Learn How to Build a Web Business at meshU

April 26, 2010

I’ve learned a lot of hard-won lessons building FreshBooks. Most of the things I’ve had to learn are around design, development and how to get new customers. These are the things you need to know if you are going to build a successful web app business, and it just so happens I have a hand in running a conference called Mesh University that’s all about those things.

MeshU is being held in Toronto, Canada this May 17th, and the line up is outstanding. Here’s a taste:

For Developers

Want to learn about scaling your dev team? Come listen to Joe Stump – Digg’s former chief architect.

Building a product from scratch and wondering how to do it? You’ll want to know all about how to be a lean startup, and Dan Martell – a valley-based, East Coast Canadian and serial entrepreneur – will show you how.

meshU has been around for 4 years, and this is the first one where someone from FreshBooks will be speaking. Our very own Diana Clarke will walk you through a massive project that she’s leading for us – porting FreshBooks from PHP to Python. Diana is a champion, and anyone who has built a technical platform that’s been around for any length of time will appreciate the lessons she has to share.

Chris Thorpe is CTO of The Guardian… I’m not entirely certain what Chris will be talking about to be honest, but I can tell you The Guardian is probably the most technically innovative media company out there, and Chris is a great presenter.

Sales and Marketing

Everyone likes free marketing, right? Sean Ellis has helped runaway successes like Dropbox, Xobni, and LogMeIn do just that, and he’s coming to Toronto to give you a guiding hand with your web apps.

Web businesses often struggle building their sales team. How do you do it? Do you need one? What should the team look like? The right answer to these questions can make all the difference between slow growth and rapid multi-million dollar, market-leading growth. Trouble is, there’s nowhere to turn to learn how to do it right. So you better come to meshU and meet Isaac Garcia. He’s the co-founder of Central Desktop and take it from me: you have no idea how successful this company is. Isaac’s personally one of my favourite entrepreneurs.

Data…data, data, data. Let’s face it: web apps are made of data, and chances are you don’t know the best ways to organize that data and draw value from it. Come get an introduction to data warehousing and the value it can bring to your business with the help of Anthony Upward.


In the interests of wrapping up this post, I’m just going to tell you that Aza Raskin of Mozilla is a killer presenter, and is likely to tell you about the future of the user experience online. Do you know how the web will feel in ten years? Aza does. You’ll want to have awesome usability if you want to design great user experiences, and Meredith Noble is going to make usability easy. And finally, speaking of user experience, when I’m looking for product inspiration there’s a book I frequently turn to – it’s called Sketching User Experiences. Bill Buxton (the author and a certifiable design master) will be keynoting meshU.

Join us at meshU – it’s sold out each of the last two years, so get your ticket while you can.

about the author

Co-Founder & CEO, FreshBooks Mike is the co-founder and CEO of FreshBooks, the world’s #1 cloud accounting software for self-employed professionals. Built in 2003 after he accidentally saved over an invoice, Mike spent 3.5 years growing FreshBooks from his parents’ basement. Since then, over 10 million people have used FreshBooks to save time billing, and collect billions of dollars. A lover of the outdoors, Mike has been bitten so many times it’s rumored he’s the first human to have developed immunity to mosquitoes.