I wasted $40k on a fantastic startup idea 😫
This is a classic tale of when a good idea makes bad business. On the surface of it Tom's idea ticked all the right boxes. He discovered a problem a lot of people encounter, he had the skills to scope and execute a solution and the hustle to find potential customers and validate a desire for his solution. However, he missed one crucial element when creating a startup, figuring out a business model.
You can’t just create value for the user: that’s a charity. You also can’t just create value for your company: that’s a scam. Your goal is to set up a positive-sum exchange, where everyone benefits, including you.
Could Tom have saved a lot of time and money figuring out his business modal before jumping into creating a solution? Yes, but hindsight is a wonderful thing. In this post, Tom shares his learnings and insight and the importance of undertaking validation work prior to jumping into creating your product head first. (9 min read)
When was the last time you completed a side project? Have you ever felt that you were trapped working on something that you don’t enjoy anymore? Do your self-imposed deadlines to launch keep passing by? If so, you are not alone. I personally often find my half-baked ideas and products fall by the wayside. Dominick Schroer shares his new approach to completing his projects. In short, pick a very aggressive and limiting timeline, reduce the project to its absolute minimum and execute that plan to completion. Sounds simple right? (3 min read)
Serial founder Rob Walling talks through the Stair Step Approach to Bootstrapping, with examples from his experience and those of other successful founders. Rob is certainly in a great position to impart his wisdom on this subject, having built 7 businesses to six- or seven-figures in revenue without taking outside funding. In short - Step 1: create a simple product, with a simple marketing plan (something you can build and market yourself). Step 2: double down on step 1 and try to understand if it's feasible to grow it to a "full-time income" with one product line, if not you might need to cobble a few together. Step 3: level up and take a bigger risk by going after a stand-alone product with recurring revenue.
🎁 Bonus Read: Check out Rob's 7 part series of posts centred around startup marketing
🎟 Advertising slots available for the next issue. Interested? Learn More.
I'm going to make a huge assumption here... if you're reading this i'm going to presume you have used a keyboard shortcut before. But have you ever wondered where they came from? Probably not but I'm going to tell you anyway. The first shortcuts were created at Xerox (yup the printing company) in the 1970s, and include functions like cut, copy, and paste. Ten years later the pinnacle of shortcuts was invented by an IBM engineer, Control-Alt-Delete.
Now shortcuts are being taken to the next level across almost all software products. If there is a function there is a shortcut. This resource compiles them all for Mac apps, Windows programs, and a variety of websites.
Do you ever watch a Space X launch and think what is all the fuss about I could do that from my armchair? Yeah, me too. Now you can. This simulator will familiarise you with the controls of the actual interface used by NASA Astronauts to manually pilot the SpaceX Dragon 2 vehicle to the International Space Station directly from your browser.
Wouldn't it be neat if there was a free video streaming service that created original high-quality content covering inspiring stories of creativity, design, no-code, and entrepreneurship? Well, it's here. I've been binge-watching Webflow TV's original stories this month and almost finished all their content. My personal favourites include Generation no-code, Built by hand and Freelance TV.
🎁 Bonus content: MailChimp also has a similar platform with some great podcasts and video content covering inspiring stories from small business owners.
Sometimes I think I know a reasonable amount of popular sites in tech until I stumble on one which has been around for over a decade without me hearing anything about it. This is one of them. Blind is an anonymous community app for the workplace. Blind has millions of verified professionals who connect to share advice, provide honest feedback and discover relevant career information. If you're curious about tech salaries it's all there in the open. If you're considering a role at a new tech company check out what real employees have to say about it. Additionally, if you like the occasion shitpost to tickle your funny bone it's also there.
What's all the fuss about with web 3.0? Web 1.0 is where the nostalgia is at and it's way easier and funner to build. CloverCities looks to bring back the creativity of the early web. Think 90's GIFs, animated text effects, hit counters, guestbooks, mouse trails, 3D spinning thing-a-ma-jigs and so much more. What unique utility does this provide? NONE whatsoever, it's just a bit of fun.
As the UK government slogan goes "Tax doesn't have to be taxing". Well, this year was my first experience of the taxing process of submitting my tax return in the UK. It's certainly a milestone in that I had enough income via side projects in the past year but it still remained a somewhat confusing and daunting experience. However, after doing some searching online I stumbled across Earnr. A simple mobile-first financial tax app geared uniquely towards creators, small businesses and side incomes. I simply connected my bank accounts and tagged my income and outgoings and throughout the year it logged everything automatically with a super handy estimation tool to let time know how much to keep aside for the taxman. Better still they submitted it for me when the time came.
👾 Friends of Creator Club
This month I want to give a huge shout out to Charlie and his rebrand and launch of Ramen Club on Product Hunt earlier this month. Ramen Club is the community getting you to ramen profitable, and beyond. I've personally joined a few remote sessions and also joined them for co-working days and loved the fact everyone I've met is working towards the same goal and willing to help each other through the daunting process. Check it out.
🐽 Other links to consume
• I converted my iPad into a Mac, and now I love it
• That smiling LinkedIn profile face might be a computer-generated fake
• DALL·E 2 the new AI system that can create realistic images and art from a description
🐦 Tweet of the month
I'm a sucker for a good startup story despite most of them glamorising the journeys, but hey, it makes for good reading and can be pretty inspiring. This is a fascinating thread by Shreyans who documents the startup story of Ivan Zhao - founder of Notion.
🎁 Bonus Read: Inside Notion's 'secret' San Francisco office
This month I'm going to leave you with this fascinating illustration created in 1957, by Disney. Shout out to Charlie for sharing this with me 👏
This business blueprint built around Disney's business units with context to products, customers, interactions and distribution channels and as you start follow and understand it, it's a virtuous cycle. Every cycle, provides more value and entertainment to its customers while growing products and brands, increasing revenue of various businesses, creating new markets, opportunities for audience to interact and participate further, creating Disney's Flywheel!
Link to an updated high res version.
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 👨💻
P.S you can view all my past content in this Notion repo 🗄