Latest stories

Putting startups in perspective.


Startups get a lot of attention from the media. Founders of businesses that have existed for one-year are lauded as “brilliant entrepreneurs”. A few years late the same companies often do not exist anymore, after having burnt through millions in funding. Contrast that with other companies that generate millions of revenue year after year, but are almost completely ignored by the public and media...

A counterintuitive logo.


Palm oil has a poor reputation when it comes to health, and its production is widely criticised for the environmental impact. As a result many people actively avoid products that contain palm oil. In a visit to the supermarket I grabbed a bag of crackers, but just before I dropped it in my shopping cart an alarm in my head went off. The logo on the packaging gave the impression the crackers...

The bank that spams.


The Dutch bank I am a customer of decided that they want to improve their service. That is why they, or rather an agency they hired to do this, sent out a request to participate in a survey. Filling it out would take approximately 9 minutes. All good up to this point. I did not want to spend this time, deleted the email and forgot about it. Then I received a reminder that I also deleted. A few...

How to sell water.


One of the best marketing strategies I know is inventing a new product category. When you define the category you are automatically first. This means you have no competition. I was reminded of this strategy when I saw this bottled water in the supermarket. It costs four times as much as other brands. It is ionised seawater that can be used for cooking seafood. Most of you think “I would never buy...

A valuable skill.


From the age of 15 I had a side job as a re-stocker in a supermarket. I still remember how nervous I was when I tried to get that job. I had to go to the store, ask for the manager and inquire if he had any jobs available. This was way outside of my comfort zone. For a couple of days I was very creative in coming up with seamingly credible reasons not to go to the store that day. But at the end...

Burn your fingers.


It takes insight and courage to learn from mistakes. Insight to become aware, courage to admit to yourself that you made a mistake and may have been operating based on wrong assumptions for a long time. Worse, you might not have realised that you were making assumptions in the first place. Unfortunately our ability to recognize and learn from our own mistakes is limited. We learn even less from...

How to find the best pricing for your SaaS product


Pricing is the source of endless discussions in many companies because it is impossible to know for sure if you got it right. There is no one-size-fits-all answer. A pricing strategy that works for one company can be disastrous for another that operates in the same business. The right strategy is dependent on many company specific factors such as your product, customers, cost structure, sales...

A simple way to stand out.


We ordered plates from a webshop that is run by a very traditional brick-and-mortar store. Together with the plates came a handwritten note from the owner of the store to thank us for the order. If I were the store manager and someone would have proposed this idea, I would have probably discarded it as “fake”. So I was surprised by my reaction to the card: I appreciated it. Someone taking the...

Ten week blogging challenge – only 49 more posts to go.


For the next ten weeks I will publish a post every working-day. That makes a total of 50 posts. Quite a lot, so I expect that it will be challenging. Before launching I had doubts if I really wanted to do this. Not sticking with it will be visible for the whole world, just as lousy content. And with two young children and many other responsibilities I know that there will be days when I will be...


My name is Ivo. In the last 10+ years I have worked on various SaaS products in marketing, sales and business development roles.

Want ideas to grow your company? I love meeting new people and chatting about business. My gmail handle is i.oltmans.

When in doubt whether or not to contact me, you should :-)