“Work with the garage door open.”
💎 Why It Matters
Building in public helps you:
- Validate ideas
- Stay top-of-mind
- Get fast feedback
- Build connections with stakeholders
You need to break through noise to share your story.
Make a habit of sharing struggles, wins, milestones, questions and lessons.
People Building in Public
- Dru Riley • Trends.vc creator who shares progress and failuresin public.
- Arvid Kahl • Sharing lessons on bootstrapping and building in public.
- Aaron Aalto • Designer and artist building Wagmi Table.
- Sharath Kuruganty • Co-founder of Shoutout. Shares insights around no-code, community and product.
- Naya Moss • Building Frauvis. A newsletter, community and job board.
- Maciej Cupial • Building Calendesk. An online booking system.
- Zoe Chew • Shares projects on her personal site.
- Karthik Puvvada (KP) • The “Build In Public” Guy. He was offered a job with OnDeck in public.
- Justin Jackson • Building Transistor.fm. A podcast publishing platform.
- Brian Casel • Building ZipMessage. A video messaging tool for async conversations.
- Janel Loi • Building Newsletter OS. A framework to launch and run your newsletter.
- EK • Building Appbasics and RubyOnRemote
- Damon Chen • Building Testimonial, Embed, Supportman and See Ya Future.
- Brett Williams • Building a one-person, million-dollar design service – Designjoy.
- Creators will use podcasts as a channel to build in public. See examples:
- The Build in Public Podcast where KP interviews creators.
- Startups for the Rest of Us where Rob Walling shares his journey building MicroConf and TinySeed.
- The Bootstrapped Founder where Arvid Kahl opens up about the process of writing books, making courses and building PermanentLink.
- Lunch Pail Daily where Lola talks about no-code and growing a solo business.
- Product Journey Podcast where Noah Bragg and Ben Mann talk about the journey of building bootstrapped businesses.
- Bootstrapped Web where Brian Casel shares his journey building ZipMessage.
- Software Social where Colleen Schnettler and Michele Hansen jam on building Simple File Upload and Geocodio.
- The Art of Product where Ben Orenstein and Derrick Reimer share updates on SavvyCal and Tuple.
- More companies will be built around accountability challenges.
- Find your tribe. Engage with subcommunities.
- Share more than revenue. There are other ways to build in public. You can:
- Share Lessons • Cameron keeps a thread of mistakes.
- Share Goals • Pat Walls added his goal to his Twitter bio.
- Build Waitlists • EK built a 50-person waitlist for Appbasics.
- Request Help • Dru Riley asks Twitter who should he talk to for reports.
- Share Milestones • Jacky reached ramen profitability ($5,000 MRR).
- Reflect on Progress • Noah Bragg shared his one-year update on Potion.so.
- Offer Help • Stripe offered to help developers building in public using their API.
- Share your Roadmap • Filip shared a preview of an upcoming Tally release.
- Show New Features • Brian Casel reveals new ZipMessage features on Twitter.
- Share Struggles • Danny shared the process behind shutting down Rareblocks.
- Join a challenge. Social accountability works.
- Repurpose content.
- Dru Riley wrote How I built a paid community to 1,000+ members in 10 months as an essay before turning it into a Twitter thread and sharing the story on podcasts.
- Arvid Kahl turns blog posts into tweets, threads, podcast episodes, books and courses.
- Nathan Barry turned his iconic blog post into a Twitter thread.
- Person > Persona • Don’t lose yourself while building in public. It’s easy to become obsessed with crafting narratives. Building in public is performative but find balance.
- Copycats • Sharing success and strategies will lead to copycats. Feature parity is possible in SaaS. While creators and communities are categories of one.
- Competitors • Oversharing can allow incumbents to frontrun your roadmap. Buffer, one of the most open companies, throws caution to the wind and shares their full roadmap.
🔑 Key Lessons
- Building in public has benefits beyond reaching customers. You can:
- Recruit team members
- Get fast feedback
- Meet new friends
- Find evangelists
- Meet mentors
- Find investors
- Early followers become invested in your journey when you involve them by asking for feedback and sharing struggles. See the Endowment Effect.
- Building in public works because transparency is scarce. We value authenticity and vulnerability. As Brené Brown says “Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.”
🔥 Hot Takes
- If building in public feels like a job to you. It won’t last. Choose a strategy that you can maintain. Don’t like Twitter? No problem. Podcast or make videos.
- Building in public is performative. Embrace it. Be authentic. Tell honest stories and build connections.
“What if people judge me?”
This is your ego talking. The bad news is that no one cares about you. The good news is that no one cares about you. We care about ourselves and our problems. Focus on providing value and sharing stories. Fear-Setting can also help you overcome stage fright.
“I don’t have any followers. No one’s listening.”
Don’t try to boil the ocean. Join small communities and connect with people one-on-one. Highlight others’ work. Dickie Bush gained early followers by appreciating others.
- Who should I talk to about building in public? • The tweet behind this report.
- Origins of Building in Public• Twitter tries to figure out where building in public started.
- Building in Public: 20 Examples & a How-To Guide • A comprehensive guide including the types of content to share.
📁 Related Reports
- Open Startups • Open dashboards help you continuously share.
- Audience-First Products • Build trust before you build products.
- Personal Brands • Personal brands have higher affinity than business brands.
- Presales • Building in public can lead to presales.
- Influencer Marketing • Building trust helps you become your own influencer.
Thanks Arvid Kahl, Ashwin, Aaron Aalto, Nyssa Cromwell, Brian Casel, Maciej Cupial, Sharath Kuruganty, Fausto Sá Teles, EK, Katt Risen, Shashank and Prabhjot Singh Lamba. We had a great time jamming on this report.
📈 What else?
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With Trends Pro you’ll learn:
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