(from the latest issue of the Indie Hackers newsletter)
Channing here. One of the 2020 surprises we'll be talking about for years to come is the brain drain from San Francisco:
If you haven't been keeping score, some of the startup world's biggest superstars like Elon Musk (Tesla), Drew Houston (Dropbox), and Peter Thiel (Palantir) have packed up and left California for more tax-friendly pastures like Austin and Denver.
And Miami looks to be the newest destination. Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian and former Coinbase CTO Balaji Srinivasan are among the tech notables leaving San Francisco next.
This mass exodus has implications. Fewer tech elite in San Francisco means fewer talented developers and creators consolidating around a growth-at-all-costs VC culture. And I'll leave it to you to consider whether that's good news or bad news for the indie hacker movement. ;)
Here's what you'll find in this issue:
It's clear that indie hackers and their target customers highly value privacy and security. And as the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed more people to work and spend far more time online, more businesses and consumers are weighing the privacy, security, bias, and regulatory concerns that data analytics present.
Data analytics is a tremendous tool that enables marketers to pinpoint their sales efforts with remarkable precision. Consider, for example, that roughly a third of Amazon's sales come via its recommendation algorithm, and YouTube's algorithm spurs 70 percent of the content watched, according to the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Google Analytics is by far the dominant force in data analytics. Now, a few weeks after launching, its revamped Google Analytics 4 with machine learning, Google's platform is used by nearly 55 percent of the 10 million top sites analyzed by W3Techs. Such ubiquity is an obvious market advantage for the world's largest ad-tech company, which can leverage tremendous amounts of user data to drive advertising sales.
But while Google Analytics may be on top, there are a host of powerful alternatives that offer users simpler tools, more transparency, and increased privacy.
Plausible Analytics provides a simplified, privacy-friendly alternative to Google Analytics. The streamlined tool offers conventional analytics metrics that one needs while simultaneously valuing user privacy.
Fathom Analytics prides itself on simple, privacy-focused analytics tools. Via a single, easy-to-read screen, Fathom provides users data on their top content, top referrers, average time on site, bounce rate, and several other useful metrics. All Fathom plans include unlimited websites on your account, custom domains, and email reports.
We don't market digital privacy because we think we can make fast money from it. We are a company that fundamentally believes in digital privacy and can't fathom (bad pun, we know) building software without privacy in mind.
In May, the company announced that it passed 400 customers with monthly recurring revenue of $5,451.
Here's founder Adriaan van Rossum:
We see a bigger growth than normal. It's likely due to our product being free for corona products. In exchange, we ask for a link back to the public stats of the project.
What are your thoughts on privacy with data analytics companies? And what are your favorite alternatives to Google Analytics?
📈 An indie hacker just hit $15k/mo with his social media image-sharing app. Get the behind-the-scenes story.
📉 Now is the time for you to start a business, according to this analysis of America's economic downturn.
🐘 See the "bad" code an indie hacker wrote which makes $500k.
🏦 Stripe announced it will offer banking services to platforms like Shopify. The Internet promptly branded Stripe "the platform of platforms."
💸 Gumroad launched a dashboard app for Android. Now it's easier for Gumroad creators to see transaction data on-the-go.
💰 Salesforce will acquire Slack for $28bn. Here's what indie hackers have to say about it.
💵 Makerpad announced grants for no-code founders in need of financial help.
Exploding Topics scours the internet to find emerging trends before they take off. And there are two hot developments you should know about:
NextDNS is Pi-Hole on the cloud. Which allows users to filter out internet trackers at the network level. In fact, NextDNS was used to block 3.2B trackers over the last month.
How is NextDNS different from a VPN?
VPNs route web requests through a private server to make your requests anonymous. On the other hand, NextDNS can block tracking, malware and phishing domains directly. The software also filters out ads, both in web browsers and within apps.
Similar network level products like Pi-Hole require hardware (like a Raspberry Pi) to run the software. In fact, 5,400 people search "pi-hole setup" each month to try to figure this out.
However, NextDNS has hosting built-in and doesn't require any outside hardware. Hence its growing popularity (searches are up 6,600% in the last two years).
NextDNS is part of the "privacy-first products" meta trend.
According to Cisco's 2020 Consumer Privacy Survey, 48% of consumers feel they cannot adequately protect their data.
Revenue Operations (also known as "RevOps") is a combination of sales, marketing and customer success under one organizational umbrella. And it's one of the fastest-growing jobs in the SaaS industry.
In fact, according to data from LinkedIn, 2.7x more people have "Revenue Operations" in their job title than "chief sales officer."
And a Forrester Research study found that publicly traded companies with a revenue operations team had a 71% better stock performance compared to companies without one.
Check out the full post to see two more of this week's exploding topics. They include a trending clothing category with an $8B market cap and a traditional strategy game that's been revitalized with the help of a new hit series on Netflix.
While you're at it, join Exploding Topics Pro to see trends 6+ months before they take off.
Yo! Every day I post the tweets indie hackers share the most. Here's today's top pick:
The work-life balance question is hotly debated among indie hackers. And debates are nice and all, but sometimes you need a first-hand account to get a feel for the stakes in the real world.
At first, I thought I was dying. Sharp chest pains. Dizziness. Sweats. I was only in my early 30s, but I figured this was it for me. When I finally saw a doctor, I learned it was panic attacks from acute stress, not the heart attack I'd feared.
At the time, I was working as a freelance designer for some of the world's biggest tech firms. And what I'd thought was normal for a business owner was overwhelming to the point of feeling like I was dying. On February 28th, 2010, my wife Lisa and I packed our belongings into a tiny cube-van moving truck and headed to the ferry terminal. We were moving from the fourth most densely populated city in North America to the woods.
I had had enough of "business as usual." I had become enamored with 'more equals better.' I had been focused on making more money, creating more products, getting more customers. It became my mission to rebuild my business around a life that fulfilled both my health and long-term success. So I cut the parts of the business that weren't serving me, stopping my consulting work altogether and focusing entirely on selling a few digital products and writing books. I became okay with this idea of enough.
There's a point — and it's different for everyone — where you realize that having more won't affect your quality of life or create more resilience for your business. When your own "enough" happens, it's liberating. At least it was for me.
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Special thanks to Bobby Burch, Pete Codes, Josh Howarth, Teela Fleischmann, and Paul Jarvis for contributing to this issue.