September 2, 2019

I'm Marie Denis, co-founder of Threader and founder of Women Make. Ask me anything!

Hey IH, I’m Marie!

I’m the co-founder of Threader, a Twitter client that curates good threads and display them in a well designed single view. Threader was born 2 years ago, has grown since then, and filled my life with many ups and downs, as every entrepreneur I guess, and it taught me a lot about the media industry.

I’m also the founder of Women Make, a community created so women have a place in the entrepreneurial space. It started as a small Telegram group and has 400+ members now. I recently released a new website, a forum, to expand and complete the community.

I'll be here on Wednesday 11th of September at 2pm Central European Time. Ask me anything!

  1. 7

    Hi there! How do you monetize Threader?

    1. 2

      Hey! We offer premium subscriptions with features that Twitter doesn’t provide: retrieve the threads from your Twitter timeline, a daily digest email (with the most popular threads from your timeline) and offline bookmarks. We have users that become paid customers on both web and iOS.

  2. 5

    Hello Marie!

    I'd like to ask about how your working schedule and how to achieve a good balance. Sometimes I struggle with this!

    I know you and @yesnoornext travel round to different cities working on your startups. Do you think that helps? How do you know when to take a break? Any general tips on how to be happy?

    1. 4

      If I'm allowed one more question I'd also like to ask about how you got Threader's first 200 users?

      1. 1

        You are allowed :) The first 200 users came from 2 main channels: 1) Our launch on Product Hunt, we were nobody so I think it helped that Chris Messina hunted us, and 2) the App Store, and since they featured us twice it brought us a lot downloads.

    2. 2

      Hey Harry! We do struggle with this too! Actually we were really bad at it and made a few necessary changes recently (I recently wrote about it here: https://twomakers.io/reboot-check-up-after-6-months-of-new-habits/).

      Our first year of nomadism, we were moving every month, which was very tiring. You spend your time looking for your next rental and don’t have the time to enjoy the place your are currently in. So I would definitely not recommend that. Now we stay at least for a few months in each place (except if we don’t like it of course).

      What I like about it is that it’s a good distraction to do something else rather than work. I have a city and its surrounding to discover, places to visit, bars and restaurants I want to try, etc. It helps me to take breaks and have a life. It doesn’t work in my hometown for example, because I’m bored of it. That’s why I don’t think I would stay more than 6 months in a place.

      As for taking breaks in general, I try to listen to me and the signals my body is sending me. If I’m starting to feel too tired or that a headache is on its way, I stop. I may just need a 15 min break. But if I need more I do more.

      How to be happy is a tough question! It depends a lot on people, your environment and what you want to achieve. But I think it is also a lot about living in the moment, knowing how to enjoy everyday’s life little pleasures. It requires some work to notice them and take advantage of them. Otherwise I would say that you should do something that you chose, not that you endure. Entrepreneurship is not easy but I chose it.

  3. 4

    Hi Marie, I’m a member of the women make community. Thanks for creating and cultivating this space. I mostly wonder how much time you spend moderating and leading this community.

    I imagine it to be a fulltime Job. How do you experience it?

    1. 2

      Thank you! The honest response is: I’m almost full time on it! Financially and mentally it can be difficult sometimes. Fortunately I have patrons, which encourages me to keep developing it. Since I began I saw a lot of initiatives created for women, but most of the time it’s a way to green wash corporations who don’t really care about diversity. I didn’t create Women Make for this.

      A lot of members seem to appreciate what they found in the community. It’s not about networking but meeting great persons, finding support, and chatting in an informal way, with a no bullshit attitude. This gives me the energy to keep pushing it alone.

  4. 4

    I love the new website and forum you created for Women Make. I'd love to know your long-term plans for the group!

    1. 3

      Thank you Steph! I wanted to build this forum for a long time so I’m happy it’s finally out. Today one of my goals is to monetize it. I’d like to spend more time to develop it and not solely rely on the Patreon though.

      I have a few ideas in mind. I’m taking the time to think about it before I putting anything in place because I really want to keep the same vibe on Women Make. For example I can see a few tech communities who raised money and I don’t think it benefits to the members so I’m definitely not going that way. I also don’t think VC backed communities can fix the inclusion and diversity issues, that’s another point.

      I'm about to integrate Stripe to the website so members can support financially more easily. Patreon was perfect to start with, but since you need an account it adds friction to the process.

      Another idea would be to find a sponsor, whose values are aligned with ours. This option would allow me to keep building a place that creates more opportunities for the members while keeping the ability to access it for free (I want women from all backgrounds to be able to join us).

  5. 3

    Hello! Are there any patterns that stand out from running Women Make? e.g. spikes in new members in certain months

    1. 2

      Hey Graeme! I wouldn’t call them patterns but I think new members are very tied to my Twitter activity with Women Make. That’s one of the reasons I built this new forum, to diversify the sources of traffic. I also finally took a look at the SEO, I’m hoping to see a change in the next few weeks. I will probably experiment with new channels (other social networks for example) in a near future to diversify more.

      Otherwise real pikes were definitely happening during “special events”. For example, last year in October we organized a “Just f*ing ship it in 30 days” challenge (https://womenmake.com/challenge-october-2018). A lot of our members were involved, there was a lot of activity, so it attracted new people to the community. It also made Women Make more well know in general, and we gained a few more patrons.

  6. 3

    Hi Marie 👋

    Love The Art Of Threading series & the blurry pics are super cool. What are your plans for the Women Make podcast?

    1. 3

      Hey Akshay! I love the pics too, Vincent did them! The podcast is on hold for now. I had too much to do so I decided not to keep on. But I will probably re-launch it someday, when I have more time and/or if I find a sponsor.

      1. 1

        No worries, I thought so too you were doing too many things at a time. Good luck :)

        PS: The forum looks cool

        1. 1

          Thank you!

        2. 1

          This comment was deleted 6 days ago.

  7. 2

    What would your ideal life look like in 3 years time?

    1. 2

      In 3 years I want to be fully independent, meaning only working on my projects. I want to keep traveling with Vincent without having to worry that much about the financial aspect like today. To sum up: keep building clean products, without ads and dark patterns, and make a living from it. It may sound naive or utopic but I know it’s possible and this is my goal.

  8. 2

    I'm curious as to whether you still have the telegram group? If yes how does it work with the new site, if not, why did you decide to stop with the telegram channel?

    1. 2

      Yes we still have the Telegram group. Now we can have both live conversations on the chat and asynchronous discussions on the website. I wouldn’t delete it as the forum is brand new and most conversations still happen on Telegram. And I won’t delete it in the future either since it’s a great way to connect easily and chat in an informal way.

      It’s still a work in progress but when someone posts on the website, the Telegram bot announces it on the chat and shares the link. That’s also through the bot that you receive notifications in private when someone comments on your post or replies to you.

  9. 2

    Do you have any special Twitter API access? The rate limiting is pretty... limiting as I remember.

    How did you get everyone to know about Threader. I see it everywhere.

    1. 2

      We don’t have a special access to the Twitter API. There are some limits indeed but in most cases it’s enough for us.

      When we started, our iOS app got featured twice on the App Store, of which once was as an App of the Day. Unfortunately we had not monetized Threader yet but this was a great kickoff and brought a lot of users.

      We have a curation of threads so we used to reach out to the authors to tell them when we featured them. A part of our users are journalists, scientists, etc. and we got several back-links on important media, which brought lots of traffic too. We were also featured during journalism events or in articles, experts mentioning Threader as a useful tool to enrich their content/stories.

  10. 1

    How do you manage your connections? (relationships / networking )

    1. 2

      I’m not sure what you mean by that. If you mean where do I connect with people, I mainly use Twitter and Telegram. In a general manner I’m not in fond of “networking” in the strict sense of the term so I just go to people who I have a good feeling about, but that’s it. I hope I answered your question.

      1. 1

        Thank you for the answer! =]

        What about the connections you have in your phone. People that you probably met along the way......do you have any method to keep them close? Do you think that is relevant to your life? (keep these people closer, know how they are doing...)