Predictable profit through small bets
We also talk about:
- anxiety when start-up attempts do not work out as planned
- how he overcame failure
- his strategy of small bets to reduce uncertainty
- and all the little products that provide him with an average of 23K USD of profit per month.
Retweet and Like for a chance to win either Daniel’s Build a Twitter Audience Course or his Good Parts of AWS book
Daniel’s Twitter that contains all he does
Daniel Vassallo is a startup founder.
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Read the whole episode "Predictable profit through small bets" (Transcript)
[If you want, you can help make the transcript better, and improve the podcast’s accessibility via Github. I’m happy to lend a hand to help you get started with pull requests, and open source work.]
[00:00:00] Michaela: Hello and welcome to the software engineering unlocked podcast. I'm your host, Dr. McKayla. And today I have the pleasure to talk to Daniel Vassallo, a former Amazon engineer, and now an entrepreneur and freespirit. But before I start, let me tell you about an amazing startup that is sponsoring the podcast- Codiga.
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But now back to Daniel. Daniel got internet famous by sharing that he left his cushy job at Amazon which paid, yeah, half a million per year. Can you imagine? And his main motivation for leaving was that he wanted to be more independent, but also challenged again. After that he shared his attempts to build a successful business on Twitter.
And since then he managed to get a really large Twitter following. And even though his first SaaS business did not work out as planned, he ever reaches around $23,000 in profit each month. So I actually also asked Daniel if he would give away one of his products, to my listener and he agreed. So that's really awesome. And so today you have the chance to win a couple of things, right? You can either win - 'Everybody can build a Twitter audience', which is a video course from Daniel, where he really goes into depth on how he, how he built this twitter audience and how can you do the same Or you can win a digital [00:02:00] copy of the good parts of AWS. So it's a book, a very technical book and tell you,everything that you ever wanted to know about AWS, where he's really an expert in. So how do you want to do that? Right. You ask them, you have to like, and retweet today's episode's link.
I will put that in the show notes and for an additional chance to win, you can also leave a comment on what are you doing to get a little bit more independent, some side income, or maybe a hobby that you have that just gives you more energy, which I think is equally important.
Yeah, but without further ado, let's dig into Daniel's interesting success story. Daniel, I'm really thrilled that you're on the show. Thank you for being here.
[00:02:41] Daniel: Of course. Thank you, McKayla. Nice to meet you. Happy to be here. Yeah,
[00:02:45] Michaela: I'm super, super excited.
So when I go through your website, I have a list of products that are linked there. Right? And they are very, very diverse, which,you know, is super exciting for me. I'm just two of them I already mentioned. Right. Which was a video course on how to build a Twitter audience. Then you have the good parts of AWS which is a book.
Then you have cutting boards. They're like wood, wood cutting boards. I was like, wow, how does that fit into that? Then you have like profit and loss, which is some status updates on your business finances. And then finally you have this SaaS business user base which I'm also super interested in.
How does that come about, right? That you have like a cutting board in between. All of those is a little bit more technical parts or products that you have.
[00:03:34] Daniel: Yeah, yeah, yeah. So I think I sort of, I started this journey, I think in a traditional way, like many other software engineers, I thought I was going to be doing the bootstrap thing.
I was going to sort of focus on one idea and build it inside to make it successful at all costs, putting all my effort into it. And I think what's happened. And that's what I started with. That's what, that's what user base was when I started. [00:04:00] a few months in, I started to have a little bit of I was public call it like a small crisis of anxiety.
I was thinking I was getting very sort of uncomfortable by the uncertainty that I was imagining. In front of me, you know what, when we're like, when will, I know if this will succeed? What if it won't succeed? Like what sickness should I be watching for? What if it succeeds, but slowly that should I be shifting attention to other things and sort of, I had all these questions that I didn't really have an answer for.
And I was noticing that I probably was underestimating. How much uncertainty that is in doing something like this, that it's very hard to know. And this was a bit more confounding because actually I was getting very strong sickness about user base back then, very strong. You know, I just liked the term validation because I think sort of it implies something that it isn't there, but thetypical size that people look for.
For validation. Like I was sort of had a mailing list of about 4,000 people waiting for the launch. I had endorsements by highly influential people, sort of the CEOs of like Netlify and vercel, publicly endorsed products that I sort of and were very welcoming and sort of wanted, wanted to collaborate with their teams.
So many other things, even, even on launch. I sort of, it was front page on hacker news, product number one on product hands, even, even the initial day 11, you were strong was actually about 40 customers, about $1,500 in sales. But yet I was still noticing that, you know, it was uncertain and I tend to find that that's what happened.
It was much harder to keep the momentum of all the sickness that, that had been. So, so th that's crisis a little bit opened my eyes. And I basically, I started thinking if I want to make this as an arrangement, the self-employment arrangement, successful publically, I needed a different strategy. I can't just be going all in into one thing, because I was worried that I was just going to run out of time, savings and I have to go back to full-time employment, which isn't the end of the world.
Like, it's not like it would be the end [00:06:00] of the world. But,I was enjoying being self-employed. I enjoy the flexibility, the, the, the sort of freedom, the ability to work on what I wanted and all those good things. So I don't really know what has happened, but sort of I had the smaller epiphany and I wondered what if instead of having plan A plan B plan C and plan D about, you know, if this fails, I go to the next thing and so and so forth.
What if I decide to do a bunch of things at the same time, small things? Of course I was there. The stick. You know, I had limited finite time, like for the one. And that's sort of changed my attitude to things instead of sort of focusing on one thing. I started looking around with me and I started asking myself, what can I do?
Low-hanging fruit. That's what I kind of do. That is a small thing. Doesn't necessarily need to have large upsides accounting revenue, or be sustainable for a long time. It was mostly looking at small wins. That's what, what can I do? Something that can be, can make me some money into the month's time, which are these, the higher odds it's still unpredictable.
You never really know whether something's going to work or not. Even today. That was when I launched new things. I have no clue sometimes whether things are going to work or not. But it's changed my perspective because before I was looking at things, does this have upside? Is this going to scale? Is this sustainable?
And I think that side of that comes with that, those things that do have those properties tend to have low odds of succeeding and they just to be hard, you know unpredictable sort of affected by them, them things, good timing and other things that are very opaque. And this has worked out well for me.
So now sort of the, to get back to your question, so to these and why now it looks like I have a very diverse portfolio of products is, is because I, I I've been the products are a manifestation of inspiration that I had over the last two and a half years or so. And I ask myself, is this something that's going to be a small bag?
This is something that I can give it a shot. And maybe if it's works, I keep it. If it doesn't or if it becomes, you know, too, too, too, too hard [00:08:00] to do or something that I'm disliking, I can just drop it. So don't, it's been sort of a stream of experiments. Some things work, some things worked more than others, some things beyond my expectations, some things work, it worked a little bit, but didn't meet my expectations.
So as you can imagine in a portfolio. It's like an investment. I mean, I did, I don't think the idea is that radical. We tend to do the same thing with, with how to, how we invest our money. For example, that we almost considered foolish to deploy all of your life savings, like in a single stock or a single assets that we tend to want to diversify, to tame uncertainty.
And I think more or less, it's the same approach to my own ideas and my own small ventures, essentially. So I know it's a general answer. I hope happy to dive deep or deeper into all the individual things, but sort of the general idea that I think.
[00:08:52] Michaela: I think when I look at your projects and your products I think what's also distinctive here is that they have start and an end.
So a lot of people have a lot of ideas but there continues, right. So they are, I'm starting with it and that can actually not stop them. But it's more something that I'm doing and. I keep on getting busier and busier because I'm adding things to my portfolio, right?
Let's say I'm a SaaS business user basis. Probably the exception here, right? It's not something that you start and then it already ended. It has some maintenance cycle, as we all know, it's software. Right? And if it gets more successful, you will have more, have to be more involved in. But like a cutting board it has a start and the end.
Right. You have the idea, you design it and then it's finished and then maybe you have to sell it. Yeah. Okay. But there is not really a lot of involvement in it. The same for the video course. You recorded it and now you're selling it the same for the book. Right? You start it, you finish it.
so do you think that this is you, you deliberately think about that when you're looking at your small bat? I mean, there's [00:10:00] like as, as we have finitive time, we probably Infinitive ideas on board we can do. And, and I think long enough people have struggled with that. I'm struggling with that. What should we, you know, what should we take on?
And there's always a pros and cons list, or however people make the judgment is this a finitive thing of I'm starting this and, you know, in. Three weeks or in three months I have it finished and then I'm done with it. And so on. Is that something that crosses your mind that you're thinking about it explicitly?
[00:10:30] Daniel: Yeah, yeah, definitely. It's sort of, I think I've developed a selection criteria. I like to call it. It's it's sort of it's I think, I think back when I started, I almost fell into the trap of running into the first opportunity that I could do. And I would just jump into it. So I don't, because it seems like, okay, I can do it.
Let's do it nowadays. I've become much more vigorous. I would say that's what my selection criteria and I feeling completely okay at peace ignoring things that I feel like I can do. I can give a shot, but if it, if they don't satisfy my strict selection criteria, I just leave them for someone else or whatever that they're just not mine.
And what you mentioned is a, is an important part of it's that this is like, Is is this something that's I like to call it - Is this something where time is going to be my friend, not my enemy? I think what you, what you're doing is you, you need to have the payoff happened before a certain period of time. Otherwise you're going to run out of money or out of time out of frustration or get the motivated. And I disliked that situation. I disliked that property. So I try to avoid those as much as possible.
I think with user base, I also made the mistake of what the kind of SaaS was. It's the kind of SaaS that's acquired. Unfortunately in our 24/7 support, I have a PagerDuty app. I sort of, sometimes I get paged until 2:00 AM in the morning. Like nowadays I would almost certainly avoid something like that. So I thought I would go for something simpler almost certainly.
Other parts of my selection [00:12:00] criteria. I also is this something that I can build in bring to markets by myself? Not because I think I know everything and I can do everything, but I think it's a good test to keep things simple. Right. It's sort of a proxy for is the simple enough that I can bring good to markets by myself.
Like if I change my mind I, or I decide it's not worth pursuing anymore, I don't have to make sure that everyone is on board or I'm not sort of hurting anyone else.
Concerns go away. If I keep things simple that I can sort of do do, do on my own. . I just, with user base, I invested so much that then I started falling into the trap of sunk costs. You know?
Now I should invest even more. And I ended up spending, you know, a ton of time, money, and more than what my, this capital was. And definitely a lesson learned. And, and what you mentioned, I do like projects and ideas that sort of ideally have a start and an end where time is my friend.
[00:12:55] Michaela: So what are some of the products that you started or the ideas that you started that haven't, That haven't succeeded yet, or maybe that you haven't started yet or evensome that you haven't shared with the people or the public.
[00:13:07] Daniel: Yeah, yeah, yeah, absolutely. So there's various degrees of failure as well. Certainly I think we've already mentioned the user base, probably the biggest failure that I had. And this one I did it before. I was thinking about sort of the strategy that, so I think it's a failure that led me to see things differently, but I almost feel embarrassed to say this, but I've spent almost $150,000 of my own savings building user base.
It's crazy. It's talking about what does, and this is only making about $5,000 in annual revenue, not monthly. That's almost certainly I will never recoup my money may be I might sell it in the future, but even though I'm not expecting a sort of large amounts, and I don't know if even that is an option, but as I mentioned before, I think my mistake was in the beginning Underestimating uncertainty. I invested too much. I went all in, then the more I went all into my life as I can need to invest. And it was sort of this [00:14:00] cycle of, of bad decisions.Putting that aside, However, I do a few other small things that I would not necessarily they weren't big failures, but there were things that didn't work as I expected.
In fact, the very first digital product, the tight side, not many people know about it. Was I'd say to sell a spreadsheet there's a bit of a technical project that I started to sell a spreadsheet about benchmarking different EC2 network speeds. So, so back then, back in 2019, AWS didn't really advertise accurately what network speed you are getting and what network bandwidth you are getting when you're buying or using a particular instance type. I thought I'm going to run a benchmark test and measure exactly what type of performance you're going to get.
I was building in public and talking about it, as people got interested and tights, basically long story short, I spent a week cause I was. Open source the tool had benchmarked Everything spent about $500 I did prepare a very sophisticated spreadsheet with pivot tables. Very fancy spreadsheet. I was very proud of it. I posted it on Twitter. Post it on hacker news, reddit and a few other places. There was lots of interest and attention that it actually surprised me.
I think the sort of landing page got about 30,000 views, which was even nowadays that's compared to my other products as alot, but this sold nothing. Cause I mean, nobody paid and I was, I was charging $10, like not like a crazy amount of money, nobody bought it. So I tend to, in fact, a few days later I released it for free.
I, and I think. Lesson that I learned that is back then. I remember thinking, wait a minute, this is what back then it was 2019. I, I said 2019, you know, information wants to be free. Nobody wants to pay for information, especially developers, but I think actually I'm happy that I didn't sort of take that lesson too seriously because it was, I jumped to the wrong conclusion.
And my now in hindsight, it's not really true. In fact I made a lot of Money now selling information, different kinds of information right? and sometimes even to developers, that's sort of that belief or that [00:16:00] conclusion, the developers don't pay for things. So in fact, I think a lesson that I learned with sort of these experiments is that sometimes we tend to jump to conclusions that are not warranted.
So that's that's that's why did this fail? Why did, why were people not willing to pay for it? Maybe I can take some educated guesses,
but nowadays I'd say to be careful not to be too much from these things, because I know that things that are affected by random things - Good timing and other unpredictable things that sometimes whether something succeeds or not is just things that we can't even see that it's just opaque things. So that was another example.
You know, we mentioned the cutting boards, so the cutting boards started as purely as a, as an experiment. I started with working just this time, last year as a hobby, . And at some point I was wondering, could I try to sell some of the things that I'm making? And. eventually I bumped into the idea of within cutting boards I launched the sort of the offering, I think in October of last year. So maybe four months ago, I sold about $5,000, not a big thing, sort of probably if I, if I consider all the tools and everything, I might have just broken even .
So it's sort of it's that failure in terms of expectation. Nevertheless, I still think that I gained something from the knowledge. Because I did ship you know, about a dozen around the world and learned a lot. But I think what's more important is that now, nowadays I feel much more, I feel less daunted by a physical product offering.
So you know, the, the, you mentioned, for example, I have the profit and loss membership.
That's another thing that was purely an experimental. If I was so a bit of, a bit of a background story, I always also have sort of this quarter time freelancing arrangement with Gumroad. Are you familiar with Gumroad such as this platform for, for, for digita products. And back then when I, when I joined the team we were launching a feature memberships that the ability to, to, to do the CareLink sort of payments.
And I wanted the next cues to try to use the feature. Essentially, this was, this is how it started. I [00:18:00] was wondering what could I sell for the carrying fee? And I had already been very, very open with my finances for a long time on Twitter and other places with my business finance, at least like with how things are doing.
And I thought, what if I tried to sell an even more detailed financial view. Like we built and done by products, broken down with all the expenses and where the costs basically the full profit and loss per product. And I started it, and when I started it, I was hoping that I could build like a community around this idea of making money online and figuring out small bats and building a portfolio. I could use the circle group. I was posting updates. So not only I was posting my financials itself, but some comments as well, long story short, even though this financially you know did okay. I did about $40,000 in total in about a year or so.
I'm quite happy compared to the input I've put, but sort of the, the, the, my goal of building a community, it didn't really the happen, like. Originally, there was some momentum. I was getting lots of questions, but it never really changed some of my talking about my own topic and eventually things sort, of sort of stopped the energy disappeared and barely any activity continued to happen.
Nevertheless, almost by surprise. Recently, My most recent project actually is a cohort based course where we're meeting 25 members at a time that I launched this about two months ago or so where we were having sort of this synchronous course, where we meet together, a small group. And we talk about these ideas in much more detail that we're discussing here, sorts of finding inspiration, finding opportunities, juggling multiple things at the same time.
And funny enough, even though it wasn't my intention, I set up a discord server just for housekeeping purposes to share the zoom links and the slides and whatever, and the community that I was hoping to build back then sort of happens there now, purely by accident that this wasn't something I was trying to do which is fascinating.
It sort of became the [00:20:00] community almost became the main selling point of this course that people are, word of mouth is spreading. You know, there's about 200 people now, like, and people are encouraging others, you know, come here, we're talking and getting good feedback and brainstorming ideas and things like that, which is again, it's quite fascinating to me.
Most of the things that have been successful and even the failed things, but particularly the successful things are things that I have wouldn't have even imagined I'll be doing. Just a year ago or so that's what sort of very very interesting sort of the, I had the idea before I used to believe, you know, business success is going to be a, a self directed top-down you come up with the idea and you execute it.
And now it's almost, I tell myself that, send them things, see what works. So I wait to that. Yeah. And it's very very unpredictable
[00:20:48] Michaela: Yeah. And it's also interesting to see that while you have this idea of having a community and then you have an intention and the deliberate effort to do it and it doesn't work out. And then it's somehow. By chance somehow creates itself.Right? I think this is really an interesting perspective.
I want to dig a little bit into your motivation and, do you think that you will be bored by what you're doing right now and what is really your motivation behind that? For me, for example, I'm definitely an entrepreneur because. I want to have the freedom to be with my kids. And I didn't see how I can do that in a job that fulfills me being employed just wasn't possible. There was nobody that would offer me the flexibility that I need, right.
Working in the middle of the night or on the weekends, or, you know, having like crazy two weeks of work and then three weeks doing nothing because the kids are sick or, you know, and I feel like this is more important now for me. And that's definitely my motivation for being, I think self-employed, what's your motivation?
Why do you, why do you do that?
[00:21:52] Daniel: I think the motivation to become self-employed I think is similar to yours and similar situation, I would say. So also two small kids[00:22:00] I was feeling like I'm leaving the house before they wake up.
I arrive home, very tired. They're about to go to sleep. And on the weekends, I also thinking about work. So maybe it may be a bit different for me as a dad, but still sort of the same concept that I've felt like, you know, my kids are growing up and they spend time with them. So I was looking at people around me at Amazon and there was noticing, you know, things are probably going to get worse, not better.
I wasn't envying the lifestyle and being, getting a good sense of other people, no matter how much more they're getting paid or how much higher up they were. So I'd be fooling myself. If I were to believe it's going to be different for me is if I just get the next promotion or the next bonus, suddenly things are going to be better.
So I jumped into to the self employment. And then once I did.Get all this flexibility I take immediately. I realized that I didn't see the one, this to be taken away from me. So suddenly I joke sometimes I joke tweet about this as well as my own. The business plan is not to go back to a full-time job. I'm not thinking about goals that I want be. A successful SaaS or this particular product or some idea or whatever, it's literally to make this lifestyle sustainable.
So that's, I would say is it's, it's a different, I think it's a different attitude. And I think it's helps me with my decision making process as well, because when I do bump into these opportunities, so I get inspired to do something. I ask myself, is this going to increase the odds or is this likely to increase the odds of making this lifestyle sustainable or not?
[00:23:28] Michaela: It's true. Yeah. We started sort of at the same time with the entrepreneurship.
And I'm a big believer in that you have to enjoy the process, which I think is a little bit the different way of saying the same thing that you just said.
Right. So I only take on things where I feel it's not the end product that I will enjoy, but I enjoyed the way going there. The only problem. And I tried to combat that, but I think it's very deeply internally in my, in my, in my genes or something. DNA is That I have a hard [00:24:00] time having the money focused all the time.
Right? So that's for example, say I did a PhD, right? And from a money perspective, this is such a stupid thing, right? It's the worst thing. The worst decision that you can, that you can make is you're not making, you know, money for a long time. You're putting a lot of effort, a lot of work into something. But I think I wasn't, you know, I wasn't interested in the money.
It was okay for me doing it just for the process. And I survived in a small apartment, you know, like we were thinking of, you know, it should be by this this vegetable or not, it was definitely this kind of grinding. But then in hindsight, I think I really try to do things different than now because the sustainability part, you know, is also a very, very important part for motivation, right?
You can be extremely motivated and it can be such a fun to do something, but in the end of the day, and maybe this has to do with growing up and having a family and, you know, it's not only you and you know, your crappy apartment, but you have to provide for your family. And, you know, and this comes with, with, with this aspect of also sustainability.
I try to have that mindset much more of thinking of is that actually something I can keep up doing. And unfortunately, you know, money is it's a big part there, right? Is it, is it coming very naturally to you that you, that you think about those?
[00:25:22] Daniel: No no, I, I actually, I think actually I there's an, it sort of I realized that I am almost incapable of thinking properly about money, unless I feel I need that.
I think probably, and I don't know if it's a different situation. Maybe that's like now my wife is staying at home with the kids, sort of like now I'm I'm the primary income person. Right and to sort of, I think that stressor of needing to make ends meet soon because otherwise I would have had to go back to work.
I think that was probably the most critical thing for me to open my eyes and find [00:26:00] opportunities, ignore and not ignore. I would say that instead of being more Prudent and not being too idealistic and making the making better decisions essentially. And even now I noticed that, cause now, now with the types of work that I do, I have lots of ups and downs.
My income is very volatile. If I launch something new, there's like big spikes and then sort of zaps sort of very spike. So if I'm noticing there's something very fascinating that I never noticed before. That's when I'm riding the momentum of a, of a high period. My mind almost shuts down. Like I can't work.
I can't think I'm not creative. And I think this is similar to what creators talk about when they mentioned your constraints, bleed creativity. Now, for example, early 20, 21 last year, the first I would say seven months was a good period for me I was riding the momentum of a couple of other projects that I, that I was doing. And I realized I don't need to think about money. I'm just going to experiment with hobbies. We took a three month vacation that we were on back to you with it. I'm from Malta originally. And we spent a whole summer there, like just almost didn't do any work until September, basically. Right? But then sort of by September things have dropped down to a point where it wasn't critical, so there's a buffer of savings or whatever. But I started to notice that if I'm not going to do something, things are going to start becoming negative again soon.
So that was enough. But then suddenly I can almost see it. I can almost feel. I started thinking of new promotion ideas, new products, new opportunities, and very quickly I went into September. Then I went to a very high focus mode. I started with working thing. I started the cohort based course as well for as much a month after I did a few new promotion campaigns for my existing product and, you know, again, I could change the subject to the, again, sort of, again, not everything worked, same, same thing. Cause somethings work [00:28:00] better than. But it's sort of very fascinating, you know sort of it it's it's as if the successors are what I need to make me make design decisions. I will feel almost incapable to work if it doesn't.
And we talked before we started recording that, we talked to this a bit about the, project of building a house custom built house. But I think it's helping me as well because it's giving me some, some meaning to my income, I think if I didn't have debt, I felt that we were working much less new lance? would just sleep in my head and just, I would be less creative, less productive.
And I would be seeing the worlds differently and probably opportunities that. I would consider now I would ignore, I call it luck blindness. Like sometimes when you're in the state you might bump into opportunities, but if you're, if you don't have that small stressor, you almost don't even see them.
Right? is just because we're shut down. So I don't know if it's, I think I, I understand what you're saying. Maybe the circumstances are a bit different.
[00:28:59] Michaela: No. Yeah, I can totally relate to what you're saying, especially with the house now, because the house shifted my whole thinking around money tremendously.
I'm a very frugal person, extremely frugal. I have always been my whole life and you know, it's just didn't mean anything to me money, but you can't be frugal with that. I was actually thinking like, now that we get our third baby. We have a very,very small car. And there are no, there, there's no way that you can fit three child seats into the last row. Right. There are just two and a half seats. So now we have to buy it, a new Bigger car. And so I was brainstorming with my husband and it was like, okay. So, and, and it really helps me to think about products and my work. It gives so much meaning to me to thinking about, okay, this quarter of the car can come from that. And, you know, I could do this to get the other. And so [00:30:00] having, having a very realistic way of how to spend the money definitely is extremely different.
Or life-changing for me, for my mindset, because, you know, having that money on the bank account, or it has no meaning for me, but now it's, you know, part of a car and can a kid sit there or not? Right? And so on. Yeah.
And I think that I wanted to ask you and maybe it's probably the final question that I have for you.And that I think is super interesting for my listeners is how do we deal with scope creep? But also how do we, how can we let go? Because for example, one of the things, when, you know, when I looked at you and especially at the beginning, You were only on Twitter, right?
So you tried a little bit to be on medium, but very quickly realized, you know, you have a couple of very dedicated and deliberate clock posts. But you never started really like your blog or now, or you're building like your audience on the blog. You were building your audience on Twitter. And this, I found that really inspirational because I was also like, I didn't have enough time to be on Twitter and on Instagram and on, you know, like what not.
And then you're doing a shitty job on all of them and you just but now when I looked at your website, I saw you say Oh, you can find me on Twitter, Gumroad, Instagram and clubhouse. And I thought like, is that a little bit of a scope creep? Is that are your you're you're now on many things, do you feel like you're, you know, are, do you still have like a very deliberate way of choosing where you are and how to also say, okay, I tried clubhouse and maybe now it's not working and i let it go.
[00:31:37] Daniel: Yeah. Yeah. I wish I had the precise on. So I think it's mostly goes by Gut feel to be honest, I think in fairness, this as a full disclosure in the beginning guide side, many, many different things, as you noticed, I was on medium, but not just that I was, I think, little bit of background story. I think what I realized the very first week when I started working for myself, I realized I [00:32:00] had no reputation.
outside of the couple of companies that I had worked from, nobody knew who I was and there was still, I wasn't, I wasn't thinking, building an audience back then. I was thinking, can I build some reputation? Can I make some people know about me? And I was thinking, how can I go out there and help people?
I was doing some open source on that data was very active for a few months. StackOverflow, LinkedIn, Quora, Twitter on medium, on hacker news, LinkedIn, almost everything that had given that side. I dedicated probably a couple of months just experimenting different things.
Some things I gave up quickly.Some things, it took me a few more months, long story short, mostly Twitter was the only one that stuck around. And if you were to ask me what were the exact signals that made me choose that? I constantly say exactly. It just felt there was something that was working better. The return on investment seems to be better.
And again, almost like procrastination or something similar, a cousin of procrastination, something was making me feel like what's the point of going off of spending more time on stack overflow. If this is not conducive to more people knowing about me and that sort of thing. It's not, it's not that I wasn't helping people there, but it wasn't a translating to me building a reputation, which I know sounds a bit selfish.
But in that period, that was my goal, right? I wanted to get myself known, a little bit. And over time I still an experiment, right? cocktail party. downside. But again, for some of these and I, I lost motivation, right. I, I stopped. I stopped going. But so I still keep my eyes open for various reasons, because again, the opportunities diversification as well, sort of who knows, right? Nowadays with Twitter, I feel like I have something to lose.This is a common problem. Since I have, you know, a hundred thousand followers or so. Concerned, you know, to some degree that's what if that were to disappear? What if the algorithm changes? What if I get kicked out for some reason, or who knows or [00:34:00] get hacked or whatever? So again, there's the back of my mind, ways of diversify that I haven't really found anything concrete yet, so I, you know, it's not scope creep, I would called it, I think is just still part of my experimentation phase.
[00:34:17] Michaela: Yeah. I think that's perfectly fine. I think it's really important that we experimented with try out thing. And what I like what I also do is that if I feel it's not like, for example, Twitter, right? That could be that I'm not posting something for a couple of months just because I don't feel like it.
And, and I really liked this freedom and maybe, you know, like there is no comparison between, you know, your Twitter account and my twitter account. It's really a small account by. I don't want to be like the slave of Twitter, right. Or whatever I want to have, you know, like, and sometimes like in the summer or something, and there was a lot of stressful time or even a beautiful time.
Right. Sometimes I just didn't feel like I have something to contribute and, and then I'm not, I'm not doing it.
[00:35:07] Daniel: Yeah.
Yeah. And, and, and, you know, I'm, I, I'm really not a fan of sort of the, the, these ideas that you need to be prolific and tweeting all the time, all the days. Sure. That might be the best strategy to put the audience faster, but what's, what's the point as you were saying. I think what I wanted to my, my, my ideal situation is that this becomes something that I enjoy doing because.
If not chances are it won't last. Like you, in summer, I think between June and August, I almost didn't tweet at all because I was spending time with my family. You know, I might have tweeted it a couple of times. Yes. You know, my follower growth stopped and maybe even lost some, but like, who cares? It's sort of this idea that everything needs to be done in the most optimal way, sort of the fastest coat subject to the, whatever. It's just very, as you mentioned, it's sort of it's you become a slave of, of, of the process, but in [00:36:00] general, in general ideas, like these are all extrinsic, that I think they feel very unnaturally.
That's sort of, you need to come to keep the streak uninterrupted streak of posting daily or blogging after a week or whatever. It's things that I feel. Those things that I feel liberated once I break them, that's a sign that I should probably not be doing them.
[00:36:20] Michaela: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. You know, this is why I'm, you know, an entrepreneur to have this flexibility and freedom to choose. So, but I don't want to take too much of your time anymore. Daniel thank you so much for being on my show.
I really enjoy talking to you. We could, you know, continue for another hour, but let's be very deliberate with our time as well. Just want to remind my listeners of of the chance to win, you know, one of your products, either "the good parts of AWS", the book, or the "how to build a Twitter audience" video course.
So retweet, like the episode, maybe tell us what you are doing, that you enjoy, that you know, is one of your small bets to have an additional chance. And yeah. And that's it. Thank you so much, Daniel, for, for being on my show.
[00:37:07] Daniel: Really a pleasure. This was very fun thank you. Thanks a lot.
[00:37:10] Michaela: Yeah, it was great.
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