"Don't use the WhatsApp Brand Resources as part of a name of a product or service of a company other than WhatsApp."
I think, he could get nuked by Zuck at any time.
You're completely right, it's an eventuality that we are aware of and figuring out the best way to deal with it.
Think flashlight apps for iPhone, health apps, etc.
Sometimes it works out to just ride the wave :)
Not bad, if it keeps running on autopilot for a few years.
Say, you can keep it running for 3 years. This is close to $1 million USD gross. This could easily pay your cost of living, while you work on the next product. But you must also factor in taxes.
But this is HN, so of course all this is obvious.
To quote the adjacent comment: “No sh*t Sherlock”
Gross Income, for 2 partners. As I wrote, best case you get 100k per partner net after 2 years, ceteris paribus. But they are living from this business so less money for the company.
> Say, you can keep it running for 3 years. This is close to $1 million USD. This could easily pay your cost of living, while you work on the next product.
Yes but that is a truism. If your business does well for several years, you will have a cushion for your next venture.
I wrote because I wanted to write against the naive view many people in HN has about "developing countries", yes COL is lower but there is no magic place where 100k USD will set you for life. You still have to pay taxes, many goods cost the same or more than in the US, good healthare insurance is not low, etc, etc. My rule of thumb is that you need at least a mimimum 1MM to retire, no matter in which part of the world,of course if you pick London or Zurich the amount will need to be higher. This assume a family of 3, no further income, no house owned and to live a modest middle class lifestyle.
2,200,000 * $0.005 per session message (Twilio cost for WhatsApp messages to India) = $11,000
I probably have that wrong, but I'm sure that's a big expense.
150k * 0.66 (extremely optimistic gross to net-income factor) = 100K
You and me have different notions of "set for life"
EDIT: I fudged a factor of 2 in the math, the final number is 200k, my point still stands.
First, your assumptions on net income are too pessimistic. Small founder-operated SaaS can be extremely profitable.
Second, and more importantly, you are ignoring concepts of LTV and NPV of future cash flows.
Assuming 80% SDI and a churn-rate that is < 5% (ideally < 3%) you are looking at a business worth $700-950k right now. Why? An income stream from a growing high margin SaaS business is a coveted and valuable thing.
Finally, when you have a business with 300k ARR you begin to unlock more options for yourself -- small acquisitions (traffic/content/funnel), ads, product improvements.
The likely path here is that their income will continue to grow and they will either be taking $200k a year in income or sell for > $2 million in a couple years, or both.
Having built a small SaaS business to this size myself for many years, i can totally recommend this path for independence and financial freedom.
Are they? On the contrary. You are telling me that out of 100k of gross sales, after discounting: Operational costs, insurance, income taxes assuming at the end if you get 67K is pessimistic? I didt not even budget money for sales and marketing.
> Second, and more importantly, you are ignoring concepts of LTV and NPV of future cash flows.
I am not, that was not even a question on my initial answer. My original answer was to deny this: Operating a 2-person 25k MRR company during 2 years will set you for life. My answer is no. You are assuming a lot of other stuff that was never in the original discussion.
> Assuming 80% SDI and a churn-rate that is < 5% (ideally < 3%) you are looking at a business worth $700-950k right now. Why? An income stream from a growing high margin SaaS business is a coveted and valuable thing.
Yes, but that is trivially true. If you assume the company will grow the valuation will reflect that. Everybody knows that. That was not in the original discussion. This also depends on the business model of the company, a SaaS company critically depending on a 3rd part ecosystem is significantly riskier than an independent one.
> Having built a small SaaS business to this size myself for many years, i can totally recommend this path for independence and financial freedom.
I agree. But you need more than 200k USD to be set for life.
I agree with you that $333USD/mo is not a ton but 5X that is more than lots of people live on in north america.
My friend lives on ~$2,000/year in Southeast Asia, but just provides for himself.
Is there a specific reason that free high quality forum software can be built but not e-commerce?
There is a need of stable (not frequently changing) e-commerce app that can be hosted and supports stripe/PayPal and "shipment tracking".
WooCommerce requires yearly payment for shipment tracking.
When discourse is available for free, there is no reason why WooCommerce alternative which can provide more out of box support can't be free.
Today what options people have? WooCommerce, Shopify (SaaS) and legacy apps like Magento, Presto, Opencart.
This is not enough - most e-commerce development happens on agencies selling their services. We can certainly provide more out of box features with help of open develop model.
I just did a quick search and found that there is a plugin called advanced shipment tracking for woocommece which seems to be free and gets the job done(i am sure it has a paid version too but the free one seems to be good enough, judging from the reviews)
Also e-commerce site owners are entrepreneurs and the primary goal of any e-commerce site is to make money. The primary goal of a discourse forum isnt making money. E-commerce owners are more likely to invest in tools that help them grow their business, unlike someone who runs a forum, where there might not be such a motivation.
Does Shopify have a reputation for doing this? I'm not really in that world but my impression is that they value their third party developers better than Apple does.
“Once this was done the next step was to get people to choose our product vs the competition. In order to do this we did something that some might consider unethical - we included most of the features that the competitors had and made the app FREE which forced the competitors to go into losses. You cannot build a business by being nice.
Making the app free got us a plethora of users to whom we provided exceptional customer service which lead to them writing 5 star reviews, so even though they were using the app for free, we derived ROI out of them by gently nudging them to write reviews which boosted our ranking and eventually got us to the #1 rank for certain keywords.
This was when something very interesting happened. One of our competitors ran a DDOS attack on our servers. At this point we were getting 5 reviews a day and users congratulating us for our good work but the fact that someone tried to screw us over made it evident that we were on the right track.“
There must have been backlash when going from free to paid product.
I assume the previous users were grandfathered in else those 5 stars would have turned into 1 stars rather quickly.
Also your moat is just as big as the next hungry upstart willing to work for free for 12-18 months.
- we granfathered all users whenever we would change pricing or introduce new plans
- agreed on the point about moat
To be fair, we made a free version of a very basic app in a category in the App store that was stagnating due to lack of competition. example, someone was charging for number of clicks on the button.
We simply changed that and charged for something else instead, like premium button designs, or new features that no competitor offered but users were asking us for it.
Our app was free for about 1 month before we launched paid plans
DDOS is always a good sign —- would make a great post as well!
It sounds like you decided to build a business before coming up with an idea that could be a business.
In the end, how did you decide what to build?
We analysed the entire app store and narrowed down on 5 ideas. We got lucky that we picked WhatsApp, that's the honest truth.
Here's our Shopify App Ideas research sheet, if it helps - https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Hnpcl1VAlPC9MuFvvsl2...
> If life is a video game, and there’s 100 levels to it, I feel like we have finally crossed level 1.
Nice. Congrats. Most people don’t even get to Level 1.
It is really difficult to get from Level 0 to Level 1. Most people will try, and they will fail.
And now for you, it’s much easier to get to Level 2, then Level 3, then.. Level 100.
While everyone else will still be stuck on Level 0.
But, realize that Level 0 is wide, and you can still succeed in life on Level 0. By this scale, most people are on Level 0.5 to 0.9, or something of that nature.
You can be a Google Engineer making $200,000 USD per year. Or a doctor earning $300,000 USD per year. But after taxes, you take home a lot less.
But, this guy got to Level 1. Now, he can focus on getting to Level 2. Everyone else, is still trying to get to Level 1, if they are even trying.