The best Drupal news and links delivered to your inbox every week

Powering A Lean Startup With Drupal - Chris Shattuck - DrupalCon Portland 2013

Check out the DrupalCon Portland notes hub page for notes from other sessions at DrupalCon Portland.

Session: Powering A Lean Startup With Drupal

Day - Time Slot: Tuesday, May 21 - 04:30pm–05:30pm

Speaker: Chris Shattuck
Twitter: chris_shattuck chrisshattuck

Session page


  • The business side: Advice and tips
  • Part LEAN, part Drupal
  • Chris was able to stop working and help is father for a period of time because he is independent and has a product that can sustain itself.


  • Employeeship -> Freelancing(OR networking) -> Drupal -> Drupal Employeeship(hit cap on salary/time) -> Split time between sub-contracting and Prototyping video tutorial site -> Stopped working and went 100% Startup
  • Goal was 6 months to make it work
  • Hit goal in 3 months and never looked back

Transitions - Making the moves

  • 3 steps to any transition for everyone
    1. See next step as less risky than the current position
    2. Save money(You need money because it takes time to build a product) Set a timeline
    3. Increase your stamina for uncertainty
  • Between Employeeship and your Startup do freelancing
  • Why Startup?
    • Money
    • Impact on the world
    • More interesting challenges
    • Real goal is Happiness
    • Happiness is also fuel for the transition

What we know about happiness

  • 50% is genetic
  • 40% Choice
  • 10% Circumstances
  • When conditions are making you unhappy you have options to change your situation and therefore make you happier.
  • Helping other people can make us happy! It’s physiological.
  • After 50k we reach the peak of the happiness that money can provide

Employeeship vs Freelancing

  • Time is dictated -> Freedom of time(tend to work more but more when they choose to work)
  • Skills are dictated -> Skills are portable(You can choose what skills to build)
  • Market disconnect(You make the boss happy) -> Clients are the market(You make the client happy)
  • Fixed income cap(politics, seniority) -> Market-based income(Can be more than you make as an employee)

Freelancing is Hard

  • Teeter-totter of pain(Feast or famine)
  • Overwhelming factor
  • Solidarity confinement = Stress


  1. Freelancing is startup school(There is a goal and end)
  2. Try freelancing before you quit
  3. Work for small clients(Closer to the market) Big clients can insulate you from the real world. Smaller clients can be annoying but you will learn a lot
  4. Read “Getting Things Done”. I completely, 1000% agree.
  5. Get ergonomic (light, sitting, standing, exercise)
  6. Have an algorithm (S.E.E.S)
    (Sleep, Eating, Exercise, and Sanity)
    • Sanity refers to asking yourself questions

Drupal’s Pluses

  • Great portable platform for the morbid(Bus factor or what happens to my clients if I die? With Drupal there vs. custom code their are other developers that can pick up your Drupal project)
  • Saves time… eventually
  • Sharing is encouraged
  • Sharing feels awesome - Drupal is puppies and babies!
  • Sharing builds a network (Not having a network is one of the biggest problems in freelancing. Sharing in the Drupal community builds your network)
  • Network beats solitude
  • Events boost network (Drupal User Groups, Camps, and Conferences. Local, regional, and international. This increased your stamina to freelance longer)
  • Drupal skills can be used for your startup

Lean Means

  • The cheaper and faster you can build a product the faster you can fail.
  • More failure == more chance to success.
  • First hand knowledge of the problem space == faster
  • Software == Lean
  • Restaurant == Not Lean

What good is Drupal to startups

  • Build skills while freelancing
  • Lots of production options
  • Rapidly prototype
  • Build your own website
  • Network is diverse(All kind to markets within Drupal. Networking occurs naturally at Drupal events)


We all are capable of making transition. Cultivating joy will help you through transitions.

What are you waiting for? Subscribe already.

Published by Bob Kepford

Powered by Drupal