July 18, 2018

Your "12 Rules for Indie Hacker Life"

Hi all, I read "12 Rules for Life" recently and liked the format. Do you have any helpful rules for a IH life?

Here are mine:

1.) Create order from chaos to get started!

People value solutions that create order from chaos. Disrupting tyrannical order is more valuable but harder to market. It should be a long term goal.

2.) Don't bother Hustling in mature markets!

The Hustle is all about creating or finding (and then using) leverage. In mature markets, managerial leverage has been optimized (see "High Output Management").

"Fortunately" the IT world currently cannot establish order around new concepts and products fast enough. Low hanging fruit just keep growing.

3.) Don't choose to believe - choose to look into!

There is a place for "Strong beliefs loosely held" ... but you should let temporary beliefs develop over time rather than adopting them from articles and books.

4.) The Grind is a prerequisite for The Hustle!

Tactics and Strategies only work when you can build on a solid foundation. Alternating between Grind and Hustle projects is a great way to strike the right balance.

5.) Never take Hustling as an excuse to be a lazy thinker!

You should always try to find some leverage. Common knowledge is not all that impressive and getting good at finding flaws is how you can create value faster.

Adopt the terminology of the problem domain, be creative in the solution domain! Relabel things for outcome!

6.) Think about Ideas as Social Creatures!

This is a weird one, but ideas can grow in potential when nurtured or they can be unleashed on the world and wreak havoc.

You will see how they are "social" once you take an idea and start cross-referencing it with others.

7.) You need to embrace writing!

Writing is magic. Your writing is the best way to convince people that you can provide value. Publish anything that is badly written and people will run away screaming.

8.) See Urgency as a red flag!

Don't think about urgency as a strong version of important. Important is good, urgent is bad and should be avoided at all cost.

This way of thinking will also help with identifying potential for value creation.

"The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" introduces the concept of the "Urgent Important Matrix". You should always focus on things that are important but not urgent.

9.) Use books to hack wisdom!

Books are the best levers you can use to get ahead faster. Again, cross-reference ideas to build a sophisticated mental model over time.

10.) Never let tools dictate the outcome!

Always know what you want to accomplish and set high standards. Then find the right tools to make it happen.

When you ask yourself what you could do with a given tool, you are probably not on the right track.

11.) Swallow all the bitter red pills you can (there are many)!

Quick wins and easy tactics will only get you so far. A great marketing course will tell you how hard it is to conduct market research, get the positioning right and reach the right people.

There are many pills to swallow. Swallow the blue pills and you set yourself up for mediocrity.

12.) Become mentally, emotionally, socially and physically resilient!

Establishing the right routines and habits is important. Try to prevent being lopsided when it comes to the four areas of resilience mentioned above.

You can add some friction as "Hustle Workout Projects" that have the potential to pay off in some way.


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    2.) Don't bother Hustling in mature markets!

    The Hustle is all about creating or finding (and then using) leverage. In mature markets, managerial leverage has been optimized (see "High Output Management").

    "Fortunately" the IT world currently cannot establish order around new concepts and products fast enough. Low hanging fruit just keep growing.

    Not sure I understand this?

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      There are books that talk about where value is created ("Where Good Ideas Come From", "So Good They Can't Ignore You"):

      The "Adjacent Possible" describes the area at the cutting edge of a field where new discoveries can drive the whole field forward.

      In mature markets this is something that the only the best have any hope at competing for. It takes ages just to get to the cutting edge in those cases.

      Then there is the observation (I think from "The 2nd Machine Age" ... but not sure ...) that disruptive technologies like steam powered machines and the printing press did not create value instantly.

      People needed to create processes and methodology around those new technologies.

      Again, in mature industries it is very hard to find levers and establish something that unlocks more value.

      In the IT world, there is arguably the best environment to accomplish a lot with "Indie Hacks". New technologies like Containers with Kubernetes, Web Components, Domain Specific Language frameworks, Serverless computing etc. pop up faster than most companies can create mechanisms and methodologies around. There are also countless ways to combine those technologies.

      There is so much chaos that begs for crunchy solutions ... and it is relatively easy to get to the cutting edge of a few brand new technologies (compared to developing the next generation of CPUs, for example).

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    I think just number 11 is enough.

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    See Urgency as a red flag!

    I totally agree on this one.

    • adding "A task a day keeps the distractions away..." = consistency in your work, always be moving forward, no matter how little progress you can make each day...
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      Thumbs up for this Patric, something I also try to do all the time although sometimes hard to keep.

      Cheers!

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    I like it!