81: Sane and Sustainable Growth with Ben Curtis from Honeybadger


March 25th, 2019

41 mins 50 secs

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About this Episode

Derrick is still traveling. So, Ben’s co-host for this episode is Honeybadger Co-founder Ben Curtis. Honeybadger offers an application health monitoring tool featuring an easy-to-use platform with exception, uptime, and check-in monitoring.

Since its creation about seven years ago, Honeybadger’s three founders - Curtis along with Starr Horne and Joshua Wood - cranked out all the work. However, the company added a marketing person a few months ago and recently hired its first developer.

Today’s Topics Include:

  • Honeybadger has kept headcount low to optimize profit-per-employee; eventually needed help with marketing and other tasks
  • Downside of contractors is they’re not committed to being around for very long; wanted someone who was dedicated to making Honeybadger more successful
  • Bringing new people in is risky, but Curtis kind of wishes they would’ve done it sooner
  • Documenting processes is essential to transfer knowledge to new team members and discover opportunities for improvement and automation
  • Setting expectations regarding time; Curtis makes conscious choice to only work 20-30 hours per week in Honeybadger’s relaxed and asynchronous office environment
  • Honeybadger took about three years to achieve a stable infrastructure, where things weren’t regularly blowing up and breaking
  • Moment Honeybadger Made It: Able to offer health insurance and living the dream by getting paid well to do exactly what they want to do and exactly how they want to do it
  • What can you afford to pay yourself when starting a business? Establish schedule and roadmap to set goal to pay yourself regularly, even if amount is meager
  • Honeybadger’s biggest costs are for hosting, health insurance, and salaries; company has grown through word-of-mouth, not paid marketing and advertising
  • Gorilla Marketing: Free marketing and fantastic response rate for Honeybadger’s T-shirt giveaway to get customers’ credit card numbers; Burger Bus was also a success
  • Be authentic to create brand recognition; you’re your target audience - what do you like?
  • Honeybadger’s mission is to give developers the best tools, so they can have a better day; customer service is one of the company’s core guiding principles

Links and resources:


Starting & Sustaining Podcast Episode with Ben Curtis, Co-founder of Honeybadger



Tropical MBA Podcast





Art of Product on Twitter

Derrick Reimer Website

Derrick Reimer on Twitter

Ben Orenstein Website

Ben Orenstein on Twitter