Small Tech Business #10 - Avoiding the "hug of death", Passive income ideas, Web-scraping in JS, Improve your copywriting

Week of 11/1/2020

Small Tech Business is a curated newsletter for people looking for inspiration and learning around starting their own small internet or technology business.

1) How to avoid the “hug of death” from a viral blog post - how Hacker News crushed David Walsh Blog

by Todd Gardner - Article 📰 (4 min)

Content marketing and building an audience are two very common strategies that indie founders have been doing to help grow their businesses. It would be a tough pill to swallow if your viral post turned into frustrated readers. This article helps you learn from their mistakes, so you can avoid the same pitfalls.

2) Launching a Slack app product from scratch in 11 days

by Serge Gusev - Article 📰 (8 min)

A fun read about how a team of 5 designed, built, and launched a new App for Slack in less than 2 weeks. The piece includes a daily breakdown of what they did, so you get to see their step-by-step approach.

3) A one line change decreased our clone times by 99%

by Pinterest Engineering - Blog Post 📰 (3 min)

A bit more technical that usual, but goes to show that even large software companies with huge engineering teams can make mistakes with simple fixes. As an indie tech founder, it can be crucial to identify and maximize technical tasks that are low in effort, but huge in value to your business.

"This simple one line change reduced our clone times by 99% and significantly reduced our build times as a result. Cloning our largest repo, Pinboard went from 40 minutes to 30 seconds. It goes to show that sometimes our small efforts can have a big impact as well."

4) Web Scraping with JavaScript

by Pavel Prokudin - Blog Post 📰 (6 min)

Web-scraping is a bit of a gray area among developers, as doing it irresponsibly can essentially lead to a DoS attack on unsuspecting websites. Web-scraping can be effective in helping automate tasks around lead generation or monitoring competitors. Very important to be responsible and respectful though.

5) “What is your Passive Income?”

Hacker News Thread 🌐

For a lot of small tech founders, achieving passive income is a big goal. Sitting back and letting your elegant software run on auto-pilot and just collect profit is basically a dream state for many. There is usually one of these threads every year, you can find a collection of them here.

6) Stripe Climate

Stripe New Feature 🌐

This falls a bit more in the “news” category, but I felt it was worth mentioning as many small tech businesses run on Stripe or something similar. Stripe now allows businesses to direct a percentage of revenue to help the environment. Running an eco-friendly business is a goal for many founders, and this is a quick way to move in that direction!

Small Tech Spotlight: Starter Story

🔗 Link:

👤 Founder: Pat Walls (@thepatwalls)

💰 MRR: $15,000+

📦 Product: “At Starter Story, we interview successful entrepreneurs and share the stories behind their business. In each interview, we ask how they got started, how they grew, and how they run their business today."

This week we are featuring Starter Story, an inspiring indie business that has been able to turn its growing community of readers into a very profitable business. A great example of how sharing interesting, high-quality content on the internet can lead to growing valuable internet community.

In the News:

From the Archives:

17 tips for great copywriting

by Harry Dry - Article 📰 (3 min)

Harry has been an amazing source of marketing guidance over the past couple years. As a more tech-focused founder myself, he has helped make marketing a lot easier for me to understand. I highly recommend this easy-to-digest copywriting guide, it provides side-by-side examples on how you can improve your copywriting. If you want more, Harry also just recently posted a new similar post this week that focused more on landing pages.

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Written and curated by Justin Chu (@jstnchu)