The Indie Hackers Podcast #43 Pieter Levels of Nomad List

  • What motivated you to start building products: I had a really shitty job selling financial products to people. I really didn’t like it. I knew I didn't want to do that kind of job again. 

  • The most important lesson Pieter learned in business school: You need to decouple the price from cost. What's more important is the value that a user gets from it. How do you change that person's life? Does he or she save two hours of work every day? What's her hourly rate, $100? You saved her $200. Then you can probably charge $150 because the margin is $50 for her.

  • Why he made 12 startups in 12 months: I spent a year on an app that didn’t work. I thought I should just ship, deploy, launch, and validate. I validate my ideas by launching publicly. You don't know if the app is going to work. Launching is the way for you to find out and not waste time on a project that goes nowhere. 

  • How to make building a business cheaper: Do things yourself. Learn how to design. Teach yourself to program. Other people spend a lot of money because they're not programmers, or they're not designers, and they don't do everything themselves. They have to hire people. That is expensive. 

  • How he came up with the idea for Nomad List: There was no information for digital nomads. I wanted to find information on what cities I could go to. So I made a spreadsheet of 10 places I knew and then I shared it on Twitter. I asked people if they know any other places that are cool like this? I thought some people would add to it. But then over a 1,000 people added data. It went viral. I thought this is not normal. 

  • Don’t rely too much on analytics: I used to check a lot of analytics. Now I hardly do. I just trust my gut. I realized that I don't want to make a website for everybody. I just want to make a site that I would love to use. I don’t want to make a site for metrics. I want to make a site for humans.

  • An integral part of making products: It is better to make things for yourself and solve your own problems. It means you are an expert on your own problem. The majority of people are trying to solve other people’s problems.

  • How Pieter improves his product: When I meet people that tell me they love the website I ask them to tell me what they don’t like. I try to collect negative feedback. Knowing what people don’t like about your product is the most important stuff to know. 

  • We need more indie makers making indie products: It's the internet equivalent of having a corner coffee shop next to Starbucks. They exist. There's a lot of them. We need more corner coffee shop internet businesses.

  • Full podcast here.