The Feed

Ep. 153 – Mike McDerment, FreshBooks Co-founder/CEO and Author of Breaking the Time Barrier on Building and Scaling a Company

Mike McDerment is Co-founder and CEO of FreshBooks, the world’s number one cloud accounting software for self-employed professionals. Mike talks with Brian Ardinger, Inside Outside Innovation Founder, about building and scaling a company, product development, and his free e-book called Breaking the Time Barrier.

Mike built a simple tool to solve his accounting problem, and now 20 million people have used it. After building the first version,, Mike soon hired a software designer. They worked on the product for nine months, then added another co-founder and employees. The team valued the connection to their customers, always showing the product early in development. By understanding the market, the team knew what to build first.

Bootstrapping the Company 

  • Raising capital is not success. A better strategy is to find customers and fund yourself
  • Over ten years, FreshBooks de-risked the market, product, team, and model. 
  • The first round of venture money was $30 million. 

Obstacles and Things That Almost Killed FreshBooks

Breaking The Time Barrier

  • Breaking the Time Barrier, Mike’s book for his customers doing client services work explains how to price services. 
  • Focus on value-based billing instead of on the number of hours worked. Understand how big the problem is and how expensive it is. 
  • Nobody cares about tech. They care about the value they get from tech. 

Product Development 

  • Better to focus on building benefits like time savings, revenue generation, or performance. Brings more value for your customer. 
  • Frame pricing on value. e.g., $50 a month will save 20 hrs, or for less than a cup a coffee, you can have this service. 

What’s different for a company at scale? 

  • Culture – How does a company respond when challenged with something?
  • Customer-obsessed

How do you maintain the freshness of a company?

  • Combo of direction and constraints for motivation. 
  • Creates a condition for taking chances.

For More Information

For more information on Mike McDerment or FreshBooks check out

If you enjoyed this podcast, you might also enjoy:

Ep. 146 – GoSquared’s James Gill on Product Design, Listening to Customers & Making it Easy

Ep. 114 – Canva’s Cameron Adams on Democratization of Design

Ep. 113 – ProfitWell founder Patrick Campbell on Growth, Pricing and SaaS

Find this episode of Inside Outside Innovation at You can also listen on

Inside Outside Innovation Podcast’s Top 10 Episodes of 2019

Inside Outside Innovation Podcast From innovators to entrepreneurs and CEOs to authors, the Inside Outside Innovation Podcasts brings you insight on the latest tools, trends, and tactics for accelerating innovation, launching new ideas, and building better products. Each week Brian Ardinger, Inside Outside Founder, interviews corporate and startup innovation leaders from around the world about their […]

Ep. 152 – Acceleprise’s Olivia O’Sullivan on Investing in Corporate/Startup Collaboration

Olivia O’Sullivan is the Head of Corporate Engagement at Acceleprise, a B2B SaaS accelerator. Accelerprise invests in early-tech companies building enterprise technology. Olivia’s focus is on mid-market and enterprise companies interested in colla…

Ep. 151 – Jeff Dyer, Author of Innovation Capital: How to Compete–and Win–Like the World’s Most Innovative Leaders

Jeff Dyer is the author of Innovator’s DNA, Innovator’s Method, and Innovation Capital. He talks with Brian Ardinger, Inside Outside Innovation Founder, about innovative leaders and how they generate creative ideas. In Innovator’s DNA, Jeff identi…

Ep. 150 – Sylvain Labs’ Alain Sylvain on New Idea Creation for Business and Consumer Needs

Alain Sylvain is the founder of Sylvain Labs, a strategy and design company helping corporations like Google, Spotify and Nike, think about their future. Alain Sylvain talks with Brian Ardinger, Inside Outside Innovation founder, about how to create ne…

Inside Outside Innovation Summit 2019

As regular readers and listeners of, we wanted to give you the first sneak peek and opportunity to be a part of The Inside Outside Innovation Summit 2019. Inside Outside Innovation Summit The event will run October 20-22 as part of StartupWeek Lincoln with the theme of Talent, Technology, and the Future of Innovation. This year […]

Ep. 149 – Paul Skinner, Author of Collaborative Advantage and Founder of Agency of the Future

Paul Skinner is the author of Collaborative Advantage: How collaboration beats competition as a strategy for success and founder of Agency of the Future. His work has always been about helping people create a collaborative advantage.  Brian A…

Ep. 148 – Francesca Gino, Harvard Professor and Author of Rebel Talent: Why It Pays to Break All the Rules in Work and in Life

Francesca Gino is a professor/affiliated with Harvard’s Business, Law, and Kennedy Schools. She is the author of Rebel Talent: Why It Pays to Break All the Rules in Work and in Life. She also recently published an article in Harvard Business Revie…

Ep. 147 – Innovation Leader’s Scott Kirsner on Corporate Innovation Tools & Trends

Scott Kirsner is the CEO and Editor-in-Chief of Innovation Leader. As a journalist, Scott spent his career covering how ideas in companies get commercialized. Five years ago, Scott launched Innovation Leader, a company focused on how innovation ha…

Ep. 146 – GoSquared’s James Gill on Product Design, Listening to Customers & Making it Easy

James Gill is founder and CEO of GoSquared, a simple, live analytics platform for websites. Brian Ardinger, Inside Outside Innovation Founder, spoke with James about product trends, design, getting close to the customer and growing a company outside th…