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Show HN: Bootstrapper's Handbook building startups the indie way (makebook.io)
15 points by middle1 9 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 7 comments

I haven't read this book, but I have read a lot of posts and watched a presentation by the author, Pieter Levels. While he is a nice guy and certainly very interesting, it's my opinion that he suffers from Survivorship Bias[1]. Not saying don't buy the book; just take it with a grain of salt if you do.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Survivorship_bias

I agree and I've mentioned this in the freely readable intro (to make sure people see that before spending money on a book):

  Then there's the entire survivorship bias, it assumes that what worked for me will work for you. But it probably won't. Because time has already changed and I will never be able to put on to paper all the variables that have attributed to things than went successful for me. I really don't like to give people false promises. Which is what most other books do. No, this book won't make you successful. That's all up to you.
I'm a strong believer that the majority of success is luck and environment (like upbringing). There's a minority which is attributable to persistence (e.g. forcing luck by continuously trying) and specific techniques (e.g. for me, DIY'ing everything).

Therefore, the only thing this book can offer is 1) learn to be more persistent and 2) specific techniques that MAY work in this current time of indie startups.

I think no static framework will work for anything because the environment rapidly changes, especially in tech. I read a lot of @patio11's posts starting out. And mixed those with my own insights to build stuff. In the same sense as this book I think, only part of @patio11's content was applicable.

He has survived, that's true. I'm not sure he personally has survivorship bias though as he's quite happy to talk about all of his failed projects and how he feels he's found a recipe for succeeding now.

It's now up to the rest of the startup scene to test out his proposals. In the interview on Indie Hackers he says he stole the format of Nomad List from Product Hunt and Indie Hackers say they stole their style of app from Nomad List! There's some validation of the format going on here.

Appreciate the optimism. Just to clarify, I'm saying that he has the skill set, the background, the time and the means to pull this off. That combo is extremely rare, and even with all that, there's one thing without which he'd never been successful at all: a tremendous amount of luck. As I said, I'm sure there's some value in his book, but it's based on a get rich quick story. If you're going to read it, I'd pick up a book by someone who spent 10 years on a side project too.

Luck is always a factor although the amount you need will be diminished by the skills, experience, available time and means, as you point out.

Many young developers are in his position though. They have a modicum of skills (he admits he can only get by in PHP), they have some experience (they're in a job, at least, or they've done some travelling), they have time (they don't have kids yet) and they have the means (they are living with their parents and they don't have a mortgage to pay off). All of these were true in his case.

I don't think it's a get-rich-quick story, as he did spend years on a previous side project that didn't work out, mainly due to the limitations of his skills.

There is value in all of these stories and no one on HN, I hope, is going to believe in get-rich-quick although they just may be motivated by these ideas to get on with it. Perhaps all these little business spin-off side projects just suit me personally so that it's less that I'm optimistic and more that I enjoy them.

Actually yesterday I was listening the IndieHacker podcast episode [1] with the author of this book. It was quite interesting, especially the approach bootstrapping side projects.

[1] https//www.indiehackers.com/podcast/043-pieter-levels-of-nomad-list

Interesting way to use obfuscation.

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