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Hack To Start
Episode 17

Dan Shipper

Co-founder of Firefly (acquired '14 by @Pega.) @Penn '14. Jets fan.

Listen to this episode on iTunes, Stitcher, & Google Music

Dan has been building products since he was in high school. He started blogging in his freshman year of college and has since attracted more than half a million readers. His writing has been featured in The New York Times, Business Insider, Inc Magazine and more.

Episode Overview

Dan Shipper is the co-founder of Firefly, a co-browsing solution for businesses. It was a completely bootstrapped project he started in college. Within the 11 months, they had generated $11,000. Firefly was acquired by Pegasystems in July 2014.

Dan has been building products since he was in high school. He started blogging in his freshman year of college and has since attracted more than half a million readers. His writing has been featured in The New York Times, Business Insider, Inc Magazine and more.


Some Of The Questions We Ask

1:01
Where are you from, what did you study and how did your passion for entrepreneurship start?

7:09
In 2012, you co-founded a company called Firefly while you were in college with Justin Meltzer. What is/was Firefly? Why did you start it?

9:23
You mention on your blog that you bootstrapped that company to 6 figures in recurring revenue - how did you achieve this?

10:34
How did you find your first major customers?

13:43
Within the first 11 months of starting Firefly, you had generated $11,000 in revenue and you mention knowing what your product is only after selling it - do you think more startups should just go out and sell their product from day 1?

17:15
Firefly was acquired by Pegasystems - why did you decide to sell and how did you make the acquisition happen?

19:06
Why did you decide to stay in school?

20:49
Why did you start blogging? How did you grow your audience?

22:17
What was the app and why didn't you end up joining Y Combinator?

24:34
Where do you think you’ll be in 10 years? What will you be doing?

25:03
What other cool apps, tools, or books are you obsessed with right now?


What You Learn In This Episode

  • How Dan and his co-founder created Firefly.
  • How creating a hypothesis about your target clients is a critical first step towards making sales.
  • Why selling from Day 1 is very important in order to get feedback.
  • How Dan's been able to create a blog that attracted more than half a million readers.
  • And more!

Here are some of the most important links and resources mentioned throughout the show.

Twitter Handles & Websites

Dan on Twitter
Dan on the Web
Pega on the Twitter
Tyler Copeland on Twitter
Franco Varriano on Twitter

Books & Apps

Explaining Social Behavior: More Nuts and Bolts for the Social Sciences
Microsoft Outlook

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