April 25, 2019

Don't let overly negative early feedback bring you down

Jannis @jayfk

I've built https://pyup.io/ a couple of years ago and I just stumbled upon a post on reddit I made when I launched the service.

The post had zero upvotes and two comments:

what a terrible idea

This truly is a terrible idea...and it's super over engineered for what it does anyway....and it's a service?! How do I down vote the whole idea.

It was a horrible feeling to get this kind of feedback. I felt worthless, like a failure. All I had dreamed of and worked so hard for suddenly collapsed in front of my eyes. I was about to throw all of it away and build something new. The day I launched I had zero signups, it was absolutely horrible.

But when I woke up on the next day I said to myself that I won't listen to these guys. That the service I'm building is valuable. That the idea is in fact great and that I believe in myself.

I used the negative feedback to push myself even harder. To prove them wrong.

Fast-forward, the service is now used by giants like Google, Intel and mozilla. It is profitable and I just saw a fellow Indiehacker @karolina who launched with a similar idea.

Listen to feedback, but don't let overly negative feedback bring you down. If you believe in your idea, stick to it. Refine, adapt, transform it. But don't let a couple of trolls on the internet bring you down.


  1. 4

    I would add to this...

    ...don't let overly positive feedback boost you up.

    1. 1

      Haha, just wanted to say this as well.

      No amounts of positive feedback will prevent you from eventually hating your life choices and thinking it's all in vain 🙃

      1. 2

        I was thinking more along the lines of false positives.

        • "Hey, I love your product!"
        • "Best app I've ever used!"
        • "I need what you've built, daily!"

        So you think to yourself the paid signups are going to come rolling in, but they don't :-)

        All those overly positive commenters are, in reality, unwilling to pay for your product and potentially pushed you to drive out features/functionality that now collect dust.

  2. 2

    The key is to know which feedback to listen to! There will always be haters. Those guys didn't provide constructive criticism or any form of argument that backs up their opinions.

    Good to know you kept going! :)

  3. 2

    You definitely don't want to have a thin skin. One acquaintance of mine often goes through a loop that goes like this:

    1. he gets really excited about something he's barely started on
    2. he spams it on several subreddits and forums he never participates on
    3. some people on those forums don't like it
    4. he takes it super personally, feels bad and calls them all "trolls"
    5. he continues posting his idea here and there halfheartedly for a while
    6. eventually he gives up, thinks of a new idea and goes back to step 1

    Not everybody will like the thing you're working on, especially when it's half-formed. Not all critiques are wrong. Not all critiques are right. Not all critical feedback is trolling. Strangers on a forum probably don't care much about you or your idea and probably haven't put that much time into checking your app out unless there's evidence to the contrary.

    Dampen your emotional swings and keep moving forward, is what I'd try to do.

  4. 1

    Congrats Pal! Love this story as a fellow entrepreneur with sputtering product/market fit issues.

  5. 1

    Curious to know, after those negative early feedbacks, how do you market your product to where it is now.

  6. 1

    Friends may say nice things, random people say negative things. but ultimately, the proof is always in the pudding: are people using it?


  7. 1

    Solid advice! Glad it worked out for you :)

  8. 1

    I can relate. Reddit can be a source of misery. I am so glad you were able to resist the negative sentiments and push through.

    1. 1

      I think it all depends on your mindset. I've been using it since late 2005 and can't remember ever feeling miserable as a result, except maybe around some horrible UX choices they've made.

      1. 2

        Oh no, don't get me wrong. Reddit is a truly magical place. The content there can be really addictive.

        But when it comes to getting some exposure for your product, I have always received the "piranha" treatment.

        To be fair, it usually helps to build up some rapport over time on whatever subreddit you'd like to gain some exposure on.

  9. 1

    I've encountered this a lot, for multiple ideas over the years. It's easy to criticize when you have nothing at stake and don't have to make actual decisions in real situations.

    It's dangerous to take advice from people who are not risk-aligned with you.

    (This can apply to positive feedback too; for example, asking your mom what she thinks.)

  10. 1

    I don't know what those naysayers were talking about. This is a GREAT AND AWESOME idea. Your product looks great and I personally see a lot of value in it.

    Thank you for sharing your story and words of encouragement.

  11. 1

    Wow! Thank you so much for your support and for sharing your story. Your service looks very interesting and your success brings hope to my team that we are on the good road. All the luck in your future work.

  12. 1

    That's awesome to hear :)
    And it's a good point, especially when starting out, it's so easy to doubt yourself. Having conviction in what you are building can be so important.