My new hero: Peldi from balsamiq

Back in October, I had the privilege of attending the Business of Software 2010 conference in Boston (some photos I took here).

It was an incredible experience which has been very well documented all over the Interwebs (my favourite account being from a super smart and lovely person I met at the conference by the name Lisa Wells).

That’s a hard act to follow, but I did want to make mention of a particular talk from a one
Peldi Guilizzoni, who hails from Bologna in Italy. Let me tell you Peldi is one heck of a guy. Armed with nothing but a MacBook Pro and a slightly unnatural penchant for vinegar he managed to set the UX world alight with his little (but gradually expanding) company’s wireframing tool. He launched balsamiq back in mid-2008, was profitable within 3 weeks and has now turned over in excess of $2M $4M (thanks Peldi :)). All in 27 months!

Impressive though this is, what I love about what he’s done is that he’s made his business about more than just selling a useful software tool. When you’re buying his software what you’re actually buying into is his simple philosophy: that life is too short for bad software. Peldi began his startup journey by focussing on solving this specific problem, but I have no doubt the idea for balsamiq had been brewing in his mind for a while during his latter years at Macromedia/Adobe.

What really surprised me about his talk at BoS2010 was how much personality Peldi brought to the table. In an industry that is unfortunately quite often marked with elitism and pedantry, Peldi’s light-hearted and candid approach was a breath of fresh air. He’s also a bit mad but a little of that can be a very useful thing! I found something about his story so relatable that I couldn’t help but draw parallels to my own life throughout his talk.

Since returning home to Sydney, the fires of inspiration have been rekindled and following Peldi’s example I will be documenting the progress of my own startup journey here. Wish me luck. By the trembling in my knees, I’m going to need it!

P.S. Videos from the conference have not surfaced yet but I strongly recommend checking out his performance (that’s what I’m calling them now) at the Less Conference 2010:


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