I give up! Every idea is taken ...
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I don't particularly like the whiny title of this IndieHacker post (despite me using it for this edition's subject line 😉), in fact, it's a pretty ridiculous statement. The person is basically saying there are no problems left to solve in the world. Anyway, let's pretend for a minute that the pessimistic statement is indeed true - what do you do? the majority of advice suggests getting more niche, like a niche within a niche. Targeting a different audience, creating a simpler product, faster, improved UX, different pricing model the list goes on.
I guess the clickbaity title worked as there are a ton of great comments and real examples of products that have brought out a similar but different solution to the same problem and done exceptionally well. Do you know any great examples?
Uku and Marko are founders of Plausible Analytics, a simple, lightweight, open source and privacy-friendly alternative to Google Analytics. They are a team of 4 and have recently bootstrapped their product to $1m ARR with no ad spend whatsoever. Pretty impressive huh?
Let's dig into some numbers. It took them 324 days to reach the first $400 MRR. After publishing some written content the momentum kicked in a took them nine months to go from $400 to $10k MRR. Then it took ten months to get to $500k ARR, and now eight months later, they reached the $1 million ARR milestone. They must have serious SEO tactics at play.
In this detailed post, they share their roller-coaster ride and their lessons along the way.
🎁 Bonus content: How to pay your rent with your open source project
Following on on the bootstrapped theme, Andrew an engineer and Sarah a product designer left Facebook in 2017 and took the daunting move to found a bootstrapped SaaS product - Canny. I've been a user of Canny with two startups now and appreciate the simplicity of the product. It doesn't boast AI, an analytics dashboard like the starship enterprise or launch a new feature every week, it just does what it promises and that's creating a means to gather customer requests for your product.
I've been reading through their content recently, new and old and it makes for great reading going through it chronologically to understand their journey from 0-$2 million in annual recurring revenue (ARR).
🎁 Bonus Content: Building our startup as digital nomads
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I'm a bit of a personal website nerd. I have saved hundreds of personal sites which I admire and have taken inspiration for my own personal site. But sometimes you come across a diamond amongst the rubble. After doom scrolling Twitter I stumbled across Rauno Freiberg's site and initially thought it was on a SaaS side project he was building. However, after further inspection it dawned on me this was his personal site. He's got some really nice touches, for example, he's pulling in data from Strava on his fitness page and has a stunning gallery of photos he's taken. Makes me want to level up my personal site now.
P.S Check out Rauno's personal project Ultra - an infinite canvas to add a range of multimedia types.
This great piece of content by Victor explains the history of user interfaces, starting with the Xerox Alto in 1973 to Mac OS X Snow Leopard in 2007. It's fascinating to see some of the earlier interfaces and how they defined how we interact with the interfaces we use today, including the icons, folder systems, modal layouts and nav bars to name just a few.
Which nostalgic interface do you remember? Personally, my first real experience with a personal computer was using Windows 95 and later XP.
Only just a few years ago it seemed every new startup had some form of AI deeply routed in their product or at least if they mentioned the word AI in their deck it would excite investors by the promise of disruptive technology and huge potential returns. However, it now seems AI is at the point where it's starting to deliver on its promise and filter down into affordable consumer software products. This new startup is looking to challenge the big names such as AWS with their ultra-realistic AI narrator, which is looking to bring an affordable text-to-speech solution to those with visual impairments to narrate articles, blogs, newsletters, books, PDFs, etc.
I gave it shot and found it sometimes has a weird "vibrato" on some words and some words are unrealistically raspy. Check out this example I created. In particular, check out the entrepreneur voice option - doesn't it distinctively sound like Gary Vee?
How many times have you needed to search online to convert a file MP4 to GIF, merge two separate PDFs, compress an image or create a meme? typically the results will provide a bunch of sketchy-looking sites littered with ads. Tiny Wow has thousands of convertors for all your needs. Better still it doesn't just link out to third parties it handles it all for you. Simply upload your file to their site it will do the work for you for free. For the privacy-focused folks, be rest assured they remove the file from their server minutes after the download is ready.
Routine: Unify your calendars, centralize your work
Midjourney: Turn any imagination into artwork from text
Mordon: Email for those who want to get more done
👾 Friends of Creator Club
This month I want to give a shout-out to Jakob Greenfeld - creator of The Business Brainstorms newsletter which helps fellow entrepreneurs level up their entrepreneurial game. Each email includes paint points, trends, and frameworks specifically for founders looking for better business ideas.
🐽 Other links to consume
🐦 Tweet of the month
Courtland Allen, founder of Indie Hackers sent out this tweet and got some fantastic responses. It's a treasure trove of evergreen content covering a wide range of subject matters. Some of my personal favs are here, here and here.
This month I'm going to leave you with an ad for the 1989 Atari Stacy. A "portable" 7kg laptop with a Cyberpunk aesthetic, cast in a dark grey enclosure which was pretty unique at the time given most computers were beige at the time. It cost $2,299 or $5,026 equivalent to today.
That's it for this month!
If you made it this far, hit reply and tell me what you thought of this newsletter. Was this 🔥 or 🗑. I read every response 👀
Until next month,
Sam | @thisdickie 👨💻