SG: "You should join our company as chief growth hacker, since it's a great fit for your skills and experience. You'll work 100 hour weeks. We're thinking $60k a year and 0.5% sounds fair. Come change the way the people $VERB."
PIH: "Where do you get to the part of the sales pitch where I get something out of this deal?"
SG: "Did we mention the free soda?"
(I'm joking... but not by much.)
Under market pay, no benefits, AND I get to screw the government? Sign me up!
I'm so glad no one at the startup I'm at is even remotely like that pathological huckster.
Only for a while, then most likely the government gets to screw you...
I'd suggest actually changing the world first, and then shouting it from the rooftops. It will be (slightly) less annoying that way.
Besides, I'm not even sure it's a healthy sentiment for most people (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130708103509.ht...). If your focus is as broad as "changing the world," you're probably setting yourself up to feel like a failure.
It's either that or the perennial favorite, "exciting".
ps: Followgen isn't a startup ;-)
The effect isn't bad, though, so rather than destroy the tone with an even more over-the-top ending (characters stabbing each other with forks?) I'd probably try a different "literary" signal. Consider, for example, a one-sentence intro to establish the narrator slightly more explicitly as a third character: "While I was dining at Madera, I overheard a conversation:"
Or, maybe you have the Andy Kaufman nature and you just don't care what people think so long as the art is working. ;)
I think what we do in development is cool and all, and most importantly profitable, but I don't know if it changes the world much.
Google changed the world. Lotus 1-2-3 changed the world. DOS and Linux changed the world.
But any new application? I think we're just offering luxury items. I don't see anything wrong with that (see "profitability" above).
One phone call I got just after it was installed at a 15-20 person business. I'd helped them out with something and asked how the roll-out was going:
Client: "Yeah, it's great, we're loving it. Bit of a problem though..."
Me: "Oh right, well maybe I can help you out, what is it?"
Client: "We don't know what to do with Sue and Bill now, they don't have any work to do. What can we get them doing?"
This boring, non-game changing software had automated roughly 10% of their workforce. Obviously not great for Sue and Bill, but when you put it in those terms the cost savings across all the clients we were serving must have been 10s of millions of pounds. That's millions of pounds to be spent on actually building things instead of just faffing around with admin stuff making sure the subcontractors got the right diagram, or finding out what the site foreman's phone number was.
Even the silliest auto-tweet tagging software means you can do more with less, that's why people buy them.
Almost all software is game changing. Never doubt we are all changing the world. It's just that the low-hanging fruit has already been picked. What Google did back in the 90s is almost laughably simple to what most of us do today. But obviously what they do now is much more complex.
Do you really think this is true or is this some kind of sarcasm?
Better tools, better practices, better understanding of what works and what doesn't, better resources online.
Even simple things like most people these days understand how HTTP actually works, back then you'd be lucky to find people who even understood basic HTML.
Did you use Google back then? It wasn't actually that great, you might have to do a bunch of searches, try excluding words, just to get some vaguely good results. It was a lot better than the rest though.
Google's results were orders of magnitude better, in my opinion. I don't remember how it compares to today, frankly, but I remember the tears of joy I shed at the time.
It was better, but I can't remember thinking it wasn't orders of magnitude better. I didn't use it once and think 'oh my god, this is perfect'. It was a gradual switch. And to begin with the thing which made me use it more was the simple UI.
Google was _slightly_ better than alltheweb.com at the time that I added it into the mix. But it slowly began to win more and more of the "query requires using 4 search engines" contests and eventually I only used one.
Typically when people espouse the want to "change the world" it is for the betterment of humanity; though it is interesting that you identify with the sentiment.
Google, Lotus, Dos profited from an already changing world.
Technological and social-economic forces are shaping our world, mere companies, especially a few guys in a garage, don't touch the sides.
Want to change the world - invent a new technology, do basic science. Einstein changed the world for hundreds of years hence.
Nothing wrong with good implementation and profit. Just its worth recognising were the real drivers are so we keep on funding them.
Meanwhile, I know two brothers who from a simple YouTube channel (not even devs) whose followers have topped the Kiva loan program, raised millions and millions of dollars for charities around the world, are actively educating people of all ages about history, literature, current events and science. One of the brothers has made the New York Best Sellers List in young adult fiction with a book about the struggles of cancer. With less capital they are decreasing world suck more than MS Word development team.
So, what about apps and web apps? A really cool childrens book that is interactive and encourages kids to read or learn about a cool and important topic, I would argue, will have greater net value than Angry Birds even if the audience is smaller. An app designed for companies (like electric companies) to use, that forecasts weather conditions that aren't storm conditions but are more severe than the company can operate saves lives, while the market is small. I'd argue saving even one life or helping teach one child how to read is changing the world in a big way.
My message of the day, "Do work that matters."
Uber - fixing taxis.
Airbnb - fixing hotels.
Yeah, another app - big deal. But an app that makes your real world (physical space) life tangibly better? That's a big deal!
"Social interactions". Let's not kid ourselves.
And similarly, http://www.micropreneur.com/ which is run by the author, I believe.
This happens way too much
> "Worst of all, PIH is probably not trying to make the world a better place through technology."
Don't worry, PIH, Startup Guy isn't either.
There are really two main camps of startup founders I've met. There's the type that really wants to bring a vision to life - they have a pseudo-religious fervor about something, whether it's gaming, transportation, lodging, or something else. They really want to change the world, and it's not just talk.
Then there are ones that are really in it to make money. They want to create a company, exit, and go do what they really want to do. Sit on a beach, roll up to the club in a Rolls Royce, travel, whatever.
It's a sliding scale. Every founder has some balance of being genuinely passionate about what their company does, and the desire to just cash out. All said and done though, the founders I meet tend to lean much further towards the latter than the former.
Freedom to steer the business in the direction I feel is right. Freedom to work on what I choose is important.
The one advantage of this approach is that my primary focus is the needs of my customers, rather than the needs of my investors.
Something that isn't touched on too much is that it's sometimes better to only have one mistress. When your customers are your investors, then your priorities and goals suddenly become a lot clearer.
edit: fixed nasty typo
Thus far (we've only raised a seed round so we haven't given out a board seat yet) after having raised about 400k in seed, my experience says the complete opposite, they don't even try to steer - I've learned far more than I ever would have dreamed of, having raised money from and talked to people that have done big and/or amazing things with their lives.
If anything, you have to learn to ignore Angel's advice - some of it is good, most of it isn't pertinent to your business.
BTW, you don't ever have to do anything an Angel says if you don't want to (unless you've given them a board seat).
VC firms are different though because generally, in your Series A, if you raise 2M from VC firm X they will usually ask for a board seat - when someone is on your board then they DO have a say. You usually balance this out though by picking a neutral third party person that is trusted by both to hold the third board seat (or if you can, preferably someone that is more loyal to yourself).
I really can't think of anything else.
Unless you're talking about fixing poverty, disease or violence on a large scale in which case I'm surprised you've got the time to procrastinate on here.
Lessons of the day:
1. stop trying to be an internet bully, it's unbecoming
2. not all investors are evil
3. the world isn't black & white and when you think
something is bad, it most likely means you don't
understand it or its context fully
To get back on topic, if you use hyperbolic and grandiose language to describe mundane experience expect to rub people the wrong way.
Also, what argument?
The argument in which I defended the idea that not all investors are out to get you and that maybe black and white thinking could be expanded to be less absolute.
You are still not telling me what you disagree with without sarcastically attacking me. That's being an internet bully.
Twisted your argument? I'm ignoring your argument (I've just re-read the OP and I'm not actually sure what argument you're talking about) and picking you up on your odd choice of words.
Re procrastinating, I have never seen a post on hacker news from anyone who is doing big and important things. To my mind, and please feel free to correct me, this strange state of affairs is probably because they're busy.
Finally, to make it absolutely clear, as you seem to be having problems with this, I'm disagreeing with your abuse of the word "awesome".
Do you always call people who disagree with you, "internet bully"? What's the difference (other than the banally obvious) between an "internet bully" and a "bully"? There's a lot of irony floating around for a guy who doesn't seem too clear on what "ad hominem" means.
You've been a dick this entire conversation; your first comment was sarcastic and an attempt at attacking personal character (am I wrong, or is that not an ad hominem when you respond to something someone says by attacking their character instead of directly dealing with what they wrote - which you're finally starting to do in this comment).
Who are you to judge anyone on whether they've done big and important things? In my opinion, selling your company for millions is big! Brokering mergers between large corporations is big! Being the inventor of an innovative new technology is big! Does that mean they are now going to cure cancer? I don't know! Are those things important? YES because they are important to the people that experienced it.
"as you seem to be having problems with this" you're still being a dick here; if you disagree with my diction then fucking say that instead of being a sarcastic asshole. Be courteous and offer a reasoned argument about why you think my choice of words could or might be more appropriate. You still haven't convinced me that my expression was wrong.
There are people that disagree with me, then there are people that disagree with me and are assholes. The latter are people I believe to be an "internet bully".
"There's a lot of irony floating around for a guy who doesn't seem too clear on what "ad hominem" means." you're still being a dick here and you still haven't offered any actually helpful knowledge. If my use of "ad hominem" really is incorrect why are you not trying to help me? Why are you trying to tear me down? I'm still not convinced that my usage of the "ad hominem" was ever originally incorrect:
From the dictionary:
(of an argument or reaction) arising from or appealing to the emotions and not reason or logic.
From your comment:
Unless you're talking about fixing poverty, disease or violence on a large scale in which case I'm surprised you've got the time to procrastinate on here.
Is that not appealing to emotion (sarcastically attacking me) instead of providing me with a clear argument to tell me why you think "big and important" things should only include "poverty, disease, or violence"?
If you don't care what I think or engaging in a meaningful conversation, then why did you even comment?
How does that make any sense? Unless he's raised money from or talked to people that have worked on some of the biggest world problems you're surprised he has time to post on HN?
My company is "in the black," as it has made more money than I've put in, and holds no debt. I'm working on new business model than what I started with. I'm starting small, growing slow, and in it for the long haul. PIH Isn't a bad life, and it is a great way to make it SG w/o accelerators and networking exercises. And oh, I do care about making people's lives better with technology.
They can be a lot of trouble, but if you're trying to grow (and I don't think outside funding is appropriate unless you want to grow fast or build something that requires a large amount of capex - like hardware) I think the "funding" culture is essential in elevating the founder's ken.
I think PIH is awesome, I have many peers that I would consider to be living that life - so the whole thing is very subjective. I'm primarily arguing against the false notion that investors are bad (only some are), are a waste of time, or "take over your company" (some do, and even then it's only because the founder(s) weren't versed in the "game" and politics of fundraising).
You might feel it sounds too grandiose for your actual goals, but a lot of people have no shame in uttering it.
All in all the people who genuinely want to change the world and are willing to put their money where their mouth is, are very few and far between. Regardless of their profession or background.
The dissonance is that startups, particularly VC-funded high-growth startups make a lot of noise about disruption, changing the world, and the such. But somehow, with few exceptions, when push comes to shove they will take the exit over their vision.
Not to pick nits, but I think the dichotomy you're setting up here is silly. Business administration or leadership are skills as technical as coding or design, and if done correctly, can be more so.
With that in mind, there's an art to making money. Just churning over cash in the short term doesn't have that. Building a brand that can last for a century takes a genius.
I also don't think that money and control are the only two orientations to have here. Or perhaps there are subgroups to money and control orientation.
For instance, Fred Rogers (Mr. Rogers) wanted to pass on his show to another; but, couldn't find someone who met his high standards of morals, communication skills, and permeability. After his death, the Fred Rogers Company (formerly Family Communications) did launch a new show, and it was still important enough to get Fred's widows blessing before it aired. Is that control oriented, or is quality oriented?
Or take a look at company founding CEOs that have missions or beliefs that forbid them from taking shortcuts to maximize profits, like an unwillingness to outsource to parts of the world that treat labor like cattle. Is that simple "control orientation?
I am control oriented, and for that reason won't take on debt, venture capital, investors or partners. I am clear, it is mine, I have a vision for it, and you can't have it or pervert it. Profit isn't as important as delivering a good product and actually touching lives.
Your new social/local/mobile app isn't world changing no matter what kind of hustler you are, no matter how much hype you put out, no matter how much money you raise. Anyone can be a capitalist for good or bad whether its exploiting a niche market segment on your own or with a startup.
I believe that regardless of whether you're on your own or do a startup, if your motivation is purely financial you can still do the world great good. Similarly, do-gooders with a grand vision can harm the world. Your stupid little messaging app can connect people from around the world and change the way people communicate (throw in some good crypto and you've done even more good for private comms) or your energy startup that's supposed to change the way we fuel our vehicles and provide clean cheap energy forever can end up doing great harm to the environment or put millions out of jobs as a side effect. These are obviously very hypothetical examples but the point is that there's no "motivation + execution = ethical/unethical success" formula.
There's way too many shades of gray to even be able to consider generalizing like this post does.
Why can't the author make a generalization about startup founders based on his experiences? We all have stereotypes about other races, nationalities, people with a certain 'look'. Of course there are many shades of gray in between. That doesn't preclude us from associating certain character traits with someone before we've ever spoken with them because of how they look or where they are from.
When you're a team of 1, your I/O bandwidth is almost infinite. If it's all in your brain, you don't have to explain anything, write anything down, have meetings, draw on whiteboards, etc. Your available time to work collapses down to solving specific business problems with every line of code or web page update. Imagine a case where you never have to compromise, argue, make brain dead concessions or spend resources on proving your position. Assuming you are right, and have a good head for business, marketing and writing half-way decent code, you can solve a small problem every efficiently. There are a lot of $20k-200k problems out there to solve that are not worth it for a company of any size to even touch.
How many people are there making five figures ($10,000+) in profit a month with their SaaS product? Working by themselves, for only "20 minutes a day", with a full day of product development "every few weeks"?
$150/month product that saves businesses $4,000/mo (one less programmer). Hard part: Find 70 clients.
Working in industry, we demo products all the time. We pay outrageous amounts of money for an online time tracker which is basically an online spreadsheet. We have considered obtaining systems for managing accounting, supply, etc.
Focusing on our core business, policies, we never get tied up in 2-3 month/year adventures in uncomfortable territory. There is no innovation, just maintenance. We use a 20 year old 4GL language assisted by native Python/C.
I could crank out Android apps in niches, write web content and advertise, build a few cloud based web products (CAN IT EXPORT TO EXCEL!?!?!!!111), and easily live off of 15-20k a month with huge fluctuations (both directions). I choose the simple life of industry.
Not to mention, it is so hard to motivate yourself to go from start to end on a product. Most of that energy was used in my late teens.
Right now, I could be cranking out that turn based strategy Google Glass native app, because native apps with delays in turn taking are going to be the key to Glass (it gets hot!). Instead, I'll just build another fixed width extract with this day. It will run in 1/16th of the time of the original. People will not notice or care until it breaks again. Ad absurdum.
I suppose its worth mentioning, I know a few who pull in 4-6k a month solely on advertising/affiliates. Completely passive, they have months worth of posts automated to go out every 2nd or 4th week. I've pulled off 1-2k using the same method, but I always had a hard time finding microniches that were available for me to dominate. Writing about en pointe ballet, dremels, silver polishing, simms fishing gear etc. is not my ideal goal. It did make money though.
If this was true then every startup would be a success. You need a lot more than that. Not to mention that finding a problem that costs a company $4k/mo and coming up with an elegant solution is a lot harder than it sounds.
Many first time founders think exactly like this. They're blindsided after the product is built and they realize the hard work has just begun.
Functionality is easier to sell than all of the other facets of the start up. CIO wants to know if the system will replace it. CEO wants to know how much money it will save. Higher level execs want to be able to export it to Excel and easily notify mid level execs when they are behind.
Once again, I kid you not. This expensive app is literally a spreadsheet with dynamic columns which allow administrators (dept heads) to assign values. The hierarchy is the system is sys admin, admins (officers), users, and temps.
Job scheduling, accounting/vouchers, log analyzers, time management, project management, supply systems, commissions systems. If you have seen them once, you can probably reproduce it 'with a twist'.
Life of the corporate drone. And yet... in exchange for forfeited dreams and ambitions you get a nearly assured nice retirement someday and little need to think or work hard.
I hear this a lot, but are there numbers on how many people are managing it? I.e. if you exclude apps put out by large companies, how many people are earning $5k+/mo off Android apps? I don't even have a ballpark guess; is it 10 people? 10,000 people?
It has the potential to make $5-17/day. I'm guessing if I corrected/updated the code, it would jump in rank. If I could generate 13-15 apps that fit into this type of niche, I would easily reach $5k/month with lazy/horrible coding. If I just sat there for one-two full month(s) churning out one app a day, I would probably be able to reach that goal.
> Does Passive Income Hacker actually exist?
> Profits: $38,598 (up 66% from $23,230)
> Wage per Hour: Approximately $1,000, given that I worked
> for approximately 15 hours integrating the new design and
> spend approximately 20 minutes a week doing support.
The reality is that it's a little more than "20 minutes a week" if you tally up all of the labor over the lifetime of the product, but then again, most people don't include how much they've worked in the past when they're asked: "How much time do you spend working each week?"
In short, passive hackers who are bootstrapped and make a tidy some exist all over. I know several. However, it typically isn't treated as a "vacation" but rather having the flexibility to breathe and do things right.
There are a lot of us out there. Speaking for myself, I can say I don't talk much about it to other people and pretty much never around startup entrepreneurs. The article sums up the feeling I get on the receiving end...
That is to say, the quoted number happens occasionally, but it feels like all the time.
This is with a SaaS app designed from the outset to minimize support and maintenance, with profit also a high priority, provided it doesn't conflict with the first. It was in no way hard to do this. I often recommend that others give it a try.
What most of these Passive Income blogs and podcasts seem to be selling is really a process: whereupon you start with analyzing a market with google's search insight tools, build a simple utility for that market, purchase adwords for it, and then ab test it.
While a process like this might work some of the time, it still doesn't guarantee anything.
I love the idea of being a Passive Income Hacker, mostly because I love the idea of "financial freedom" to pursue interests independent of a stable job and stable income. But the two things that make me wary of it are: (1) isn't it still a lot of work up front? work that you could be putting into something with much bigger impact on society into? (2) I wonder how stable the income is over time without maintenance.
You just summed up every article written on PIH
Not to say this is sustainable but if there's a way to make money via arbitrage that nobody else has picked up on yet it can be very profitable. And potentially low-effort too.
I would quite like five figures a month working from starbucks, so if I am missing a trick let me know
We have a number of them here on Hacker News who are very much not selling ebooks on vegetarian canaries. The most prominent one I can remember is jasonkester, who runs a cloud service analytics company that evidently requires very little upkeep. If you're interested in the topic, try doing an HNSearch on him for relevant terms — he's been very enthusiastic about it over the years.
Like any kind of entrepreneurial venture there's no shortcuts, it's all hard work, learning, failing and repeating. Like you mention, then there's the Timothy Ferriss hucksters of course, but that's a whole different ball game.
It is simply making products to sell instead of working for a salary. The less upkeep that they require the better. Many mobile apps fall in this category as well as lots of SaaS businesses. See also patio11 and bingocardcreator
Small Product, Single Founder Success Stories
How much recurring income do you generate, and from what?
Anyone making a living from just 1 app?
Inspirational money making web apps made by hackers
Listen to Startups For The Rest of Us, Bootstrapped with Kids, Lifestyle Business Podcast, Product People, etc etc. Go to conferences like Microconf, Baconbiz, etc. There's tons of us out there.
ONe additional thing to note is, alot of us that fit this category (I heard a number on Bootstrapped with Kids where its almost 60%) are people with a family to support (kids, wife, etc). A lot of us cannot get up and move to SOMA and work at Startup Company X while stuffing our family into a shoebox sized apartment in the Tenderloin district. Sure there are options, but sometimes you CANT move. Medical conditions, ailing family, a support system that you cannot leave, etc.
When its time like these, people start to bootstrap and build portfolio of products to get back the most important resource they have: time. Your kids are only young, ONCE. Spending that time working 80 hour weeks at a startup that is not yours where you get .000125 of a percent of a company IIF they go big (acquired, IPO, etc) usually isn't worth the trade off considering that the vast majority of startups fail.
For example status2K is in the low 100's per month, but I haven't spent anytime on it for about a year.
Selling SEO Guidebooks to make a passive income website?
Basically I saw an opportunity for a company I liked (I knew them as friends not as a customer) to make even more money with very little risk to them (they didn't pay me a salary, only the revenue share) and as such I was offered a very good deal with no variable costs to me except for development maintenance time and any new features I want to add.
Just leaving food for thought for you all, there are plenty of ways to generate passive income. You don't have to go it alone, collaboration is one of the best tools we have as humans! So get creative. :)
They also have a podcast, which I have listened to. It's not bad at all.
Sometimes it seems that everyone is all wrapped up in solving first-world 20-to-30 age bracket problems (social, picture filtering, SaaS for other 20 to 30 year olds, etc). Nothing wrong with that, but there is so much more out there. IMO, it is way more interesting and has much more impact on peoples lives.
Bootstrapping is not a crime.
So you just work out of coffee shops and stuff?
Dumping the office or co-working space saves at least a few thousand dollars per year in rent, and potentially transportation costs and commuting time as well.
He's not funded or seeking funding, he doesn't go to the networking events and hasn't been through an accelerator.
I don't care for these things either. They tend to be time sucks and overly focused on investors.
Look, I am skeptical of those Tim Ferris apostles whose "passive income" businesses are based on spammy blogs, apps, and affiliate sites. But don't sleight startup businesses because their methods of operation don't fit your definition of a startup.
I started two companies. The first failed (1). During the year or so that I was involved, I spent a lot of time doing startupy things - networking sessions, hanging out at a coworking space in Cambridge, pitching, applying to accelerators, etc. The local startup community, event organizers, angel investors, the media, and some people affiliated with the local higher education establishment encouraged this startup behavior (or startup theater). I feel they looked down on any startup that didn't fit the mold.
Here's one small example: When you meet someone else in the local community, one of the first questions they have is "Where are you based?" In my mind, this is a test of legitimacy. "Real" startups say something like:
- Cambridge Innovation Center
- The accelerator gives me a desk and WiFi.
I feel that founders who answer "Starbucks" "The Library" "Home" or "Virtual Team" aren't taken seriously. That's how I feel now, at least, sitting in my living room. Even though my 2nd company has products, profit, and growth (2), it's not taken seriously as the first, which never had a dime in revenue but was based in the CIC, applied to accelerators, etc.
That should be a laptop sticker...
FWIW, I've read Ferris' book, and agree with a lot of what he says. I also realize that passive income can be generated by products that deliver real value. Some are mentioned on this thread. But the movement has also spawned a lot of low-value products pumped up by SEO or spammy tactics. It doesn't help the image of passive income.
2. I don't understand why people like to draw such a hard distinction. It doesn't upset me that some people prefer sushi to steak. People are entitled to their own lifestyle choices without judgment of those who make alternate choices. This isn't just a software/business/career choice issue. Paleo people love telling everyone else that their diet is the best. Many vegetarians often evangelize to others and imply there are serious moral imperatives at stake. Just because someone isn't doing what you're doing doesn't make them "lazy" or "unethical". On a side note -- I think "pursuing narrow arbitrage opportunities" is often something someone would say with disdain, but that's my flavor.
3. Most startup people aren't particularly making the world a better place anyways.
I'm sure a lot of that is written tongue in cheek, I loved it until the "narrow arbitrage opportunities" and "lazy/unethical" ending.
unethical = someone who's more successful at making money / getting laid / achieving their life goals than the person rending judgment.
lazy = someone who doesn't seem to sweat as much / act like an ass than the person rending judgment.
me too. It just changed the whole tone and I didn't really understand it was a joke, sort of, until I read your comment.
"I've automated 95% of the non-dev. The other 5% of non-dev I deal with in about 20 minutes a day. Every few weeks I'll have a big dev day."
Any books/resources with a lot of real world case studies? I'd be very interested to hear many different accounts of such businesses. Here and there you see it on HN, but is there one that has many together?
When users email me support questions, they get a personal response from the guy who made the thing. They probably don't realise either, since most contacts start with "hey X team" or "hey X guys".
Having said that, I do work a full day, on attempting to start other passive incomes, and on more fun things that have less chance of earning. So I'm not quite living a pure passive income dream yet.
Sadly, risk-free investment returns have been decimated by 0% funds from the US central bank. We can only hope that we are reaping more rewards through active business as a result, but Fed policy has really punished those who have been financially prudent.
Bill Gates will do more good with the money he made than he did by creating software.
It's an interesting ethical question. As with most questions, I don't know the answer to it.
This sentence made me uneasy. I am not good identifying sarcasm so it might be that but... How one would jump into that conclusion without knowing any detail?
On the other hand, lazy is different from being not ambitious. I had several friends like that (not making 5 figures per month though)and I find that is a very legitimate way of live.
OTOH, I'm not saying startup guying is the only solution - just that satisfaction requires ongoing work. Once you complete your startup (for example), you have to find something else to do - another startup, create YC... something.
Why not just do what you find satisfying in the first place? It could be a startup. It could be just to make money (e.g. Warren Buffett loves making money). Or it might be something else.
Here's a twee story about a hand-to-mouth fisherman http://www.rinkworks.com/peasoup/richman.shtml
> Why not just do what you find satisfying in the first place?
The satisfying thing might not pay the bills.
A second problem is it might take time before that value is recognised. Hence, the painter's, actor's "day-job". Passive income is a day job.
However, it's actually quite difficult to find a passive income niche, it's work and risk to do it, they usually end up not being 100% passive after all, and few niches are stable long-term (even huge enterprises don't last forever).
I think we can all agree that there are multiple ways to approach startups.
The misstep Myles makes is to assume that one approach is somehow superior to another, and then take the further step of insulting everyone who is striving for something different than what he sees as the best option.
We all have opinions on this topic, and it's an interesting discussion to have. But let's try to avoid dogma and judgment.
What's right for your unique situation isn't necessarily right for the 100,000 other people with similar ambitions, but who may be in vastly different life situations or just have different goals than you do.
Oh, and call me when you're 40, married with 2 kids and a mortgage, and you're coding Perl for a bank because none of your startups made you the millions that TechCrunch promised.
The funny part here is that you read this and actually agreed with Startup Guy for almost all of it. (From the rest of the comments it seems like a lot of HN did). That's part of his point, I guess.
This article rubs me wrong. This paragraph really rubs me wrong. If you're good at hustling for customers, you're a hustler where it matters. Funding (non-customer funding i.e), networking events and accelerators are secondary - lots of America's biggest businesses have been built without them.
The "passive income guy" described in the article reminds me of the Plenty of Fish founder by the way. Most "startup guys" would probably kill to be in his position...
Realistically, Startup Guy is pissed because his photo sharing website that allows you to apply filters isn't getting traction.
This outlook on both PIH and start ups is quite knaive/ignorant. PIH doesn't want the inherent risk, and maybe responsibility, of a start up. This author seems to criticize a developer who loves developing for not converting his passion, and recklessly throwing himself into a managerial role.
Why does every idea have to be a startup?
It's not necessarily all derision, it's just the mind trying to reconcile new information with old.
Startup is a phase - not a stereotype.
Teams are not essential to either a startup or what you term a PIH. The skills needed for the challenge are. Not the number of people.
Not all startups need nor want outside investment.
Not all startups have an idea that will change the world.
Not all startups need, want or are suitable for accelerators, incubators or other similar vehicles.
Startup is neither better nor worse than a single person building something to improve their livelihood.
Best I can tell, the author equates a startup to what is popular in the press. Young geeks, big rounds of capital raising, buzzwords galore, huge acquisitions and all the hype that goes with it.
I think bunkum like this devalues the efforts of entrepreneurs everywhere and demonstrates such a closed mind in a space where openness is increasingly important.
To make it big, though, relies mainly on luck and the skill to recognize when luck has provided an opportunity. For example, a lot of these people with passive "affiliate" income are essentially very lucky that they recognized the niche and were in a position to be able to exploit it better than (or at least as good as) anybody else who tried--it's not common, or even 'infrequent'; I'd say it's rare at best.
Or you can do what "everybody" else does: have a job (freelance or otherwise) and, eventually, exploit your connections and network into a product (like PIH's SaaS product) that produces passive income. This, of course, takes years unless as in the above you are very lucky. Even then you have to have some good fortune to maintain steady employment, not be hit with any of a number of life's possible mishaps, etc.
Personally, I think passive income from, e.g. dividend paying equities in the Gambler's Emporium known as the stock market are more likely to provide regular passive income than hoping that working toward some hit affiliate stream or niche software market will payoff without luck.
As soon as one begins to maintain or attempt to expand these things, however, it's no longer really passive. In fact, "building a business" necessarily implies direct action.
Really, really? Regrettable
This looks like the kind of dreamy SG that only wants to do "good"(by his definition) and doesn't have an attainable goal.
Or the startup guys that want to use the latest and "greatest" so he writes version 1 with whatever.js and when he's about to launch he decided to rewrite everything in drunk_pangolin.js "because of integrity" (except that drunk_pangolin.js is still in version 0.1, has 1 part time developer and no docs)
That being said: i think i've heard this conversation and event had it (sadly, from the SG side in my less-educated days), and I think this conversation is intended to force people to ask themselves "am I a poser or do I want money?" which is a false dichotomy.
I'd rather look at people who want to make money by creating value vs. people who want make money by creating perceived value.
e.g. Siri before Apple: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/22/siri-do-engine-appl...
And, really, how many times have you heard someone say something like "Man, that service has gone to shit since Yahoo bought it"? It seems to come up pretty frequently. I'm sure there are entrepreneurs with actual integrity regarding their startups, but it seems like a lot of the big success stories end with "and then we sold to Google for $100 million, we win, the end."
Maybe that's the point.
The article paints non-startup guys as parasites. That's so needlessly polarizing.
The more common definition of the Passive Income Hacker is "lifestyle business", i.e. a business where you don't seek a 10-100x exit.
Personally I think if all you've done or plan on doing is an app or website, calling it a startup is kind of silly.
I have to disagree with this one, of all of the people I know that have "lifestyle businesses," they were as committed to the early stages and aggressive as most of the "startup" guys I know. While some of them, after years of work, got to "minimal interaction with the business," most of them still work it hard for a standard week. The only difference between them and the "start-up guy," is they don't ever want to exit.
I've always seen the PIH "movement" (if we can call it that), much more opportunistic than many "lifestylers" - there's a big difference between being committed to something for life, and and trying to find a way to make money by doing as little as possible.
That last part is not to say that all PIH's are opportunists working on things that make money even if they could care less about them - but the movement is distinct from that of "lifestyle" business, where the goal is to make enough for a good life, doing something you enjoy/love.
I think if anything, bootstrapping your product to success is far more respectable than taking large sums of seed funding and potentially throwing it all away when you find that your market doesn't even exist.
Everything was so obviously tongue in cheek until that point.
But, the ambiguity was actually welcome because it forces the reader to wonder and in turn choose their position.
It's a fun read.
Is this supposed to be what "startup guy" thinks, or is it also the opinion of the author? Seems like a pretty jarring assumption, if you ask me.
But, honestly, how many developers are there making five figures a month in profit passively (more or less)? That is an extreme amount of success, far beyond what most people will ever enjoy in their life.
Btw you must see in the end, is there FBI or any kind police knock on your door :p
So make sure your business clean!!! Cheers
Is this serious? It's epically funny if it is.
Even if PIH is trying to make world a better place, he doesn't have to do that on his "billed" time. He has a lot of time to spare for that.
I do not object to the use of colons, but if I did — insisting on the use of Em dashes instead — and I were to comment that there were perfectly fine alternatives to the colon on every post that used one (such as yours), I might be considered an overly pedantic nuisance.
"Maybe one mentors a child in one's spare time."