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    I have a shorter explanation if it’s her we’re talking about: she likes to do drawings, lots of people like her posts with drawings, and why not make some money off it. She’s already most of the way to a product and audience. Others trying this might similarly want to test and iterate some free ones on their web site first like she did.

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      I don’t think it’s useful to guess at her reasons when you could just read her explanation of her reasons.

      As an example of why it’s not useful, one of the reasons she mentions near the end is being able to pay artists.

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      Huh, interesting - why is it an extension, so the user is crawling themselves instead of you running a server? That seems like an odd technical decision.

      But more to the topic of this as a product, how did you choose to do this? I’ve seen website checkers with similar featuresets for a long time, so it’s nice that there’s a market - how will you reach that market?

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        By doing the crawling locally, it means you can check as many sites as you want as often as you want including localhost sites. This is especially useful during active development as you can perform checks locally and on staging sites instead of only checking production sites when issues have went live. A cloud-based implementation would have to come with limitations on how often you can perform crawls and can be expensive to run.

        I’ve mostly been reaching out to web developers on forums and online communities so far. I’ve had a lot of positive feedback about the interface and how Checkbot is finding issues missed by other tools.

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        Someone dropped by #lobsters with a similar plan, to start with the codebase that powers Lobsters and Barnacles, charge a fee per upvote to ensure people are thoughtful… and also pay contributors for the upvotes they receive. They were surprised to learn this makes them a money transmitter with an enormous amount of regulatory compliance because PayPal support had said it was OK. That guy’s going to write “Becoming a Felon Creating the Bitcoing-Rewarding Reddit”.

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          That was oalrus.com. Given our talk here about incentives I think the one-question QA is worth reporting here:

          <alynpost> maz_: I infer by the features you’re looking to add that you have some kind of paid voting / compensation for submitting content. What is it about that mechanism that, as your landing page states, creates content that is interesting and healthy?"

          <maz_> alynpost thanks. the general idea is that most modern networks are based on harvesting and monetizing attention. it often works by having people passively consume sensational content for an occasional dopamine hit. I think (and want to test) that by asking people to make deliberate choices about what is actually worth spending money on they choose better content.

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          Separate your transactional and bulk sending streams using different domains or subdomains

          I’ve seen this advice frequently regarding transactional email, but I’m not sure I’ve seen a technical description of what problem it is solving. The implication has always seemed to be that you might burn that IP or domain and you wouldn’t want that to happen to a domain you’re “really” using. Is that why sending from a different source is recommended?

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            Yes. It’s also more likely that GMail or a spam list gets enough spam flags from people who forgot they signed up to your list that they blacklist your bulk IP without contacting you. If they’re on the same IP, your first warning is that your support queue explodes because people don’t get password reset emails or core collaboration features are broken. If you contact a blacklist, the standard response is that they ignore you because their median response is a spammer lying to them. This outage can go days, weeks, or permanently. An extra IP or different service for transactional email is a very cheap insurance policy to save a business from maiming.

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              This matches another realization I had around email on the Internet: given the nature of abuse reporting and blacklisting, an email provider needs to control their network down to the Autonomous System (AS) level. Abuse reporting and resolution is more effective between network operators than between domain name owners.

              That said, it seems your ‘cheap insurance’ decision would still apply even when you were a network operator. Faster resolution is not instantaneous resolution. It makes me wonder if my realization is true. Are there transactional email providers that don’t run their own network?

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            I’ve blocked the worst offenders that keep resubmitting their sites. This is really boring spam and I don’t plan to announce future site bans, so watch SPAM_DOMAINS in the code if you want to see as new sites are listed.

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              I’ve seen a few of these used by commercial projects, often combined with uploading to S3 buckets or hosting. It’s a viable business if you can reach your customers affordably.

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                Thanks @pushcx! Quick question, how did those commercial projects justify using a third-party API vs running their own microservice?

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                  One was a number of years back, there wasn’t yet a beaten path for uploading files from Heroku to S3. The other was in place before I joined, I think they did it rather than fight with ImageMagick.

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                This is a shameless plug for Merehead…

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                  I’ve been reporting their posts as spam. Not only are the articles irrelevant for this website, but they were written like someone was just like “Hey what are popular keywords people are searching for? Let me just go down the list and follow the formula and write one for each of these keywords.” Sites like these (and the people continually sharing them) have been watering down the value of the site IMO. Granted, there isn’t a lot of great quality content in the bootstrapping world so it’s hard to fill it with that

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                    I’ve banned this spammer.

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                  I’m not a big fan of the idea that companies should grow as fast as possible, but I thought that this was a well-reasoned experience report of passing on that opportunity. (Though this scale of opportunity is very rare!) He certainly passed on a lot of potential revenue, and it could’ve been the end of his company. There’s very real risks on both sides of the choice.

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                    I’m amused at how he did everything wrong according to conventional bootstrap wisdom - rushed straight into developing, didn’t do any interviews or create a landing page first, never did direct sales, but succeeded just fine. There’s something to be said for the power of an audience - if you’ve got 40k twitter followers who cares about marketing :p.

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                      Looks like this is his third product, and having an audience of 40k potential users is a great head start. But yeah, not a lot of audience research or anything to see if people wanted it, just “I think I’d want it”, which sometimes works wonderfully and sometimes is a dud. Kudos to him.

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                        Thanks, I’ve replaced it.

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                        Instead of thinking “to purchase or not to purchase” the user thinks “which package should I purchase?"

                        I don’t buy that. People aren’t that stupid. Perhaps it works this way if the person making the purchase decision does not actually care how much money they spend. Maybe.

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                          There’s some decent experiments that imply it’s entirely possible to move people from “whether” to “which”.

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                          I think this is the previous thread, but I’m not sure. (And thanks again, Alex, for creating this thread.)

                          I’m consulting full-time now, not much to say besides that I’m delivering and prospecting for new clients, which is probably going to be the constant reality of this business.

                          I’m considering dusting off a previous project. I created a Rails gem to support hardware two-factor authentication about two and a half years ago when the open U2F standard was announced, but it was quickly clear that the market wasn’t there. Even the folks who’d heard of 2FA hadn’t heard of it, didn’t know why it was better than SMS, etc. I didn’t have the time and energy to try to educate the market, so I put the project on hold. This spring, a couple people have spontaneously reached out to ask if the gem will be updated for Rails 5. Looking back, there’s been a steady flow of stories on YC News about SMS 2FA getting hacked. I have the spare time, so I’m going to prospectively update the gem for Rails 5.0 and 5.1 and get self-serve license sales in place. If users are ready to start buying, this would be a great business to run. I think the updates will take me the rest of the month of July.

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                            Onboarded a client while properly taking notes along the way, which means a lot of internal process improvements that’ll improve future engagements. I have an ever-expanding textfile named playbook.md in which I take notes on each step of the process (qualifying, pitching, closing, onboarding, delivery, offboarding). I track both what I need to do (don’t forget to ask for edit access to Google Analytics because it saves so much tedious back-and-forth), how to do it (pasted in the email for it, and for explaining all the setup if they’re too paranoid to grant it), my next steps, etc. Not only does it make my work easier but it opens the door for me to write up a book/course on my methods or contract out parts of the work.

                            (Also, Alex, in the future please put your update in a comment so we can reply to it clearly.)

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                              You’re probably already aware of this, but on the slim chance you aren’t: org-mode is awesome for the task your playbook.md has. I use it nearly religiously.

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                                I’m aware of it, but I chose vim over emacs 20 years ago and haven’t gotten around to checking it out. I might play with spacemacs sometime, though.

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                                  Ha, a common problem. I try to sell it as “It’s not emacs, org-mode is its own program that happens to have emacs keybindings” :)

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                                Alex, in the future please put your update in a comment so we can reply to it clearly

                                😬 Good point, will do.

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                                I submitted this because it’s an interesting story to see a VC-funded startup that grew, was acquired by a giant internet company, that whole standard funded startup success story. But they story goes on, the product languished and stopped working for its users. A close competitor went the route we encourage on this site, of growing through profits and staying in touch with users. Not only has it continued to succeed, it acquired the VC startup. This is practically a parable.

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                                  It’s cool it worked for them, but surely cheesy crap like this has got to succumb to the law of shitty click-throughs almost as soon as it starts right?

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                                    Yeah. It’s a clever technique, but I wouldn’t expect it to last too long or produce very high-quality prospects. There isn’t even any step enforcing that users leave a comment, and they’ll catch on in the next few months in much the same way it took a few months for almost all of Facebook to tire of viral game loops. (Even setting aside that LinkedIn should ban the practice.)

                                    The users are folks who were interested in a single lead magnet and open to viral nonsense, so they’re not well-qualified as being interested in the topic. I’d want to immediately put them into a sequence to ratchet up their engagement. Perhaps a webinar, or more likely right into a <$10 product. Make the pipeline strict and unsubscribe them if they don’t progress through the funnel so you’re not paying your mail host for near-worthless subscribers.

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                                    Maybe “product design” so it doesn’t get confused with pure UX.

                                    EDIT: Then again there’s already a “product” tag 🤔

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                                      Note, I proposed it because we have tags for all another sub-phases, like “programming” (engineering), “management”, “marketing”, “sales” and the description of “product” tag is “Products”… My suggestion is for generalist “design” tag, for all related design processes of product development process (ux design or product design included). In other hand “product” tag seems a better fit for links/discuss about product characteristics (“meta”) or specific product like: https://stackingthebricks.com/8-perfect-products-for-designers/ or https://barnacl.es/s/qxrlem/baremetrics_adds_support_for_braintree .

                                      more examples:

                                      https://barnacl.es/s/bqxwke/ux_teardown_what_we_learned_by_auditing https://barnacl.es/s/wdkd8l/ux_design_hacks_increase_user_activation https://barnacl.es/s/c5m15i/product_tours_when_use_which_ui_pattern

                                      description example:

                                      “design”: “Design (product, ux)”

                                      thanks!

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                                        This tag applies to probably everything about planning a business, and right now traffic is low enough I don’t see a lot of potential for any tag changes to be very useful.

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                                          Ok, thanks for the feedback.

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                                      I agree that story is spam and deleted it, as well as the zero-content post this morning by the same user. I have scolded the user, suggested they look at /top for ideas of what to submit, and will ban them if they persist in submitting garbage.

                                      I don’t yet see the need for closing signups. I was really overly optimistic about growth for barnacles a year ago. When I start having to kill junk stories on a daily basis or spambots start submitting dozens of stories/comments, I’ll want to revert Barnacles to the Lobsters invite system. Until then, the ease of signup from good users seems worth it.

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                                        I found a new client for who I am going to help getting OpenBSD firewalls into their network (pf, IPsec VPN, and such). Or rather, the client found me :)

                                        I am pleasently surprised how easy and nice it has been going so far. At their request we had an informal meeting at the beginning of the month at a bar in my neighborhood (they’re a local company, which is nice as I usually have to travel to other cities). I visited their office a few days later and we made a rough plan of what we wanted to do, which took about half a day (which I can bill them for). The goal was to get a plan together we could present to the boss. My contact talked to his superiors and arranged another meeting with me and them at the same table. A bit more back and forth, and today I was told they are accepting my offer.

                                        So I am pretty happy. Getting so much help from somebody inside the company to drive a sale is awesome.

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                                          How did you get that inside evangelist? Can you get more at other companies in a scalable way? It’s pretty great when someone at a company, instead of being instructed “Hire a firewall contractor”, is given the task “Hire Stefan for a firewall”.

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                                            Nice, I like how your copy is specifically focused on fixing The Long Slow SaaS Ramp of Death instead of being more general.

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                                            This is about starting a business, not scaling one :/

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                                              Thanks, fixed.