May 2, 2019

I’m a low-profile indie hacker whom nobody knows, ask me anything!

Paul Danyliuk @PaulD

This is sarcasm. But honestly, what’s the deal with so many AMAs on Indie Hackers lately?

IH is a community where less experienced hackers seek advice and support. Naturally they look up to more experienced ones for answers. But I believe that the AMA format takes all the focus away from actual questions and puts it all on a "guru" personality instead. Wouldn’t it be better if instead of making topics in their namesakes, these gurus jumped into existing conversations and helped there?

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    Hey Paul,

    I appreciate your feedback. I appreciate the point you make.

    I'm curious to your thoughts about AMAs and Office Hours? Is it unbalanced?

    In an ideal world, it would be great if the people we invite for AMAs or Office Hours would participate on a regular basis in IH or any other community.

    In reality, it is incredibly hard to make this happen. We find AMAs and Office Hours is a great way to facilitate these conversations.

    I personally like to see these things as a win-win scenario. Newer IHers get insights and support from those with experience. And those with experience either get a bit of exposure, recognition or just an option to give back.

    My personal hope is that 'these gurus' enjoy the experience enough to hang around and contribute on a regular basis. At IH we can't enforce this, but we need to keep trying to support the whole ecosystem.

    What other things do you think we could or should be doing to support the indie hacker community?

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      I haven’t forgotten about this — just have been really busy lately, trying to push out a long overdue update to my app. Will reply tomorrow.

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      OK, time to finally follow up.

      It’s not that AMAs and Office Hours are bad. But it feels like you’re taking IH in a direction you (seemingly) were once set off to avoid.

      Maybe it’s just me, but during my stay here since ~October I’ve always had a feeling that the whole premise of the IH community was to unite rebels. Not only rebels who didn’t want a 9-to-5 lifestyle, but also those who rebel against the glorified VC-backed startup world with its "go big or go home" attitude.

      IH was set off to show that it’s OK to not want to "go big". That it’s OK to pursuit a quiet lifestyle business and not the idea of becoming a unicorn. It was set off to encourage small makers who needed that support the most. Small makers who struggled the hardest with uncertainty and impostor syndrome.

      @primelabs said it best. It was never about the numbers.

      …or was it?

      Lately I started picking up the vibe that people with high MRRs are getting treated superior to people with low MRRs. It was occasional things here and there at first, but lately the threads and comments appeared (1 2 3) explicitly supporting this rhetoric. People who make products for valuable markets and whose goal is high MRR are good, others are suckers. @csallen clearly says it in his comment: $5k MRR is "too low", and the OP should just give up on their current project and build "the right things" following "a playbook" instead. Because building what he was set off to build or aiming for $5k MRR was apparently not right.

      Here’s the discussion thread, so I won’t repeat. I will answer to Courtland’s reply here though. True, no one is set to make low MRRs here. But I think making high MRRs is not everyone’s goal either. It's not about MRR at all. In the end of the day, we’re all doing what we’re doing for one simple reason: to not hate our lives. Everyone’s dissatisfied with something, and that’s why we’re all pushing for the change. I agree, for some this dissatisfaction comes from revenues that are too low. But others may just as well hate working on a project they feel no connection to. Finding a project you would care about is a blessing already, and if you can monetize it you’ve got yourself a gold mine — but not according to the above rhetoric. If it doesn’t make you high MRR, the peer pressure will tell you to write it off as a failure. And perhaps go make another landing page generator or an OkRemote clone instead.

      If I hadn’t been picking this vibe, I wouldn’t have written this post a while ago.

      I don’t know, maybe it’s just me. But I feel this growing fixation on success and high MRRs, and I think it is really intimidating towards lesser IHers who are just starting out. And putting certain people on pedestal with those AMAs and Office Hours is definitely not helping.

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        I hear you loud and clear, but this is a tough one. I don't want to say that it is just you, because it's probably not. This is a big place, and most people lurk, so every commenter speaks for at least 5 or 10 others. But it's possible that you're particularly sensitive to this topic.

        I say that because the idea that the vibe of IH is changing doesn't ring true for me… partly because I don't see others saying that, and partly because we haven't really changed anything. We've brought back AMAs, yes, but we did lots of AMAs last year, too. The interviews and podcast have always featured a variety of high-MRR and low-MRR founders. And the forum has always focused on growth: how to grow your revenue, how to grow your traffic, how to improve your conversion rates, how to be happier, how to be healthier, how to be a better founder, etc.

        The point certainly isn't to go big or go home. The idea is not and never has been that low MRR businesses are unimportant and should give up. Rather, the idea is exactly as you expressed it — people are pushing for change. We want to enjoy our lives, not hate them. And for most of us, that is intimately connected with the goal of building businesses that succeed (by whatever standard we set) as quickly, easily, and pleasantly as we can.

        If you don't want or need to have a high MRR business, you don't have to! If you don't want to a B2B business, you don't have to! And vice versa. Nobody here will pressure you to, and nobody here will say your goal is wrong.

        Advice is only relevant if it aligns with what you're trying to achieve, and that's something unique to you. If you interpret any particular piece of advice as one-size-fits-all, then you're taking it out of context, because you're not considering the person it was given to and what they want to achieve to enjoy their lives. So of course you will feel alienated when that advice doesn't apply to you.

        As Siddharth said in his reply to your last post, and as you quoted above, it's not about the numbers. Seriously. Don't fixate so much on the numbers, especially if it's making you feel bad! (And it seems like it is.)

        Focus on your goals and your happiness and what it takes for you to get there, and people will support you doing that, I promise.

        And if others are aiming for different goals or admiring different people, that's great, too! Live and let live. They are different than you and, in all likely, different from each other. There is no single persona for whom 100% of the posts, interviews, comments, and features on IH will be useful.