December 16, 2018

Makers diluting IH.

Is it just me, or has there been a perceptible increase in the number of maker/maker community orientated posts on IH?

People differ over terms all the time: usually it's petty semantics. Yet this one's important. I view Maker culture as a distinct phenomenon, very different to IndieHackers/entrepreneurs. Makers primarily value two things:

  • building things for the fun of it

  • being seen, valued and validated by a community of other makers

This is a distinct movement from classical indiehacking, which tends to be motivated by:

  • a supreme quest to make a sustainable living from a project, this trumping all other considerations.

I don't mean to be divisive: but these two cultures while having some overlap, don't really mix. They're two opposing philosophies: worshiping two different Gods. It's the difference between Microsoft and the Linux foundation.

Maybe each group should stick to their own?

  1. 40

    I've grown to really think the maker scene is just terrible to be honest. The constant need to look inwards, to celebrate each other for being makers is such a waste of energy. All their energy is focused on themselves and trying to get well known within that very specific community. I've fallen for that draw myself in the past and looking at the wasted time and value is why I'm stepping back from all these communities next year(gradually leading up to the end of this year)

    Almost all maker "products" also seem to fall into 3 categories.

    1. A database of 20-50 items categorised(this will never be updated once launched) that wants to be the next nomadlist.

    2. A blog about some subset of makers that wants to be the next IH

    3. A super niche job board that again will stop being updated after 2 weeks that wants to be the next remote.ok.

    In general everything built is abandoned just as quickly. I'm definitely guilty of this myself but go look at the 24 hour startup completed page and see how many have continued updating after the contest is over.

    There is also as you mention a drive to hit meaningless goals. Look at for example. It has a leaderboard which is meant to show people who have shipped every day. See how far down the list you have to go to find someone that doesn't have a day in there where their "shipping" was like "Took today off". The goal stopped being shipping everyday and became typing a command in telegram everyday.

    All that said I've basically always associated the IH with the maker scene. The overlap is just too large which is why I'm planning to stop posting here too at the end of the year.

    1. 17

      I never review job board products on here for exactly that reason!

      1. -5

        This comment has been voted down. Click to show.

        1. 8

          Now look at the 1000 people trying to emulate remote ok without Pieters work ethic or abilities or follow through that get posted here looking for reviews(really just trying to advertise). They scrape a few dozen ads related to their niche from other boards then sit back and wait for the money. Me too businesses without the work. The fact that a job boards can be a startup doesn't mean all job boards are startups.

          1. 1

            IH needs a moderator to tag all posts. Then maybe these subtle or not-so-subtle advertisement posts could be filtered out if you choose not to view posts with an "advertisement" tag.

    2. 11

      Isn't it interesting how the typical maker "products" are all things that Pieter Levels did successfully, yet fail because nobody that builds them has the same level of personal brand / star power that Levels does? :)

      I still think the main differentiator is lifestyle. As an indie hacker I want to build valuable things and turn them into businesses so that I can free up time to do non-coding-and-selling-related things. These makers, on the other hand, seem to want to live a very specific, almost ritualistic lifestyle.

      I got into an argument about that on one of those maker groups once. I wanted to know about cost of living in Canada, since I'm looking to emigrate there at some point (I like the idea of living a safer and more predictable life vs South Africa). Levels took personal issue with that, being unable to comprehend why anyone would want to settle down when it was much cheaper to be a digital nomad.

      It became clear that the nomadlist/remote.ok thing weren't just products to Levels, they were a way of life that he deeply cherishes, as do all his fans. It's no wonder there's misunderstandings between the two groups.

      1. 10

        Yeah I've not personally had any good interactions with him and your experience sounds similar to mine.

        When I was in Chiang mai it seemed like no one was actually making money. I tended to avoid the whole nomad scene there because everyone was more focused on getting drunk at night and hanging out at certain coworking spaces but almost none of them were making consistent income. It was very much a community of "Dave made $10,000 doing X....lets all do X!" "Oh look Anne just started a FBA shop and made $5000 last month....we should all do FBA".

        1. 8

          You've just saved me quite a lot of trouble, thanks!

          There really seems to be a cargo-cult/follow-the-leader thing happening in that universe. It's no wonder they produce an endless stream of job boards, list "apps" and telegram groups.

        2. 5

          That's fascinating. Got any more Chiang Mai stories?

          1. 3

            I personally hated Chiang mai so probably not the best one for stories if you actually want to go lol. I was just there for a year while waiting for my Australian marriage visa to be processed. Pretty much the only two things I liked was a single food stall in the Maya mall near our apartment. And my gym membership in the same mall since by and large Thais don't work out so I had a giant really well equipped gym largely to myself. Oh and our laundry service was awesome.

            Things I didn't like were the feeling like I was on the set of final destination most days. Seeing people almost die through stupidity constantly. The air quality during the burning season. Creepy farangs. Stuff on the cheap end was very cheap but consumer goods, regular restaurants, etc were all very expensive for what they were.

            Happy to answer any specific question

            1. 7

              I'm not looking to go, but it's interesting that your experience has been on the other end of the spectrum. I always read that chiang mai is the mecca for indie makers... sell all your possessions and relocate there while you build your tech empire etc. In reality things are usually never quite as golden as they're made out to be, so it's interesting to hear a more down-to-earth viewpoint.

              1. 5

                Yeah lots of people that appear to have sold everything to go there and sit in a crowded co-working space browsing reddit and twitter all day. They seem to cycle through constantly though since almost none of them are making enough money for it to be sustainable. My wife liked it more there but she's vegan and they have a lot of good vegan food apparently. She also had a few friends from home living in CM at the same time.

    3. 7

      What places do you find more rewarding these days?

      1. 8

        Nowhere to be honest. I self banned from reddit for 2018 to be more productive and haven't missed it. I self banned from commenting on HN for the same period and the site has actually gotten better when you use it for the articles these days(10 years ago when I joined the comments were definitely the value there).

        Elixirforum is good but low volume.

    4. 4

      On the other hand, these makers can definitely be IH-ers a few years from an actual business. I started one of those directories-that-will-never-be-updated a few years ago (It ended up on Lifehacker).

      Two years later I have an indie biz with seven figs in annual revenue. Becoming an IH-er is a process (of which building to learn is one), and we should support people at every step.

  2. 25

    It fluctuates. For example, I submitted the forum to PH back in January, and for almost a month there was an overwhelming number of posts from makers that had nothing to do with trying to build a business. Things eventually returned to normal. A few other similar events have happened this year as well, so it's difficult to say whether there is some gradual overall trend of maker-esque posts increasing. But it's certainly possible.

    I agree that these communities are different at their core, and that IH should remain focused on people building businesses. But the fact remains that there's a lot of overlap. Many of the most successful indie hackers are also at the center of the maker community. Many simple maker products turn into successful businesses. So in my opinion, the answer to your question, "Maybe each group should stick to their own?" is no, that's overly extreme.

    (All of the above applies to other tangential communities as well, e.g. the high-growth startup community.)

    There's a common fear that communities always lose the personality that makes them great. People have been emailing me about IH being ruined since literally the week after it launched, whenever there's a bad interview or unusual podcast guest or big change to the website. But from what I can see, this fear is overblown. Communities are fairly resilient things, and IH is no exception. Besides, a little change and experimentation isn't the worst thing in the world.

    Anyway, I appreciate the discussion and will be keeping an eye on things as usual.

    1. 4

      I'd definitely say both HN and Reddit went from really nice places to very unpleasant. In both cases it was due to growth and dilution, though in Reddit's case, there are now so many subs that you can choose your own adventure.

      My biggest concern here is that there's likely a growth goal and that it's unbounded in terms of target size. Since size affects communities, even in cases where the median member is the same, it's hard to imagine IH in 5 or 10 years not changing as radically as HN did.

      1. 14

        If it's any consolation, I'd rather IH be small and good than big and bad. But I don't think that tradeoff has to happen if we're careful and deliberate. It's possible to be big and good. We avoid doing many things that might rapidly grow IH but in a reckless and risky fashion.

        Also, it's important to note that I don't define "good" to mean IH is the exact same product/community it was in the beginning. Rather, good for me means it's accomplishing its goal, which has always been to inspire people to become indie hackers and to help them succeed with their businesses.

        1. 3

          It's a huge consolation to hear that.

          I'd love to see more thriving businesses here (as opposed to just a lot of readers and content), and would love to contribute one to the collection as well!

  3. 17

    Plenty of "maker" people are trying to make money, this criticism doesn't line up with reality for me.

    1. 25

      Then that’s great (really) but I would argue those aren’t the “makers” being discussed here. It’s the projects that do not, and never will, generate revenue that don’t really belong here, in my opinion. I’d love to see IH more product-focused (i.e. you are or want to make money from it) and not so much about any side project somebody whipped up in 24 hours and decided to call a startup. But this isn’t my site, so I just try and skim over those posts and find the gems. I just know that I’d be more active in the IH community if it included more discussions from hackers like the ones in the interviews and podcast, but that’s super rare, with a few exceptions.

      1. 15

        any side project somebody whipped up in 24 hours and decided to call a startup

        That's where I draw the line, myself. If you had a genuine flash of inspiration and built a rapid MVP with the intention of putting it in people's hands, then turning it into a business later, that's actual entrepreneurship (and amazing).

        But if you're just trying to imitate the people that do this, because you want to feel like you're making a difference, that's basically performative entrepreneurship. It gets you the adulation and thumbs-up reactions from people without having to invest really significant effort in improving yourself or your craft.

        So for me the distinction isn't "makers" vs "indie hackers", it's "celebrities" vs "founders". The question centres on whether or not you want to work really long, really hard on a bunch of difficult problems, or whether you want social standing for building a Telegram group.

        For what it's worth, I prefer the former. I'd sooner spend 100 hours on a forum where people were trying to level up their business, design, coding, sales and hiring skills vs people who make incremental updates to side projects that have no ambition of turning into any sort of serious enterprise down the road.

        1. 3

          Best response so far on this topic.

        2. 1

          This difference between makers and hackers exists only in the heads.

          In fact, the maker term is more inclusive as the hacker term is associated with programmers and indie hackers often specialize in design, marketing or sales.

      2. 2

        Wait, but don't we consistently talk about MVPs and testing markets before you spend 2 years building a polished product? How many stories are about creating a launch page and running ads before any code was created? If the takeaway for people is that they should launch before polishing, should we be surprised if we see a lot of half-baked products testing the waters and looking for a glimmer of hope before they commit further?

        We also tell people to hit forums and show off their product. IH is a forum they're already using, so surely we should expect to see people post here for feedback.

  4. 16

    I guess I fall under both camps.

    I build some products because I like to build products, and solve a problem of my own.

    Other products I build to try and scale into a sustainable business.

    I see a big overlap between both and the people trying to do either are people I'd like to talk too.

    To each their own indeed, but I think IH would be devalued greatly if we encouraged "makers" to go elsewhere.

    1. 3

      And many would advise that you should work on something about which you are naturally passionate. So the overlap between creating for the job of it and for financial viability is inevitable IMO.

    2. 0


  5. 15

    Ironically enough this exact topic came up at the inaugural Cape Town IH meetup. We definitely felt like the "sustainable income" aspect was key to the whole deal, far more than just making flashy things and getting props from a community.

    1. 4

      Just to nitpick, that would be more "coincidentally" rather than "ironically" :)

      What did people at the meetup say regarding the difference and what they wanted to do to delineate?

      1. 5

        I'll grant you that nitpick!

        There were two things we knew we didn't want:

        • Building stuff for the sake of building stuff, not at all interested in business models or how to find customers

        • Being endlessly pitched by either "ideas people" or "investors" looking to do nothing more than make a quick buck

        It's still an open question, but the general feeling was that we wanted people who were willing to learn, share, and grow as part of a community, with the express purpose of creating viable online businesses that could eventually sustain people and free up time.

      2. -1

        This comment has been voted down. Click to show.

  6. 14

    Agreed. I’d go to PH if I enjoyed the maker community, but I really don’t. I like talking about real products that make money and have customers. Can you think of any solutions?

    1. 6

      It's tricky because of the overlap:

      • some makers build substantial revenue generating projects (such as Pieter Lievels and Marc Köhlbrugge). These hybrids equally enjoy both financial and creative aspects.

      • Indiehackers primarily interested in revenue, market to Makers. ProductHunt == marketing, for many on-line entrepreneurs.

      I think people self-identify by titles, those who call themselves makers, tend fairly consistently to slot into the art for art's sake category.

      Pherhaps, a more robust mission statement + guidelines for IH would be useful, though I believe (from previous discussion) @csallen, understandably for strategic reasons, is keen to leave the community as open-ended as possible. KPIs for this platform seem to be based on traffic and active users, not a philosophical direction.

      As yourself and @woganmay allude, in a large city you would probably have an IH meet-up and a separate ProductHunt/Maker meet. Of-course some people would attend both, though overall each would attract a unique crowd.

      1. 12

        I think the big difference is celebrity.

        Most of the really committed "makers" I know are (at least partially) in it for the status. It's not just about building products and making revenue, it's about community standing and recognition as individuals. I don't think they'd feel nearly as fulfilled without their adoring fans.

        The true "indie hacker" crowd I've seen takes a different approach. Yes, it's also about products and revenue, but customers play a much more important role in the narrative. It's about identifying and solving problems, and adding value.

        The former is lifestyle, the latter is vocation. The former could not exist comfortably in obscurity, the latter would thrive in it if it meant a sustainable living.

        And with all due respect to the "rockstar maker" Pieter Levels et al of the world, I'd sooner be in a community with people that are trying to build sustainable businesses vs ones trying to build personal brands.

        1. 2

          Wait, but with that following/celebrity comes a great audience for your product. Marketers would suggest you build a profile, build a mailing list, etc.

          I don't follow the scene and perhaps I only have a vague understanding of who Levels is, but isn't he exactly what many would want to emulate? Productive, openly shares goals and progress, learns from trying, and derives a regular income from what he builds.

          1. 1

            With no strategy, tactics, or plans to scale. Most of his products run off a single VPS. Most of his products are single-file PHP scripts. His entire message is that you don't need to level up your tech skills at all, once doing the bare minimum to cash in.

            That's the part I have a problem with. Technically he's not wrong, but there's a lot more to building a business than just putting up a few forms and slapping a Stripe integration to it.

            1. 2

              Wait, how is what he has not a business? He'd be raking in cash. If he can do it with less code and one VPS, more power to him! That's absolutely indiehacking, surely?! Prematurely scaling a business is generally considered a bad idea. And showing people that you can build a profitable venture without rushing to the trendiest programming language is positive. Phil Kaplan built out a line of successful projects using the least cool language of them all.

              1. 1

                I'll refer back to my original comment:

                I'd sooner be in a community with people that are trying to build sustainable businesses

                Nothing he does is sustainable. By which I mean, if he stops doing it himself, eventually it will implode.

                My interest is sustainable business - not just another full-time job. Something that can be built, packaged, hired for, and turned into a self-sufficient business that means I can walk away from it.

                I hope this is clearer?

                1. 2

                  In the early days of my business (1998ish), my colleague and I visited a $200/h accountant. He said, "What you have isn't a business, it's a hobby." If something is reliant on you, it's not yet a business - I think that's what you're getting at.

                  Only thing is, this site is Indie Hackers which suggests hacking things together yourself. Sounds like your goal is specifically to walk away and not be doing the hacking, more so the independenting. That's fine of course, but Courtland has defined the site pretty appropriately I think to include a broader group - side projects, lifestyle businesses, etc. Being independent doesn't have to mean walking away, it can just mean more choice in your hours or more control of your decisions. That Levels' ventures aren't sustainable is probably just a matter of his preference; the money looks to be there to replace his role if he wanted.

          2. 1

            There is a difference between building an audience with your target market and building an audience of makers. Unless your target market is makers in which case you're probably in a bad business.

            The problem isn't Pieter. The problem is the people trying to poorly emulate him.

            1. 2

              That exists everywhere though. I've been pitched by hopefuls with no follow through for more than two decades (back then it was people trying to create an MP3 marketplace or a virtual shopping centre).

              What I suspect happens with targeting so-called makers (I find that term near-indistinguishable from indiehacker) is that it's a familiar and accessible audience. My SaaS venture is and I've had referrals/signups from IH, so it's not insane to explore IH as one opportunity. It might make sense to build a marketing angle as a result that specifically targets people that already hang out where I hang out rather than coming in cold to a forum with no account and no history.

              IH itself is a product for makers IMO and I'd say it's been successful for Courtland. The difference between it and emulators is probably that he hit a tipping point and gained critical mass - hit HN on the right day, or interviewed people who spread the word or had the right format. It's easier to follow through when you get enough of a sniff to motivate you.

              1. 1

                Makers: Build stuff

                Indiehackers: Build businesses

                1. 1

                  I'd suggest that there is little distinction and that people who claim to be building for the love of it are protecting themselves from fear of failure. Short of open source die hards, almost every "maker" would've had hope of their project taking off. Roughly working from your comment: An unprofitable business is stuff; profitable stuff is a business. Sometimes the crux is commitment, often it's not.

              2. 1

                Yes, nothing the maker community is doing is new I agree with that.

                Your saying a marketing angle or a place to advertise. The problem is when it becomes the only angle and the goal is popularly in the community. That said targeting a community that is fickle and mostly broke probably not going to have the best ROI regardless of your match or community history.

                Yup lots of overlaps between the communities, I pretty much consider them as one as mentioned above. Courtland grinded though. I remember when he first started posting on HN and definitely pushed through a lot of negative to get noticed.

                1. 1

                  Courtland had the "sniff" from the beginning though. In IH's first month: 300k+ pageviews (inc 200k on launch weekend), 65k uniques, 1,400 subscribers. 1k+ targeted subs is a huge thing to build from.

                  I don't want to discount his effort because he picked the right angle and had a polished design from the start - he nailed almost everything - but I've seen polished designs and good ideas not crack almost top-300 all-time HN posts like he did! Engaging title is one thing, but who knows how big a factor something like time of day was, or having a network for upvotes. It's massively demoralising to wind up for a Show HN and it gets one comment at best.

                  His traffic waned after that for a bit, but still 500 uniques/day is good motivation as a baseline. As he said shortly after, it was very motivating building for those people.

                  He can learn and build from that, but how many others were stuck looking down the list of what high-effort marketing things to try next?

                  1. 1

                    ok? I mean I'm not really sure what your point is with this line of comments?

        2. 2

          So building a personal brand, building a lifestyle business and being an indie hacker are mutually exclusive?

          Sounds a bit reductive.

          I agree there's a bunch of cult of personality, shipping for the sake of it etc. But how many indie hackers started off with a side project or failed their attempts to monetise before they reached sustainability?

          Being inclusive and approachable is going to be important for IH. If the community doesn't find something interesting it has the downvote functionality 🙂

          If I could go the rest of my life on the internet without seeing "this isn't a real X" or "you're not a Y" (insert term, indie hacker, startup etc) that would be great.

          1. 4

            What it comes down to is the value proposition that IH offers. If it's inclusive and welcoming to everything and everyone, how long before vapid updates and transparent self-promotion chases away the people that were looking for meaningful insight and actionable advice?

            (Incidentally, only comments have a downvote button, posts don't).

            Besides, the internet is a really, really big place. If there's stuff you don't want to see, find other sites. Or, build them.

            1. 7

              Oh how I wish IH had a downvote post button…

  7. 13

    I’d be careful telling people where they can be based on what “God” they worship. That’s how holy wars start ;).

    With respect to your opinion, I don’t think having makers on IH prevents you from having conversations about sustainable income, and on the flip side I think it benefits those of us who are searching for sustainable income where we DO have overlap with these makers. Having more technical expertise, more people thinking and discussing how to build an audience, more diverse minds to avoid the echo chamber only helps.

    It sounds like the root of your problem is there isn’t enough content about building sustainable income and those aspects of being an IH. If I’ve understood your problem correctly, then I’d suggest you be a part of the solution. Maybe this feature is broke but from what I can tell, this is your first actual post (non-comment) in IH. That’s not a dig and it doesn’t invalidate your opinion, I just point to that to say: if you want more of this type of conversation, make posts and talk about it! That goes for everyone else who feels this way, not just you either. I hope my tone is clear that im not trying to single you out or make you feel like your opinion is not valid here, just trying to offer some solutions!

    Also to clarify, I’m in the IH camp trying to build something that will provide sustainable income. But I appreciate every maker on this site, regardless of why they are here.

  8. 7

    +1, but don't mind. Indie hackers could use the product influence, makers could use the business influence. Seems to be a net positive relationship

  9. 7

    Please try to keep this community open and welcoming. Drawing lines around which kinds of entrepreneur are and aren't welcome is a slippery slope that ends in the destruction of everything that makes IH great.

    1. 9

      A community by definition has to have some shared frame of reference. In a community, it's also acceptable, from time to time , to debate what that community represents :to either assert an identity or allow it to change. is different from IH, which is different from Product Hunt, which is different to Maker.Log. All spaces have their unique features.

      A react forum/slack/subreddit, would loose direction if it became dominated by discussion about Vue.Js or Phoenix. Defining barriers isn't necessarily a negative activity.

    2. 8

      When you cater to everyone, you cater to no one.

  10. 6

    I think this is true. IH shouldn't be the site to show your "next VueJS project" or "my little rails app while I am learning". There are lots of places, subreddits to show off your small side projects. I wish IH was more money minded with their projects. Checkout fastlaneforum for example. They discuss every business topics but the discussions are far more matured than IH's. I love IH though. Else, I wouldn't be suggesting things if I didn't care.

  11. 6

    I agree, somewhat. A lot of the makers I've met fit both groups. I think the issue lies with the forum at IH. IH has grown quite a bit since it's launch - even just in the last year.

    New forum rooms or tagging/filtering on post really makes sense now.

    Aside from the point, but I also feel like there are a ton of posts here that just posts articles/project with no intention of interacting with the community, but rather for the views. Which again, would benefit from a more robust forum.

  12. 5

    Worst than makers are people just posting to get free marketing without giving insight on the background, challenges, tools used etc. I don't have an issue with makers posting if it is a free side project an indie hacker can use to make them more succesful.

  13. 5

    100% agree with you, I'm all trying to make a living from my software.

  14. 4

    Recent and related topic on IH:

    "Don’t make stuff for makers"

  15. 4

    Can you give a few examples of what you'd consider to be IH posts versus makers' posts?

    1. 0

      That would be like asking for the names of happy ending users :P


      1. 3


        Okay. I've never seen a post asking for one's users. Have you? If not, what's a real scenario?

        1. 2

          Search Michael Jackson for an example of a maker post.

  16. 3

    In my mind it's semantics. Seeing some of the other comments here, I think both words have fluid definitions. Some makers may evolve to be indiehackers, and vice versa.

    I know "makers" who started off doing something "for the fun of it," but then realized they could make money so then became an "indiehacker." I would argue that many passion projects that started off as a hobby but then the maker saw a market for the product/service, and started generating revenue from it.

    I was an "indiehacker" that tried to build up an ecommerce product, but eventually shifted the business to embody "maker" principles by releasing free tools and content just to engage with my community.

  17. 2

    The main reason I prefer IH over PH is that it focuses on $ / month as opposed to Upvotes. I think that gets everyone on IH focused on the right thing (generating $) as opposed to pleasing others (generating Upvotes).

    That being said I think suggesting the two communities should not mix is both unrealistic (how do you enforce that?) and also a quite narrow-minded. Just my opinion!

  18. 2

    I identify myself as an indie maker, and I'm doing it full time, and my goal is building a sustainable business.

  19. 1

    This is a great thing, building things for the fun of it, being seen, valued and validated by a community of other makers.

  20. 1

    Well that escalated quickly.

  21. 1

    I totally agree. Makers are different from entrepreneurs. Althrough it may colide at some point.

    On the other side, people change religion with time.

    So you can be a maker at the begging and then if it works you can adapt.

  22. 1

    To me its more about doing the stuff you think is important, doing it good, and money will follow.... or they will not. Whether you make money via a great business model, a personal brand or a day job, as soon as you make something that is important to you and a few others, isn’t that a great act of creation worth of our attention.

    I do dislike though, when others are trying to imitate the leaders and go with these weird challenges. Leaders can inspire, but copying them is not valuable.

    But the makers vs indie hackers dispute has no sense to me. Maker is a general term. Indie Hacker is an indipendent hacker.....whatever you like it to mean. A term wasn’t existing day before yesterday, yet many people act like they know what it supposed to mean.

    To me both terms mean creative people who build products that serve its niche. Money is also important of course. But money making is a particular talent or skill, never all makers will do that similarly well, some will always struggle. But it doesn’t mean they are out of IH community, they can cooperate with others and learn...

  23. 1

    I agree however I have seen this for a long time.

  24. 1

    I think "makers" provide some important balance. For what it's worth, low effort "I hacked together 50 misleading landing pages in 50 hours to VALIDATE MY CONCEPT" posts are less interesting to me than things that are overbuilt but at least have some care and love put into them. At the very least, there's room for both in the community.

  25. 1

    a supreme quest to make a sustainable living from a project

    This is something I relate to, so much.

    You are correct in mentioning the 2 groups. But having said that we all are makers, and this is a community where all can exist. 🙏

  26. 0

    Very good observations. I recently noticed this too.

    For me the difference is if the product is free, its not really a business.

    Most maker products are free which is great, but not really the focus of indie hackers (imo of course).

    1. 7

      So Facebook is not a real business? I've never paid Facebook a penny it's totally free for me. Do we really need to have this conversation again?

      1. 2

        It's not that it's free, rather what I think @krazyreader91 is saying is that Facebook, Indie Hackers, and other businesses have a validated business model where for the users it's free, but for the customers (advertisers), it's still paid. There is somewhere in the business where money is changing hands, and many maker products don't have that, and don't even have plans to add a sustainable business model; they may just be pretty to look at.

        1. 1

          I'm just responding to the idea that if you make a free product, you're not an indiehacker you're a maker, like that's a bad thing.

          Facebook was totally free when it launched, no funding, no ads.

          Google was totally free when it launched, no ads not even a idea for a business model.

          They figured out to make money later even though they launched for free.

      2. 1

        And thats why you are the product.

        I would argue that a free business model like Facebook only works at a massive scale.

        For the rest of us, the solo, indie hackers, charging for our business is the only sustainable model.

        And I am not saying we can't have a free tier or a trial, but there has to be money exchanging hands to make a business.

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          I'd argue you're on a free business here (IndieHackers) and so by your own definition Channing/Courtland wouldn't be welcome here. Seemed to work out well for them.

          Free is always treated as a bad word, and yes at some point you definitely need to think about revenue and a business model, but for so many people getting started, traction/growth early on is even more important.

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            I'd argue you're on a free business here (IndieHackers) and so by your own definition Channing/Courtland wouldn't be welcome here. Seemed to work out well for them.

            There is a difference though. This is the platform, the medium itself.

            Thats like saying how come a magazine about aeroplanes cannot post articles about print media?

            Free is always treated as a bad word, and yes at some point you definitely need to think about revenue and a business model, but for so many people getting started, traction/growth early on is even more important.

            I think the reason free is treated as a bad word is because it is a very poor signal of whether something is a good, sustainable business or not.

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              There is a difference though. This is the platform, the medium itself.

              How is IndieHackers different than Facebook? You are the product here too. You can't have it both ways.

              I think the reason free is treated as a bad word is because it is a very poor signal of whether something is a good, sustainable business or not.

              I get that ultimately people have to charge, but most Indiehackers are just getting started. Free to start is a valid an viable approach, excluding "Makers" simply because they aren't charging for their product seems arbitrary as best.

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                How is IndieHackers different than Facebook? You are the product here too. You can't have it both ways.

                I think the difference is IndieHackers isn't the main business anymore and is more for Stripe to help the community and in turn increase the number of people who start successful businesses.

                I get that ultimately people have to charge, but most Indiehackers are just getting started. Free to start is a valid an viable approach, excluding "Makers" simply because they aren't charging for their product seems arbitrary as best.

                If you remember how IndieHackers started, there was a big focus on the revenue itself. That is what made it special.

                Having said all that, I would rather be inclusive than exclusive while maintaining the ethos of Indie Hackers.

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                  I think the difference is IndieHackers isn't the main business anymore and is more for Stripe to help the community and in turn increase the number of people who start successful businesses.

                  Isn't now, but for a few years prior it was a standalone business, that didn't charge it's primary users anything.

                  If you remember how IndieHackers started, there was a big focus on the revenue itself. That is what made it special.

                  Yes in the interviews there was a great focus on the revenue numbers of the products featured, but for Indiehackers itself there little focus on revenue.

                  For a quite a few months, the primary focus was on getting traction.

                  Having said all that, I would rather be inclusive than exclusive while maintaining the ethos of Indie Hackers.


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                    cc @krazyreader91 @Mubs

                    You guys are both right and wrong. I agree that IH was very similar to something like Facebook, where "the users were the product." In fact, I'd say that's still true today to a large degree. I just don't think there's anything inherently wrong with it. Depends how you go about it.

                    But I also agree that IH, from the early days, was focused on generating its own revenue. I got my first sponsor a few weeks after launching, and by the time Stripe acquired the site I was making around $6k/month I believe. It is true that there were a few months during that period where I primarily focused on growth, though.

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      For me the difference is if the product is free, its not really a business.

      That doesn't define it for me at all. Many of the biggest businesses in the world have free products (Google, for one). Every "product" I have made is free to use and I still make money from them (advertising). Not a sustainable living but it's still a source of side income.