Yo! Podcast #01 - @AJLKN - Founder of Carrd

Full podcast here.

  • In college, I started out creating templates. I was making money. So when I graduated college I said I guess I’ll just keep doing this.

  • Where HTML 5 UP! came from: Things we’re going well for a while. I got complacent. I let my skills wane. I decided to get my shit together. So I taught myself responsive design.

  • HTML 5 UP! led to a paid service called Pixelarity. I charged for premium templates and support. This project kept me going until I started Carrd.

  • AJ optimized his personal runway: Even when I was making money, I kept my costs low by continuing to live with my parents. This allowed me to save a good amount of money.

  • People think it would be great making money doing pretty much nothing. But you feel like shit because you are not being productive. I started to think I needed a new challenge. I was in this mode where I wanted to avoid complacency. This led me to start Carrd.

  • I am not a tool purist or zealot. Use whatever the fuck you want. If it works, it works. 

  • If someone offered you $50,000 to never use Twitter again. Would you accept it? I get significant value from using Twitter. I wouldn’t trade that. I learned so much from people who are just out there making stuff, starting their own businesses. If I had to pay for Twitter, I’d happily pay for it.

  • Carrd is a one-man show with low expenses. Within the first few months, it was profitable

  • If you want to launch a product that is free, make sure it launches with the paid version already built-in. You don’t want to miss the opportunity to convert to paid right off the bat.

  • In the past, you were sharing a lot of numbers as Carrd was growing. You’ve slowed down recently: I’m comfortable sharing the challenges of building Carrd, and some numbers. But now that Carrd is pulling down a decent amount of money each month - in my particular case, it just doesn’t feel right.

  • When you are working on your own products there is a good chance that there is not enough separation [from work and the rest of your life]. Even when you are doing something that’s not work, you are thinking about work. I have to consciously remind myself to avoid doing this as much as possible.

  • If there is one thing I learned in the last two years is scale changes a thing into something else entirely. It is not just more of something – it is a completely different ballgame. The time and growth of something puts you in a different place, with completely different things you have to think about – with completely different rules.

  • I think people tend to over-optimize a situation. Example: AJ sends plain text emails. They will say, “Hey I am running a sale right now. Here is a coupon code. Have a nice day.” 

  • I know I am not alone when I say, naming something you make is a pain in the ass. 

  • Constraints really do bring out your creativity. If you have too many choices you might not know where to start

  • If you want to build something, start small. Solve a small problem for yourself. You’ll feel a sense of empowerment. You’ll realize you can make your own things that solve other people’s problems to the point they will pay you money for it. 

  • I’m not trying to out Squarespace, Squarespace. I’m not trying to out Shopify, Shopify. Whatever I come up next for Carrd has to fit the ethos of what the platform is about.