The Indie Hackers Podcast #68 Finding Success as a First-Time Founder with Mathilde Collin of Front

Full podcast here.

  • Front has been described as a multiplayer version of Gmail (0:34)

  • Front has over 3600 customers (0:57)

  • You went to business school and worked at a startup. Where did you learn more? Definitely working in a startup. You learn most when you get things done. The thing in business school that was most helpful was meeting entrepreneurs that had built companies. That inspired me. (1:54)

  • During YC you have dinner with a successful entrepreneur and you hear them talk about how hard it was when they started, how nonobvious their idea was and how it still is today. Hearing this helped me the most. (6:22)

  • Book that helped me the most: The Hard Thing About Hard Things. Knowing it’s hard for everyone will allow you to just focus on progress. (7:03)

  • Why are you an entrepreneur? When I was a kid no one in my family liked their job. I was a happy kid and it felt sad to me that when I grow up I would not enjoy working. For me starting a company gives me the ability to create a place where I would be happy to come to work every day. (10:27) 

  • Founders typically wait too long to show other people their product. They are not proud of what they’ve built because it’s shitty. But everything at the beginning is bad. Put it in front of as many people as possible. (15:02) 

  • I am never happy about the current state of the business and I always have a lot of confidence in the fact that we will figure it out. (19:39) 

  • You will always find people who want more out of your product. The goal is not to build everything people ask for. What I wanted to find is when can we find 10 customers paying for this product. If we can have 10 then most likely we can have 1,000. (23:35) 

  • How did you find your first customers? I hustled and I think that is the only way to go. I wrote a ton of content. I contacted everyone on the waiting list and asked if they wanted a person demo. We launched on product hunt probably 7 times. We were in every startup listing you could think of. I talked at events. I think there are absolutely no shortcuts. (24:07)

  • Countless entrepreneurs have warned me about something counterintuitive: things can get harder as you get more successful you get. Not easier. The stakes are higher. (34:37) 

  • A blog post describing how she spends her time: What does the CEO of Front do? (36:16) 

  • Growth is the answer to a lot of problems. (47:40) 

  • Has there ever been a time you were looking at your business and thought shit we are screwed and you weren’t really sure Front could survive? Yes. It happens every month. I am used to it. It is just a reality. (51:21) 

  • Pricing is super hard to get right. Even today it is wrong. (52:48) 

  • If you could go forward in time and ask yourself anything what would it be? I’d ask myself if I was still happy doing this job. A simple question. A good North Star. (55:54) 

  • Be consistent. It improves your probability of success. (58:46)