From Creator To SaaS founder

My journey as a SaaS Founder.

Follow my journey from content creator to the strange new world of software as a service (SaaS). See all my ups & downs and what I'm doing to create a successful software business.

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Ever had that heart-pounding moment when you’re about to share something big with the world? Yeah, that’s the daily bread for anyone building in public. But is it always the smart move?

‘To reveal or not to reveal,’ that’s the conundrum I’m tackling today. 

In the realm of software development, this debate is kind of a big deal. You’ve got two camps: 

  1. the ‘open book’ brigade who build their projects under the public eye, and t
  2. he ‘cloak and dagger’ crew who keep their cards close to their chest until the grand reveal. 

I’ve been on both sides of this fence, and let me tell you, it’s a wild ride either way.

Choosing to build in public is like throwing a house party and inviting the whole neighborhood – you get instant feedback on your music playlist and snack selection. 

This gratification is great because it keeps you from spending ages perfecting a salsa dip no one likes. That said, it also means the folks next door might throw a shinier, louder bash using your carefully curated playlist, stealing your party animals.

On the flip side, building in private is like planning a surprise birthday party. You’re banking on the hope that the guest of honor loves the theme and doesn’t wish they were elsewhere. 

The upside? No copycat parties stealing your thunder. The downside? You might just find out they’re allergic to the cake you’ve spent months baking.

Me? I’ve shifted gears to building in private. 

I’ve had my share of poachers, competitors masquerading as clients who’d pluck our features and sprint ahead with bigger budgets. 

Lesson learned? 

My ideas are precious, and so is the time and money my team and I pour into them. We’re not just crafting code; we’re building dreams, supporting families. 

And that’s worth safeguarding.

But hey, I’m not completely shut off. I’ve fine-tuned my process – I build in private, but I keep a circle of beta testers and advisors looped in. That way, we’re not shooting in the dark; we’re getting spotlights shone on our work, without broadcasting it on the evening news.

I’m curious, though, about your take on this…

Are you a die-hard public builder or a secret strategist? Or maybe you’re somewhere in between?

To build in public… or not to build in public?

Imagine telling a software engineer, Create this program for me, and then walking away as they get it all done without another word. Well, that future may be closer than you think.

Just the other day, I stumbled upon a post from Cognition Labs about something called Devin—the first AI software engineer agent. 

Now, we’re not talking about a simple coding assistant like chat GPT; Devin is a whole other beast. It’s designed to emulate an actual software engineer’s capabilities. Tell it what software you want, outline the features, and Devon gets to work, setting up project files and coding as if it was a human expert.

This video I watched, showcasing Devin in action, was mind-blowing. In just 30 minutes, it set up a brand-new project on GitHub, coding away like there’s no tomorrow. And by the time you’re reading this, it’s probably old news. But the implications? They’re timeless and broad-reaching.

Let’s stretch our imaginations beyond software…

Picture an AI agent that’s your personal video editor. You could simply send your raw footage with a message saying, Make this shine for YouTube, and then sit back while it churns out polished content, tailored for various platforms. We’re not just talking about basic edits, but the kind of sophisticated, creative cuts you’d pay top dollar for a human editor to execute.

But why stop there?

Visualize this technology applied to any digital task—drafting legal documents, crunching accounting numbers, or even providing medical advice. Combine that with robotics, and you could have a robot with the intellect of a doctor or the efficiency of a lawyer, impacting both the digital and physical worlds.

Sure, there’s a flip side…

There’s concern about AI snatching jobs, and those fears aren’t unfounded. I’ve faced it myself when an AI project I applied for got rejected because it was seen as a threat to local employment. 

Yet, if history has taught us anything, it’s that innovation might take away jobs, but it also creates new ones—often more than we can imagine. The transition from horse buggies to cars is a classic example.

So, are we staring down a dystopian future or stepping into a bright new era? 

I’m choosing to embrace the optimistic view. 

AI is a tool, and like any tool, it’s about how we wield it. Are we opening Pandora’s box, or is this the dawn of an exciting revolution?

Meet Devin – the AI that codes all by itself

April 2, 2024

Have you ever felt like a juggler in the business circus, with one hand crafting a product and the other waving a megaphone? Let’s talk about the tightrope walk between creation and promotion.

For the past 18 years, I’ve been the ringmaster of my own business show. But here’s the thing: the hat you wear matters. 

  1. There’s the product hat, heavy with the weight of innovation and value creation—my personal favorite. 
  2. And then there’s the promotion hat, feathered with the art of making noise in the market and getting that product into the customers’ hands. 

These are almost like two separate worlds, requiring different skill sets, maybe even different personalities.

Recently, I dove into developing a new software product. I was in my element, focussing on creating value, solving problems. But now, as the product nears completion, I’m without a promotion partner. 

It’s time to switch hats, and I’ll admit, the transition is quite the mental acrobatics—from solving problems to solving the puzzle of reaching the customer.

This shift isn’t just about changing tasks; it’s about changing mindsets. And surprisingly, I’m finding joy in this promotional phase, perhaps thanks to lessons from past projects. My thoughts are tuning into a different frequency. Where once I was engrossed in what the customer needs, now I’m strategizing on how to get our solution to them, contemplating the channels, messaging, and market positioning all at the same time!

Amidst this, I’m reading an insightful book on the dichotomy between a product manager and a product marketing manager—two roles, two modes of thinking.

I’m realizing the importance of donning both hats initially, especially as a founder. It’s about having your finger on the pulse, ensuring that the marketing language feeds back into product development. They’re intertwined, not isolated!

It’s a double win—fine-tuning the product through firsthand experience and shaping the promotional strategy. As the company grows, I’ll look to outsource marketing to someone whose strengths align with that hat, allowing me to return to my preferred role of product creation.

But enough about my hat-switching adventure. What about you? 

  • Are you more of a creator or a promoter? 
  • Do you find yourself wearing both hats in your projects, or have you delegated one to focus on your strengths? 
Create or promote?

Have you ever felt the weight of convincing someone that your ideas are worth their time and money? If you’ve been in the business of selling information, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

My journey from selling promises to delivering tangible results has been an eye-opener. Here’s what I’ve learned:

  • Selling the promise of a result requires heavy lifting in persuasion and proof.
  • Offering an actual product or service streamlines the process – less convincing, more delivering.
  • Customers are exponentially happier when they receive a tangible outcome.

I used to sell educational courses – a blueprint for success, if you will. But the truth is, it’s all about selling the potential for results, never the results themselves. 

When I shifted gears to selling services and products, the difference was stark.

Like selling logo animations; customers paid, and they got precisely what they ordered, no ifs or buts. The satisfaction was immediate and palpable.

Have you noticed a similar trend in your business?

Selling promises VS results

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