Highlights from IndieHackers ep. 220 with Michael Seibel

I've decided I'm going to start jotting down quick notes about podcasts that I really like. Finding good podcast episodes is hard and I always appreciate when people share their favorites. Time to create more of what I wish existed.

Summary

IndieHackers is one of my favorite podcasts and, this week, that is especially true.

Michael Seibel, a partner at YCombinator, joined Courtland Allen to talk about startups. Courtland has mentioned that YC inspired one of his "aha" moments1 with IndieHackers.

Courtland briefly mentions in this episode that there were some scenesters in YC when he was there trying to "be cool" and not necessarily create profitable businesses.

Rather than disagreeing, Michael mentions seeing some of the same. With entrepreneurship becoming more popular, Michael says one of his biggest challenges is watching out for people "just trying to get rich."

I thought there would be more disagreements on this podcast since indie hacking and raising VC generally seem at odds, but these two agreed on a lot.

My takeaways

  • Don't look for validation from your peers. Avoid popularity contests.
  • Early-stage startups are full of fires. Learn which to prioritize.
  • Your "business brain" is not as developed as your "problem detecting brain."
  • Solve your own problem.
  • Building startups is hard. Aiming for average won't work.
  • Don't innovate on everything. Pick one area instead.
  • Approach startups like a scientist would.2

Episode link

Footnotes

  1. Courtland was interviewed on episode 185 of IndieHackers about the origin story (link).

  2. This one is my favorite. It comes from a story about the Stripe brothers purposely setting prices higher than the competition to test demand. Not super intuitive unless you're taking a scientific approach to testing demand.