How and Why to Create a Sleep Ritual

My first post on my personal blog was one where I pondered whether exercise is a requirement for sleep. The post was actually triggered by my inability to sleep, and I wrote it in the middle of the night. Since then, I have made a number of adjustments and I now sleep much better, so I’d like to share what I’ve changed. Why create a sleep ritual? As an early stage startup founder, I’ve found the emotional ups and downs to be incredible. In my experience so far in building Buffer, there have been many different events which have caused…

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Buffer’s June Investor Update: 7% MRR, Introducing Daily and More

June was a great month, here’s the latest: Traction update New users: 60,530 (Total: 1,598,049, from 1,537,519: +3.9%) Daily active users: 39,752 (up from 39,559: +0.5%) Monthly active users: 158,894 (down from 160,241: -0.8%) Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR): $303,000 (Annual: $3,636,000 up from $3,396,000: +7.0%) Cash in bank: $715,000 (last month: $653,000) Team size: 25 people across 5 continents We’ve been super happy to keep up consistent MRR growth, with 7% growth again this month. We also broke past $300k in MRR, which is a big milestone for us to reach. We’re excited to keep pushing forward here. The bank balance is also continuing to grow, which is very…

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The Habits of Successful People: They Disengage to Renew

I just booked a flight for a vacation to Cancún, Mexico, and it got me pondering the relationship between work and rest in a startup. One reason I’m building a startup is to gain control over many aspects of my life. I like to hack my productivity, and I’ve found I don’t necessarily thrive by following normal working hours or only working from an office. If you’re working on a startup or have aspirations to create one, I’m guessing you can relate. By experimenting with these concepts, I’ve found I can get more done. I find it particularly interesting to…

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Raising Funding as a First-Time Founder

When I meet with outstanding first-time entrepreneurs, I can really feel the passion and determination they have, and I know that if they will just continue there is every chance that eventually they will be very successful.

Often a topic that comes up in these conversations is the timing of raising funding as a first time founder. I’ve had entrepreneurs often talk to me with just an idea or a very early prototype with no traction and tell me that they want to raise funding. We closed our $450K seed round for Buffer at the end of 2011, and joining the dots looking back I can see that a number of things came together which enabled us to raise the round.

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What Are You Doing to Feel Uncomfortable?

I believe that when you’re building a startup, it is as much about developing yourself as it is about developing your startup.

Recently I’ve realised that “feeling uncomfortable” is just what I need.

Why is it a good thing to feel uncomfortable?

Seth Godin describes why we should feel uncomfortable using the following chart:

Godin argues that most people reach some comfortable “Local Max” and then stay there, because to jump to new heights almost always involves some discomfort:

“The problem is that to get to Big Max, you need to go through step C, which is a horrible and scary place to be.”

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The Habits of Successful People: They Work To Understand Context

I’ve had a few different experiences in my past that made me reach a big realisation. What I’ve discovered is that the context of any situation is very important.

Hiten Shah clearly already understands this very well. This Tweet from him is what tipped me over the edge to share some of my further thinking around context:

Why we should seek context at all times

“Seek first to understand, then to be understood” -Stephen R Covey

The above quote is Habit 5 of Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

I’ve read the book a couple of times, and I’ve read other content around the topic of gaining context, but it’s something which has only just “clicked” for me as to why it’s so important. Also, after now understanding the importance of context, I’ve found it to be very difficult to actually practice.

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Buffer May Update: $283k MRR; We’re Now a Team of 24

I’m excited to share the details for Buffer’s progress in May. If you want to read our update from April, you can take a look here. I’ll keep it short this month, just wanted to give you an update on our latest progress. Traction update • New users: 60,000 (Total: 1,537,000, from 1,477,000: +4.1%) • Daily active users: 40,000 (last month also 40,000) • Monthly active users: 156,000 (down from 157,000: -0.6%) • Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR): $283,000 (Annual: $3,396,000 up from $3,158,000: +7.5%) • Bookings revenue: $311,000 (Annual: $3,732,000 down from $4,128,000: -9.6%) • Cash in bank: $653,000 (last month: $585,000) • Team size: 24…

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I Have No Idea What I Am Doing

During the journey of building Buffer, I’ve had some truly fantastic moments. I’ve reached some defining milestones. New doors have opened for me, and it has been great.

Looking back to when I started Buffer, even though I had learned a lot from my past startup experiences, I truly didn’t know what I was doing and I approached everything with that mindset. I was out there to learn and I knew that the only way I was going to progress was to adopt a very open mind.

I’m writing this post because when I stray away from this mindset, I lose out as a result.

When success can lead you down the wrong path

I’ve been lucky enough to receive some great press and praise for Buffer. In addition to this, I’ve had some of my blog posts featured in great newsletters and some blogs I truly admire, and I’ve also had the opportunity to speak a few times about how I’ve achieved some success with Buffer.

This form of others directly or indirectly appreciating what I was doing, and a few reaching out to ask me for advice, set me off on a path which I can now say in hindsight is not where I want to be. I love to help others, and I will always do my best to share my own experience, but as soon as I took appreciation as a signal that I knew what I was doing, I had taken a wrong step.

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The Joys and Benefits of Working as a Distributed Team

Buffer is a fully distributed team. It’s a decision I had to make at the end of 2012, and it’s interesting to reflect on that decision now. I am happy to report that I am in love with the choice we made to be distributed all across the world.

When I say we’re a distributed team, I mean that we’re literally spread across the whole planet. Buffer is a team of 25 right now, and here are the locations of our team members.

Distributed Team map

6 reasons being distributed is so exciting

I think the distributed team discussion is often focused around the challenges. I wanted to share from our experience the fun side of being distributed, which I think far outweighs the challenges:

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The Power of Being Interested in Others

“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” – Dale Carnegie

Once in Hong Kong I took a trip to the barber, since my hair was getting a little long. It ended up being one of the most fascinating times I’ve had my hair cut.

The last few times I’ve been to this barber, they’ve always washed my hair in the sink before I’ve had my hair cut. The way they did it was to turn the chair around, tilt it back over the sink and then wash your hair while you lean back and rest your neck on the edge of the sink. The sink is clearly designed for this as it has a gap for your neck.

Interestingly though, this time the lady who washes my hair did it a different way. We were having the usual friendly chatter and she began to wash my hair, only I was still sat upright in the chair. I found this fascinating, so I asked her more about it. I said “This is a new method, isn’t it?” This simple question triggered a captivating conversation.

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