by empty, blank space.  I know that about myself.  I can feel big ideas germinating just below consciousness.  I water and wait, and then delight when I see fresh green shoots start to peek from the surface of my brain.

That’s where I’ve been lately.  Watering and waiting.

Which isn’t too painful because there’s plenty of heavy lifting to do around here.  Tasks to complete, pages to design, copy to write, promotions to plan, trips to make, metrics to examine, etc. etc.

Sharing is Good.

One of the best things about Happy Grasshopper is sharing this with my business partner, Celeste.

Aside from all her other kick ass abilities, she’s an amazing gardener.  We both grow idea-crops and paste them on the walls of our offices.  We have messy, put on your boots meetings, where we present and defend them.  We sling fertilizer all over each other and pull brilliance out of the other.

This passion is driving Happy Grasshopper.

For the past month, our garden has undergone a transformation.  We’ve been questioning where we planted.  Is there too much sun?  Not enough water?  We’re tweaking everything as we learn what thousands of new users are teaching us about our service.

Some of the key lessons:

Less is more. When we really nail an idea, we don’t need many words to share it.

People love easy. Hundreds of you tell us this every day, and not just in words.  You show it in how you use our website.

This is gonna be huge. We’ve advertised, we’ve blogged, we’ve been featured in Realtor Magazine, but NOTHING compares with the word-of-mouth we’re getting.

You’ll see the impact of these lessons throughout your Happy Grasshopper experience.  It starts on our website, where we’ve sent hundreds of extra words to an early grave.  It’s also evident in the Control Panel, where you load contacts, view/edit and approve each message.

The biggest change though, is in how we sign up customers.  You’ve shown us that advertising, although effective, can’t hold a candle to the word-of-mouth storm you’ve been whipping up.  We’re going to be introducing new ways to thank you for bringing the rain.

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