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Too much info, too many opinions, too much feedback,... it's time to JFDI

This post on r/startups resonates so much:

How many of us have felt like we can't get past the starting line. Or if we do it's not quite the 100mph we thought it would be when we came up with the idea. Or we don't seem to have raced ahead to $500k after 4 days like others tell us they did. So we immediately feel like we're not in the A team and perhaps our idea isn't right after all.

we are causing this issue to ourselves

We hear a lot about imposter syndrome. But I have a theory that it is caused by too much info, too many opinions, too much feedback, too much "hey look at how successful I am" and ultimately, analysis paralysis of the whole flippin' lot.

I mentor a number of startup founders and early-stage creators and see it again and again with people who say they are stuck because they feel sucked in, for far too many hours a day, to forums like this. Listening to other people's ideas, successes and comments and never quite feeling they have got the magic formula that others seem to have.

other people's input is great ... up to a point

There are some amazing people here and on other forums and a good number have seen great success. So they talk about it and give away lots of great tips. Others talk a great game too even if they haven't had the success. And we hang on every word of them all.

Others are selling their tips, with courses and other learning tools and aids. And we often feel like we cannot do without the course, a variant of FOMO, a fear that there is a golden nugget inside the course and it will set us on our road to fame and riches.

We all saw the 2 contradictory indiehackers.com threads last week discussing whether to build an audience first, or not. Both good views. Both got plenty of feedback. Both correct. Both wrong. The r/startups post I've linked to has got 97 comments in 1 day! And the most popular post in this group right now, on how to validate ideas, has 63 comments.

How the f(*& do we begin to digest all this feedback.

I suggest we don't!

eventually we must do this by ourselves

We are all as good as the people selling courses and making the odd $20k here and $500k there. They have skills and they have great ideas. But they also got lucky and made some mistakes on their journey. There is no one perfect way to execute an idea.

But one thing's for sure, YOU are the only person who truly knows your idea. Your idea is not the same as others, so only you can make it happen. You might fail, but that is the game. If you want zero risk then go back to a 9-5 at BigCorp.

Yes take in some learning from the forums. But limit it and stop chasing the next thread to see if it has yet another opinion - it will. If we can scale back the listening for a moment and get on with our ideas then we can achieve success.

It's time to stop seeking the perfect game plan, reading AMA's and getting torn between 50 people giving 200 different viewpoints.

As my old college lecturer taught me many moons ago... JFDI

  1. 5

    I agree and I don’t. Yeah there is a lot of input and opinion out there but that in itself is not necessarily the problem. The problem is with the individuals who allow it to delay and confuse them.

    Input is great. Feedback is great. But process it as you go. Don’t sit and try to process it all before you start. And most importantly of all take everything with a pinch of salt and use your own brain.

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      This is something I'm looking for. I don't understand why most people here completely agree with the idea above. The point is it's your choice to let those inputs help or confuse you.

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        Yeah the same amount of info is out there for everyone, but some people still crack on, launch and become successful while another person with EXACTLY the same exposure to the EXACT same info will get completely derailed.

        It's almost like a form of natural selection and maybe some people just aren't cut out for it.

      2. 1

        ... I'm not sure we're in perfect control of what confusing us and what doesn't.

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      hey @alexhillman OMG!! is that permanent? fabulous! I was first told of JFDI back in 1984 by my old college lecturer - it's stuck with me ever since, though not as a tattoo ;-)

      1. 3

        Yup! I've had the tattoo since 2007, and some special memories that come along with getting it. :)

        It's on my right forearm so I see it in the mirror when I brush my teeth twice a day. I also give away stickers with the same design that thousands of people have on their laptops, notebooks, etc..

        Lemme know if you want a few stickers I'll put em in the mail: [email protected]

        I've got my own mantras and reminders that go along with it, too, that might resonate: https://dangerouslyawesome.com/2011/11/ctfd-and-jfdi/

        1. 1

          fantastic, I like the idea of seeing it in the bathroom mirror - a good motivator each morning!

          that's ok, no worries on the sticker. but if I ever see one on someone's laptop I'll ask if it's one of yours.

          7 years learning computation at school/college/university and I think JFDI was the most important thing I learned ;-)

  2. 2

    Totally agree with you; what should be a source of inspiration and learning quickly takes up more time than actually executing your ideas, which will then of course lead to dissatisfaction.

    However, I do believe that forums like this stand in that regard in a much better light, as people also talk about their problems and failures honestly here (in contrast to the polished un-reality of Instagram and the narcissism consuming Twitter). And anyway, if you're just starting off it can provide good orientation.

    We at Algoly for example are right now preparing a launch on Product Hunt and it is extremely helpful to draw on the experiences of others.

  3. 2

    Thanks for the post Steve. This is a great reminder to prioritize getting things done over too much planning/research/reading which feels productive but really isn't.

    A rule of thumb that has worked for me is that if I read something on IH/HN/Reddit that inspires me to actually get work done, that's a good sign. But if I find myself reading and bookmarking a bunch of stuff "for later" that's a bad sign.

    Thanks for the good read, and now it's time to get back to work! 😉

    1. 1

      see reply from @grantmoore3d - to keep links for later reading...or not ;-)

  4. 2

    Totally agree with the general sentiment. I enjoy reading other people's opinions simply to see what resonates with me, but most importantly I'm just actually DOING something. Whether it turns out to be a success, optimal, failure, etc. is irrelevant if you're not trying.

    That said, I have a growing list of bookmarks of information that I'm going to evaluate later - for me it's mostly marketing related because I'm not at that a point where I can even think about this beyond having a simple landing page.

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      soooo many different opinions! can you see the reply above from @stevenkkim? ;-)

      "if I find myself reading and bookmarking a bunch of stuff "for later" that's a bad sign"

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        Just to be clear, I really like reading stuff and collecting bookmarks. It feels good and productive. But's also never the best use of my time. Most of those bookmarks go unused, and when I finally do a task that I've "saved up" for, I do research anyway and find the info I need.

        An analogy is lean manufacturing or just-in-time manufacturing – you want to focus on efficient production and value creation and not gathering "inventory" that you might use far in the future.

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          That's a fair perspective, I find my style of bookmarking is to save already vetted / researched "to do" resources that I simply can't act on when I find it, but I do execute on most of them later. All depends on your style of research, mine is to read things months in advance of actually acting. It does result in some waste, but I prefer it over making decisions in the moment. Different strokes for different folks :)

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            Yes, if it works for you, that's great.
            And I absolutely find bookmarks useful for future tasks, which is why I still do it.
            As I think about it more, I think reading/bookmarking for me can easily turn into a method of procrastination which is when it becomes a problem for me.
            So basically, I still do it, but I try not to do it too much 😝

  5. 2

    For me, this "from idea to real product" is another learning path. Sometimes you take the wrong turn, sometimes your journey can continue. People should just get rid of the mindset "what did work for others, will work for me too".

    Recent turn in the wrong direction: To start with an idea. I should think of the problem first. Not the other way around, by thinking of problems that an idea could solve.

  6. 2

    I think it is healthy to get a lot of ideas from many sources, but the answers must come from the market. Use the ideas to probe the market until it likes what you offer. You get to take so many shots!

    Isn'it wonderful? To have lived and played this game while others could only watch?

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      yes every single person on this forum has already taken a massive step to be independent so we should already be proud of what we're achieving. There are probably millions who never quite have what it takes to leave their 9-5, even though they would love to.

  7. 2

    I completely agree. At some point we need to stop and start working.
    If i only read and listened to other people, i would still work in my old government job.

    Learn from others, ask questions but be ready to put your head down and work. These few weeks, i'm building my new course and it feels if i read all the threads here, i will give up. but if i read all the learning and see what applies to me, i can improve.

    Good luck everyone :)

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      yes head down and JFDI ;-) good luck with your course

  8. 2

    yes, absolutely, too much input... it can make us doubt ourselves (and our intuition) if we 'input' too much. We need a health dose of output to go with 🙃

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      "intuition" - yes spot on @jasraj. that is key and we must believe in it

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        I was talking to a value investor about this yesterday... too much input isn't good for our 'system'. Thanks for sharing, Steve

        ps. this would make a great re-post on LinkedIn ;)

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          thanks @jasraj. grat idea. would you recommend posting the whole text as a new post on linkedin? or a link to this IH page? What works best?

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            hey Steve - I reckon you could try re-posting on LinkedIn as an 'article' on there in its current form as it and see how it lands. And link back in a line at the bottom to say: "originally shared on IndieHackers" and link back to the piece.

            As a general rule, when experimenting, I try to make things as frictionless as possible :)

            I think people really like authentic voices on that platform... not least because they're people, and I see a lot of corporate/dull marketing spiel on there.

  9. 2

    I agree with you on this one @steveprocter 👆🏻

    One nuance: if you work hard and keep at it, you widen the door to receive more luck. That's how I perceive things happening "to somebody".

    I fully recognize and acknowledge that as makers, we often try to create something perfect, hide in the creation process to not have to face up to the (but o so valuable) feedback.

    Best to learn while doing and use failure and/or feedback to alter the course or quit the path entirely to pursue something else.

    I'm putting it to action with my upcoming side project (https://www.indiehackers.com/product/clubprofile-xyz). Just building the simplest version and releasing it ASAP.

    It's time to listen to feedback and ride that wave, instead of standing on the shores and watching the waves pass by.

    1. 1

      best of luck with that @eekay.

      But oh groan, Clubhouse, don't get me started on that ;-) Is clubhouse going to be somewhere with 1 billion people holding 7 billion different opinions.

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        Thanks. As with any social media platform: we need to cherry pick the nitty gritty stuff and ignore the rest.
        My project is not a big play but something that might help people and for which the time is now (while it's still "fresh and new" for the mainstream.

        But I feel ya. It can fill up with nonsense quite quickly

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          create a space on the internet and watch how it fills. it will all make a fascinating study for future anthropologists ;-)

  10. 2

    I've been following this place for the last four years(since the first HN post) and I've see successful folks leave this place and never come back except to market their product.

    Eventually everyone realized these forums are a marketing channel. Nothing much of value comes out of here.

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      It's a good source of inspiration and a nice way to take a break while working...

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        I just wonder though how many hours we all spend on forums? hours that perhaps could be better spent actually "doing" our projects.

        Sometimes I feel like I take a break from forums to do work ;-)

    2. 1

      If they have figured out how to proceed and grow their products, then there is no real need to come back to IH. They would just spend the time to grow the biz further. They may even the resources to hire dedicated people to solve the problems they have encountered. They would come back to contribute, to help.

    3. 1

      ouch!! yes there is a bit of that across many forums, but certainly not all of it.

  11. 2

    This is great advice.

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      Thanks @net2tim, i though so too. Have you any thoughts then, on why only 1 person has commented or voted on it?

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        @steveprocter
        I do spend a lot of time reading articles and in forums, to learn things about the areas I suck at, i.e. sales & marketing. All business are about sales & marketing of services and products. But most IH and startup are not good at them. So spending time on forums for many is a way to find that aha moment you mentioned, hoping to find a simple way to address the initial traction or growth problem. After spending enough time on forums, I know I can't get all the knowledge I need, but I do can get some very useful information from people's experiences and insights.

        1. 1

          As for "the areas we suck at". Are we all doing enough collaboration and cofounder finding!? (which I thought IH was about).

          I suck at sales & marketing as much as someone out there sucks at building stuff. Why aren't we in bed together instead of trying to keep it all to ourselves and be masters of everything?

          This feels like another post coming on ;-)

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            I don't know what collaboration means. It is either a cofounder with equity or a "hired expert" with monetary compensation. I am not that technical to build a product/site for others. I know enough to outsource to get my site built. So that goes the barter option:-) Maybe there are other options, but I don't know.

            I don't see a lot of marketers/growth people in IH. I see product/tech people. I see business people. It is not often that I see people stating that they are good at marketing and are looking for projects. Usually, those people are business people looking for tech people to build their own projects.

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              yes by collaboration I simply mean the broad idea of working together as cofounders in some way (the formalities and legal framework options are flexible).

              So which are you @net2tim? Would be great to see a few more profiles filled in ;-)

              I am biz+builder and looking for growth+marketing (who also has biz understanding). I'd love to collaborate and work on something with a fellow IH'er where "I build you sell".

              But yes I wonder if you're right, there are lots of "business" people looking for tech people. But actually the business person isn't great at selling so in the end the idea flounders. I think I might do a whole seperate post on this.

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                Please do write a post about this.

                I am more like you too. I am a business person with IT background. My partner does the content for our biz, not the marketing content. We are in the content business. I have no problem with the IT side of the biz. I would be interested to work with a marketing person:-)

                I am not sure if it would be easy to find a marketing/sales partner on IH, since there are not many marketing people here. Maybe you can try to post some feeler posts on marketing groups to see if you can find someone who would be interested in collaborating with you on a part-time basis. The compensation arrangement may be a bit tricky. But if the person is very interested in your idea, then maybe it would not be difficult. Or you can just hire a marketing director:-)

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                  yeah it's not a "find someone to work for me on my idea" thing.

                  I am more I suppose looking for cofounders to get together and share our skills across a pool of ideas.

                  sounds like you have a good setup.

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          what is one person's aha moment is not always right for someone else. so like you say, get some very useful info from other people's experiences, but then close the forum and start writing your execution plan from your own head.

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            Indeed. I think I have learned enough and have decided on my marketing direction. I am getting my site updated at the moment and will be starting marketing afterward.

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        I think you need to give it some time. It's now at 7 votes and 6 comments :)

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        I think people couldn't come back from Reddit. Maybe a screenshot would do better. 😂

  12. 1

    I want to do a re-post of this on linkedin to do an in-public-experiment on getting it to go-large. please see my IH post and let me know if you can help...

    https://www.indiehackers.com/post/i-want-to-do-a-go-large-post-experiment-on-linkedin-who-wants-to-help-79be04297e

  13. 1

    my inbox has blown up ;-)

    2 particular responses that came in within minutes of each other sum up the issues (they are from @harvellocapello and @maantin)...

    "I'm always pleasantly surprised by the engagement here - people genuinely reply and care about what you're building"

    and

    "I've see successful folks leave this place and never come back except to market their product. Eventually everyone realized these forums are a marketing channel. Nothing much of value comes out of here"

  14. 1

    Absolutely outstanding piece.

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    This comment was deleted 2 months ago.

    1. 2

      exactly @timosarkka! There is no one right answer to any of it, but I get the feeling too many people are waiting for one. Every time a new post or course comes out we all scramble for it and our current plans goes out of the window.

      I wonder if it is like a rabbit caught in headlights. Do I go left, or right, jump up onto that tree, run forward, or backward. And then they freeze!!

      Read lots and take it all in. But once you start executing then stick to YOUR plan. Any further reading and tweaking of your plan is likely to disrail you and becomes a distraction, or will make you freeze in the headlights.

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