Inspirational Business Quotes From the Business of Software Conference
Posted on by Zuly GonzalezCategories Business of Software, Events, Fun Friday, Startups2 Comments on Inspirational Business Quotes From the Business of Software Conference

In my second Fun Friday post, I’m going to share with you the top 11 business quotes from the 2010 Business of Software conference (BoS2010).

I attended the Business of Software conference this year, and highly recommend it. The conference was jam-packed full of insights for software startups, and was truly an inspirational event.

Top 11 Business Quotes From BoS2010

Be so good they can’t ignore you.” ~ Peldi Guilizzoni

Peldi of Balsamiq BoS2010 Quote: Be so good they can’t ignore you
Image credit: Betsy Weber

Fall in love with the problem, not with your solution.” ~ Peldi Guilizzoni

Peldi of Balsamiq BoS2010 Quote: Fall in love with the problem, not with your solution
Image credit: Betsy Weber

Brand is what people say about you after you’ve left the room.” ~ Dharmesh Shah

Dharmesh Shah BoS2010 Quote: Brand is what people say about you after you’ve left the room
Image credit: Betsy Weber

Don’t make customers happy. Make happy customers.” ~ Dharmesh Shah

Dharmesh Shah BoS2010 Quote: Don’t make customers happy. Make happy customers
Image credit: Betsy Weber

Improve the product experience, and everybody wins.” ~ Dharmesh Shah

Dharmesh Shah BoS2010 Quote: Improve the experience, and everybody wins
Image credit: Betsy Weber

Don’t make ___(marketing)___ software. Make ___(marketing)___ superstars.” ~ Dharmesh Shah

Dharmesh Shah BoS2010 Quote: Don’t make __software. Make __ superstars
Image credit: Betsy Weber

Services are low margin. Except when they’re not.” ~ Dharmesh Shah

Dharmesh Shah BoS2010 Quote: Services are low margin. Except when they’re not
Image credit: Betsy Weber

Give more than you take.” ~ Patrick Foley

Patrick Foley BoS2010 Quote: Give more than you take
Image credit: Betsy Weber

The hard part of feature design…what to leave out.” ~ Dan Bricklin

Dan Bricklin BoS2010 Quote: The hard part of feature design…what to leave out
Image credit: Betsy Weber

If you want to be different, you must be willing to embrace your negatives.” ~ Youngme Moon

Youngme Moon BoS2010 Quote: If you want to be different, you must be willing to embrace your negatives
Image credit: Betsy Weber

Competence is no longer a scarce commodity.” ~ Seth Godin

Seth Godin BoS2010 Quote: Competence is no longer a scarce commodity
Image credit: Mark Littlewood

What Is Fun Friday?

I created the Fun Friday category to be a collection of very short, and easy to read, posts. The intention is to provide useful information in a compact form factor. These posts will showcase short videos, graphs, top 10 lists, and anything else that can be digested quickly.

Now it’s your turn. What other meaningful business quotes have inspired you?

“The hard part of feature design…what to leave out.” ~ Dan Bricklin
Citibank Email Phishing Scam Targets Federal Government Employees
Posted on by Zuly GonzalezCategories Security, Web SecurityLeave a comment on Citibank Email Phishing Scam Targets Federal Government Employees

I received the below email phishing scam spoofing Citibank. Along with running Light Point Security, I’m also a government employee.

Citibank Phishing Email Scam Linking to Malicious

The subject of the Citibank email scam is “Message ID: 72195”. As soon as I saw that subject line, I knew it was a scam, because it’s too generic. I wanted to get more information about this phishing scam, so I opened the email using Light Point Web to avoid downloading any malware.

The email says it is from “Citibank – Service” and the email address associated with that account is The body of the email message says, “You have received an urgent system message from the Citibank Department. To read your message, please, go to your account immediately.” You’d think that for such an urgent message they would have taken the time to provide a more descriptive subject line.

The link in the scam email points to the Romanian domain

Citibank Email Phishing Scam Malicious Domain

The Norton site rating for identified 4 identity threats on the phishing site. Norton defines identity threats as items such as spyware or keyloggers that attempt to steal personal information from your computer.

Norton Rating For Malicious Domain of the Citibank Phishing Email Scam

How to Protect Yourself From Phishing Scams

Here are 4 things you can do to protect your identity, and personal information, from malicious phishing email scams.

  • If you receive an email message claiming to be from Citi, or Citibank, with the subject line Message ID: [set of two numbers here], do not open it, and delete it right away.
  • If you receive an email message from Citi, or Citibank, and are not sure if it’s a legitimate message, call Citi to confirm the email. Your account has a log of the email messages Citi has sent you. The Citi representative can tell you if they’ve sent you any recent emails. Citi’s 24 hour customer service number is 1-866-670-6462.
  • If you mistakenly open the email message, and it states that you need to check your Citi messages, or inbox, open up a new browser window and login directly to your Citi account. Never click on a link in these email messages. If after logging in to your online account, you don’t have any recent messages from Citi, you can be sure the email you received is a phishing scam. Delete it immediately.
  • If there is a link in an email message you are unsure about, hover over the link and look at what the status bar tells you. If the URL shown in the status bar isn’t for the website you’re expecting, it’s likely a phishing scam. In this Citibank scam email the link points to the website, not a legitimate Citi website. Note that the scammers tried to make it look like a legitimate Citi website by including citibankcom as part of the URL. Also notice the strange http-like characters at the beginning of the URL.

Malicious Citibank Email Phishing Scam Expanded Domain With Explanation

Citi will never ask you for your password, or to update personal information via email. If you receive a suspicious email claiming to be from Citi, or Citbank, forward it to

Have you received similar phishing emails claiming to be from Citi? Let us know.

What Startups Should Worry About: Peldi Guilizzoni’s 2010 Business of Software Conference Presentation
Posted on by Zuly GonzalezCategories Business of Software, Events, Startups2 Comments on What Startups Should Worry About: Peldi Guilizzoni’s 2010 Business of Software Conference Presentation

This post is part of a series of posts from the 2010 Business of Software conference (BoS2010). For a summary of the conference, and an index to the other presentations, click here.

Peldi’s 2010 Business of Software presentation: “Do Worry… Be Happy!” – One thing they don’t tell you about quitting your job to become a startup CEO is how much you’re going to worry about things.

Peldi Guilizzoni & Zuly Gonzalez at BoS2010

Peldi was my favorite BoS2010 presenter. He started off with a really cool Bobby McFerrin video, and kept the energy going all the way to the end. His presentation was candid, and very inspiring. I hope they post Peldi’s presentation online, because there is no way I can do it justice here.

After his presentation, I had the opportunity to talk to Peldi. He’s such a nice guy! He’s very humble, and someone you can easily relate to. He’s the type of guy you want to succeed.

What Startup Owners Worry About

What do startup owners worry about? Everything! What should startup owners worry about? Well, not everything.

It’s actually really hard to choose to ignore certain threats, but it’s crucial for your business’s success. Deciding what’s worth worrying about is not an easy task, and can seem daunting at times – but it’s a necessary skill to learn. And even more important than learning to decide which concerns are worth worrying about, is learning to cope, and live with, the uncomfortable emotions that result from trying to ignore these lesser important issues.

In his 2010 Business of Software presentation, Peldi shares some of the issues that concern him, and discusses which ones are worth worrying about, and which ones are not. Peldi also shares some tips to overcome, and deal with, those fears.

Why You Should Listen to Peldi

Why should you listen to Peldi? Well just take a look at his revenue chart below. $2M in just 27 months! I’d say he knows a thing or two about running a successful software business.

Peldi Guilizzoni's Balsamiq Revenue Chart at BoS2010
Image credit: Mark Littlewood

What Startup Owners Should Not Worry About

Peldi started off by discussing three common fears startup owners worry about, but shouldn’t.

Asking customers to pay for your product. We have been paying for products since the beginning of time – I want something you have, so I’ll trade you for something you want (usually cash). But, for some reason we have this weird aversion towards paying for software. (Side note: I’m not totally sure why that is, but I suspect it has something to do with the internet being “free”, and the wide abundance of free software you can find online these days. My guess is that pre-internet it wasn’t so hard to imagine someone paying cash for a piece of software.)

So, don’t worry about asking customers to pay for your product – it’s a basic concept. And in general, if you have a decent product, people will pay for it. HubSpot co-founder, Dharmesh Shah, and other startup experts, suggest you start charging for your product as soon as possible, because you get way better feedback from paying customers.

Not having enough time. There will never be enough hours in the day to accomplish everything you need to. We all have this problem, and it’s one that will never go away, but worrying about it will only make things worse – and take your time away from working on real issues. Prioritize your tasks, and complete the most important ones first. The rest can wait until tomorrow.

Pirates. Software pirates that is…not the ones off the coast of Somalia. You’ll never have 100% guarantee that no one will steal your software. You can take steps to prevent most people from doing so, but you’ll be hard pressed to stop a really determined individual. Plus this is becoming more of a non-issue these days with the movement towards SaaS. The little bit of money you will lose from software pirates is not worth the time spent trying to stop them. Don’t worry about it, take it as a compliment, and move on.


Peldi Guilizzoni Discussing Software Pirates at BoS2010
Image credit: ©John M. P. Knox

Common Startup Fears

When to quit your full-time job. After working on his wireframing tool part-time for several months, Peldi decided to take a leap of faith, and quit his job at Adobe. This was before his company was profitable. Making this decision is not an easy one, and will vary from person to person. There are a lot of things you need to consider, such as:

  • How much savings you have
  • Who else this decision will impact (do you have kids, a wife/husband, or other dependents)
  • Your risk tolerance
  • How far away your startup is to profitability
  • The likelihood of success

Having competition. You should embrace your competition. Competition is a validation of your market, and your idea. If there is no competition maybe that means there is also no market to be had. In fact, you want to create something so good that people will want to copy it. You can also learn from your competition’s mistakes to make your product even better.

Building the wrong product. What if no one wants to buy your product? That’s a reasonable fear to have. It’s important to be flexible, and realize that your final product may not look anything like your initial vision. The key is to fall in love with the problem, not the solution. Listen to your customers, and modify your product if necessary. In the beginning, customer feedback is far more important than money, because it allows you to shape your product into something that the masses will want, and pay for.

Work/Life balance. You can’t spend every waking moment working on your business, and ignore your family in the process. You need a good balance that works for you, and your family. After all, they’re probably the reason why you’re doing this. Peldi’s strategy is to work while his family is sleeping, so they won’t know that he’s ignoring them.

Not being noticed. These days everyone wants to get on TechCrunch, or on the front page of Digg. The trick is to be so remarkable you can’t be ignored. Getting noticed is great – it’s what you want. But be careful what you wish for, it can also be a bad thing if you’re not prepared.

Picking a niche that is too small. A small market can be a good thing for a startup, because it is much easier to lead. Peldi gave the example of Bingo Card Creator – a very small market. Seriously, when was the last time you had to create your own Bingo cards?…When was the last time you played Bingo? Although it’s a tiny niche, Patrick McKenzie (a BoS2010 Lightning Talk speaker) is making it work. And so can you.

Peldi Guilizzoni discusses small niches at BoS2010
Image credit: Betsy Weber

Finding advisors/mentors. Peldi has no formal method for finding advisors. The most important thing is to be yourself. The best advisor is one who you feel comfortable with, and can trust. It does you no good to have the top expert in your field (better known as Frank to those of us who attended BoS2010) as an advisor, if you can’t feel comfortable enough with him to discuss all of your business problems in excruciating detail. So look for someone you click with – someone who would be your friend even without the expertise.

Learning. Peldi suggests you read as much as you can. Especially before you start your venture, because you’ll be too busy to read after you’ve started. Peldi highly recommends you read You Need To Be a Little Crazy: The Truth About Starting and Growing Your Business. The book details all the horrible things that can go wrong while running a business. Peldi says it’ll scare you more than anything. However, if you still decide to pursue your venture after reading it, not only are you truly committed to the idea, but you will also be ready for the troubles that lay ahead.

Dealing with the business side. Most software startup owners are technical people. We are good at what we do technically, but we have no previous business experience. Developing a great product isn’t enough to succeed, you also need business brilliance. Most of us have never worked with accountants or lawyers in the past, dealt with payroll or EULAs, or heard of terms such as accrual versus cash or NAICS codes. Peldi says you need to fake it. Pretend you have expensive lawyers and accountants behind you. Pretend you are the CEO of more than a one-man startup. Always say ‘we’ instead of ‘I’, even if it is just you.

Feeling like a fraud. Peldi has been extremely successful with Balsamiq, yet he doesn’t feel he is at the same level as the other BoS2010 speakers. Feeling like a fraud is not all that uncommon among successful startup owners. In fact, research shows that 40% of successful people consider themselves frauds, and 70% of all people feel like fakes at one time or another. It’s fine to have these thoughts. The trick is to use these thoughts to improve your product. Don’t let them take over you, and destroy your business. Talk to an advisor, or other people you trust, about your fear – they will help you.

Raising capital. This isn’t always necessary, especially for software startups which require very little capital to get started. One option is to retain your full-time job, and work on your venture part-time until it takes off. Another option is to use your savings to fund your startup. Unless you are looking to be the next Facebook, don’t worry about raising capital, make due with what you can easily get.

When should you start hiring. It’s important you don’t hire employees too early. You could end up in a situation where you don’t have enough work for them, but are still paying them just the same. Peldi waited a long time before hiring his first employee. His suggestion is to “wait until you are about to die” before hiring someone.

Forgetting something important. A great way to remember things is to write them down. Peldi chooses to blog. Blogging is a way to record what you’ve done, what you want to do, and ask for feedback from your customers/readers. A side benefit of blogging is its marketing effect. Blogging shows your human side, and hopefully your personality will shine through. People rather buy from people than companies.

Creating a business plan. Writing a business plan is a good way to organize your thoughts, and really think about the viability of your business idea. However, it’s not something you should obsess over. The truth is that nobody reads business plans anyway. It’s a must have if you are looking for investors, but don’t fool yourself into believing that they will actually read the whole thing. And when an investor does look at it, he is just looking for all the reasons why he shouldn’t do business with you. Investors also know that the financial projections in your business plan are completely unrealistic. So write a trimmed down version for yourself, and move on.

Key Takeaway From Peldi’s BoS2010 Presentation

As you run your business, you will worry about almost everything, however, not everything is worth worrying about. Only worry about the important things – the rest will eventually work itself out.

Fun Facts About Peldi

I learned a couple of things about Peldi during his talk:

Memorable Quotes

Some memorable quotes from Peldi’s BoS2010 presentation:

  • “Be so good they can’t ignore you.”
  • “Fall in love with the problem, not the solution.”
  • “Create something so good people will want to copy it.”
  • “If you work while they [your family] sleep, they won’t know you’re ignoring them.”

More on Peldi Guilizzoni

Peldi Guilizzoni of Balsamiq at the 2010 Business of Software conference
Image credit: ©John M. P. Knox

Giacomo ‘Peldi’ Guilizzoni is the founder and CEO of Balsamiq, makers of Balsamiq Mockups, a wireframing tool for programmers, UX experts, and even business types. Balsamiq has been a bit of a poster child for a new wave of tiny but ambitious bootstrapped tech startups, netting over $1.6M in sales in the first 18 months of operation and gathering rave reviews. Peldi is a champion of the “radical transparency” trend that’s sweeping the Internet, through his posts on the Balsamiq blog.

You can find Peldi’s personal blog here, and his Balsamiq product blog here.

Follow Peldi on Twitter here.

What are your thoughts on Peldi’s presentation? If you attended BoS2010, did I miss an important point? What was your favorite part of Peldi’s presentation? What was your key takeaway from his talk?