Business Ops April 1, 2020

Keeping It Simple (Requires Discipline)

John Saddington @8bit

These are strange times and everyone in the world is literally thinking about the same thing: covid-19.

And, just like you, I’ve been reviewing our finances with a very, very fine-toothed comb, making certain that the tools and services that we use and pay for are absolutely essential.

Thankfully, we’ve instituted a Master Tool List that’s easy to review for anyone on our team! Obviously, it also serves as an incredibly-easy (and free!) system of record for our current list of apps and paid services.

The last two weeks have been nothing but examining this list, getting on the phone with folks (or Zoom) and begging them to reduce the cost or eliminate them entirely while finding cheaper or free alternatives.

Not everyone has played “nicely” and I understand as man of these service providers are feeling the belt tighten, as it were, and a wave of cancellations are already in-play or imminent!

(We’re somewhat fortunate in our current state because we’re so small and we don’t have to worry as much as many others who are at scale!)

One surprising reduction via the master list of tools is Slack — that’s right, we’ve completely done away with Slack as our communication tool of choice!

slack
We simply don’t need it. Really.

This is partly due to the fact that we’re dogfooding our own product which allows us to communicate the essentials without fluff or bloat and also because we’re using it for our private community of builders, entrepreneurs, startup founders, and indie project creators!

Yes, that’s a bit of a mouthful, but, I get a bit excited when I think about it all:

app
Screenshot via Indie Hackers

It’s a visceral reminder that what we think is essential is not actually true and what “gets the job done” can oftentimes take the form of something much smaller, agile, and discrete (in functionality).

Building your own communication tool isn’t difficult but intentionally keeping things simple and small, especially in the beginning, can take an enormous amount of discipline and resolve.

But that’s what these times call for, right? Save money, stay lean, stay hungry, and stay mildly-foolish.

Most importantly, stay in community.

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