Techzing 34 – Central Desktop / Relentless Execution

Justin and Jason speak with Central Desktop founders Isaac Garcia and Arnulf Hsu about how they built a successful SaaS business and the lessons they learned along the way. Some of their advice includes: speak with your customers early and often, get to know their pain points and solve them, launch early and iterate, ignore the competition, work hard, stay focused and remember that it’s all about execution.

23 Comments
  1. Samh says:

    Awesome interview.

  2. Bopinder Abu Morpalinder Singh says:

    I am in awe of these guys. Bops likes.

  3. Bopinder Abu Morpalinder Singh says:

    Would really like to hear about how they found the PR person.

  4. Bopinder Abu Morpalinder Singh says:

    One other thing I would have liked to hear more about in detail wrt PR and advertising: what did the PR person do for them and what do they do now wrt advertising?

  5. Jason says:

    If any of you have additional questions for Isaac and Arnulf, then please list them in the comments and if we get enough I’ll see if we can get them back for a follow-up interview. My guess is that they probably wouldn’t mind, so fire away!

    By the way, I apologize that my audio sucked so bad, but Justin and I are on the case and I’m looking into switching from DSL to another option.

  6. Justin says:

    @Bopinder Abu Morpalinder Singh I totally agree about the PR stuff. I would love to hear more about that. We will ask ’em. maybe we should even consider interviewing a tech start-up PR specialist….

  7. Bopinder Abu Morpalinder Singh says:

    Justin, that would be freaking awesome. All of that is such a mystery to me and reading books gets me even more confused. It would be FRIGGIN awesome if the CD guys would spare some time to come back and cover those kinds of topics. It’s really hard to find guys like that. Great, great interview.

  8. Hey guys,

    That was one of the best shows I’ve listened to. I agree with Bop and think that interviewing someone from the PR or Sales side of a startup would be very enlightening to technologists.

    I have a question for Isaac and Arnulf, but it could also apply to Justin and Jason’s startups. How much time and effort did you guys put into creating a formal business plan? Did you do lots of market research first and plan things like pricing, how you were going to market your product etc… BEFORE you started coding – or did it all come together as you went along?

  9. I’ve listen to at least 20 of the 34 shows and I have to say this was my favorite. Great job guys.

  10. Jason says:

    @Eddy Seager Good question about the market research and business plan. If we can get maybe 8 to 10 quality questions, then I’ll contact Isaac and Arnulf about doing a follow-up.

  11. Jason says:

    @Joe Cannatti Yeah, I had a feeling that Isaac and Arnulf would be a hit. 😉 They’re smart guys and they know what they’re talking about it.

  12. Jim robert says:

    Hey guys just wanted to say, I’ve been listening since ep3 or 4 and that your podcast really makes me want to keep pushing on my startup! Thanks for the motivation and keep it up!

  13. Jason says:

    @Jim robert Thanks for the positive feedback! Comments like yours are what make Justin and I want to keep pushing on the podcast. 😉

  14. Bopinder Abu Morpalinder Singh says:

    Well Bops is not going to pass up this chance. All questions are for pre-10K/month period:

    * How much did adwords contribute?
    * What kind of words did you use? “Project management”?
    * Examples of non-adwords marketing (please tell me there are lots!)
    ** For example, slashdot… How did you manage that? I looked up your postings, they were all from “anonymous”. A specific example here would be very, very helpful.
    * How big was your startup cushion (in years of savings?)
    * How many competitors did you have?

    I suspect you don’t need another podcast but perhaps an email to them would suffice. Hope you don’t mind if Bops comes back and asks some more after listening to the podcast again.

  15. Bopinder Abu Morpalinder Singh says:

    Oh and Justin, please say my name again on the podcast, I love how you say it.

  16. Emrah says:

    Thanks guys, awesome interview! It’s great to hear stories from the trenches. But please try to resist the urge to interview mainstream people. They are everywhere already, give the new faces a chance to tell their stories.

  17. Jason says:

    @Emrah Yep, we’ll keep that in mind. I think we have some good interviews coming up, so stay tuned!

  18. Hi guys. I very much enjoyed the interview. It was interesting to hear how much passion Isaac and Arnulf have, and how they patiently invested and put in a lot of hard work in growing their business. When Justin mentioned he was only trying to grow enough revenue to sustain a business and focus on what he liked to work on, this resonated with me too in terms of contrast with Central Desktop’s business plan. I guess it’s ok not to necessarily set out to grow a business to the point where it becomes quite large. In fact I wonder if this was Peldi who mentioned in an older show that he wanted to keep the business somewhat small so that it remains enjoyable and manageable.
    But it’s certainly useful to hear about the differences between the types and size of businesses.

    Another interesting comment was that for Central Desktop’s model, 10% revenue through an affiliate channel was the max they could probably get. They acknowledged that for a prosumer market this might be different. This could be another idea for a show as I am not sure how many folks understand the world of affiliate marketing in terms of how to make that work from a technical and business standpoint.

    Philippe (techarch)

  19. Emrah says:

    If you’d like to read about companies which chose to stay small, “Small Giants: Companies That Choose to Be Great Instead of Big” is a pretty good book that talks about the various consequences and realities of this decision.

  20. Ozzy (Bez) says:

    Well, I was savoring this episode, and rightly so!

    Fantastic, and this show really defines what’s best about TechZing — real guys, sharing insight and stories with no bullshit. Great.

    One of the main comments I loved was what Arnulf(or was it Issac?) said about not needing to be the “rockstar in the valley” and just focus on making a real business, like that ShareFile guy — well said.

    Thanks again & Keep up the great work! 🙂

  21. Ozzy (Bez) says:

    @Justin! $222.22? Wow, you going for a KnightHood rings over there? Nice :p

  22. Logan says:

    Great interview.

    Question for next time:

    What language(s) is Central Desktop coded in and what database and webserver does it use? Ever needed to change from one technology (db,server,coding lang) to another, why?

    Thanks alot

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