#24 & 25 - Piggybacking

Following up on Connectedness

Hey friends!

You might have noticed we missed a newsletter last week. That was just a brain fart:


It totally slipped my mind until Thursday, and by then, it didn’t feel right to send it out so late in the week.

And you might have noticed that the week before that, the email didn’t go out until Wednesday. It was like foreshadowing: Once a project starts to slip, it’s very likely to slip again - and you saw that happen with our newsletter.

Botched newsletter rhythm aside, Nick and I are feeling really great about some changes we’ve put in place since week #13.


In week #13, we said this:

We’re not 100% sure how to increase connectedness to customers, but this week, we spent a lot of time thinking about a market that we’re passionate about serving - early career developers and technical entrepreneurs

Now, I can’t quite say we’ve answered that question, but we’ve taken big strides. With early career developers, Software Mentor and Summer of Shipping have struck a chord. Software Mentor is over 300 subscribers, and Summer of Shipping has over 670 student signups.

And w/Feather, we’ve identified a potential target audience (tiny) that almost appears to be asking for a product just like Feather. We haven’t started connecting to them, but we’re excited.


What we’ve realized is that increasing connectedness when you’re starting from zero is all about piggybacking off of some other community. For Software Mentor and Summer of Shipping, that was the CSCQ subreddit. For Feather, we believe that will be a certain Discord community (and we’ve identified a few other follow up internet communities that are much larger, although less tailored for the pain point we’re hoping to soothe).

Some people do this on Twitter: write enough content that resonates with a “big fish” in your “subTwitter”, get noticed (maybe retweeted or get a shoutout) and your followership grows.

Others do this slowly in forums and Facebook Groups. Give a lot of value in the community to gain credibility and reputation. Now you’re “one of us” and when you post, the community will rain down likes, comments, and love.

But you can’t start from zero, put up a landing page, and suddenly have a line of people at your door. You need to increase your connectedness. And you do that by piggybacking.

Change Log

  • ❄️✉️ Another strategy that we’ll be employing is cold emailing other IndieHackers and Side Project dabblers. We’re making a list, checking it twice, and personalizing the heck out of each email

  • ☀️👋🚢 Phil continues to prepare Summer of Shipping for a post summer world

  • 🚧🔏 Nick is working on some important architectural tweaks to Feather that have security ramifications. Can’t launch until it’s secure - but soon.


Because the book “The Art of Doing Science and Engineering” is now making its rounds on Tech Twitter, so too has the talk “You and Your Research” by Richard Hamming. I loved this talk about great research and have a few notes to share.

Great Research:

  • Requires Courage

  • Requires “little acorns from which the mighty oak trees grow”

  • Emerges from bad working conditions. Not “in spite” of bad working conditions, but because of them.

  • Comes from working 10% harder. Opportunity and feedback accrue to the marginally better, which unlocks a flywheel of compound interest

  • Comes from “Great Thoughts Time”

  • Comes from open doors

  • Comes from work that is done “in such a fashion that people can indeed build on what you’ve done”. (The assist mindset)

Until next week!


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