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Product Hunt Radio

A Technology and Business podcast
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Product Hunt Radio is a a weekly podcast with the people creating and exploring the future. Tune in every week with Ryan Hoover and Abadesi Osunsade as they're joined by founders, investors, journalists, and makers to discuss the latest in tech.

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Recent Episodes

What not to do as a maker with Courtland Allen
On this episode Abadesi talks to Courtland Allen. He is a super talented designer and developer. In 2016 he founded Indie Hackers, an awesome community of bootstrappers and makers sharing their stories. Nine months later Stripe acquired the company. Courtland is also a Y Combinator alumnus and an MIT graduate with a degree in Computer Science. In this episode they talk about how to avoid making the most common maker mistakes. They discuss... How and why Courtland became an Indie Hacker “I spent a while following the traditional startup route. I started a startup, I got into Y Combinator, we raised money, but we never really had a business model. Eventually we did charge money for our product, and a couple hundred people signed up right off the bat. I was enchanted by this idea that I don't have to raise money from investors, I don't have to hope that there's some sort of exit opportunity in the future, I could build something and put a price tag on it and sell it to people directly and feasibly pay my rent.” Courtland explains his path to becoming a self-sufficient bootstrapper. He got his start in the very early days of indie hacking, even before Stripe had launched. He says that it was the Stripe beta that allowed him to go independent. How to figure out whether you have a good idea on your hands “A lot of people think a business is an invention. But an invention needs to be this entirely novel thing. A business is more of a process. It doesn’t need to be completely unique. A lot of people get frustrated and blocked by their inability to come up with something that’s completely novel. The number one thing you should do is not put that constraint on yourself.” He explains how to “sanity check” your idea and runs through the common mistakes he sees people making when they are validating their ideas. Finding beta testers for your product and what to avoid when bootstrapping “You’re trying to from no one using your app to five or ten people. You can easily do that. Talk to five relatives or five friends or coworkers. Go online and find people who you think would be good users of your product and send them a heartfelt personalized email. A lot of founders I have talked to have done this non-scalable approach at the beginning.” Courtland explains why, as a one-person operation, you shouldn’t be copying what big, successful companies are doing. He says that a landing page is not a good way to test your product and instead recommends that you go the old-fashioned route and talk to people about it. “These companies are doing things that you can’t do, and that you probably shouldn’t do. You’re much smaller. You wouldn’t go to the gym and try to bench press five hundred pounds because the biggest guy in the gym is doing that. One of the most troubling things for early Indie Hackers is the most obvious examples to copy are these big companies who are the worst people to copy.” How to know whether to go full-time on your idea once demand picks up “The barometer I use is: Do I like the customers I’m serving? Are the people who are paying for what I’m building people I would want to talk to and be friends with and hang out with? Because that’s what you’re probably going to be doing for the next few years, so you probably don’t want to quit your job and go full-time into something you don’t like working on.” He provides some excellent advice on launching, dealing with the ups-and-downs of being a maker, and once you’ve made it to a place where you’re getting some traction, how to figure out whether to quit your day job and go full-steam ahead on your side project. He says that he saved up a year’s rent before going full-time on his idea and points out that even when you are full-time on your project, there will always be more to do than you can manage. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Companies and Products Mentioned In This Episode Flippa — The #1 place to buy and sell websites, domains and apps. Notion — The all-in-one workspace - notes, tasks, wikis, & databases.
The future of programming and defining success as a software engineer
On this episode Abadesi talks to Cassidy Williams. Cassidy is a great follow on social media and is a software engineer at CodePen. Prior to CodePen, she worked for Venmo, Amazon, Clarify and others. She is a true maker and a huge mechanical keyboard nerd (which you hear a bit about on the show). In this episode they discuss... How she got to where she is today, including lessons learned from working at big and small companies “It gets more political the more you go up the career ladder. At CodePen, we only have eight people, so you can’t really be promoted, and past Cassidy’s mind might be blown that she can’t be promoted and she’s okay with that.” Cassidy talks her personal career trajectory and how she learned “the hard way” that big money at big companies isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. She talks a bit about working at Amazon and why it didn’t work out for her and explains why it’s just as valuable to know what you don’t want to do as knowing what you do want to do. She also talks about some of the differences between working at a big company and a small company. Her personal definition of success as a software engineer “My definition of success is having the flexibility to build whatever I want. Right now I’m building for CodePen but because my job is so flexible I’m able to build things outside of work. Someday I would love to be able to not have to work and build things for fun, whether for money or not. I love building things in general, whether it be keyboards, code, or Legos.” Cassidy says that she used to be obsessed with “climbing the career ladder” and explains why that’s no longer the case for her. She says that she would go into jobs with the intention of collecting titles and experience in order to make a case for a promotion. She’s realized now though that being at the top is less important to her than the freedom to be able to create and do the things she loves. The future of programming “When I first started using React, it seemed magical, but over time it has changed to be a lot more granular and less magical. That is a very interesting metaphor for a lot of things that are happening in the tech industry.“ She talks through some of the trends in software engineering, including how programming for the web has changed over the past few years. She explains how and why languages and the way that programmers use them have evolved over time. “People want to be more granular with their coding and engineering practices. A lot of people want to get to the core of adding more low-level and theoretical computer science practices to web development.” Why she loves mechanical keyboards so much “It’s so fun to be able to build something that is both pretty and functional. Typing on them is actually really fun. Typing on a mechanical keyboard feels like actually accomplishing something. When you feel that tactical feedback, it’s great.“ While doing the interview, Cassidy mentions that she had nine different mechanical keyboards sitting next to her. She waxes poetic on the virtues of using and building mechanical keyboards, including a breakdown of some of her favorite builds. She also talks about some of her other favorite non-keyboard products as well. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Big thanks to Copper for their support. 😸 Companies and Products Mentioned In This Episode Bear — A beautiful, flexible, writing app for notes and prose. Sennheiser HD 6xx— Cassidy’s favorite headphones.
Founder depression, “going independent,” and the future of podcasting
On this episode Abadesi talks to Justin Jackson. Justin is a founder, author, and podcaster. He is co-founder of Transistor, a platform for podcasters, and runs his own podcast called Build your SaaS. He is also the creator of the MegaMaker community for developers. In this episode they discuss... Going from side hustle to full-time founder “The truth is that where I’m at now is that where I’m at now is the result of years and years and years of investigating things, being curious and being naturally passionate about radio and audio in particular.” Justin followed a circuitous route to becoming a founder. He grew up in rural Alberta, Canada, and didn’t get his first job in tech until he was 28 years old. He recently started working on Transistor full-time, and explains the progression from working a regular job, to working remotely, to starting a side hustle, and finally to becoming a “solopreneur.” His candid recounting of his experience with depression “I got hit hard, like I had never been hit before. I have to admit I had a bad perspective on mental illness. I thought that people who were depressed were weak. I remember that time — I felt like I had been punched down into the ground like the Incredible Hulk.” Justin opens up about what it was like to experience depression for the first time, how it impacted him and how it changed his perspective on work, life, and mental illness generally. How to take care of your mental health “If you think of our lives as an application, we’re really good at maintaining the front end code. The front end code is everything that people see — the house, the degree, the job — all the external stuff. It’s the stuff we post on Instagram, it’s the stuff we talk about when we’re with friends, it’s our public face we reveal to others. But we have this back end code that we are gradually writing things to but not refactoring or caring for it the way we should.” He explains how he got himself out of his depression with the help of a therapist, and talks about some of the important mental shifts he needed in his life. He also talks about the importance of separating your sense of self and your identity from your professional projects. The future of podcasting and “mindful technology” “Increasingly, people are looking for mindful technology, technology that’s not designed to keep you on the platform forever, that’s not designed to be addictive or maintain your attention forever. It’s difficult to track, it’s difficult to sell your data, and podcasting right now fits — it’s mindful.” Justin has been passionate about audio since he was a kid riding in the family pickup truck in Alberta. He talks about the changes he’s seen in the space over the last decade and what the future holds for podcasting. He also explains his theory of mindful technology, why people want their technology to be mindful, and why podcasts fit the category perfectly. And of course, they talk about some of his favorite products for desktop and mobile. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Big thanks to Copper for their support. 😸 Companies, Books and Products Mentioned In This Episode Adobe Fireworks CS5 — Adobe’s bitmap and vector editor (from a long time ago). Daylio — Mood tracker and micro-diary. The Mom Test — How to talk to customers Visual Studio Code — Microsoft’s cross-platform text editor for developers.
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Podcast Details
Started
Apr 13th, 2014
Latest Episode
Aug 14th, 2019
Release Period
Weekly
No. of Episodes
182
Avg. Episode Length
About 1 hour
Explicit
No
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