April 4, 2019

How do you you explain Indie Hackers to people who ask you about it?

Courtland Allen @csallen

I usually lead with something like, "Indie Hackers is a community of developers and creators helping each other build profitable online businesses."

Then I go into detail about different parts of the site. For example… "Founders volunteer to be interviewed on the podcast and the website, where they tend to share exactly how much money they're making, how they came up with their idea, how they found customers, etc., so others can learn. And there's also a community forum where anyone can share what they're working on and ask for help."

How do you explain it? What kinds of reactions do you get?

(Thanks to @bubsolow for the idea to post this 👋)


  1. 1

    A site for people who want to make money from side projects.

  2. 1

    When I mention Indie Hackers, nobody asks me what that is. Either they already know, or they are looking it up after the fact and pretend like they know.

  3. 1

    "If you're interested in starting a side business, check this out"

    1. 1

      Usually that's enough. People seeking motivation or inspiration find it here. The ones in need for practical advice will get them here.

  4. 1

    I usually just say is a community of makers, they see my excitement and some do check it out.

  5. 1

    I tell people that i know will use the product 'its like the conversations we have but online with 100s of people'

  6. 1

    I was mentioning Indie Hackers to my friends at Opt Out Life and described it a a combination of Hacker News and How I Built This for bootstrapped entrepreneurs.

  7. 1

    That is a great post Courtland!

    I recently shared with my colleague the Indie Hackers website and his reaction was immediately "Are you a hacker?" I said no this is the different type of hacking, the good one.

    So he came over to my desk and I went through IH with him, I showed him the interview section and filtered out a few interviews. Showed him one startup in particular, Scott's Cheap Flights and he was really impressed. This led to a long convo about startups and he shared a lot of ideas about businesses he wanted to start. We've been talking startups ever since! Thank you IH

    In short I tell people: IH is a place to read about other people's success in startups and btw it was acquired by stripe

  8. 1

    @csallen- I wish I had people who asked about IH. #FML


  9. 1

    Usually tell people it's along the lines of software and startups, but instead of following the traditional Startup path of raising funds, growing fast and big, and all that goes with that life—indie hackers intentionally stay lean and small. Build software and a business they love without having to raise millions, hire and manage dozens or hundreds of employees, and live on their own terms.

  10. 1

    IH helps me to keep motivation for building a product. This is a community where indie hackers help each other to make money by their own products.

  11. 1

    I say something like, "Indie Hackers has most of the best of what HN used to be in 2007, but with fewer VCs, more bootstrappers and an uncomfortable scoop of spammer/internet marketer/Warrior Forum DNA".

    Then I talk about the openness of the text, interviews, the Stripe acquisition, the podcast, the forum and the constant iteration of the site (in that order).

    People familiar with the space get it instantly. For others, I have to go into more concrete detail about what it is and how "making money online" is actually a real thing (and much broader than is represented in online "training courses" or movies).

    1. 3

      how to effectively communicate that making money online has matured outside of scams & e-courses is exactly what I was struggling with!

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