Shareware Beach

Sunday, 30 December 2007

Lifestyle Company

Filed under: Just Great Software,Shareware Industry — Jan @ 18:31

So how did I find out about the Paris Hilton article?

Earlier this month I received an email from an analyst at a major venture capital firm specializing in software companies, including developer tool companies. He mentioned the article as the way he learned about our company. Funny how stories travel the world and connect people.

Last November at the European Software Conference, there was a panel discussion about venture capital and other forms of financing. Generally, venture capitalists don’t invest in shareware or micro-ISV companies. I learned a new term that VCs apparently use for such companies: lifestyle companies. Here’s one definition I found:

A lifestyle company is one that supports a good living for you, but isn’t designed for an exit (i.e. selling to another company, IPO, etc.) Lifestyle companies are typically smaller, built around the expertise and skill set of the individual founder(s).

That sounds exactly like Just Great Software. But I’m intrigued by the word lifestyle. It means more than just making a good living. It means leading the life you want to lead. According to one dictionary:

A manner of living that reflects the person’s values and attitudes

When you work in a lifestyle company, quality of life, however you define it, comes above all else. In fact, you can’t really work for a lifestyle company. You are the company, whether that’s by yourself or with a group of people as a partnership.

It’s certainly possible for a lifestyle company to bring in a lot of money. In fact, if you do what you love, you’ll put your heart in it. Customers will notice and spread the word.

But as the business isn’t about the money, it’s hard for a VC to make a business case. For a VC, the exit strategy and associated payday is the primary concern. But when you’re enjoying life, an exit strategy is the least of your concerns.


  1. Nice to assign a word to a concept we’re probably all familiar with.

    I am curious though: I’ve heard that the cost of living in Thailand is lower than in a country like the USA. Do you think you’d be able to have a lifestyle company if you were located in the USA? If so, how would it be different?

    Comment by Paul Miner — Monday, 31 December 2007 @ 10:00

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