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37 Comments

Why do you build in public? ⚒️

I have to say, I am pretty inspired by those who build 'out in the open'.

It's cool to see the journeys, particularly (for me) the intangible stuff (highs, lows, what's happening in people's lives, etc) as well as the tangible metrics (subscribers, money).

I was curious to ask:

  • If you build in public, what's the motivation/intention behind this?
  • If you're not so public, why do you feel that is?
  1. 7

    I build in public for several reasons:

    • It makes you accountable. Once you said something in public you have to deliver, that's a good way to reduce procastination!
    • Make friends and get support. When you share openly as much as you can (not only your new features but your doubts, your failures, your numbers…) you get supportive feedback from other founders. I spend a LOT of time talking with other solo founders, asking for help or feedback.
    • To helps others. I learned a lot by watching the others building in public, if I can give back to share my journey I'm super happy to do so!
    • To get some attention and build an audience. The more you give the more you'll receive! That's why the point on Reddit are called "karma points" :D
    • Because it's fun to have a "logbook" of all your work!
    1. 2

      These are great points, thanks Xavier :)

  2. 5

    I believe that building in public not only works as marketing but also shows your human side. Times are changing, we now appreciate more the work of individuals, rather than big corps, as we feel closer to it, being a part of it.

    Also, it's hard to get feedback if no one knows what you're doing. The more you share, the wider is your opportunity surface.

    But I do have to admit that I don't find it so easy to build in public, as I most of the time feel like I'm only writing my own journal of tasks. Might be because it's my first experience doing it, but I do hope that, when more experience comes, I manage to identify better what I can share in order to help others. Would love some thoughts on this struggle, btw.

    1. 2

      I don't think there's any right/wrong way to do it at all :) For me, I would much rather prioritise the personal benefits I'm getting from it (i.e. my own journalling), and then just share the bits I want to share to be accountable/connect with others, and such. Just try experimenting with your own way of doing things, and share as/how feels good to you.

  3. 3

    I'm just starting out. I need help. And I believe that being open and throwing myself out there will help me to get help, feedback and motivation. I might be wrong. But lets hope for the opposite :D

    1. 1

      Kudos to you, man, there is much power in putting yourself out there and making yourself accountable :)

  4. 3

    I'm experimenting with BIP, the motivation is to build an audience. I found that if nothing else, the instant benefit is endless things to talk about.

  5. 3

    I do it to be transparent and show a different way. I also truly enjoy just sharing stuff.

    Another big factor is I feel, as a woman, it's important for more of us to step up. So I do it for womanity too. 😇

    1. 1

      There's something really powerful about sharing one's journey (for yourself & others)... it's why I'm really liking micro blog :)

  6. 3

    Since our product targets founders, it's pretty useful. Both for the human connection and free marketing. Great way to gather feedback and stay close to what our users want from us.

  7. 2

    Building in public for me symbolises one of the main reasons about being an indie hacker and bootstrapping ideas

    Having the choice to be vulnerable and non-perfectionist in order to understand what your customers truly want is awesome. You get a level of customer loyalty that wouldn’t exist otherwise.

    Furthermore, your customers get to watch your product evolve with you.

    1. 1

      There is something really powerful about that vulnerability and embracing the non-perfection, and really just 'putting yourself out there' each day. Thank you for sharing.

  8. 2

    Building in public is a place to help me gather feedback as early as possible.

    It’s also a great way to show authenticity. Unlike many makers, I don’t share my work daily.

    But I’d try my best to give an overview every week. This is a great routine to remind myself what to focus.

    1. 1

      nice. Yeah, I hear you, I like to share 'a daily update' 2-3 times a week it seems.

      Have you come across reflection.app? I've been experimenting w/ doing my own (private) journalling through that.

  9. 2

    There are already a lot of comments about the motivation/intention - I could just add +1 to all of them - visibility, accountability, documenting the journey and so on.

    Regarding the second question - If you're not so public, why do you feel that is? - personally, this is my first try to build in public and I am not yet accustomed to share everything, including personal ups and downs, which I actually should, because they are affecting my side project in many ways. And of course the side project is sometimes the reason for my moods. 😊
    So here you go - I need to write and share more and not only about the "technical side" of the product as well.

    1. 2

      thanks for sharing, and good luck with your 'sharing' :) I was talking to another IH on here abot micro.blog, it feels like a nice 'place' to get started with sharing your journey (I recently started using it). reflection.app also looks pretty interesting

      1. 2

        Thank you! :-) I wish you the same.
        Indeed, reflection.app looks really interesting - I think I'll try it.

  10. 2

    I do it to be transparent and show a different way. I also truly enjoy just sharing stuff.

  11. 2

    I am trying to build trust with my audience. I need them to trust me to process their data. By building in public, using open source principles, helps leave an audit trail that demonstrates a trustworthiness with sensitive data.

  12. 2

    I'm trying it for the first time to see how it goes.

  13. 2

    I wish I could do more of my hacking/building in public. Alas, there are only so many hours in the day. Between a day job, staying active, and other hobbies, I must choose between building something or talking about it. Unfortunately the latter takes a lot of time and energy, and something has to give.

    1. 1

      I hear you! Doing certainly > the talking. Have you come across micro.blog? I've seen folks share their bite-sized updates on there.

      1. 2

        For long articles I have my own blog. I try to share small updates on the stuff I'm working here, but sometimes I'm so caught up in the work that I just forget.

  14. 2
    • Documenting my journey (very cheezy, I know)
    • Improve my writing
    • Learn what it's like publishing on regular schedule
    • Just learn things outside of tech in general
    1. 1

      Those are all great reasons - I love to write about my journey too, for the power it has in the present, and it's also cool to look back on.

  15. 2

    My take on this topic:

    If your audience is other founders, building in public is great marketing.

    If your audience doesn't consist of other founders, you'll still get some feedback when building in public but will lose a lot of its benefits.

    1. 2

      Interesting. For me, it's more about the personal benefits I get for myself/my own journey vs the marketing side. But yes, I know some might build publically with marketing as more of a primary focus.

      1. 2

        True. You also have some benefits if you don't use it as marketing. Writing down your thoughts makes them clearer and allows you to reflect on them. But you, as a writer with an audience of writers, probably also really profit from the marketing.

        On an unrelated side note: Have you started working on your mastermind program yet?

        1. 2

          This is true :)

          Actually, I just opened registration on Monday. I'm intending to write an update on my product page once it's done (you've given me a nice little nudge). Thanks for asking!

          1. 2

            That's super cool! The program overview page looks super slick, too. I like your use of emojis and even more importantly it looks super honest and down-to-earth. Love that you go through 1:1 matching calls with everybody. That builds a lot of trust.

            P.S. I received an email from MicroConf this week where they advertised their SaaS mastermind matching service. Not sure yet if it's worth the $100 …

            1. 2

              Thank you! :) Yeah the 1:1 call also helps me 'match' better (though I've also matched without a call in the past, and it seems to have worked well - especially in a community of a specific type - e.g. content freelancers)

              re: MicroConf/MM, @christina_p may have done this, but I might be mistaken...

              1. 2

                Yeah, one of the things that makes me skeptical about the MicroConf mastermind is that I don't know if their matches are going to be any good. With yours, it's almost guaranteed because of the 1:1 calls.

                @christina_p Have you tried it? What was your experience? :)

                Thanks for the pointer, Jas!

                1. 2

                  I’m not sure how active Christina is on here, but from what I understand, the MicroConf community is more for more seasoned entrepreneurs who have built/are running (SaaS) businesses full-time.

  16. 2

    I feel that transparency is one of the things I value most and, by sharing openly, I'm staying true to myself + reaping many benefits.

    Benefits like starting conversations with people, letting serendipity happen to me etc.

    And I believe these days it is so competitive that sharing deep thoughts is one way to differentiate and sustain.

    1. 1

      Awesome. Yeah, I've also noticed that serendipitous stuff tends to happen more when I 'put myself out there'. :)

  17. 1

    I can go first:

    For me, being public in the moment feels quite daunting. I prefer sharing "me/my stuff" through my blog posts and (most recently) my micro blog.

    That said, I'm going to try to lean more into being more comfortable being public with my indie stuff. I intend to update my IH page for INF Club as things happen (my first paid course launches this week), and perhaps I might share some sort of weekly 'update' on micro blog :/ I'm currently experimenting on there, and have been enjoying little daily updates from my personal life.

    I think for me, sharing in public will be more about me documenting my own journey, and stepping into my identity as an 'indie' (which has been a journey for me - imposter syndrome, self-doubt, etc - as I've navigated the last 5ish years of my life since I left my city job, finding a new "identity" has been a challenge and something it's taken a while for me to settle on/feel comfortable with; as well as feeling like a "proper indie" as someone who has not yet successfully built a business with a sustainable revenue - I've since learned that it's you and you alone who gives yourself the title of "indie"; and to me it represents the endeavour, the values, and the journey as opposed to the 'shiny end goal')). Sharing more about me/my journey also feels like it's being more involved in 'the community', and helps to give others permission to do the same.

    What about you?

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