If there are any numbers missing, please let us know. We would love to add more data points that interest you.
The open page has a Twitter thread combined with more details: https://twitter.com/AdriaanvRossum/status/122552812562013388...
My guess is a lot of people are just overwhelmed when they look at Google Analytics and end up going with you for simplicity.
Also, where is server side analytics on your roadmap?
- Privacy friendliness
- Features (like bypassing ad-blockers , see which tweets got traffic , events, ...)
We have customers like banks and governments who really care about the privacy part. Most of our customers use our tool because it has a very simple interface. One thing that also plays a big role is the likability of the brand. People seem to like it and are willing to pay money for its mission. We even had customers that didn't use our tool but where actively keeping the subscription active.
PS: Server side tracking is already possible .
Maybe the enterprise plan isn't aggressively enough priced, or aggressively enough differentiated..?
And by "bank" I mean "credit union".
That or the Enterprise customers have some sort of extended free trial thing going on.
And by "one from North Dakota" he means "only in departament of immigration" of them.
I own a website with about 50k pageviews a month. This could mean that actual viewership could be -much- higher?
It's insane that GA doesn't offer a server-side solution like SimpleAnalytics does.
It's not really on GA but rather the ad blocking plugin you use (Or even if you are using some browsers that try and block trackers).
As an example, if you use UBlock Origin, I think by default it uses the "Pete Lowe" list to block, which by the looks of it Simple Analytics is also blocked on : https://github.com/simpleanalytics/roadmap/issues/200
Typically UBlock is just a "block all" type thing. Adblock is a little different in that they started allowing through "Acceptable Ads" (Not sure if that extends to trackers), which people went absolute ape about because now "Ad Block" doesn't block "all" ads, just ones that it deems not acceptable.
But anyway. TL;DR; Any tracker, ad, CDN, hell even HTML Fingerprint can be blocked in ad blocking plugins, just depends on the will of the people maintaining the block lists to add it.
Congrats on 4k MRR.
Freelancers cost more up front however they don't have that risk. Also, the actual freelancers in general come from the top 10% of developers, so they're usually better.
I have a side project but I'm hesitant to release it because I'm not in a BV. Doing a BV means losing some really nice tax benefits that I'd rather not lose.
On average it takes a company a year(ish) to hit $4kMRR.
EDIT: I mistakenly thought they launched on Oct 2019, but a comment further down puts launch at Dec 2018. Which means they're doing well but not spectacularly...which means they maybe should raise prices.
They are charging on average $12/mo - to a business with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month, that's sophisticated enough to consider tracking implications, etc. that's indistinguishable from a monetary point of view from $50/mo.
But a company has to start somewhere, if they keep up the growth it could get to significant revenue within this year.
One of the risks of starting a start up is there is no demand for your service (among a million other factors for success).
Relevant thread: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18024277
Anyone know? Is there an "authoritative" source for open startups -- a list, practices, etc etc?
The closest I could find was:
- a TM, "100 OPEN STARTUPS", held by a Brazilian company [https://trademark.trademarkia.com/100-open-startups-87085663...] edit: they have active US and EU trademarks on the term
- Baremetrics' list of open startups, did they pioneer this approach? [https://baremetrics.com/open-startups] edit: openstartups.com redirects here
- A seemingly independent list [https://open-startups.xyz/]
It'd be ironic for the term "open startup" to be locked up behind a TM and a "governing body", so I'm inclined to think it's not. However, the use of the TM here got me wondering.
According to wikipedia the use of the trademark symbol indicates an assertion that a word, image, or other sign is a trademark; it does not indicate registration. It's not super relevant for our page though.
< $48k/yr with someone working even 20 hrs/wk is a worse proposition than getting a mid-level 9-5 job in the US.
I definitely don't believe a business needs to have the growth/revenue VCs demand, but it should at least pay one person a decent salary...
Fair enough if it doesn't sound appealing to you, I can totally see how that might not seem interesting for all types of personalities, but there are all sorts, right?
Either way, I don't think focussing on that figure and dismissing something like this out of hand, assuming others have the same priorities makes a whole lot of sense. I think the world would be quite a bit more boring if people wouldn't try out things, ignoring the temptations that come alonng with job security and all that jazz.
My question is rather about why HN would find this interesting. It was a sincere question. Simple analytics has been beaten to death as a product, and when it's done "well", this community tends to have ethical misgivings about it.
So is it the experiment in transparency? Is it that I'm totally missing something novel or useful about the product?
Doesn't mean we're all craving to add a tracking pixel to our websites just because we upvoted it, I'd say the tracking aspect is not as interesting, it's more the solo-SaaS-porn. And the hubris + sport of "damn, I could build this" in the back of our heads. It's HN crack.
Whereas if you're salaried at $48k/yr, the chance of getting a $48k/yr raise, and then another, and another, and 10x'ing or 100x'ing your compensation is effectively zero.
This is speaking from experience, I run a SaaS company currently making $60k/mo, and not too long ago we were making $4k/mo.
I myself am much more interested in the data behind the people in the process of going from 0 to successful, even if they fail; not the hindsight blog posts about people who are already successful.
I understand that sentiment and have no argument against it, but there are tons of stories posted to HN with similar attributes (single founder SaaS, $3-5k MRR, blog post likely submitted as a marketing tactic) and none of those blow up the way this has.
To try and answer that question, I think its because this one is fairly easy to read, understand, they're very open with their data, they show their work on how they calculated MRR (which is probably useful for some people), and while yeah this is probably a marketing tactic, they are also not really being pushy about it.
As a startup you are building a product that other people buy. You are exchanging a product for money. Building a product has a big first time cost but selling to 100 customers vs million customers has a much smaller marginal cost (at-least for software)
In 5 years he could be making 100X median salary or 10X while putting 10% of normal work and let it sit on cruise control. Obviously there is a risk to startups.
But I applaud them sharing the Journey. Owning means of production is a very satisfying feeling.
Because the prospect of financial growth is missing in a mid-level 9-5 job.
Whereas the 4k/month could be 24k/month next year.
Additionally, many grow to be relatively large businesses with time due to being built from the ground up to be extremely self-sustaining unlike more traditional startups that grow fast then die fast.
It's noteworthy that relative to expenses, this business is profitable.
It's also noteworthy in that many businesses never achieve profitability.
How much do you think Google analytics is worth today?
At least that's a lot less dangerous; now people at least have to click on it.
Sorry for jumping to that first conclusion.
For example, revenue is up but profits are down, apparently due to freelancers costs. Are those freelancers just doing some one-off work (e.g. the marketing site)? Or are they essential to running the business? As traffic scales are freelancer costs going to scale?
Another useful metric would be recurring gross margin (recurring revenue minus the ongoing costs to support that revenue). Otherwise if you spend $4k on a marketing site it looks like your business is suddenly doing terribly. If you don't want to throw out R&D costs completely then at least amortize the R&D costs.
When working alone on the project I feel like the momentum gets lost sometimes. Sometimes I'm busy building a feature that takes a lot of time and don't have time for other features or bugs. Or when working on marketing there is no time to build new stuff. There might be a future when I'm not coding at all and only responsible for the other aspects of the business. That's why I'm already hiring a freelancer.
Normally the freelancer would work 1 day a week which is about half the time he worked in January. Not sure if I would consider it as essential though, because I can always take over and do it all myself. But I'm not planning to do it all myself.
Freelancer costs will not scale as much as traffic would scale. As the work of the freelancer is related to new features. Most of our systems can handle a lot of traffic and if we can't anymore we need to add more hardware (which will be recurring) or write some software (which is not recurring).
As for recurring gross margin. Would a list/graph of recurring costs be sufficient? Combined with the monthly recurring revenue of course.
Well, for starters, you should be putting a value on your time if you're doing work. At least the work to support the product should be tracked and valued. And for all the work that you and the freelancer are doing, you should be splitting it into COGS vs. R&D.
The problem comes if you're doing a bunch of support work that you're not accounting for. Then you go to sell the business and it turns out that it takes a whole FTE to support the product. You're talking about $300k/year in unaccounted costs that you'd need to account for if you were to ever stop doing all the support (either because you become full-time CEO or you sell the business).
It's also easy to fool yourself into thinking you have a real business if you don't account for your own time. It's easy to just create a job for yourself and not actually create a business.
> Would a list/graph of recurring costs be sufficient?
Yeah, I think you need to take all your costs and all your revenue and bucket them as one-time vs. recurring (or COGS vs. R&D, whatever you want to call it). This is the kind of thing anyone is going to want when they're valuing a SaaS business.
One reason: vacations are nice.
He's a hard worker though. Props to you, brother! :-)
There many Show HN here that have domains that don't even resolve anymore. They spend a large chunk of their money on hosting and can't sustain it long enough. They have no choice but to stop paying for it.
You don't have to start with an expensive AWS instance and eat all your budget. Go with cheap yet excellent options like linode or digitalocean. Eventually when you meet those bottlenecks, move to more scalable solutions.
Congrats on the success and hopefully more to come.
Never under estimate a good cookie!
We use a Dell R240 1x Intel Xeon E-2174G with 64 GB RAM and 2x480GB SSD in RAID 1. We didn't want to use Linode or Digitalocean because they are not based in Europe which has the best privacy laws in place.
More info here: https://www.linode.com/legal-compliance/
Our Privacy Shield certificate is here: https://www.privacyshield.gov/participant?id=a2zt0000000TRDi...
How did you get an initial set of customers? How did you get the word out besides on HN?
It provides too much data and insight to competitors. I wonder what the rationale is. Perhaps attracting visitors makes up for the risks.
Just my opinion.
I think being confident enough to publicize your cost structure might actually deter competitors. They'll look at it, realize they can't compete on cost and decide to pursue a different avenue.
The challenge is maintaining that cost-effectiveness as you grow.
This link has the actual number of visitors as of noon today (California time? Eastern time). It went from 1.6k to 3.3k visitors.
I can't tell if this was right around the time it landed on HN.
1. The simpler UI is much easier to explain to clients. No training needed.
2. The simpler UI also helps me keep track of my _own_ metrics faster – I can do a 1 minute check at the end of the week instead of clicking through layers of dashboards and setting up custom reports.
3. Now I don't need to show an annoying cookie popup across all of my sites; I also like that it respects my users' privacy.
4. My sites load a bit faster (GA had a larger filesize). This is supposed to help with conversion.
5. Having support, if I need it, is nice. Going with a smaller company is almost an _easier_ sell to my clients because they know they have the option to get help when they need it.
Also, it doesn't matter to everyone, but I like to support indie businesses when I can. Analytics are important, but they're not mission-critical (like payment processing or something), so I'm fine with working with a smaller company in this area.
VCs obsess over TAM but it’s not the most important thing if you’re not playing that game.
In my case it's a self-hosted analytics platform and the idea of having the your analytics data only for yourself and being certain that it's not used for other purposes (competitors, advertising, etc.) is pretty well received by individuals and businesses of all sizes.
Could I know what your product is? If you'd prefer not to post it here, please feel free to inbox me (contact details in my profile). Thanks!
Focusing on privacy will likely require simplicity. Narrowing the focus may actually be a better marketing option.
Either way, great work. I'm currently debating between Simple Analytics and using GoAccess. In your opinion, what's the difference between the two?
Open Startups seem like a hipster thing to do in silicon valley with literally no benefit to the user, I don't care how much a company makes. I care about the product and their services. It feels more about marketing themselves as Open Startups than actually providing value of any kind. But yea, let me put some graphs (smoothed lines ofcourse) and put up a big banner that screams "OPEN STARTUP".
I am curious what counterpoints are? What do you guys like Open Startups? For centuries, companies have been closed (in terms of finances) and it has been working fine.
2: Free information is always of value, so how is this making it less valuable to the user? If it works as marketing for the host, so what? Doesn't make it less valuable. I know more now about company X than I would if it wasn't open. It's that simple.
3: Many countries around the world have a very open system where you can go to a government or private website (the information is usually provided by the government) and look up financial information about every company in that country. For example, here is Volvo in Sweden: https://www.allabolag.se/5560125790/aktiebolaget-volvo
The hiring process did go like this:
- We posted a tweet along the lines of "We are looking for a Node.js programmer to fight for privacy. 8 hours per week for $1000 per month" 
- We got ~150 responses via Twitter DM
- We write them all back with a form they needed to fill in
- ~80 of those did fill in the form
- From those we selected 5 applicants to do a paid assignment
- From those we selected 2 for a video call
- Then Dave  was selected
To us it's very important to treat your applicants in a very nice way. Take time to respond their questions, let them know why they were not selected and pay for their assignments. We got a lot of great feedback for applicants who didn't got selected because of this.
Although we are still in the starting phase (he started in January) I'm very happy with the output our developer Dave produces.
You are a force of light in the world!!!
Your success is a success not just for indie maker community but for the privacy of everyone online!