Running a software business like a local restaurant

Written on May 9, 2021

I recently ran across Wildbit’s video celebrating 20-years of business on their website. Wildbit’s business is inspiring, especially as a software company.

You might know Wildbit as the makers of Postmark. If you don’t know who they are, check out their anniversary video as it is inspiring.

For me the video was inspiring in two ways:

  1. The first was when the CEO, Natalie at 3:12 shares what the future of Wildbit holds—that it might be more than just software.

  2. There’s a clip of Peldi Guilizzoni, founder + CEO of Balsamiq at 8:34 describing running a software business like a restaurant down the street.

Future of Wildbit

I love Natalie + Chris Nagele’s vision for the future of Wildbit and what it might hold. That it isn’t just a software company, but it’s a company made of creative folks, that builds things with many raving customers.

Instead of being beholden to what a software company “looks” like, they are imagining and planning for a future where they can build and do things outside of software.

I for one am interested in what that’ll look like and what they’ll produce from these plans.

Business like a local restaurant

I really enjoyed Peldi Guilizzoni’s description of what running a software business looks like for him.

Yes, we make software, but we run our business, the same way the restaurant down the street runs their business.

Take a moment and imagine going to your favorite local restaurant near where you live. Why do you keep going back?

Obviously the food is yummy, but it is also likely the restaurant provides you with a positive experience.

While you’re there they provide you service with a smile, patiently answer all your menu questions and bring you drink refills without you asking.

If they’re really good, they might even know you by name.

That’s the type of experience you get with a small business. And I think that’s what Guilizzoni is describing in his portion of the video of how he runs a business.

A business that cares for its patrons and survives by providing a service in exchange for a fair fee.

I wonder what would happen if more tech companies took this approach? One that’s focused on people-first instead of profit-at-all costs.

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