Co-founder @IndieHackers (acquired by @Stripe) I tweet lessons from my 50+ weekly chats with founders. Mostly how stuff works and how to make it work for you.

NYC
Joined December 2009
The most effective leaders I know are all relearners. You have learners, unlearners, and relearners. Most folks stop at learning. A fraction go on to unlearn what they learned, but stop there. This isn't an actual improvement until they start relearning. I'll explain 👇
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Innovators get too much credit for their originality. Yes, seriously. Genius innovators are usually the first to admit this: "If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants." —Isaac Newton (ish) (Newton actually borrowed this quote from some other dude.)
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This year marks the 100-year anniversary of a famous (and hilariously named) paper: "Are Inventions Inevitable?" It describes something called "the multiple," which is one of the coolest patterns in history:
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"The multiple" is this spooky phenomenon where a) someone invents something or makes a new discovery, and then, at roughly the same time… b) someone else invents the same thing or makes the same discovery *independent of the first person.* Here are some famous examples:
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1670s: Isaac Newton & Gottfried Leibniz independently developed calculus. 1770s: Carl Scheele & Joseph Priestley independently discovered oxygen. 1870s: Thomas Edison & Joseph Swan independently invented the light bulb. And this pattern isn't an anomaly! It's more like a rule.
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I wrote about the principles that make innovation multiples inevitable. And more. But tl;dr: Great innovators are great not because of their ability to create new things out of nothing, but because of their ability to synthesize the insights around them. indiehackers.com/post/the-pr…
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Channing Allen retweeted
I'm on the Indie Hackers podcast! 😊 share.transistor.fm/s/2c6e15…
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Our newsletter didn't grow until we got serious about content quality. And no wonder! Today's attention economy pits us against Twitter, Netflix, daily "breaking news," etc. And even in the "startup newsletter" niche, @TheHustle, @MorningBrew, and others have raised the bar.
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So two years ago we decided our newsletter needed to deliver value that was high-quality, immediate, effortless to consume, consistent, and novel. I'll unpack these real quick…
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Our formula for a high-quality newsletter is this: Magazine-style issues that intersperse long-form educational content with bite-sized "fun" content for quick dopamine hits. We brought on a top-notch editor and graphic designer to make this format sing.
I'm looking to hire a super talented copy editor for tech/biz journalism. Toss me the names of some skilled editors who might be looking for work? cc @alex @theSamParr @JimVandeHei @austin_rief @dangoodin001
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Newsletter readers need immediate value or a lot of them will bounce. In the context of an email inbox, readers are in "make the stress go away" mode, not "read thoughtful content" mode. Yet our emails are long AF! So each issue begins with a tl;dr summary of the entire email.
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Originally our newsletter was super "effortful" to read: it was basically a list of links to forum posts on our site. We were optimizing for clickthroughs and website traffic, not for value. Now we bring the forum content directly to our readers' inboxes, and growth is 📈
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Here's a harsh reality about newsletters: You're only as good as your last performance. There's no "80/20 rule" for consistency: you simply have to shoot for 100%. We do 3 issues a week. The 2 or 3 times we've had mixed feelings about quality? Yeah: we skipped those issues.
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Another harsh reality: Most tech/biz newsletters get old quick. Even if they're "good." Because they deliver a steady drumbeat of the *same* good content until it goes from good to stale. So we mix in tech news, unique founder stories, recent trends, and other novelties.
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Without crowdsourcing content from our community, we never would have crossed 1,000 subscribers, let alone 100,000. In reality, this isn't a thread about how "I" grew the IH newsletter to 100k but about how the *IH community* grew the IH newsletter to 100k. It's for IH, by IH.
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10k–20k badass founders visit the IH forum every day, and 100s of them write cutting-edge posts about their startup journeys, lessons learnings, failures, etc. Then our editor picks the best ones and polishes them for the newsletter. Credit & backlinks always go to the authors.
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In startups and finance you're supposed to talk about leverage. So let me put it this way: There's no longer lever than a community whose incentives are aligned.
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Anyway, explaining the 5-year story of our community's growth would take an entirely separate thread. Onto partnerships:
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As our newsletter's reach has grown in recent years, other elite content creators have taken notice and agreed to join forces. These days, 1 out of every 5 content sections in a given IH newsletter comes from an influencer like @DruRly, @harrydry, @stephsmithio, etc.
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And that's that! For more under-the-hood Indie Hackers insights, follow @ChanningAllen. To subscribe to the newsletter, go here: indiehackers.com/newsletter And if you enjoyed this thread, you can say "thanks" by liking/retweeting the first tweet below:
🤯 HUGE milestone… The IH newsletter just crossed 100,000 subscribers! For years we plateaued at ~30,000. But 2 years ago we broke through & never looked back. Despite: • $0 on ads • no marketing • only 2 part-time contractors (editor + graphic designer) Here's how 🧵
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