The story reads as though Logojoy more or less launched on Producthunt, which was 7 days ago. And all posts on the blog are dated Nov 15th. Finally the domain itself seems to have been listed on HugeDomains as of Oct 8th .
Now maybe I'm missing something, but it seems like the revenue figure is extrapolated from a small window which includes a wave of initial traffic from PH.
I'm hoping that the revenue figure is an actual ongoing sustained amount for Dawson's sake (as it is great looking & functioning product, solves a need that I've faced, and for full disclosure I've been putting together something along these lines on the backburner for awhile), but I can't help but feel this is a bit sensationalized based on what I'm seeing here.
I noticed that https://news.ycombinator.com/from?site=indiehackers.com constantly uses this trick of revenue numbers in titles. That's annoying clickbait in an HN context, but on the other hand, we need more good stories about startups, entrepreneurs, and projects, and dodgy stories are the price one pays for good ones. So I think the answer here is continued community vigilance.
Usually we'd see a point like this before 11 hours had gone by, but clearly not always, so everybody: if you notice something misleading on HN, especially if it doesn't get fixed right away, please alert us at email@example.com. We can't read all the comments but we do read and reply to emails.
Go figure that the interview in which this happens is also the one that gets to the top of HN for the longest time. In the future, I'll do more to verify the launch dates so I don't end up with another interview where the average revenue is such an extrapolation.
As for including revenue numbers in titles, I agree it is a bit clickbaity (or at least very enticing). But at the same time the entire point of these interviews is transparency, and highlighting the revenue numbers adds crucial context. I'm happy not to include revenue numbers in titles, though, if HNers or mods don't want to see those.
And on a meta-point, I appreciate the effort, honesty and transparency you put into IndieHackers, it's a great resource for me.
For example, three identical startups using different accounting methods (cash vs accrual), time periods, etc. would have at face value potential vastly different numbers, though the reality is they are identical in every way.
For example, I really like how Inc 500 applications are structured and verified , but others just like hearing the startup stories.
By posting a single blog post and liSting it HN, feel like the feedback would provide a better source for understanding the issue.
Really do enjoy Indie Hackers, thank you!
In all honesty, the press -> growth -> press loop caught me up on on my first launch. When it stops, the real work starts.
I do not count the stars as a metric of the book's quality, I value user feedback!
Does anyone know what, if any, fact checking process Indie Hackers has to verify the claims by made by a startup?
Still, it's a very impressive achievement.
If the interview is to be believed, almost anything you consider "AI-powered" is within one degree of what is happening here. At least on a conceptual level.
AI doesn't need to be magic, it just needs to be making decisions :)
You're stretching the term to the point that it no longer holds any meaning.
There is a valuable distinction in hard AI vs soft AI (hard AI being that whole thinking, emotional maschines thing that we are not really getting closer to, and soft AI being the things that actually generate money because we know how to do them)
 A computer program is said to learn from experience E with respect to some class of tasks T and performance measure P, if its performance at tasks in T, as measured by P, improves with experience E (Tom M. Mitchell, 1997)
Personally I'm a fan of the AI definition "things humans can do and computers can't do yet", but I recognize that that definition isn't terribly useful.
AI is more complex and based on Neural Nets, Petri Nets, or alike.
But he is just applying the same logic like every webshop, or advertisement network is doing: you bought X, other people who bought X also liked to buy Y. There is a long way to make AI.
Your definition requires calling the first couple generations of AI research "not AI".
And I would most definitely call recommendation engines Artifical Intelligence (what is Google?)
To paraphrase an old quote "AI stops being AI when people start understanding how it works".
Without making a solid distinction there, people are going to start calling PID temperature controllers "AI"
Is it not a replacement for a guy standing in a room and trying to keep the temperature at the right spot?
I understand that there's "current-generation AI" which is miles beyond this. But closed-loop systems that try to make decisions based off of loop seems very much in the domain of intelligence in the practical sense.
I'm being a bit pedantic here, but the GGP in this thread saying that OP is not AI feels like shifting the goalposts way beyond what we would have said even 5 years ago.
Control systems are not intelligent. It helps to know how they work, and when you do you realize they work on very simple principles.
Intelligence is about learning and applying knowledge, AI is either simulating or synthesizing these behaviors outside of nature. It's not just taking the place of a function that something intelligent does.
Started working Sept 1st, launched beta Nov 15, PH on Nov 22.
I think this is my favorite part of the story. If you've been a designer (or any profession) for over a decade, even with frequent frustrations, it takes a certain kind of humility and introspection to realize that maybe it's not just about your customers being "broken" (by choosing the designs that take the least effort) or needing to find more sophisticated customers who value your talents.
Sometimes (ok, usually) it makes more sense to build what people really want rather than giving them what we think they should want. As a developer and entrepreneur, I have to be reminded of that fairly often.
I've been on the other side of the annoying design client experience, playing the role of annoying client. My old law partners and I asked a design firm to do an identity for us, some 7 years ago now. They spent a LOT of time with us, presented numerous concepts, and eventually the only logo we could agree on was a blue circle with our firm name inside of it. Actually it was a pretty good logo, if I do say so myself! But I could tell it was painful for the designers to hold our hands through this process.
The chair of the firm where I started my career liked to talk about the "$300,000 period". The firm had a slogan, something like "We're there for our clients." (minor details changed to protect the guilty) As part of a firm-wide rebranding, they hired an agency to help them update their identity including this slogan. The result was to put a period in the middle, so it became something like "We're there. For our clients." $300k, boom!
I played around with the AI logo creator. It is good as a starting point, if you want an logo that looks more or less like other logos in the training set. I suspect that describes 99% of small business users, so it's perfect! Just provide a MOO integration and you'll turn $15k/mo into $100k.
I would be interested to see the tool opened up, so you could do logos with arbitrary training data -- but with some hard constraints imposed by the user so it's not just a sea of pornographic aliens cavorting on Dali-inspired worlds. (edit: unless that's what you're going for, of course)
At the end of the day, what justifies a big agency fee is partly just the ability to make high-ego corporate clients feel good about their decisions, and to help them sell those decisions within their political environment.
Old and boring is still sometimes the best.
It's not so much old vs new, or cool vs boring, but rather the thing you are most experienced with. If the goal is to just build the damn thing, go with a stack you would be most productive in.
built on boring [...] Angular 1
While this forum does have people from all over the world (I'm living in London), it also is a forum headquarted by a seed accelerator based in the US.
Note: I have some hobby projects with minimal progress, where I ignore the golden rule and try new stuff all the time :)
I reviewed other options, including technologies that I was more familiar with, but the risk of slower development while I came up to speed was outweighed by the increase in speed to market.
My point is that there are technologies that if you are using a technology that is a pain in the ass (Winforms) but that is all you know moving to a newer technology that has been designed to be easier to use can not only benefit what you are building but even save you time in the long run.
This exactly. Customers do not care what the product was written in, as long as it solves their problem. I find this is a hard thing for programmers as we are generally curious and want to be learning. It is important to remember the goal. If the goal is the learn, then go learn. If it's to ship some software to start a business, then use the tools you know and ship something.
It's true that if the company really grows, scalability, code manageability for teams etc. might become an issue if your backend is very poorly engineered, but that's the exception to the rule. As long as it works, it's good enough to launch with.
I think concentrating on the main features and launch quickly is good. You can start getting feedback and doing what customers or potential ones want.
The nice thing about theorems is that even when they're old, they're still theorems.
But in the end it is not the notation that makes or break a theorem. However, a theorem may be more or less clear depending on the notation.
In this case some developers actual go further down the tool rabbit hole and start building tools that build tools..and they wonder why they fail.
I'm sure we can get around them, but not in v1
I bet this is on the roadmap.
On the other hand, technologies like Elixir, Erlang, Elm, and Riak, for instance, are immensely enjoyable to me, so they keep my motivation alive. In my opinion, whatever makes you happy and motivated is the best.
When I started a new side project, I wanted to get an MVP out as quickly as possible. I opted for PHP/MySQL, and development time felt like lightning. It was so refreshing.
I plan on rebuilding the code base, now that the side project is making money, and perhaps I can use newer tech for that, but quite happy sticking with PHP for MVPs.
Personally I don't really enjoy the development work on the "for profit" projects I build. I love seeing a finished product, though. Use the sexy untested tech for a "fun project", not a commercial one.
Here's the thing, I'm guilty as charged. But, analyzing my own behavior, trying the sexiest (JS or otherwise) framework is just an excuse to play/learn it. My subconscious mind never had the intention of actually following through with a product...
I hope we can recognize (and avoid) the pattern in the future and use whatever we are more comfortable with to rush the product out of the door.
So for me, the moral of the story is, work for somebody that is focused on the product instead of trying to win a hipster contest. First time I saw that was when .NET was in beta mode and our tech lead decided to switch everything over to an undocumented/buggy system back then.
Its co-founder and lead engineer is/was very prolific in the ColdFusion community. https://www.bennadel.com/
I get that SaaS can be a good business model (great, even). On the other hand, I think subscription fatigue is real and you should think hard about your pricing. Dawson is making $15K/month on ONE TIME fees–and fees that are lower than a lot of monthly SaaS plans.
I want to see more of this.
That time they could save is likely much more valuable than just the one time fee, and constant improvements and features for them could very well justify a nice recurring subscription fee.
not exactly just logos but people seem to try and SaaSify everything.
But your two examples here seem exactly the kind of long-term customer relationships that benefits from SaaS. And may in fact be underutilized. These are high-touch, deep background kind of gigs, rather than impersonal service sites. I want to have an ongoing conversation about my task and I'm willing to pay a retainer++ for that privilege.
So there might be a substantial drop-off in revenue next month as there is no recurring revenue from existing customers.
Also great advice. I've used this mentality to go places I never thought possible.
It doesn't appear that you provide any attribution at all to the icon creators wherever you display the icon, and I have no idea what license you deliver to the end user (I haven't went through purchasing a logo - knowing that you're just sticking some text with a noun-project icon doesn't strike me as worth it, honestly). Are you in the clear to be displaying these icons with no attribution, and are the users that buy your icons clear to be putting it on websites and business cards without attribution?
I haven't even looked into whether your font usage is appropriate, can you clarify that as well?
Squarespace, Tailor Brands and some other tools are using the API for logo design (without the attribution) much like what Logojoy is doing.
I did a test and the first result it gave me was just my company name in the Disney font.
Have you done any automated mining of the elements in existing "good" company logos (e.g. Nike, AirBnB, etc.). I could see doing something manual too like Music Genome Project or Netflix's internal curated movie characteristics tagging. You'd go through assessing these gold standard logos for qualities like contrast, amount of whitespace, if brand name intersects the artwork, etc and then augment your model with these style rules.
Any insights you'd be willing to share would be appreciated!
I would love to analyze 'good' logos. I would imagine it's realllllyyy hard to analyze actual pixels. We just analyze actions and pre-created objects (ie. a font choice).
Yeah, I stopped here too. I'm not going to hand over my details sight-unseen ...
Otherwise looks pretty cool! Nice business, it's inspiring.
Having trouble accessing the site though: "logojoy.com" does not work, but "www.logojoy.com" does. Unfortunately Indiehackers links to the one without the "www". Just wanted to let you know.
Interesting approach for logo creation!
The last step isn’t actually AI – it’s a genetic algorithm. As you ‘favorite’ logos, we apply a natural selection type process to generate more accurate logos as you scroll. Each logo is made up of hundreds of ingredients (ie ‘funky font’, ‘bold color’, ‘logo has a symbol’, etc.) – these are called traits in the context of genetic algorithms.
> Yeah, the ML is still in it's infancy... To address that, I built in some more randomness into the algorithm so the initial logo designs can just get the user thinking and then we can get a better sense of their taste as they favorite logos. Without that randomness, the algorithm tries and fails horribly at creating logos.
Some variation of rand() indeed!
On the flipside, this surely has the potential to put thousands of cheapo logo designers out of (that line of) work.
You are a natural talent, and I envy you. :)
1800 visits 25% signups * 0.5% sales = 2.25 sales* for $250 spend on adwords.
The AdWords visitors likely look different and sometimes it takes experimenting time and money to find an effective way to make a profit on AdWords traffic, so taking a small loss or breaking even in the short term isn't so bad. Acquiring customers has some value besides what they purchase that day as well -- word of mouth, repeat orders, etc.
I'm more worried about him thinking he can 2-4x conversion rate "within the next month"!
The logo generating algorithm is still in its infancy, so right now it's mostly acting as an idea source for most users.
So our logos are just combinations of ingredients — fonts, colors, layouts, symbols, etc. Logojoy uses machine learning specifically to learn which ingredients go better together.
It starts with tracking basically everything our users do. We track things like: the inspiration they selected, the logos they favorite, the changes they make to logos (e.g. changing the font), the time spent looking at certain logos, the commonalities between all of their favorited logos, the logos they purchase, and more. We currently track about 80 types of actions.
Every day, the learning algorithm reads all these actions and weights each one by how many times it occurred. Because of the structured way it reads actions, it's able to define rules based on "heavy" actions.
For example, an action might be defined as "user changed font weight from 100 (light) to 600 (bold)". This action object includes the number of times it occurred, every other preceding action, and all of the logo's ingredients. In this case, let's say the algorithm concluded that every time this happened, the color of the logo was classified as "light". The algorithm would presumably define a rule that says "if the color of the logo is light, do not use a light font weight".
Do you plan to allow editing the stroke color independent of the background? This is the most immediately problematic issue for me, because it means I cannot get a high contrast logo in any light color. Maybe I missed a way to do this?
I've been a designer for about 12 years (doing lots of logos) and developing for about 8 years.
* as soon as logos appear the signup form covers all of them, so I can't see the logos. Is it by design? I tried signing up and the wheel keeps spinning, I'll retry later.
* Since I tried multiple times, the browser allows to autofill forms. When I do that the js validation fails thinking I haven't entered any char yet.
* not sure what to do on the Selectr-icons-screen, I've tried clicking here and there with no results. Luckily I can skip the step :-)
* Reloading the page (eg I'm wondering if the server is overloaded and I want to give it a chance) the logo generation restart from scratch. Pls consider keeping state in the URL.
Anyhow, great idea :-)
I am releasing my first larger project soon - any tips in terms of release, first places to post to spread the word etc? Also top X things you would have done differently?
Also one step that did not quite work for me was picking the icons (it said pick 3 icons you like or something). There were three cutouts and words flying by, but no images and there were no selections available. Here is my browser version: Version 55.0.2883.44 Ubuntu 16.04 (64-bit)
As a usability feature, I believe that it should auto-type suggestions (which fly by) in the box when you click on them.
It doesn't help that the text box is white (#FFF) and the background is very light grey (something like #DDD). Hard to see the box.
I simply ignored the "chrome only" warning
>Connection Failed: 1226
1. Amazing fonts. This is the low-hanging fruit, and the core of every logo. Some logos are just nice fonts :P
2. Brainstorming and idea exploration. Logojoy is cool because it gets you thinking, and makes it a joy (haha) to explore different fonts, symbols, colors, etc.
3. Presentation. If you look at how the top agencies present logos to clients, it's always with a ton of whitespace, real-life mockups, etc.
would love to know if there's free alternatives like logojoy, I think it's nifty
Until mikejarema noticed in another comment that the product was launched 15 days ago and the title was BS, I believed too. Now I flagged the story because it is basically a lie. And IndieHackers lost a lot of its credibility for me by now.
Other people noticed the AI part is most likely BS too. But that is a less black and white lie than claiming that the creator "makes $15k/mo" when he hasn't made $15k total in the whole product lifetime.
Shame on you indiehackers for outright lying (maybe twice) in the title just to get clicks. You gamed HN for this one, but I have the impression that this will hurt you in the future.
Two simple improvements could be:
1. make the "Search for icons" focused when the page loads (so the user sees a caret and that they can type something)
2. put a spinner while the logos load.
THEN choose an icon from the suggestions. Clear your typed input, repeat.
I've not used it, but it looks like it might help. Here's a demo video: https://vimeo.com/163751319 (warning: loud surf-rock soundtrack).
I had a few years ago a product that made banner variations, now I'm looking to revive it.
* I skipped picking symbols and it generated a logo with a monogram. I wanted to get rid of this so I looked in the Symbol menu and was frustrated not to find it. I eventually found it in "Layout" but that's not the first place I thought to look.
* There's a lot greyed text used on controls, which is both hard to read and makes it look like the controls are disabled. e.g. horizontal scroll buttons, uppercase/lowercase toggle, text input boxes
* Logos on the preview page load slowly/inconsistently at times, leaving the sample images blank. Perhaps use loading indicators or don't show backgrounds until logo is ready.
* reloading the page loses your work (oops)
* slow-loading/blank logos is due to HN traffic
* reloading the page won't lose your favorites if you have signed up.
And I know it says "It's free to build unlimited logos. Only pay when you want to download" right there in plain text under the headline, but my eyes skipped over that part. I expected clickable price boxes too. I think it looks so similar to a typical SaaS pricing page that I assumed it works the same way. I don't know how best to fix it, but it might be worth testing different arrangements to make it clearer that it's free to sign up and create a logo.
I understand why you want me to sign up, but I have no idea how much e-mail you're going to decide to send me, and sending it to a plus-address allows me to filter it on my terms.
There's really no reason not to allow the + sign, unless you're going to do something nefarious with my e-mail address and you don't want me to know it was you.
I tried making a logo that used the character ó, and it seemed that some logos rendered that character correctly, but others omitted it. So the word móbile in some logos would display correctly but in others it would show up as mbile.
No joy for me.
I've used other similar sites but they've all been created by a team of programmers and system/network administrators over a few years.
Scary because it brings into focus how easy it is to replace what could be considered a somewhat complicated job. Yes, it can't replace all graphic designers but it magnifies the power of a few by a large factor. In this case, just one motivated individual.
Edit: changed bad to scary, fits better with my thinking, and fixed typos
When I'm introduced to new clients, I always explain that what they get out of hiring me is my critical thinking and manner of solving problems. Deliverables, be they logos or videos or interactive experiences, are incidental to the strategy.
Sometimes clients say all they want is a <logo|image|video>. After listening to their reasoning (financial, time sensitive, short-term need, etc), as designers we can and should offer honest advice and any guidance that comes along with that. I'm often amazed at the public ridicule some designers will put people through for simple inquiries. It might not be the right project for me, and I would thus not recommend anyone else for it, but I could point them to a service like this.
Either that or it will turn "good typography" into the new "ComicSans". Already in the hip areas of big cities (say, "AirBnb city-trip cities on all continents") you're seeing neat type on Every. Friggin. Barbershop or corner cafe.
Still, that's can only drive the "true creatives" to discover and explore the next frontier of aesthetics to then, once again, help "high worth" clients set themselves apart from the crowd, once again. Not the worst dynamic in the world.
Also, did the site break from traffic? Because I just finished picking out my things and it's been stuck on generating logos for the past 5 minutes.
I talked about the ML in a comment here and on IH.
And yes the site is definitely hurting right now :P
$ nslookup logojoy.com
logojoy.com canonical name = carbonlogo.herokuapp.com.
carbonlogo.herokuapp.com canonical name = us-east-1-a.route.herokuapp.com.
> Firefox is not supported. We recommend using chrome.
'Best viewed in Netscape Navigator at 800x600'
> Firefox has known issues with svg
> I'm sure we can get around them, but not in v1
The only criticism I have is that the max password length is too short. I couldn't enter the generated, 30-character passwords I typically use.
I love the UX/UI - but I cant tell it where to put the color/font selections and it only previews with "COMPANY NAME" instead of actually updating with the company name and slogan that you asked me for in the beginning on the selection process...
So - I don't know if I like the selection based on that because I wanted the reverse of what it offered (I wanted orange letters with grey background - but it only gives me orange bkgd with grey letters...
I would also like a bit better control over the location of the icon.
The "saved logo" update pop-up is confusing as when I go back to logo - it doesn't always hold the design I selected...
Otherwise this is impressive and awesome... I'd like to use it.
The UX isn't as good and the app isn't as full-fledged.
I feel there's still so many ideas to make a business around if you base it on ML/AI. Being early here could potentially net a huge passive income. Personally I have an idea in mind, and I'm still learning ML slowly on the side. In my eyes this is the true way to independence from "the system" for people who put in enough effort and who have enough knowledge.
Why do we not see more of this yet? Is the combination of people who know machine learning, and people who are entrepeneurs so narrow?
1. Most practitioners had to go to graduate school, while many entrepreneurs try to get out there asap
2. ML requires a lot of data, and that's something that big companies have more than startups
There are 3 or 4 different layouts and a selection of fonts and font pairings which are likely categorized(probably pulls that from Google fonts etc). I smell snakeoil even if this is a useful product. Putting the AI stamp is probably just for marketing.
We're experience some technical difficulties right now (looking at you, HN). If you experience any bugs, try a couple more times or sign up and come back a little later to make your logo. Thanks!
I wouldn't go as far as to call the numbers a lie, but I would never use this website as a data point to create a business model.
This guy deserves VC money to make his next big company than most of the current startups we are seeing.
AI-Powered Lego creator would be pretty awesome. Make custom lego sets based on various real life things you pick.
You should make it possible to close this dialog and store a session cookie so people can come back.
"It starts with tracking basically everything our users do."
maybe our machines are learning, but these so-called hackers certainly aren't.
Cases like this remind me that success is often "right place, right time." Notch is another good example of bad engineering going far.
As someone who's launched several ventures, this solves a big pain point and it is very apparent that a lot of thought went into putting this together.
There is room for improvement, sure, but to dismiss it so casually or attribute its success to dumb luck because of a syntax error really sounds jaded.
No need for the insult, regardless of what you're replying to, particularly when you're implying the parent comment is uncalled for.
It's just that most sites/frameworks that use PHP use some kind of rewriting so the ".php" isn't visible (CodeIgniter/Wordpress and many others do this automatically).