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Hey folks,

Barnacles is a link-aggregation site for small, self-funded businesses that define success on their own terms. The goal is to continue and grow the generous, collaborative community that gathers at events like MicroConf and BaconBiz. Please sign up to be part of it.

To say a few more words about what that means to me: Making useful things for an audience I have a meaningful connection to. A business that tries to pay for the kid’s college fund, not join the “tres commas” club - a solid line drive rather than a grand slam. That doesn’t mean low financial goals, it means deliberately choosing my goals without an investor looking over my shoulder. A job that provides for my life, rather than the reverse.

And the community is the part I love: it’s folks who want to build their thing and talk honestly about what’s involved. Sometimes that’s sharing marketing techniques, but more often it’s sharing advice and experience. I released a small product last week, but it made more money than my previous product attempts because I knew how to do the right marketing for my size. The best conversations I had at MicroConf were with folks who were a year or two ahead of me, not the ones who were ten years ahead of me. And I was glad to pay back their time and counsel by sharing the things I know well. My goal is to pull the small entrepreneurs and other independent businesses away from the filter bubble of Y Combinator News into a community of folks with similar problems and goals.

You’ve noticed that 90% of YC News is off-topic for you because you’re not burning millions of dollars per month or fighting regulators or drawing hockey-stick graphs. You’re not pitching your next investment round, hiring a sales team, or losing money per user and making it up in volume. The things that are interesting and good ideas for VC-funded moonshots are uninteresting to or dangerous for your independent or side businesses. This is the community for you.

That means sharing links for folks having similar problems: running an effective email campaign, cold-calling those first ten potential customers, managing a VA, keeping customers satisfied, knowing there’s a market for a product before you spend six months of your nights and weekends building one. Talking to other entrepreneurs who work on their thing before going to the day job and before the kids wake up, who maybe never want to employ anyone, who are optimizing for fewest hours spent in the office or covering the mortgage, who have already lost that first two hundred dollars learning to uncheck the non-English countries on AdWords and AdSense.

Why “Barnacles”? The venture capitalists own the term “startup” and it’s not worth fighting over. There isn’t really any perfect term for this business niche, so I punted on trying to invent one. The clever animal domain name is a nod to the lobste.rs codebase the site is based on, and barnacles are infamously tenacious. That’s good enough to get started.

Welcome to Barnacles. If you’re one of us, you’re home. Sign up now, invite a friend (bottom of your settings page), and share the link with other folks. Thanks!

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    This is great! I’m super excited for this new community. I’ve got a day job as a software engineer but I’ve got a burning interest in entrepreneurship. Hacker News and the rest of the startup culture has become rather unappealing to me in the last few years.

    I don’t currently run a business, but I’d love to start something, perhaps turn my open source biotech and news project into a small business of sorts.

    I’m very curious what everyone else is working on, and I look forward to something like a “what are you working on this week” thread.

    Thanks @pushcx for starting this!

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      Thanks for setting this up, right now I’m running https://remote-first.com/ as a remote focused job site, marketing and so forth are pretty hard in such a competitive space. I was hoping my focus on a lack of tracking past google analytics, as well as a mobile friendly interface (something one of the big competitors doesn’t have) would propel it forward but so far that’s just not getting the job done! If anyone is interested in looking at the process of building the app in terms of solo project management and so forth I wrote up a blog post about it here: https://hungryadmin.com/starting-and-finishing-a-project.html .

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        Never actually attended microconf. Only attended two confs, LambdaJam in Chicago (2014) and Lambda Conf (2015).

        My ‘business’ is the Haskell book I wrote with my coauthor Julie.

        I know the focus of microconf is micropreneurs, small businesses, etc. - but what is it like, in your own words?

        EDIT: FIRST POST HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAA

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            Making useful things for an audience I have a meaningful connection to. A business that tries to pay for the kid’s college fund, not join the “tres commas” club - a solid line drive rather than a grand slam. That doesn’t mean low financial goals, it means deliberately choosing my goals without an investor looking over my shoulder. A job that provides for my life, rather than the reverse.

            And the community is the part I love: it’s folks who want to build their thing and talk honestly about what’s involved. Sometimes that’s sharing marketing techniques, but more often it’s sharing advice and experience. I released [https://valent.io/substitutability](my first book) last week, and the best conversations I had at MicroConf were with folks who were a year or two ahead of me, not the ones who were ten years ahead of me. And I was glad to pay back their time and counsel by sharing the things I know well.

            Still working on that “elevator pitch” for Barnacles, I guess. :)

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            This idea really resonates with me. I wish I’d have found a community like this 13 years ago when we first started bootstrapping our idea. It may be a slower road, but if you’re building something that delights the people who need it, it’s the way to go.

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              This looks awesome. We’ve been working on bootstrapping our startup for a while now, and it looks like the kind of information and discussion that exists here will be very helpful. Thanks for getting this off the ground!

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                Excellent idea. I hope the site will gather critical mass and become a living community.

                I suspect the community might become more Europe-oriented, because it’s more difficult to get funding here and there are more bootstrapped businesses as a result.

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                  I like the idea. The internet is like a bubble that doesn’t contain self-funded businesses. Good thing to find a place that remind you that you are not alone.

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                    This looks exciting and is the type of community I was looking for. Hope the site goes well!

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                      Seems like a fine little community so far, happy to now be a member.

                      I’m myself a software developer by night and open source hacker by night, employed by a Barcelona startup.

                      My dream is to one day be able to work full-time on my open source hackery and somehow build a business around it. So far, I haven’t figured out any way of earning money on it, except offering paid support, but I hope I’ll figure it out some day.