11: IMJ × Justin Jackson

Mario and Alan are joined by Justin Jackson, co-founder of Transistor.fm, to talk about the state of indie SaaS and the importance of choosing the right market for your product.

Mario: Hey

guys, how's it going?

Justin: good.

Alan: very well.

Mario: So, Alan, uh, we
have a special episode

Alan: we do.


Very exciting.

Mario: we do super excited
to have our first guest ever

Justin: First guest ever.

Alan: Yeah.

Justin: Oh,

Mario: ever.

Justin: I hope people aren't disappointed.


Mario: Not at all.

Justin: should have saved it for
Beyonce or someone more impressive.

Alan: You are the rock star
of our little world, so you

Mario: Yeah.



You're like, eh, I was telling my
wife, yeah, we're going to have

Justin on our podcast and uh, Yeah.

It's, it's, it's awesome.



like, oh, okay.

It's you know, you don't understand the

significance of this

Alan: that's That's nice, honey.

Mario: That's very nice

Justin: I listened to
your show all the time.

So it's fun to get to talk with you in
real time and, uh, and see Fusioncast.

I've you know, this is
the first time using it.



It's like really you're way
further, along than I thought you

were like,

Alan: He's this little dark horse.

It was kind of like building
this it's really good.


Justin: yeah, this is, this is like
not, not easy software to build.

Mario: No, it's not, it's not easy
at all, but, uh, well, you know,

Alan keeps, uh, giving me a hard
time because I haven't launched yet.

Every episode, every, every session that,

uh, we record, he's like,

okay, when, are you


When are you


Justin: So

Mario: good.

It's good enough.

Justin: when are you launching.

Alan: Yeah, exactly.

Thank you.

I didn't prep that.

Mario: Now it's, now it's two against one.

No, um, uh, really soon, actually
now I am really working on the final.

You know, steps that I need to take,
before launching, I'm integrating my

billing system with paddle, and, and
just updating the marketing site and,

fine tuning some of the infrastructure,
you know, some of the, the server

where it's running and the database
and, all the infrastructure stuff, so

that it's, um, robust enough to launch
and have more people using the system.

So, you know what, that's, one
of my concerns is will it scale?

You know, I haven't had a chance

Alan: to

find out.

Mario: to, to try that.


So it's like a

catch 22 there.

Justin: if you look at the Reddit threads
and the Twitter threads about this space,

uh, the, the most common complaint is,
you know, uh, Riverside was good, but now.

Buggy or I used to love Zencaster, but
now I'm getting audio drift and it seems

like, and this space is very, there's a
herd mentality around it, where, you know,

at first everyone was using Zencaster and
then they had a few issues and then it was

like, everyone moved over to squad cast.

And then Riverside came out
with video recording first.

And so people moved over there
and then Riverside had some

bugs and, uh, people complain.

But so it's yeah, the, the finicky-
ness of it is I think the challenge.


Mario: exactly.

Justin: but ironically, I almost think
like, I mean, I like the, I like all of

those folks, like Zencaster and squad
cast, and Riverside, they're all great.

But the, for whatever reason,
Riverside's problems started after

they got, uh, a bunch of funding
and hired a bunch of people,

it was kind of better when they were
indie and just a few people working on it

Alan: Typical.

Isn't it.

It's the way it goes.

Justin: I don't know why that is, but

Alan: There may be.


I mean, maybe they just got too

excited and yeah, I tried
to take on too much.

I mean, the thing is with this kind
of software, it's like the, the,

you want it to do one thing and you
want it to really not screw that up.


But I can see the, the urge
to, well, we've got income

and money and we want to grow.

And so yeah, this keep on adding
stuff to, it must be very strong urge,


Mario: And more people, I guess, more
moving parts, more things to manage, more

chances for things to go wrong

Justin: yeah.

Alan: I mean, the interesting
thing is quite a small, I mean,

it's a, I guess a reasonably

niche niche ish thing.

There's not that many people in, you
know, percentage of the world recording

podcasts, but at the same time, there's
only a handful of competitors, right?

There's not like, you know, a hundred
people making this kind of tool.

So hopefully to get known about
is, you know, possible because it's

the same people are going to the
same places and, you know, they're

in the same kind of communities.

So hopefully, you know, that you can find
your, your audience reasonably, reasonably

well, which was just what I was about to
start to talking to Justin about before.

I think, you know, you're, you're
lucky that your audiences, you know,

where they are, right for them.

Justin: Yeah.

And it'd be interesting to see what's
happening in this category now, because

back September, 2020, I remember watching
squad cast was on Microconf Remote.

And they had just passed
a hundred K in MRR.

And I think they were quite a bit
behind transistor in terms of MRR for

awhile, and then the pandemic happened
and that category just exploded.

Like even more than podcast hosting.

There was just that many more people
that wanted to have you know, a

zoom like session like this, but
be able to record it and be able to

record all the individual tracks.

And so the market for that seemed bigger.

And so they just like, I can't
remember how fast it was.

Like he said something like he

doubled, they doubled in
12 months or something

Alan: Well,

something just kind

of caught yeah.

That there was something about it.

That was like, everybody understood
what they needed and boom.

Justin: yeah.

But a lot of us that experienced bumps.

like initial revenue bumps in the,
that first lockdown, in the, behind the

scenes, like in the back channels, as
we're talking, it was almost like we

pulled ahead revenue, like it accelerated
revenue, but it just pulled it ahead.

And then eventually it, got
pulled back, meaning like, we're

still ahead, but we were grow.

Like we grew transistor grew quite a
bit too, not as much as squad cast,

but we, we had this big bump in revenue
and you can see it on a revenue graph.

It goes like bump and then up
and then down, and then it's

continued to grow since then.

And the kind of worry in the, you
know, in these back channel chats

is that, maybe all that really
happened is we just accelerated,

pulled forward revenue that we would

have had any way, but
it just got accelerated.

Alan: It's kind of come back to
back to almost where it would

have been projected anyway.


It was just like this temporary
little booster, but it

kind of got back to normal.

I mean, I think that's the biggest

kind of disappointment in this.

I thought we'd have, you know,
like remote work and hybrid work.

There does seem to have been this
massive pulling back, which I guess

it's a, like a rubber band in effect.

Maybe we pulled too far in away,
but hopefully there's, there's

going to be some more momentum
towards that, but it does,

Justin: yeah, It'd be interesting
to look at Zoom's numbers.

I haven't looked at their numbers
lately, but, you know, have they gone,

have they really grown that much?

has it slowed down?

That would be a good, I think, indicator
of kind of where everything's going.

Mario: right.


And the pandemic Mick, I guess,
uh, had a lot to do with that

stretching of the rubber band.


Like maybe, maybe that went
too far because the pandemic

was fueling a lot of that.

And now, and now that it's getting
better, we'll see where, where it goes.

Justin: Yeah.

I mean, it was good.

I think, I mean, it'll be good for
both of you in the sense that awareness

for like tools like Fusioncast,
but also tools like dot plan.

There's much more awareness.

People are looking for those tools.

People got introduced to whole
new categories of products that

they'd never seen before and now
they know to search for them.


Uh, and that kind of like search
searching with intent is, I think for

indie software is what we all want.

We want people that know that
podcast hosting is a category

is a thing you need to look for.

And then you can search for best podcast
hosting and hopefully find transistor.

Um, and the same for you, you know,
that you'd hope that people would have

enough awareness of the category that
they'd be searching for that stuff.

Um, so I think it was good in that
sense, but I think for those of us

that benefited from it, there's a
natural, like that whole cohort.

Now it's been two years and you
know, a lot of them are reevaluating.

Do I still want to run
my podcast that I started

in the pandemic?

And so we're seeing some churn

related to that, you know?

Alan: And it's probably feels a little bit
worrying for you, but at the same time,

as you said, it was an unnatural event.


So it's, um, it, it, it's
kind of to be expected

what probably, yeah,

Justin: yeah,


I mean, the growth was amazing and again,
we haven't, we haven't, uh, revenue still

growing, but it's definitely the growth
has slowed down since that first lockdown.

Uh, so yeah, it's nice having the growth
and, and again, any sort of Zeit Geist

that propels people into your sphere of,

you know, your category is, uh, welcome.

Alan: right.

Yeah, no, I just say, I mean, I think
the biggest thing was, you know, it, it

seemed to me, I mean, it was probably more
amplified for me here as well in Japan.

Whereas remote work was here.

It's, you know, when I first moved
here, um, you know, I started talking

to people and you know, let's talk about
remote sessions and it was just like,

no, we don't, we won't even consider it.

It was just completely off the table.

There was no consideration whatsoever.

Whereas now it's a
conversation you can have.

Um, you know, if the answer might
still not be yes, but at least there's

an acceptance that yeah, it happens.

And we know that within certain
circumstances it can work

well, but, um, it's yeah.

It's, as you said, it's helped
bring it into a public awareness,

which can only be a good thing.

Justin: Yeah.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

And a good opportunity for Indies.

I think like, even for people to start
thinking about, you know, you had this

great resignation and that's actually
one thing, at least in north America

that has been fairly sticky is people
are not going back to work at the same

rate that people thought they would.

A lot of people just resigned and then
have been working on their own things,

trying to, you know, start their own
businesses, uh, looking for better

paying jobs, going back and retraining.

That part has, been
actually pretty sticky.

And that's a good thing for, uh,
I think the indie maker community,

cause there's more people doing it.

and there's more people looking to
collaborate like, I think it's going to

be, become more competitive for remote
jobs again, because the big employers

are going back to the office, but, you
know, indie software companies that might

want to hire a contractor or their first
employee, uh, there's going to be a lot of

people looking because of that, you know?

Uh, so I think there's
lots of benefits from it.

Uh, it was, it, it sucked for all sorts of
other reasons, but in terms of, you know,

maybe what we care about, which is more
indie companies and our indie companies.

having a better chance, an amplifying,
you know, those kind of opportunities.

It was good for that, for sure.

Mario: Yeah.

Yeah, Yeah.

For sure.

I I've seen, uh, just, uh,
switching gears a little bit here.

I've seen some of the, uh, new
features you've been releasing

with transistor, uh,
really, really great stuff.

Really good stuff.

Justin: yeah.



It's felt, it's felt


We, Jon and I had our, founder

retreat in, uh, when was


Yeah, we went skiing.

I, took Jon to the, the COVID
capital of British Columbia.

Um, so yeah, we had that.

I now I can't even remember.

I think that was in January.

And, since then, I mean, things
have been kind of bubbling.

We'd been fairly gentle with ourselves.

Through 2020 and then 2021,
we hired Helen and then Jason.

So Helen does customer success for us.

Full-time she's in the UK and Jason's
in Ohio and he's really senior,

developer, uh, mostly on the backend,
but Jon had worked with him before.

And so we, we knew we would have
more bandwidth for staff that we

hadn't been able to tackle before.

And I think we were both just kind of
ready to start cranking on stuff again.

And, websites was the kind of
embarrassing feature for transistor.

It was just like, they weren't that good.

I didn't like promoting it.

you know, it was, I mean, it was cool
to see what people did with that initial

version of podcast websites, but, we
definitely needed to have something new.

So podcasts websites is the most recent
that we just we're working on right now.

and then dynamic audio
insertion was before that.

And I was like another project that
we thought we're just never gonna be

able to do that, you know, have these
basically dynamic ad campaigns where

you can say here's pre-roll audio or
mid-roll audio, and then you can have

it apply to all of your episodes.

So there's a, you know,
a little campaign and

certain points throughout
all your episodes.

And it was just like, we

can't do that.

Alan: It's just way out
of the scope of what you,


Justin: It's way out of scope.


But the cool thing, especially for Jon
and I, who are kind of hesitant to hire,

it's been having Helen and Jason, like
these two people who are enthusiastic

about bringing new stuff into the app.

it kind of gave us this whole new energy

that I don't think we would have had.

Otherwise, so yeah, it's been awesome.

Alan: it's

interesting going from that, like two
person where, you know, I assume you and

Jon have a, you know, the,
the amount of trust between

you two must be crazy higher.

And you know that, you know, you're
doing your thing, he's doing his

thing and it just kind of works out.

You sync up occasionally bring in
other people in that mix must always

be, I, I, I know how I'd feel.

It'd be like, but how do I trust you?

And I'd want that kind of
same relationship as well.

Whereas it's like, just do
whatever you feel is necessary.

And let me know when you
need something, right.

It must be difficult finding that person.

Justin: I mean, it was probably most
stressful before we hired them because,

you know, I mean, we had, well, the
unknowns and even like financially,

like by that point, transistor, by
the time we hired Helen transistor

was quite profitable, but it hadn't
been profitable for like, you know,

five years We've been like Jon

and I both went full time in 2019.

Alan: still remember
that episode when you've

just been crazy.

How is this like an
overnight success thing?


No, no.

You got been there for
the long haul, right?

I know that this took a long time to

get going.


Justin: Yeah.

I mean, at the time it felt like it took
forever for us to get to that point.

And, uh, in retrospect it actually
happened fairly quickly, but, um, yeah,

I think a lot of our stress before we
hired Helen and Jason was just like, we

knew we could afford it, but do we want
it does this, what we want to invest in?

Cause it's like, you're investing
in this for a long time and

COVID had just happened.

And you know, we had that thought of,
you know, like, thank God we don't

have employees during this because
maybe we'd have to let people go.

And, yeah.

So I think we had some
of that stress and then.

Yeah, there's just always this unknown of
like, what's it gonna be like to add more

people to this mix, but Helen had been
working with us on a part-time contract

basis already for quite a while, and I'd
known her forever through Mega Maker yeah.

Uh, probably as long as Jon

I've known Helen.

And so, you know, that felt


Alan: Just kind of a
natural progression, right?

Justin: yeah, not, not a big jump there.

And Jon had worked with Jason before.

I didn't know him, but, honestly, a
lot of that was knowing that it would

probably be good for Jon to have
someone that could work alongside him.

Um, even for his enjoyment and, you
know, mental health and everything

else, like just to feel like.

Someone else can look at his code and
it's not all resting on his shoulders.

Um, if it felt like that
would be a good move.

So, uh, and in both cases,
it's just been unbelievable.

Like both of them are incredible
and to see what we've achieved

already is just kind of amazing.

And it doesn't feel like we're
like, grinding super hard either.

It feels like we have a
nice pace of everything.

Like, you know, it's not like things
got, things just are kind of natural.


is pretty similar, but
we're just getting way more


Alan: Yeah.

I mean, just, just uncoupling
that one person from development

and one person from everything
else is like a huge relief.

I can imagine.

It's just like, yeah, I'm not
responsible for everything anymore.


just, you know, there's certain stuff,
which, and as you said, it keeps, yeah.

Keeps you saying right.

Justin: Yeah.

Yeah, It's it's on.

And we have a staff meeting every
Thursday and it's just kind of nice

having it's almost like when it was
just Jon and I, it was easier and

I, for him and I to not show up for
stuff, uh, but now we have these

other people that are depending on us.

And so it's like, well, we got to
show up on Thursday or I'll look

like a doofus, you know, if I don't
make it to my own staff meeting.

So, uh, that part too, just having, we're
now accountable to these other people.

Um, yeah,

Mario: yeah,

Think you have

responsibilities now.

Justin: yeah, yeah, exactly, exactly.

And it's just nice.

It's nice having other people
there, you know, I think this

is probably like four or five

people is like the
optimal kind of team size.

Alan: I can imagine if it
feels just about right.

Doesn't it, it says for this kind of
product is, this is what always, um,

again, I think I've, I've been around
this world for too long to think, to

imagine like transistor growing into
like 20 people, 30 people, you, it,

you can't what, how, what, what they do

Justin: I can't

Alan: no, you just kind
of imagined it, right?

I mean, you know that the
industry, obviously other

people do it and the industry could
probably support it, but it's like,

is that the company you want to run
is that the life you want to lead?



Justin: Yeah.


I mean, it's yeah.

I mean, the, I can't, because I don't
actually know, there's not a clear path

to capturing 20 times more market share.

Alan: Right.

Justin: Like I think transistor has
maybe, I don't know, two, 3% of the

paid podcast hosting market and.

You know, I'm hoping that we can get
back to higher growth percentages

and a lot of unlocking that was like,
we need to unlock podcasts websites.

We've got this next thing we're working
on is we're going to allow anybody to

use the podcast website feature for free.

You can just insert
your existing RSS feed.

And we think that's going
to be like, that could be an

unlock, a ton of growth for us.

Cause we'll have this like freemium
product that if you already have

a podcast, you just put in your
RSS feed and then it, rolls out

a transistor website for you.

That's sponsored by transistor,
but then you're in the product.

So people will be able to see like
analytics, they'll click on the

analytics tab and it'll say, well,
if you were on transistor, you

could see analytics like these.

And there'll be able to click on the
episodes tab and they'll say, well, if

you were on transistor, you'd be able
to, you know, see episodes like this.

So we're really excited about.

But like 20 times growth so we
could grow like to 20, 30 people.

Alan: Yeah.

Justin: I don't think so.

Mario: Yeah.

So is this a free account at all?

They'll be able to do is just

have the website

Justin: yeah,

Mario: Okay.

Even if they're hosting their

podcast elsewhere.

Justin: Like if

they're hosting it on anchor and they just
don't want that crappy anchor website,

they can, they can put their anchor RSS
feed in this new thing and it'll create

them a transistor website and we're
launching some new templates, soon.

So right now we have one new one and
then the classic one, but we're going

to have more looks and things they can
choose, but then it'll have a banner

at the bottom saying if it's free
saying, Hey, you know, this podcast

hosting websites provided by transistor

Mario: Yup.



Justin: So we'll get some
advertising that way, but then

also it's, it's like a way for

us to reach out to all these people
hosting on Libsyn and anchor and


Alan: I mean, especially if people
are sharing on social media or any

way, you know, that they're sharing
links to that new episode and things.

That's a perfect way for you
to get potential new customers


Justin: Yeah.

Alan: It's nice.

Mario: That's really smart.



Justin: well, the biggest thing
is like, I want to be able

to get people who are using other products
to try us out in a non douchey way.

You know, like, uh, one of our
competitors, a cast just got, uh, you can

see how people react to things and they,
they, they took the email address that is

embedded in the RSS feed of every podcast.

And just spammed everybody saying, Hey,
it looks like you're on transistor.

Do you want to switch to a cast?

And the blow back from the.

It was clear, like we do, we don't
want to do anything like that.

Like people did not like it.

And, um, I don't even know how
effective it was for a cast, but this

feels like the perfect Trojan horse.

It's like, we're giving something
people really want, which

is a nice podcast website.

And now all of a sudden they're in
the product and we can just say,

Hey, if you want to switch, you

just click this button
and then you can switch.

Alan: Exactly.

Look, there you go.

Justin: yeah, all they need
to do is forward their old

RSS feed and it's, it's done.


Alan: Very nice.

Justin: So, yeah, that's coming soon.

And, it's going to be, I mean,
you never know, you always

Alan: Yeah.

Justin: are going to be
massive and then you launch


Mario: Uh, it's that's, that's awesome.

It's been, it's been a lot of
fun to see you, grow and, uh, get

to the point where you are now.

Cause I remember I started.

Uh, I found out about you from
a podcast that I listened to

Uh, you did an interview.

I think it was The Changelog.

uh, and it was when you were

doing the a hundred things in a year.

I think it was.


Justin: What a mistake that was

Mario: I bet it was


challenging, but you know, that
gave you a lot of exposure though.

And, and that's how I
found out about you and I,

and I thought, wow, this is, this is

Alan: I may be the same, actually.

I did that.

that could be, yeah, it rings a bell,

Mario: Yeah,

Justin: Yeah, I mean, Mega Maker.

So the mega

maker community was originally
called product people.

And before that it was called JFD

I, and,

Alan: I

remember that as well.


Mario: The NSF


Justin: yeah.

And so the, there was an evolution


yeah, I mean, it's always hard
to say what, got you here, it's

hard to evaluate what of that was
necessary and what was unnecessary.

And, uh, for sure, like, I don't
know what, how everything links up,

but the big movements in my journey
have all been related to connecting

with people and doing things.

And so, you know, like
I connected with Jon.

At this conference, but the reason I
connected with Jon at that conference is

that Chase Reeves invited me to go to it.

And the reason Chase Reeves invited
me to go to it is he had invited

me to be on a panel in Las Vegas.

And the reason he had done that is because
he had read my, this is a webpage article.

And the reason he had read it is
because he saw it on hacker news.

It there's like this sequence of events

that without doing things and
connecting with people, the

other moves wouldn't be possible.

So yeah, it's, it's one reason I'm still
so excited about Mega Maker is that,

I mean, even like we hired Helen
because I've known her forever,

just having a network of people
that you know, and who know you

and being able to access all
sorts of different skillsets and.

you know, other things,

it's just like a super power.

Alan: mean, I think one of the

really nice things about Mega Maker

versus, you know, um, uh, I'm just

looking at my slack.

There's, I'm probably in like
20 different slack say, uh, and,

uh, Mega Maker is kind of unique.

And I think this is because
of the type of people that a

it's a paid, community.

So there's like a, a certain bar
that you it's like, you've gotta be

willing to make a commitment here.

Um, but also, you know, the fact that
everybody in there is trying to do

something and, uh, most of the time
on their own or with somebody else,

and there's this desire to, to help
others and to, to be part of something.

Whereas, you know, I mean, very
large accelerator slack over

that, that I was involved in.

And it's almost like
a broadcast mechanism.

It's a very different.

Community they've got going on there.

There's not the same, like, you know,
like who can help all, like, I'm

interested in this and people chip in.

It's very much like I'm doing this, I'm
doing this, I'm doing, it feels more

like a sales channel than, than a natural
support network, which, you know, kind of

Mega Maker is definitely unique in that.

Justin: Yeah.

Oh, that's good to hear.

I mean, that's the idea, right?

Is that it, it, uh, and I
still think it's a super power.


there's so many times in the
transistor slack where I'm like,

we're trying to figure something out
and I'm just like, I'm just going

to go over to Mega Maker and ask.

And then what would take us
days to figure out somebody.

In the community can just
help us out with right away.

It's like it's such a advantage.

It's like a secret weapon.

And, even like, there's some people
who aren't super active every month,

but I remember who they are and I
can be like, ah, who was that, that,

you know, has expertise in this area?

Or it can

connect us with this person or
whatever, and to remember, and

to be able to seek them out and

DM them.


just, Yeah.

there's nothing like it.

Alan: Yeah.

I mean, I think it is difficult also.

I mean, it's something I suffer from a
lot is it's difficult to ask for help

just because it's

like, you know, is this a,
is this a stupid question?

You know, B you know, like
who cares, what I'm doing?

And it is often a very difficult
hurdle to jump over and put it.

So it's nice to see other people
doing it and thinking, okay,

I should probably try that.

And I know there's a million times I
should have, and, you know, I should do.

And just say like, you know, what, what
what's other, what's sort of people's

opinions about what I should do here.

You know, like, as I mentioned
before, you know, this whole thing

about like, my product is like,
whoa, who do I talk to this about?

And it's, um, it's
like, what do I do next?

Where do I go?

And you know, it's, especially
when you're on your own.

And especially when you're, you know,
a few thousand miles away from other

people who are doing this, you get caught
up in your own like thought patterns.

And that can be dangerous.

Justin: yeah.


I mean, yeah, I understand that feeling
of like, not wanting to ask people.

but over time I've
definitely trained myself.

Like my cause Jon is his first instinct.

Isn't always to ask people and I just,
for me, it's, it's become such a hack

that I'm just like, let's just ask, uh,

Mario: I think that's a, that's a

general trait.

If you will, of developers

Justin: Yeah.

Mario: we all tend to,
you know, just a few more


I can figure it out.

I, you know,

Alan: people that, you know,
that there's, uh, whatever the,

the, the, the traits, how
the tendencies are, what,

whatever reason it is,

people who are doing this kind of thing
on their own, we're doing it on our own

because we want to do it on our own.


It's not like I want to be part of
a 20 person team and we can build

the thing and I'll do this, but it's
like, no, I can do the whole thing.

How are you going?

Actually, I don't know this
cause somebody helped me is like

a, it's a difficult thing to do

Justin: Yeah.

It's it's underrated though.

Alan: Oh, absolutely.


Justin: also, I mean, I shouldn't, I,
I, maybe not everyone can do this and

maybe it would turn out different for
other people, but I found, uh, especially

even leaning into that vulnerability.

I just don't know, I need help.

And, I've even been willing to
play, uh, the idiot more than I am

in order to seek help, because it's
just leaning into that and being

like, yeah, I don't know everything.

And, I just wanna, I want to be curious.

I want to, I want to be open
to, other people might have

the answer that I don't have.

And instead of me having to go
through a lot of pain to get

there, I can just like reach out.

I think the other thing that
really, the other thing, reason

I'm ex I'm passionate about that.

I'm trying to teach this to my kids
too, because it feels like I learned

this too late is one thing that
really unlocked my potential was.

People like Adam Wathan and Taylor
Ottewell kind of like showing me their

bank account how eye opening that
was to see how well they were doing.

And that's really what unlocked
my, this, kind of maniacal

focus I have on the market.

It's all about the market.

It's about market demand.

It's about how many people are actively
searching for this, because I saw

it with Adam and Taylor in this.

Incredibly like their dollars.

I could just see the dollars
shooting into their bank account.

And that was them being open and
vulnerable with me and me in some ways,

being willing to ask, like, what's going?

on there And how are things going?

And they're like, oh, I'll

show you.

And it's like,

Alan: Oh, I mean, we do get caught
up in this again, it's difficult to

translate what you see on Twitter and
other networks and especially with the,

the whole, um, investment things being
the way it is, you know, there's just

numbers and the meaningless, and you
think, you know, and there's a, the

pre fixed preconception of how much
you should be earning as a developer.


I mean, yeah, it's a lot higher now.

It's not great if you're in Japan, but
that's what, that's what you should be

earning as a person writing software.

And it's difficult sometimes to,
to connect the two it's like,

well, there's all this money.

You need that money to make big companies.

They make the company make some money
and you get this much, um, yeah.

To realize, especially when you
are interested and you want to do

it all, and you want to build a,
a small, sustainable, lifestyle.

It doesn't have to be on
a really tight budget.


Justin: Yeah.

And, and also to be okay with, I mean, so
much of what we expect or desire or seek.

I mean, there's a, there's a negative
side to this too, which is you

compare yourself to other people and
feel shitty when you don't match up.

But for me, I mean, a lot
of my friends and peers make

significantly more money than I do.

but there was a point, like
there was a point where I

felt shitty being Nathan Barry's friend,

because it was just like this,
this kid is just doing so


And I just can't.

Alan: I'm a complete failure.

What am I doing?

Justin: get there.

Um, but there was a threshold
like once transistor started

it and started doing well.

And you know, I started doing both
Jon and I like, this is the best

money we've ever made in our lives.

it's not Nathan Barry money.

It's not Taylor Outwell money.

It's not even like Marie Pulin,
she's got this notion course.

And I think she probably makes more
money than I do from transistor.

but there was this threshold I
cross where like, it's like, this

is giving me an incredible life.

And these other people just inspire
me now as opposed to feeling bad.

And I know that's hard to
balance, but overall, I think

it's been inspirational to me.

And what kind of unlocked it?

I felt crappy before, because it was like,
Well, I'm never going to do anything like

Nathan, you know, all I'm just garbage.

Uh, but now that, what, what I
think what clicked for me was

it's the market, it's the market.

You've got to look for evidence of demand.

People actively waking up every single

day, go into Google.

There's a new person searching for
podcast hosting, you know, like that.

and, and when, uh, when you can
see it and when you can feel it

and, and it's also like, you can
feel it in terms of its magnitude.

Like when Adam Wathan said he
was going to do this refactoring

UI thing, I was like, oh my God.

That's like, Jarrod Drysdale is
bootstrapping design, but new.

And for this whole new market, that's
never heard of Jarrod Drysdale.

And Adam's also got this, a bigger
audience, and he's also got the

excitement of the Laravel community.

You can just see how all of
those are going to magnify this

thing that people

already want, which

is, you know, I'm a

developer and I want to get

better at

Alan: Yup.

It's interesting.

It's almost like, you know,
being part of the original.

The original web developer
kind of world, especially with

the post .com bubble burst.

Um, it was, you know, that was
when my first product that I

sold that I, you know, was like,
hold on, I can do this on my own.

I can build sites, I can build things.

And so, you know, that was early two
thousands and it was, I remember then,

you know, like I had a photo sharing,
mobile photo sharing application site.

This was before flicker before anything

else that followed.

And the fact then, you know, you
almost felt you couldn't do what other

people were doing because
the market was saturated.

And I remember, you know, my
thing when flicker came out, oh,

flicker sold to Yahoo for what,
$35 million, I think at the time,

which is just outrageous obscene.

And that's like, and it was like,
well done, but we can't compete with

that, that the photo sharing market
is finished because flicker own it.

And it's kind of, I mean, the same
thing with friends, um, my space.


Justin: yeah,

Mario: Oh, yeah.

Alan: I'm friends though.

And I'll arrest you.

You think the social media market?

Oh, that's it.

No one can compete with

Facebook now.


And, uh, it, whereas, you know,
almost the opposite is true.

You want to be looking, hold on.

That huge people are interested
in this industry, this market, and

they're actively searching for it.

And they're probably not entirely
happy with the things they're doing or

they're looking for a different take on



Justin: yeah.

If anyone's looking for flicker
alternative, um, w I mean,

flicker in those early startups
are a little bit trickier because.

At the time, it

wasn't like a lot of
people were paying for

Alan: Right.

No, there was no money.


all, as I found out.

Justin: So what the challenge back
then was like, you literally had

to get this, like shoot a straight
arrow, get a tech crunch, article,

meet the right people and hope that one

of the, you know, three or four
bigger companies at the time would

acquire you

Alan: exactly.

That, That was.


That was.

Justin: But now it's changed.

I mean,

Alan: Yeah.

Justin: even like the progression
of everything's just more mature,

these categories are more mature.


as a concept is more mature.

The billing is

easier that like there's so
many more advantages for Indies

Alan: Yeah.

There's just so many more people.

I mean, that's the crazy thing as well.

Everyone was just still using dial-up and
you know, you're lucky if they check their

email once a

week, you know,

Justin: Yeah.

well, well, do you guys have


Alan: if your one,

Mario: I don't,

Justin: Okay.

So how old is your kid?

Allen 11.

See, I had this thought with my
daughter, my daughter's 19, and I showed

her, I had her doing a little writing
project for me and a research project.

And I showed her reform by Peter soon.

And she was like, oh, this is cool.

I've never seen anything like this


And in my mind, I'm like Typeform, Woofu

Alan: a


Justin: But, But, it just reminded me
that every day there's thousands of new

customers coming online in gen Z who have
never heard of any of these other things.

And they're going to just be like, their
boss is going to give them an assignment.

Like, Hey, do a research project.

You're probably going
to need a survey tool.

And they go, okay, well, best survey tool.

Or they talked to their friends,
what survey tools do you recommend?

Or they, you know, so people
are, you know, there's brand

new customers born every day.

And then the other thing is,
there's people like us who are

re-evaluating purchases, like how

many project management apps
have the three of us used

in the context of our whole


you know, as

Mario: Exactly.

Alan: And that's a crazy thing.

And you see someone like

Monday spending literally bazillions
on like advertise me, like

put project management is done, right?


probably not.

Justin: But it's not now every market
and every category has its own dynamics.

It has, there's a shape of demand there.

Like I think project management
in particular is probably pretty

challenging, but there's sometimes an
angle for an indie to get in there.

Some categories I think are easier
for Indies to get into than others.

But the other thing is like

somebody might've tried it five
years ago and everybody was

like, well, that didn't work.

But the truth is that now
it might be the right time.

Alan: Yeah.

Justin: Um, to try it again and, you
know, like form software, maybe that

wouldn't have worked five years ago,

but now it's like,
Typeform is actually old.


Mario: Yeah.


Justin: we think of Typeform
as the new kid on the block,

but it's, it's, it's old.

And so

that that's the other thing is,
and transistor benefited from this.

honestly it was actually, it was nice that
transistor came out when it did, because

then, you know, a few months later, a
bunch of other podcast hosting platforms

came out, but it was nice being the first
of the new kid on the block, like that

whole batch, because there was just a lot
of people who are waiting for the space to

get kind of freshened up.

And, you know, they'd been

using Libsyn for 10 years and they're
like, man, I just, what I like

something different than this.

Alan: Especially since, yeah.

It's not going anywhere.


not progressing.

It's become like the established it's VC.



Justin: Yeah.


It's just like older or whatever.


So Typeform is 2012.


10 years old.

Mario: it is.


Alan: That's crazy.

Mario: been around for awhile.

Alan: I just said, this
still feels like, oh

my God,

that's new right now.

Justin: know,

I think of it as new as well, but
it's it's, I think there's a lot of,

this is like, like Calendly is 2010

and so 12 years later, not a bad time
to start savvy Cal because Calendly

spent all this money and time carving
out the category, but now there are

people searching, Calendly alternatives.

And, um, there's just your,
your, your pathway to money

and customers like for Derek.

I think, you know, he
could have asked himself.

How many people do.

I know that use Calendly.

I mean, he personally, might've known
40 people and you just like to make a

spreadsheet of all 40 people, and then you
just like contact each one, one by one.

That's what I did with transistor.

So like everybody, I knew I had a podcast,
I was like, emailed them and said,

Hey, we're about to launch this thing.

Would you be interested in
switching for an early access price?

And that got us our first,
you know, a hundred customers


Alan: And that's

what you should be doing Mario.


Because you've got a launch soon, right?

Mario: I'm taking notes.

I'm taking


Justin: Well, and you too,
Alan, like I think like,

that's, that's the way you could

really test out,

like really push dot

plan is go make a list of everybody,
you know, that's using something.

And just go, okay, well, I'm going to
reach out to these people and see if

there's any chance that they would switch.

And that will give you your answer.

People would be able to tell you like,
ah, like it's different than asking

people if it's a good idea, because if
you ask people to switch, they're like

honest, you know, I ask people to switch.

So maybe I asked 200 people if
they'd switched to transistor.

And a hundred said, yes, um, you
know, a hundred people were like, no,

it's just, I don't want to go through
the hassle or I like where I'm at

or your website socks or whatever.

Like you, you heard it right away.

And, uh, getting those
answers I think is helpful.

And you might also be able
to, um, I always like pick

up on these little anecdotes.

So when I was talking to Taylor
Ottewell, he was saying that

they use base camp for one reason


So they pay for base
camp for one reason only.

And that's to do these end of the day.

Check-ins like,

what did you work on?

Alan: Yeah.

I mean, that's exactly dot right there.

That's the whole point is end of

the day check-ins of

what you've done and that's it.

Justin: Yeah, so, well, that's what made
me think of it is that if I don't know

how widespread that use is, but if, if
those are the kind of, uh, anecdotes and

things I'd be pursuing, like, uh, you
know, if there's people out there that are

doing this then maybe I should, you know,

be trying to connect with people like

Alan: Right, right.


opposed to trying to
convince new people to,

to sign up.

I mean, this is the thing is like, if you


already do this suddenly asking, uh, a
company of 10 people right today, we're

going to start doing end of the day.

Check-ins everyone's like,
you want me to do what?

I already use five pieces
of software, you know?

And it's kind of like this, this,
this hard sell of like getting

them to change their behavior.

But if people are already doing
this, then getting them to try

something new is probably easier.

You would

hope, right?

Justin: Yeah.


And, and even like, um, I would, if I
was you Allen, I would go to that tweet

that I made where I think I shared,

oh, I do those check-ins.

And in Mega Maker like yellow,
green, red, like, how are you feeling

Mario: Yes.

Justin: it tweeted that, like I
just tweeted, how are you feeling?

But it would be interesting to
see how people who responded

to that and how they responded.

And I don't know what the in is there.

Those are the kinds of things
I would be doing as I I'd just

be like fishing around, seeing
like who's already in motion.

And is there a way I
can connect with them?

and you really want to invalidate
your idea as quickly as possible.

Like if it's not going to work,
you want to know fairly quickly.

I know that's hard like Joshua,
Andrew tin, and I are working on

this other product Meeps and we
just haven't found the fit yet.

And, I'm, I mean, for me, I, I can
take more time on this one because

transistors going well, but you know,
eventually if we can't find it, we got

to cut it loose because you know, you
can keep trying to maneuver something

and add new stuff and whatever.

And if you, if you're just not finding
that, that rushing river of customer.

Interest it's it's best to just

Alan: Hmm.

Mario: the line outside
of the coffee shop, right?


you, you, like, you usually say, yeah,

Justin: Yeah.

Where can you see


And I'm hoping it's


I mean, I had some instincts

that maybe there was something


so I

still hope it's there, but

Alan: Again, in a

similar way.



got to find that that's something

about it that, that people that

resonates with people, right.

It's like

building an online


Well, how's that different from
this, this and this and this?

If it's something I think I
remember you saying something can a.

Uh, it clicking for me what you're
trying to do with regards to like, you

know, memberships with newsletter pay,
paid newsletters, I think which okay.

Is there is a segment everybody knows
already, but when you say, oh yeah, okay.

It's that plus because as a community,
whether it, okay, I get it now and

it's almost like I need to find
the same kind of hook is something

that people go, oh, I get it.

It's it's like, it's, it's this thing.


Um, and as you said, it got already
understand that and already be

either doing it or willing to do it.

Not somebody who you've
got to convince that.

Cause that's


Justin: Yeah, I think they
already have to be doing it.

They already have to be
doing something about it.

That's the challenge.

Like what, what I thought.


Like online community building is like
super hyped right now, especially during

COVID like circle had raised all this
money and just seemed like every, and I

had personally experienced the power of
community with Mega Maker and then with

this coworking place that we started,
and then this meetup that I run locally

and I thought, well, this is perfect.

Like I have these three use cases
and I'd paid for member fall forever.


I was one of their first users.

So building an alternative to that
felt like, okay, this will work.

But what we're learning is the dynamics
in that particular space is that there's

just not that many people like me.

Alan: I mean, I joined a couple
of circle, um, groups, um,

It then not sticky.

I mean, as in the slack is
open all day, it's there.

It's okay.

I mean, you know, I don't know.

It's about 15 slacks.

I'll see a dot and if I've
got time, I'll go and read it.

Especially if it's one of the channels,
which I'm interested in one of the I'm

interested, where Circle it's, it's this
idea of like, there's a thing over that

and you got to log in and there's, there's
different accounts and it's just, you just

never do it and you'll get the email and
you go, okay, you're ready to close it.

I mean, at the, at that, that difference
between the, a community that feels alive

and one that feels like people check in on

once a week, it's

Justin: Yeah.

Well, I mean, that was our other thought
was let's not build another circle.

Let's just make it easy for people
to get people, to register and pay

for slack telegram discord groups.

Alan: right?

Justin: And maybe that's
what we need to get back to.

But again, there's just the number
of people on earth that, are like me

that are doing that kind of thing.

It's just smaller than the number of
people who want to start a podcast, but

starting a podcast, the threshold to
cross is just less because all you really

need to

do to feel successful is to record
an episode, upload it and publish it.

And then you kind of feel
like you're a success

Alan: Yeah.

Mario: Yeah.

Alan: if you've gone and got
not many listeners, right.



Justin: yeah, totally.


mean, this is the MailChimp ConvertKit
advantage too is just really, I mean,

if you put out a form and your mom's
subscribes and you put out one newsletter,

you already kind of feel like you're in
the game, but the, the threshold for.

Building the kind of momentum
it would take to, to start a

community is just, or even
a local meetup group is

just it's a higher

Alan: I mean, I I've
seen the same thing here.

You know, we started like, uh, a
local how can use group and there's,

there was a peak when it was like,
everybody's going, this is the thing.

And it can so quickly just disappear.

It's just something that there's
like a time and a place for it.

And then it worked

and it's really difficult
to keep that going.

It's just so easy for it to just fall
apart and just disappear overnight.

And it's like a very fine balance.

And I think the same thing applies
to online communities as well.

Um, but probably even harder because
there's not a time and a date

where, you know, everybody goes and

that's it.


Justin: But we know that there
might be adjacent, for example,

there is, the market for.

Online membership directory software is
a thing it's much more corporate, much

more, um, a lot of non-profits as


And we could go after

that if we wanted to.



Alan: you mentioned that I was always
wondered how does cause transistor

supports private podcasts as well.


You know, how do you

find like companies using that
for internal stuff quite often?

Or is it still quite niche?

Is it, is it quite a strong part of your

customer base?

Justin: I mean, there's quite a few,
there's a lot of interest in it.

Um, and we have, I mean, there's
a fair number of people who do it.

It's a lot in practice.

It's a lot more challenging than
I think people think it's like

to do it well to do it in a
way that actually gets engaged.

Uh, to do it once the champion
has left the organization.

Um, and even like apple, so Apple's
paid private podcasting feature.

I have to check the numbers on this, but
as far as I know, they're pretty abysmal.

I still think there's opportunity in it,
like linking up payments to pay a private

podcast is something we'd like to do,

but it's still not like the rushing
water of people wanting a podcast

that's in Spotify and apple podcasts.

Like that is just a big, fast
moving river and private podcasts.

there's significant momentum there.

but, you know, if

I was to quantify it, I would say
at most it's 20% of our business,

but that's probably

Even that's high.

Alan: Yeah, yeah, yeah.


I mean, maybe there's the


merger of Meeps and transistor there.

The fact that, you know, I mean, when you,
especially when you see podcasts, like,

you know, atp.fm that have this huge,
very active member base, that are listener

base that, uh, just as invested in, you
know, the back channel as they, I mean,

there's the, there's the bulk listeners.

And then this is a really active, um,
you know, back channel as well, you

know, merchandise and things like that.

And it's, it's really
interesting to see how that can,


happen as well.


Justin: The hard thing is, and maybe
I'm forming a, a framework right

now as we talk, but the hard thing
is you can't optimize a product

for the top 1% of that audience.

And so ATP is like an outlier, but, but
it's so tempting to want to do that.

And especially in the pro-sumer space.

So like.

You know, Fusioncast is in this,
Transistor is in this, ConvertKit in

this Blogstatic is in this, you know,
a lot of the Mega Maker type products

are in that category of prosumer.

Alan: Hmm.

Justin: So much of your
customer base is just getting


and they're going to be
able to do steps one through

three, and some of them will progress

into the 99th percentile

Alan: Very few of them will, right?

Justin: But very few will.

And this is like what we're
seeing with, you know,

for years, people have been asking us
for dynamic audio insertion and say, like

switching away from us to competitors


But we saw some trends just by waiting
that, you know, people would switch to

mega, to megaphone to get, we have to have

dynamic ad insertion,
and then six months later

they'd come back to transistor going,

wow, we just didn't use it that much.

Alan: Yeah.

Hey Mario, are we going to
start selling mattresses?

What'd he say?

Mario: Yeah.

I'm trying to think here.

What, What plan B,

Alan: Um,

Mario: is going to


Justin: it's, it's super cool.

I, I, I,

think it's a great feature, but

it's for a smaller percentage of users
and in our space, I mean, if you look

at ConvertKits, open MRR graph, and
you look at, you know, how much new

MRR they're bringing in every month
and how much churn they're getting.

It's a substantial amount of turn
and it works for them because

they just have thousands of people
lining up to their coffee shop

every day that want to sign up.

But they're dependent on that.

And Transistor's similar,
tailwind UI is similar.

You just have all of these kinds
of pro-sumer apps where you

really need a volume of people.

Creating accounts every day.

Um, and you're going to get a substantial,
not, I mean, it's obviously your growth is

higher than your turn, but comparatively
churn is higher in those kinds of products



Alan: Yeah.

I mean, any product that requires
you to spend time and effort.

I mean, this is the fascinating thing
about both, you know, Fusioncast

and Transistor, and the things like
this is it, isn't a passive thing.

You actually have to make a serious
effort to make something happen.


And the, the, the result of that
is, yeah, I've got five people

listening to me waffle on for an hour.

there isn't an immediate payback.

There is a, there's an internal
like, feel good thing, but it's um,

so as you said, you know, the market
for those people, even creating a

newsletter, it doesn't happen by itself.


It takes effort and long term
thinking to make something happen.

And it's, it's, it's a huge
barrier to entry for most people.


Because they just don't
have that kind of, um,

Justin: totally.

I mean, if, if I could have
built forge, I would have

like, that's the perfect business.

It's like, it has an incredible amount
of utility, like provision my servers

for me, but once I set it up, it just
like every time I commit to get it,

you know, I don't need to log in for

Mario: Yeah.


it's just provides a lot of, benefit,
a lot of value without you having

to commit a lot of time to use it.

Cause you just, it's just running in the
background and whenever you need it, you

just log in and do what you need to do.

And that's it.

I be

using it for years and it's

Alan: those products that,
that I see the thing on my

credit card every month, and
I think haven't looked into

six months, but I can't get
rid of it because I need it

That was a great product.

It's like, I just pay it
because I have to that's it.

Justin: Yeah.

I mean, those are great products.

And especially once you become an SMB
or a medium sized business or a large

business, you just need those products.

Like those are the oil, those
are the grease that grease the

wheels of your, of your company.

And so, you know, it's a little bit of a
harder ask for the marketing person to go

to the CEO and say, can we start a podcast
than it is for a developer to go to the

CEO and say, I need the software to save

me hours

of time provisioning servers.

And it's like that's

a no brainer, you

Alan: Which again comes
back to light dot plan.

That's like asking everybody
in the company to do a

thing is like, oh God,
it's like, a really hard


Justin: Yeah.


Mario: yeah.

Alan: I think is why you're right.

Like looking for people who already
are doing this or something.

Justin: yeah.

You want to see who's in motion and
then how hard it is to get those people

like, that was the other kind of.

light bulb I had, when I was working
for a project management software

company, I'm doing all this marketing
and to learn I'm doing all these phone

calls, customer development, phone
calls, and it's like, people are like,

you know, I demo the software and then
they're like, okay, well, this is great.

I got to talk to my dev manager.

And then I got to talk to the
CTO and then I got, I'm like,


we're, not gonna, this isn't gonna work.

And then meanwhile, you know, I
recorded a podcast with Nathan Barry

and he's like, yeah, people just
keep signing up for ConvertKit.

And it was like, oh yeah, like you
just have to convince the person

with the credit card who just, you
know, it's like a blogger who's at

home and wants to reach more people.

And they just have their
credit card at most.

The only person they have
to talk to is their spouse.


Mario: Right.

Justin: Um, and there's pros and
cons to both of these, but, the

certainly at a certain price point.

If you want people to just, finding
you on the internet and signing up, for

19 29, $49 a month, you want a certain
amount of just volume that comes to

you and just does it automatically.


if they need to talk

to even, you know, more
than one other person then,


Alan: It's a

significantly big ask, right.

As much as much from


Justin: well, and you realize
it even like now that I have a

partner, like Jon does not like
paying for a bunch of stuff.

And so I have to be very
selective, you know, I'm using some

of my social capital every time I have
to say, Hey, can we pay for H refs?

And he's like, well, what's that?

I'm like, well, he's like, how much is


And I'm like, whatever it is 150
bucks a month, 150 bucks a month,

you know?


Alan: just do this right.

Justin: he's like, well, can't
you just do it another way.


You know, it costs me something every time

I want to bring a new tool on.

Alan: mean, I guess, I guess this explains
that the whole, as you said, prosumer

market, is that people that a wanting to

make their life better, um, through some
form of entrepreneurship, even if that's

just starting a, you know, a mailing
list, um, and are willing to commit it,

something to do that, not just like,
you know, well, I'm bored one Thursday

afternoon or Thursday evening, and I
did the thing and I forget about it.

No, it's, you're, you're
willing to make an



So that, by making that
effort, they're willing to pay

something for that.


Justin: Yeah.

I think it's underrated because people
love having a project, like a project

it's you know, um, My wife's taking,
uh, a yoga instructors course right now.

It's just like a fun project
for her to go and do it.

And you know, some people start
gardening really seriously,

and that's like their project.

I have a garden, but I don't take
it seriously, but somebody who takes

it seriously, they'll spend a lot
of money and time doing that thing.

And there's levels of this, which
go from, this is just a hobby I take

seriously, and I have the money to spend.

But up to like, this is aspirationally
something I want to be either a

side business or, a little side
hustle or a professional activity.

I do like maybe blogging or podcasting
that will benefit my career.

But won't immediately give
me money to like, I hope this

makes me a full-time living.

Like there's a whole threshold there.

A prosumer type products and I think

in the bootstrapping space.

It's kind of under, It's
massively underrated.

It's like people

don't talk about it enough.

We talk about B2B as if it's like this
like model it's like, so B2B is everything

from the person who's, selling a little
course on the side all the way up to IBM.

Like that's B2B.


It's just, I don't

know that it,

and, and,

like B to

SMB, like what is


Alan: I mean, this is kind of like
goal of like, you know, I'm selling


That was where the big money


And the pains

that come with that is crazy.


Or there's, there's, shiny consumer
level stuff, which is fun to play with

it from a UI side, but you've got to
get massive scale and just to have any

form of revenue from it whatsoever, but

yeah, this kind of, prosumer market.



Justin: And also to realize like
the way we, the way we cut up these

categories just requires way more nuance.

Like it's not, it's not enough to
just say, well, like every indie

hacker needs to go after B2B don't
ever go to B to C and it's, and it's

like, well, we there's a spectrum of


And the other thing is

Mario: levels.

Justin: all

the different levels and the
shape of those markets and the

dynamics within those markets is
what you should really be looking at.

Don't look for these broad
generalizations, look for the specifics,

the specific shape of that market.

And if it's a good wave,
you should go ride it.

But don't just like
discount things because.

There B to C or, or look like B
to C, uh, in the same way that you

shouldn't feel like you've got a
nice check mark, just because you're

in B2B, B2B is a spectrum and
you know, there's lots of bad

B2B opportunities.

Alan: Again, like the the
difference for me selling to, you

know, a, like a local

eight person company here is like,
even that has a significant amount

of back and forth and pain versus,
um, you know, selling any form of

enterprise sales, which is like, well,
I've got six months to a year and

I've got to pass all these ISO things.

And it's like, it's never going to happen.


That both a B2B, right.

There's one

type of a business that is acceptable
as others, which are just off the table

completely I'd have no

Justin: Well, and I'm in,

I would love to know for Taylor and forge,
how many of those users are hobby users.

Developers using it on
their own servers at home.

And they're just doing it because
it makes their lives better.

It makes them better developers.

They want to support Taylor.

Like there's all these other jobs and
how much of his revenue comes from actual

businesses like Titan who need it to

perform, you know, I'm sure there's lots,

but what's the


Mario: Yeah.


Alan: but the

interesting thing is those, those,
those people who are maybe hobbyist

right now probably have other jobs,

they will go on to, they have

a career.


So they will definitely
take that good experiences

with them though, as well.


Mario: yeah,

Justin: And that's the dynamic.

Mario: Yeah, it's a spectrum.

for example, I've been using forge for
years and, it's a hobby, I guess, in,

in some ways, As I've been working on
all these side projects and I've been

running servers maintained through
forge, Fusioncast is one of them.

And, uh, you know, I haven't made any
significant revenue or no revenue at all

from, from any of this, but I've been a

customer for years, you know?

So, So,

yeah, that's an interesting question.

Like how, how, what, what
are the levels that there's

Justin: And, and, and how
do you quantify all of that?

So if, if Mario, all of a sudden launches,
Fusioncast, and then Spotify comes and

buys it for a billion dollars, how would
we quantify that investment in Forge when

you weren't making any money for years,
but then it became a significant part

of your journey that led to that thing.

You know what I mean?

This is why I think we got the,
especially the bootstrap community.

We need way more nuance when
we discuss these things.

It actually does matter.

The way we talk about things, the way
we describe things, the way we justify

things, even in our own mind, these
things matter because, um, if you're

just going to follow broad cliches,
then you know, you're, you're missing

all of the actual stuff that real
life has made out of, which is sure.

at one point I signed up for Memberful
and I was not making any profit, but at

some point I crossed the threshold with
Mega Maker where Mega Maker was making,

I dunno, $25,000 a year or something.

And now I think it averages
something like 30, $40,000 a year.


previously was I just like a consumer
that Memberful shouldn't care about or.

Did those years or months I was using

it and not really, you know,
just as a hobbyist actually

lead to something significant.

and I think there's a lot of stuff like

Alan: But again, those people that
actually started on that path and

made the effort to join Memberful and

invested time in it.

Oh, likely even if not that one didn't

work, they're likely to
have a path to success

more likely than someone
who just didn't even try it.


Justin: yeah, exactly, exactly.

And at the end of the day, like the real
thing, the only real thing that matters

is volume.

this is a volume business and
you need this constant flow of

interest, demand and customers.

And so whatever you can build that you
like building that attracts a customer

that you like serving as long as there's
enough of those customers coming in the

door every day, that's all that matters.

Mario: Yeah.

That's the wave, right?

The wave in

your analogy.

Justin: Yeah.

Mario: I love that analogy by the way.

it's perfect.

It's so spot on, uh, mark
market is like surfing and, uh,

that constant flow it's

those waves that you

you've gotta have a good enough
wave to be able to do it.

Justin: yeah.



people to that was the other thing about

looking at Adam and Taylor is

just getting to see someone
riding a bigger wave, inspired

me to want to ride bigger waves.

It was like, you know, why am I
wasting time trying to make this

happen when I could have something
that maybe isn't that, but is at

least something like that, you know?

Uh, and there's certain.

Again, it's not easy.

If it was easy, then I
would be a billionaire,

Alan: Yeah.

Justin: but

Mario: about

Justin: it,

Mario: this is easy.

Justin: but

I do think there's ways we can

observe, like with Meeps, I'm observing.

Are we there yet?

No, we don't have that natural pull yet.

And if we can't find
it, we got to let it go.

And that's what we're searching for.

We're trying things that it's like, if we
are just walking around in the woods and

we trip over a, uh, slow moving stream,
we gotta be willing to move on from the

stream and look for the rushing river.

Like that's another metaphor, like
when you just want that flow of water

and, getting to see it demonstrated for
me, like seeing what that looks like.

Mario: Yeah.

Justin: Is the key.

It's just like

thousands of people,

and let's just say for most indie
SaaS apps, I think it's going to

be, you're going to need hundreds
of trials and thousands of trials.

If you're not, if you don't
have credit card upfront.

And I think, you know,
transistor probably gets,

I don't know, we get hundreds

of new trials every month and

75% of those people who

start a trial convert to a paid

Alan: Right because you
got credit card up front.

So there's, there's a there's inertia

that already, right?

Justin: That's right.

That's right?


Mario: More serious about

Alan: Yeah.

Justin: they want it bad
enough that they're willing to,

you know, put a credit card in and,
and, and there's just some products

like this, like watch yourself and
your friends sign up for things.

You know, at one point I was
like, I'm not going to pay for

a Twitter thread writing tool.

And then enough people
in my life were doing it.

And then I just found myself
signing up for Typefully.

And it was there's like a momentum there.

That is interesting.

And what's frustrating is it's like, it's
not equivalent to the amount of time you

put in or how complex the product is or,
you know, the rules of, why people buy

and why people buy quickly and easily.

It's just kinda like, do they want it?

Mario: Yeah.

There's all different reasons
that there's, the, the

whole, uh, people like us do

things like this , effect, right.

To, consider in

that as well.

Justin: yeah,


Alan: And I think that's what,
you know, you, you, you mentioned,

you know, just kind of like trying


catch the zeitgeists, you know, but
basically, I mean, this is why I find

Twitter, so fascinating addictive

it's this real-time, you know,
flow of the world of a, okay.

Not everybody, but a good,

significant chunk of, trends
you can spot they're very early.


Justin: Yeah.

And on podcasts too.

Like, that's why I

love listening to podcasts as people,

you know, Taylor, just like kind of
offhand saying, this is how we use base


what was the other thing?

I, I hear people all the time,
like, especially in these bootstrap

podcasts people all the time will
mention, oh, I just tried out

this tool or I'm paying for this.

Those are to me are so interesting
to hear people explain why they

just made a purchasing decision.

And that's what we need to pay
attention to is, what kinds of things

create that movement?

Like all of a sudden it's like everybody's

buying The Mom Test.

Like, why is that part of it is because


And part of it is

because it gets recommended and it gets
recommended because it has a certain

utility, but it also has a certain thing
about it that makes it easy to buy,

easy to read and then easy to recommend.

And I think there are like
Typefully has that thing.

Like right now, reading Twitter threads
is hot and the wave might not last

forever, but you there's, there's
people actively searching for how do

I write better Twitter threads and,
when there's that existing momentum,

like people are Googling that
already, then you can kind of tap into

that, you know?

Mario: Yeah, Yeah, For sure.

Justin, we've been going for a while

and, uh, want to be respectful of

your time.



it's great.

We can go.

Yeah, this is great.

We can

go, we can go on for hours, but

Alan: I am


track with time zones as


So I'm just getting going.

I'm just

still waking up.

So it's easy to, it's easy
to forget that everybody else

light at the end of the day.

Justin: well, well, that was good.

That was a good part.

One you'll you'll have
to see if anybody listens

to this and then can have you back

Alan: So Mario, we should
definitely put this out as like

a special exception, rather than
catching up with all the others.

Let's get this


Mario: yeah.


Justin: Yeah.


We didn't do any updates that I,

you guys,

you guys,

put a microphone in my face and I

just talked.

Alan: That was the

Mario: no, it's been great.

That that's, that's what

Alan: It makes

change from everybody
hearing my voice all the


Mario: or mine.

Justin: no,

this was fun.

I, I like, I like getting
together like this with people.

I haven't really connected with that much,
but just like connecting with new people

and, to talk like, this is really fun for



Mario: yeah.

Justin: pumps me up.

Alan: Same.

Mario: yeah, And I thought about.

I thought about, um, you know,
Hey, what did we talk about?

She would have like a, like a
particular subject or, questions to

ask, but that's like the typical stuff.

And I

thought maybe it's just better
to just jump in and let's just

have a casual conversation and
talk about whatever, you know,

talk shop and

Alan: Oh, yeah.

Cause cause all of us are


stuck for things to

talk about you know?

Justin: Well, this is what's so great.

Is this like, Whenever people like
us meet up in real life, you know,

uh, like there's those Mega Maker
real life meetups that we've had,

at a conference or whatever is like,

it's not like we have stuff to talk
about because these are our people,

you know, this is what we it's
like, just give me the avenue and

Alan: Yeah.

Justin: enough, you know?

Mario: Yeah.

I mean, it's the only chance that we
get to talk to other like-minded people.

Um, you know, with a direct connection,
right, because we do it online, all

the time, but, uh, opportunities
like this where we can actually see

each other and talk to each other
in real time, it's just awesome.


otherwise, you know, I don't really
have anybody around other than my

wife, but it's that same, cause
she's not in the same kind of circle.

Um, but, other than that,
like, I don't really have

anyone else that I can
talk to him that would

understand what's going
on in, in this, uh,

aspect of my life.



Justin: totally.

Mario: this is amazing.

Justin: Yeah.

Mario: So we really
appreciate your time and, uh,

joining us today with, uh, our 20th
episode of indie maker journey.

Justin: Nice.


Now you just got to make sure you get it


and published.


Alan: let's get this

Mario: I know it's, it's, it's it's
been a struggle, but we're, we're going

to do this one and then, um, jump

Alan: Yeah, we can get those.

So, uh, and now, you know
how great Fusioncast is.

You'll be at recommended to everybody,


Justin: yeah,

Alan: it's just going
to release the thing.

I've got to end on that, Mario

Mario: Right.

I know every episode.

No, that's good.

Thank you.

That's what I need.

I need, I need to be pushed.

Um, but Yeah.

hopefully, uh, we'll get there,
um, working towards that.


I've frozen any work
on the product itself.

I'm not doing any development at all.

Uh, and hopefully there are
no bugs that come up, you

know, that, I need to jump on.

but Yeah.

otherwise I'm not doing any
work at all on, on any features.

I'm just focusing on

the other aspects Of the work that
needs to be done so that I can launch

eventually so

Justin: Nice.

Mario: Yup.

Justin: us know how we can
help when you're ready.

Mario: Awesome.

Thank you so much.

Alan: Awesome.

Thanks so

much for your time, just
in a really appreciate it.

And that has been super interesting.

Justin: Yeah.

Mario: All right.

Thanks Justin.

Justin: Yeah.

Thanks guys.

11: IMJ × Justin Jackson
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