Small Tech Business #8 - Startup success delusion, Free Twilio alternative, Learning from failure, Online writing

Week of 10/18/2020

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

Content of the Week:

1) The Startup Success Delusion That Put Me In Hospital

by Kyle Gawley - Blog Post 📰 (8 min)

Kyle starts his story with his harrowing experience of passing out and having dark blood sputtering out of my mouth. He then shares how his health scare led to a drastic change in his life and how he has been able to successfully build a small tech business while living abroad as a digital nomad.

“The problem with success is that we let sources outside of ourselves define it. In the startup world, I was successful; in my world, I was failing.

I can't tell you what success is because only YOU can define what it means for you. I can only tell you that success is not what anyone else tells you it is.”

2) Project Fonos, an open-source alternative to Twilio

by Pedro Sanders - Open-source Tool 📦

Project Fonos is open-source telecommunications for the cloud. It helps VoIP integrators quickly deploy new networks and include value-added services such as Programmable Voice, Messaging, and Video.

I stumbled across this tool from a reddit post, and it looks to be a really intriguing new open-source project. Founders of small tech businesses often need to be mindful of keeping costs low, especially when bootstrapping. Taking advantage of open-source tooling can be an effective way to achieve that.

3) Biggest Y Combinator Failed Startups

by Rich Clominson via Failory - Article 📰 (6 min)

Success stories are much more inspiring, but it is actually harder to gain actionable learnings from those stories. Learning from the mistakes of other businesses and founders often provides more directly actionable guidance of what not to do. This article by Failory provides some interesting insights from some notable YC-backed startups.

“Growth-hacking on the wild-west which is the internet is one thing, but when you try to use similar tactics in traditional, heavily regulated industries in developed, heavily regulated markets - that’s a recipe for disaster. The tech startup moto of “grow first, deal with the legal implications later” might not be ideal for all industries.”

4) Killing Timo: Validating our side project

by Richard Palmer - Article 📰 (3 min)

A quick read that describes the strategy of validating your project or business idea by trying to find reasons why the project will fail. I think this approach could be really effective for some founders, as confronting the fear of failure so directly can be a great catalyst for more focused execution or a way to help let go of a project that isn’t leading to success.

“When we frame it as ‘killing Timo’, we’re looking for is a good reason we shouldn’t continue building it. A strong enough signal to say, okay, our vision doesn’t fit the reality of the world. That it’s time to call it quits. What does success look like? The lack of a reason to do so.”

5) Why you should write

by Preetam Nath - Blog Post 📰 (6 min)

Building an audience online is a really effective way to help your future projects and businesses become successful. Writing online is, in my opinion, the easiest and most effective way to start building an audience online. Preetam’s post provides insights into his method for making writing a habit.

Small Tech Spotlight: Leave Me Alone

🔗 Link:

👤 Founders: Danielle Johnson and James Ivings

💰 Total Revenue: $20,733.28 (since Jul. 2019)

📦 Product: “We created Leave Me Alone to help you see all of your subscription emails and easily unsubscribe from them without compromising your privacy"

Last week we spotlit Friendly, this week we have another Open Startup, Leave Me Alone. I found out about them from a great Indie Hackers Podcast episode (🎧 39 min). They are a great example of how tech can be applied to a niche market to build a profitable business.

In the News:

Editor Blurb: Start building in public

Building in public is a great way to indirectly promote your business as well as build a following online.

The best way to start (if you haven't already) is to talk to your friends about it. Especially people who show interest in it. Notice what interests them and what questions they ask you.

Then start writing about your most interesting learnings online via Twitter or short blog posts. Do the same thing, look for what content readers find most engaging and also which communities find your content interesting.

From the Archives:

Time management: do the things you actually want to do

by Anne-Laure Le Cunff - Blog Post 📰 (6 min)

Anne-Laure is the inspiring author and founder behind Ness Labs. She writes a lot about mindful productivity and this concise post has some great ideas and suggestions on how you can better manage your time and maximize your productivity.

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Written and curated by Justin Chu (@jstnchu)