- What Happens at Y Combinator — a fascinating infomercial for Y Combinator, but it’s interesting despite the soft focus. Usually we advise startups to launch when they’ve built something with a quantum of utility—when they’ve built something sufficiently better than existing options that at least some users would say “I’m glad this appeared, because now I can finally do x.” If what you’ve built is a subset of existing technology at the same price, then users have no reason to try it, which means you don’t get to start the conversation with them. You need a quantum of utility to get a toehold.
- Going Freemium, One Year Later (MailChimp) — Throughout history, and across all the businesses he researched, the ratio of free-to-paid-subscribers ultimately ended up at the dismal ratio of 10:1. There were a lot of awesome presentations at that Freemium Summit. But this was the presentation (just this one slide, really) that stuck in my brain. (via Hacker News)
- Mifos — open source software for microfinance. (via msbehaviour on Twitter)
The Mifos Initiative is using open source software to serve the developing world.
Creating financial software for the developing world is tricky business. Variations between countries — and between the banks within those countries — make proprietary solutions unsustainable without massive investment. The Mifos Initiative has gone a different route: manage an open source project that lets banks customize software to meet their unique microlending needs.