May 7, 2019

What are your unpopular opinions?

Harry Dry @harrydry

Thought it could be fun for people to list their unpopular opinions in the comments. Often everyone agrees and ... it's a bit boring!

Inspired by an interview I did with @jjejje, cofounder of Kapwing, where I asked for her unpopular opinions. She came back with:

  • I think blockchain will be a mostly irrelevant technology by 2025
  • I don’t think YCombinator is worth it in 2019
  • I don’t think startups should build “sign in with email” flows

Not sure I agree, but hearing her unpopular opinions challenged me to think a bit differently, and question my own beliefs, which is certainly healthy.

#ask-ih

  1. 5

    Here is mine: some technical founders should be less full of themselves.

    Let me explain: There seems to be this strange dynamic where people who are capable of developing an MVP think highly of themselves and look to fill the "marketing" role. They have this mentality of "I'm just here to code, you do the marketing, and if you can't, why should I partner with you?". I find this attitude quite ironic considering the countless products that exist and solve zero problems for anyone. These people are so quick to jump at the first idea, work years on "solving" a problem, only to realize nobody wants to pay for their crap. Sorry, but if you were to get of the high horse a few years back then perhaps you'd realize that the "marketing" skill or finding product fit is way more important than jumping both feet into developing a "solution".

    I've encountered this attitude all over the place, including here. Don't get me wrong, it's great to be able to execute on something and see it through if you are confident there is money to be made, but a lot of times that confidence stems out of excitement, delusion and arrogance.

  2. 5

    Ironically, I've ended up agreeing with 90% of the comments. Here's some of my opinions. I hope you don't like them

    • being a great developer is a curse

    • being a great designer is even more of a curse

    • the role determination plays is massively neglected.

  3. 5

    Unpopular opinion: ads can work really well to acquire customers (especially Facebook ads if you know how to use the platform).

    I don’t know why there is this idea that organic content marketing is the only way to grow.

    I know media buyers spending $10-50k per day on FB ads with 2x-5x ROAS!

    FB maxed out on ad inventory and CPM keeps increasing year after year. Why would advertisers keep spending money on something that doesn’t work?

  4. 4

    Things I get a lot of negative feedback for saying on IH...

    • Sales > marketing (at least for the first 10 customers)

    • It's fine to use pop-up forms on websites (including exit intent modals) - as long as they're done properly

    • It's fine to send multiple follow-up emails without a response (agin, only when done properly)

    1. 2

      Yeah Agree. Sales is about talking with potential customers more deeply and know them more deeply.

      Marketing use the accurate message communicate with potential customers in a more broad way

    2. 1

      Could you explain the first point (Sales > marketing)? I'm curious...!

        1. 1

          Just read the article...thanks!

          "Actually ask them to buy!" -> haha good point. Also the hardest thing to courage up to.

    3. 1

      How do you send follow-ups properly?

    4. 0

      Hahah! I agree on all three. Even more controversial?

  5. 4

    I think "unpopular opinion" threads are full of popular opinions, including this one.

    1. 1

      hahah! fair point. break the mould

  6. 3
    • Sales > marketing by far.

    • Cold calling (smart calling) is the best way to get customers.

    • The role of developing sales skills and to have a proper training in sales psychology is vastly underrated by indiehackers.

    • Just after this makes sense to have a beautiful website.

    • There are books that are literally a blueprint for growing a business.

    • We chose to be indiehackers in part to avoid the awkwardness of social situations.

  7. 3

    Lua and C are the only languages worth knowing.

  8. 3

    Don't read books about how to create a business or startup! Read them after (if you have time :)

  9. 3

    I like my president (France)

    Blockchain is for unhappy people

    99% of founders speaks more than acts - and that piss me off

    1. 1

      "99% of founders speaks more than acts - and that piss me off" - Is this really an unpopular opinion?

      Personally I am not upset about it (anymore). I just don't care about them.

      Then with customers and people working for me, I realize my job as a founder is now to ... mostly talk :).

      1. 1

        I dont care about them too when I'm not involved, but I'm looking for cofounders for many years and I've got to say I've been disappointed so many times.

        I'm now building my things alone, not looking for cofounders but let the destiny do the job :P

        At a certain point, this is the only thing the founders must do, but at the early stage, talking dont do sales :P

        1. 1

          Disappointment can be managed by setting expectations upfront. My advise to many first-time co-founders is "work out the divorce papers before you start". :)

          The rule of thumb is "judge people by their actions not their words". That tends to work well for tech people, okay for marketing people, but for Sales it is complicated. I can sometimes spend 6 months selling and there is nothing to show - then "suddenly" a $100K check hits the bank.

          As a technical person, the best way I have found to tell amateur Sales people from professionals is how well organized they are at managing their pipeline, writing scripts, etc. (http://djaodjin.com/blog/rapid-saas-meetup.blog.html#sales-sales-sales).

          The ultimate test is to give someone a list of 20 names with phone numbers and ask to call all of them Today, right now. 90% of the people that think themselves as Sales people won't pass that test. guaranteed.

          1. 1

            I'm used to never sign any papers before a sale anyway but yeah, never met someone more qualified than me at sales, and I suck.

            It's a great test :P Thank you for the link too :O

  10. 2

    My unpopular opinions:

    • Most startup books / resources are common sense

    • Most business speakers are a waste of your time (i.e. i'm rich doing something so you can too).

    • Most business advice given on the internet is garbage (see above)

    • If someone has built your idea before, that shouldn't stop you from building your version (how many markets have one singular solution/offering?).

    • People should not become entrepreneurs for the glamour of it. It isn't glamorous work.

    • Not all businesses can be a SaaS model.

    1. 1

      "People should not become entrepreneurs for the glamour of it. It isn't glamorous work." Maybe unpopular in a larger population, but I would guess most people who have made the jump to "actually sustain their family by starting a business" would agree with that :).

  11. 1
    • Lean Startup is a good book, but it's not a bible that should never be questioned

    • you don't really need a mentor, not in the traditional meaning of the word

    • you should try and avoid getting funding as much as you can

  12. 1

    As you wish... here is my most unpopular opinion:

    Except for vegetarians and the tiny shrinking number of people who hunt, people regularly put thinking, feeling animals through a lifetime of torture in order to end up on their dinner plates. Many people do care on an abstract level and some of the more hypocritical even loudly promote animal rights, but in the end we nearly all make the same choice in exchange for a few moments of dining enjoyment.

    The two hypocritical strains that annoy me the most are:

    1. those who believe the animals they eat are fine but only that horrible people would eat the animals eaten in some other, usually poorer, place.

    2. those who eat factory farmed animals raised in torturous conditions but vilify those who hunt and directly kill animals (far more quickly and without keeping them in captivity for years first)

    I'm not a vegetarian, though I have been for various amounts of time in the past. Believing what I do does influence me to moderate my consumption a bit but I still enjoy it. More than anything, my above unpopular opinion above has lead me to be less self-righteous and less judgemental towards others who do things I find "wrong", especially if many others don't have a problem with those practices.

  13. 0

    Don't send cold emails and follow-ups :)

    1. 1

      In what context?

      1. 2

        For marketing.

        Personally, I just hate them - they are very annoying and I always feel like the sender only wants to sell his or her product and nothing more (even if he or she are trying to convince me that they just want to help - liars!).

        So, even if I want to sell my product, I don't want potential customers to hate me :)

        And this opinion is very unpopular, especially among marketing people.

        1. 1

          If that opinion is very unpopular on IH doesn’t that mean , at least in some communities, receiving cold emails it’s so bad?

          1. 2

            Sorry. Can you please rephrase your question - my English is not perfect and sometimes I just don't get.

            1. 1

              That’s ok. Sorry for not being clear.

              Your opinion is that sending cold emails is not ok. You think that people on IH disagree with your opinion. They don’t seem to mind sending or receiving cold emails.

              If the IH community doesn’t mind receiving cold emails, you should not be worried about sending cold emails to them, or any other community that feels the same way.

              It does not matter what you feel about cold emails. It only matters what the recipients feel.

              1. 1

                As a recipient, I feel bad having one more next cold email.

                I wonder how many founders are so focused on their marketing plan that just don't notice that times changed.

                I think it's bad to send cold emails these days but this opinion must be unpopular because I receive a ton of them.

                It does not matter what you feel about cold emails. It only matters what the recipients feel.

                Right, that's why I don't want to send cold emails - because I think many recipients will feel the same what I do.