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I have your role. Here's what keeps me busy:

1. Writing the copy for the website. Mainly keeping the support documents up-to-date.

2. Doing all the business related tasks.

3. Doing all the customer service.

4. Handling all incoming e-mail.

5. Doing all of the social networking stuff (facebook, twitter).

6. Doing all of our marketing. Handling Google AdWords, banner advertising, text advertising, etc.

7. Dealing exclusively with our accountant.

8. Tracking all of our expenses, etc., into Excel and getting everything ready for accountant (see 7).

9. Handling all legal work with our lawyer.

10. Doing all of our networking. I'm the guy that goes to all of our relevant events.

11. We all come up with ideas for product development.

12. Blogging. I do all the blogging.

13. Handling payroll. I do that.

14. Dealing with the bank accounts. I deal directly with the small business rep at our bank.

15. Market research. I find out as much as I can about our competitors, what they do, etc. I also learn about our market as a whole.

16. Handling all incoming advertising requests, setting up their campaigns, etc.

17. Dealing directly with all our merchants (credit cards + PayPal). Dealing with the very few chargebacks we receive.

18. Paying all of our bills (server expenses, software licenses, domains, advertising, etc.) and monitoring our cash flow.

19. Pitching. I handle all of that.

20. Anything that requires a phone call. Incoming or outgoing.

...and many other tasks as they crop up. For example, I'm the point person on setting up our new office.

My job is a lot more "flexible" so I can deal with things as they arise and take the lead. Whereas my partners (one is a designer and one is a coder) usually have to stay on task so they're not distracted. For example, we're setting up a new office as I mentioned above and it's just not feasible for either to spend time dealing with that in the middle of production. I, however, can do that.




I worked as a one-man software consultant, and you have no idea how much I wanted a second version of me to do all of this stuff. There are a lot of unavoidable little tasks that don't necessarily require writing code but do require care and attention.

Rest assured that, even if you don't end up spending 60+ hours per week doing all of this stuff, your partners are not just humoring you when they claim to be grateful that you're doing all of this.

The worst thing about many of these tasks is that they tend to be asynchronous. A lot of them need to be done during business hours, a lot of them involve phone tag or email tag, and even if a given task takes only ten minutes it can be enough to break your flow for an hour. So even if you only do 20 hours of work per week, you are saving some coder from losing more than 20 hours of productive work per week.


THIS is very helpful. Thanks a lot for providing insight into how you spend your time. Scott currently does a lot of our accounting and Nick has been handling feedback, but that's all sort of shifting as each task is taking more and more time. I really should re-write the our user's and quickstart guide, which have been languishing. They're not used that much, but it could be because they are so poorly designed and updated.


My co-founder does all of this, and I am eternally grateful to him for it, because it's stuff I hate and would be awful at. Even if he worked less than me, which he definitely doesn't, keeping my schedule and mind free of these worries would be worth it.


i'm a little late to this discussion but i think it's an interesting topic worthy of chiming in.

this laundry list of tasks gives a good overview of all the things that _could_ be done.

another way to think about it is to ask, what are the most important things i need to do right now to move the business forward?

new business propositions are all based on a set of assumptions that each need to be verified in order for the venture to succeed. as the business guy on the team, my tasks at a given point in time are a function of what the team is doing currently to validate a particular assumption or hypothesis.

for example, in order for us to move forward, we need to validate whether users will buy into our value proposition. we've already done a fair amount of ethnographic studies, user interviews, and paper prototyping to inform product decisions pre-development. the only way to validate our hypothesis now is to actually develop and release our product to a small set of users.

my tasks, then, are to tackle all problems in the path of achieving the goal of developing and releasing our product to a small set of users.

so, my personal laundry list (in order of priority & 'bang for buck') is:

1) research XYZ APIs and terms of service //our product users a bunch of different APIs so i need to make sure what we're doing is legal and technically feasible before i incorporate it into the spec—otherwise, my team is going to have to waste time figuring it out themselves

2) complete functional spec and designs of features ABC //i try to remove as much ambiguity from the spec as possible so my team doesn't spend time disambiguating feature requests

3) get an office space //although we've been working remotely, we all agree we'd be much more productive if we had a shared work space we can commit to day in and day out. we estimated that we'd get an extra hour of productivity per day by working together, which justifies putting this high on the priority list

i hope that helps.


I pretty much do all of this stuff and I'm also the main coder. It changes day to day which I enjoy more, though...




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