Indie Lurker Compass

No-B.S. resources to help you take action & start shipping 🚢

A living swipe file for indie hackers, indie lurkers, & founders who get stuck with indecision, perfectionism, or impostor syndrome. Examples and resources to help you put one foot in front of the other and get your experiments out the door 🚪.

This is not a roadmap through the jungle 🗺️. I have not built a successful startup, so I won’t pretend I know the path to get there.

Think of this as a compass 🧭. I can’t tell you what destination is correct, but I can give you resources to push past the common sticking points for aspiring founders.

Now quit adding a dark theme 🌒 and get shipping!

🔑 Validation

Why are you building without any real validation?

🛑 STOP 🛑

if you don’t have any real indicators of people spending their $$ or significant time on the problem, STOP. Reevaluate.

Critical Questions

These are the questions I wish I would have been asked before wasting hour after hour on projects which never launched ❌🚀 or were a Solution Looking for a Problem. Use them to cut the crap and see your project from an observer’s perspective.

Critical Questions

🪨🛠️ Build simpler than you think

If it’s useful people will use it even if it looks funky or is missing features.

You don’t need it to be as pretty or as feature-filled as the perfect version in your head. Make small bets and just put it out into the world.

If you build an MVP you can skip most parts like design, backend, db etc You mostly need a very very basic page that does something rly well and charges $ for it so you can see if the idea is viable You don't have time to focus on other stuff, if you do you spread yourself thin Also it doesn't even need to be a page. It can be a Typeform. Or a Stripe Payment Link. Or a tweet and then people DM you to get the service or product. Validating is getting a customer to pay for it. Then you can build out after WITH the customers figuring out what they WANT” - Pieter Levels

🥷Fake it ‘till you build it

Can apply to the core of your product, or to supporting features. Do you really need an automated account deletion flow on day 1? Just manually edit the database. See if Product Validation Playbooks has something you could try.

🧑‍💼You don’t need a big team

❓You don’t need the perfect name

You can always change it later - don’t let it take up more than a couple hours. Switching won’t necessarily kill your momentum. justin.tv became Twitch later on.

🥊Competition

Water bottles and notebooks have thousands of competitors, yet people make them every day. In other industries, we don't have this idea that you have to be the only water bottle. We don't have this idea that, someone's already invented the water bottle, there can't be another one, but in software, we very often have this idea, of well, there's already a social media software. - paraphrased from Laura Roeder

👥 Brands that entered crowded markets and still did well

  • Hydroflask - literally just fancy water bottles.
  • Notion - lots of tools already out there for note taking or docs.
  • Bubly - how many types of sparkling water can exist?
  • Convertkit - went up against Mailchimp and others.
  • Typedream, Simple.ink, Super.so - there are a bajillion no code website builders, they made it easier to manage for without code rather than creating an interface that is visual coding.

📖 Open-source companies based on existing tools

You can also just build an open-source version of your favorite famous tool. Not everyone’s cup of tea.

  • Ghost blogging platform - alternative to WordPress, Square, Wix, etc.
  • WordPress - alternative to Square, Wix, etc.
  • Supabase - alternative to Firebase.
  • Papercups.io -alternative to Intercom.
  • Bitwarden - alternative to Lastpass, 1Password, etc.
  • Plausible, Fathom - alternative to Google Analytics.
  • Cal.com - alternative to Calendly.
  • Httpie - alternative to Postman.
  • Medusa - alternative to Shopify.
  • NextDNS -

💡 Ideas

The best things often aren’t original, but either a remix of what’s come before, a better version than currently exists, or serving some niche the competition hasn’t touched. Screw it, you can build the same thing if you really want, you don’t need anyone’s permission!

🌀 Remix existing ideas

Does an existing idea not cover a specific niche? Especially good if they are unlikely to bother moving into it. Example from a book is ‘Coke for Dogs’, Coke is unlikely to enter that market because it might hurt their brand among humans.

💡Your idea doesn’t have to be complicated

Successful companies with a simple concept at core, even if it’s layered with extra features at this point.

🤔 I have no ideas

Markets & Places for Ideas

🫂🐦People to follow on Twitter

These people usually provide no-BS advice and inspiration to build and ship.

Uncategorized

Things I’ve found useful, but haven’t found a home yet on this site, YMMV.

Terms and Trends

  • Build in Public -

Reminder to keep you grounded

Indie Lurker Compass

A living swipe file for indie hackers, indie lurkers, & founders with the examples needed to start simple and start shipping🚢.