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> Some of it may seem simple. Don’t be fooled. There is complexity in simple things.

I've interviewed 80+ founders (mostly bootstrapped) for https://IndieHackers.com, and people sometimes come away from reading an interview thinking, "Well that person had it easy." We tend to underestimate the importance of the things we don't -- the part of the iceberg that's beneath the surface. In truth, the amount of work people are doing behind the scenes is often of staggering importance.

For example, Jason Grishkoff ran his popular music blog Indie Shuffle for 7 years before spinning off a successful SaaS app: SubmitHub. It's easy to look at that and conclude that he had it easy because of his blog. But Jason spent a grueling 4 months sending 1000 hand-crafted emails to his target customers in order to get SubmitHub off the ground. That's neither an easy nor an obvious path to take.

I see lots of people quit after a few weeks/months of not finding a magic bullet, so it's important to realize that there is no magic bullet for most companies.




Exactly. Its hard work. Really hard work. It usually fails. You have to begin from square one. People think the path the magic bullet exists. It doesn't. What exists is hard and educated work. The secret being that there is no secret. Just don't tell that to wannabes. They will talk about the magic of being an entrepreneur. Which is bullshit.


How ironic of you showing in the particular post. He's precisely referring to people like you and your illegitimate interviewees at IndieHackers who all claim to be overnight successes.


"How ironic of you showing in the particular post. He's precisely referring to people like you and your illegitimate interviewees at IndieHackers who all claim to be overnight successes."

This is a complete bullshit statement.

I've read every interview and Csallen has made on IH - it's a solid site with great interviews. I haven't read anywhere where he or any of the interviewees has claimed overnight success. Quite the opposite really. He's done a lot of hard work.

I don't think he's misrepresented anything and he built a great site. I wish him all the best!


Nobody on Indie Hackers has ever claimed to be an overnight success, and every interview is transparent about the details so that readers can see exactly how long it took.


To be fair, he has a point. The indyhackers Submit hub article is sub-titled:

"Jason Grishkoff built a $55,000/mo SaaS business helping musicians promote their music, and he did it in under a year. Here's how."


Well, he started his business in November 2015, started charging in February 2016, and hit $55k/mo by November 2016. I don't see any hyperbole/dishonesty in saying he built his business in under a year given that he actually did so. Sometimes rapid growth happens!

Of course him being able to accomplish this feat stems from skills/knowledge he acquired earlier (his blog, music industry experience, learning to code, learning to design, etc), but that's true of any business. Nobody starts from scratch, and the interviews cover people's histories pretty thoroughly.


No he started his original blog years earlier, he pivoted/made a new product and sold it to the same audience. That's like saying google built the macbook pro 16 in under a year.


This is misinformed on a number of points, unfortunately.

First, Jason didn't "pivot" from Indie Shuffle. It's a separate standalone business that he never shut down, and in fact continues to spend many hours running even today.

Second, SubmitHub's user base consists of hundreds of other blogs and labels, whom he spent a painstaking 4 months sending 1000+ personalized emails to trying to convince them to sign up. They're responsible for the vast majority of his revenue. He did not simply keep "the same audience".

This is exactly what I was talking about when I said that people read these stories and conclude that everything was easy.


No one belittling the amount of work he put into it, quite the contrary, where saying indiegogo attempts to make things look more successful in shorter periods of time when that's not the case.

The rapid success of submitHub is directly correlated to success of IndieShuffle, which he spent an immense amount of time building.


Success in any area is always directly correlated to some earlier knowledge or skills which took time to develop. The fact that SubmitHub's success is "correlated" with Indie Shuffle's is such an extreme standard that, using it, we could never assign a starting point to anything.

Everyone is quite aware that founders acquire domain knowledge, contacts/network, programming ability, business acumen, ideas, etc before the very day they start their company. I know you mean well, but this comment thread itself suggests the only people misled by the title were those who mistakenly believed that SubmitHub was a simple continuation of Indie Shuffle.

If SubmitHub's users had simply come from Indie Shuffle, or if Jason had simply pivoted Indie Shuffle into SubmitHub, then I would agree with you. But neither is the case.


I quote, directly from your site, from the Jason Grishkoff's own explanation of how he got his first users:

I always knew I was sitting on a great source of users with the ~300 daily emails, and sure enough, as soon as I started pointing them to SubmitHub they latched on...

...Given Indie Shuffle's prominence in the digital music industry, word spread fast.

> If SubmitHub's users had simply come from Indie Shuffle, or if Jason had simply pivoted Indie Shuffle into SubmitHub, then I would agree with you. But neither is the case.

That's exactly what happened, isn't it? No one is belittling it, no one is claiming he didn't work for it. We're simply saying, SubmitHub wasn't successful over night.


> That's exactly what happened, isn't it?

Not quite. I suppose I just know more of what happened behind the scenes than is apparent in the text-based interview, because I recorded a podcast episode with Jason afterwards. Two things:

1) Yes, Indie Shuffle's users latched onto SubmitHub, but Indie Shuffle is just one of 250+ blogs and labels whose readers use SubmitHub. It's a small percentage of the total revenue and users. 2) Yes, others in the industry knew about Indie Shuffle, but Jason had to spend months and months sending cold emails and doing sales in order to land other blogs and labels as customers.

I agree with you that it didn't happen overnight. And I also don't think you're belittling what Jason did, at least not intentionally. My only point is that it's easy to conclude that the surface level details of any business' story played a much bigger role than they actually did.

In this case, Indie Shuffle was crucial for Jason understanding the problem, coming up with the idea, and even beta testing the product. But the user acquisition responsible for the massive sales happened the hard way, and it happened in the last year.


Right, like the story from the other day where you claimed the logo site was making huge sum a year... Based on one or two weeks of sales!!!


There was no claim about yearly revenue. The figure given was $15k/mo based on $7k of sales in one week. Even so, that was a singular oversight on my part[1], not some sort of formula for all the interviews on the site.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13072326


Keep writing it's good stuff :)




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