Bet On Yourself on Smash Notes

Bet On Yourself podcast.

December 28, 2019

Stories of indie creators



Recently updated notes

Developer and journalist Owen Williams talks about building Charged, his popular tech news newsletter.

Updated on May 13

Key points in this episode

Lynn Fisher.png




Show Notes:

Artist, web designer Lynn Fisher is a serial creator. Her projects include: A Single Div, AirportCod.es and Why.AZ among others.

I specialize in light-hearted projects.

Lynn shares why she started A Single Div, why she loves using constraints for her creative projects and why she finds CSS an expressive medium to experiment with.

Show Links:

Key points in this episode

Kate Ray.jpg




Show Notes:

Prolific creator Kate Ray shares her experience of working on Crying in Public, a community-based map based in New York City. The project was one of her more technically complicated ones.

“Users create all of the problems even while they create all of the value.” 

Kate talked about:


  • getting labeled as “offensive content” by Facebook’s API

  • how she knew she was on the right path when designing the project

  • the unifying element for all her side projects

  • how she decided when to launch Crying in Public,

  • her working style


Show Links:


 

Key points in this episode

Avdi.jpg




Show Notes:

Software developer, screencaster and author Avdi Grimm gives Indiedotes a look behind the scenes of the creation of Ruby Tapas and Master the Object-Oriented Mindset in Ruby and Rails. 

“You can delegate more than you think…the only really essential part of what I do is my taste.” 

Avdi talks about how he determined what to delegate and what to keep for himself, the importance of taste when creating something and what to do when your product becomes a hamster wheel. He also shares how he made the decisions about what to include in the MOOM course, how he determines pricing of a product and talks marketing his products.

Show Links:

Key points in this episode

Leah Culver formal .jpg




Show Notes:

Leah Culver talks about building Breaker, iOS app focused on podcast discovery. 

"I’m the kind of person who just plugs away at something until it’s done.”

She shared the one test she uses to know when it’s time to bring in others, the approach they took to get users, how she picked Erik Berlin to work with, the two week product process they use to build features, and how to determine what tasks to give to others vs trying to do it all yourself.

Show Links:

Key points in this episode

unnamed.jpg




Show Notes:

Sean Griffin built Diesel to answer the question he was asking himself: Can Rust work as a high level language?

“I decided pretty early on that I didn’t want this to be my project, I wanted this to be the community’s project.” 

Sean went back through his early commits to understand how the project started and evolved. He shared why he writes detailed commit messages, the formation of Diesel core team, how he grew the community and how he decided what to put into Diesel 1.0.

Show Links:

Key points in this episode

Elizabeth Barron .jpg




Show Notes:

Software developer and community manager Elizabeth Barron is an avid nature photographer who longed to find more places to shoot so she created Find a Shot.

"We're all strapped for time....what can I do in a half hour?"

Elizabeth talks about how she finds places to photograph, why she decided against open sourcing the project, crafting a community and why its important to bring play back into your work or hobby.

Show Links:

 







Elizabeth Bunny.jpg




 







Elizabeth Fly.jpg

Key points in this episode

Tracy Osborn.jpg




Show Notes:

Tracy Osborn is an author, designer and developer who has run four successful Kickstarter campaigns.

"You can't just press the button..."

Indiedotes spoke to Tracy about her latest Kickstarter campaign for Hello Web App 2.0 and what it really takes to run a successful Kickstarter. Tracy also shared her tips for running a successful Kickstarter campaign, why she chose to self-publish her books, and the downside of using Amazon for self-publishing.

Show Links:

Key points in this episode

Seth Louey.png




Show Notes:

Serial maker and one of the founders of Botlist, Seth Louey shares the back story and how Botlist successfully launched on Product Hunt.

“You just need to make an impact for a handful of people.”

Seth shares: his advice for launching on ProductHunt, why Botlists launch was so successful, how the site makes money and why Botlist transitioned from a directory to a community.

Show Links:

Key points in this episode

Brian Hogan photo.jpeg




Show Notes:

Brian Hogan built Codecaster to get the most out of the time he had with students in class by maximizing practice. 

“If you’re the teacher it’s your responsibility to create a welcoming teaching environment.”

 The creator of Codecaster on creating a product to solve your own problem, why he built it in a language he’d never used before, the features he shipped in the beta version and how he built feedback loops into his project.

Show Links:

Key points in this episode

Andy Croll.jpg




Show Notes

Experienced software developer Andy Croll has helped shut down a number of projects. Rather than being a low point, it helped him gain more clarity. 

“You go in full of enthusiasm.” 

Andy shares why he doesn’t consider shutting a project down a total loss, and how a project ending helped him figure out his technological preference, what he’s best at and enjoys the most. 

Show Links

Key points in this episode

Robby Russell.jpg




Show Notes:

Robby Russell created Oh My Zsh to support his co-workers, never intending it to become a popular open source project.

"This side project was a good way to experiment with some ideas.”

Robby shares how a rescinded verbal offer transformed his career, setting him on a new path ultimately to starting Planet Argon. He speaks about the origin story of Oh My Zsh experimenting with marketing and branding on a open source projects, and the legacy he wants to leave -- it might surprise you.

Show Links:

Key points in this episode

Lara Hogan .jpeg




Show Notes:

Lara Hogan is the author of three books, including her latest, Demystifying Public Speaking.

" I thought, maybe it will go horribly wrong, and maybe I'll learn something about myself."

Lara shares how she found her publishers, finding her writing routine, how she got feedback, how she found the angle of her book and how long it took her to write.

Show Links:

 

 

Key points in this episode

Ryan Luikens .png




Show Notes:

Ryan Luikens shares why he stopped drawing, how he got started again and reclaimed his creativity.

" I had to find a way to transform from a professional non-creative into someone who made things."

Ryan shares the story of how he wrote his first picture book in two weeks, changing his perception of himself and his theory of developing a minimum viable habit.

Show Links:

Key points in this episode

eric-holscher-headshot.png




Show Notes:

Eric Holscher attended a 48 hour hackathon hoping to have a fun weekend building something. That project, Read the Docs, now has seven millions developers on the platform each month and is his full time job.

"I'm wearing a pager, people are depending on me, it's something that's important to the community, so I need to invest more into it."

Eric and I discussed how he settled on a business model, created ethical standards for advertising and why they avoided a subscription model. We also talked about how to build a sustainable open source project and the essential question he wrestled with after hiking the Pacific Crest Trail.

Show Links

Key points in this episode

rsz_1rsz_1rsz_lynne_tye.jpg




Show Notes:

Lynne Tye created key : values to help match software developers with companies which hold similar values. She might make you rethink how you find your next job or your next employees.

“Looking for a job was so painful.”

The creator shares why she created key : values and:


  • How she was able to go full time

  • The role of mini launches

  • What to do after launch

  • How to keep driving traffic

  • How she dealt with perfectionism

  • Why she wished she launched sooner.

Show Links:

What to read: My three biggest career mistakes

Key points in this episode

Vaidehi Joshi.png




Show Notes:

A job interview inspired software developer Vaidehi Joshi to create Basecs, a weekly series, as a way to teach herself Conway’s Game of Life and other computer science problems. Along the way she's helped thousands of others do the same.

“I thought it was just me who didn’t understand it.” 

Vaidehi shared how she found a balance when doing a weekly project, how she accidentally created a computer science curriculum and her process for learning and writing about a brand new topic in less than a week. 

Show Links:

 

Key points in this episode

Jake Sutton.jpg




Show Notes:

Jake Sutton is a software developer and the creator of Tonight’s Negroni and the Dipsomania Podcast. Jakes uses side projects as a means of exploring different types of media.

“I didn’t do it to create an audience, I did it for creative expression."

Our wide ranging conversation covered the challenges of different mediums, how to build in feedback loops and shifting from a consumer to a creator. 

Show Links

Key points in this episode

Justin Weiss .jpg




Show Notes:

Justin Weiss is a software developer and the author of Practicing Rails.

“Opportunities showed up or it was this job needs doing. So I’ll go and do it."

Justin told us about learning to be a manager for the first time, how he knew when it was time to make a change, the question he asked himself to find happiness in his career and how open source helped him get a new role. 

Show Links:

Key points in this episode

Andrew Nesbitt.jpg




Show Notes:

Andrew Nesbitt, creator of Libraries.io,  Dependency CI and 24 Pull Requests, cares deeply about solving the problems of discoverability and sustainability in open source. He created Libraries.io to help developers find new open source libraries, modules, frameworks, and keep track of the ones they depend on.

“You are not your code.”

We talk about Libraries.io, which has indexed 30 million open source projects. Our discussion covers the trouble of single points of failures in projects, how they developed attributes to assess repositories, how they got funding and how to make decisions about the risk of a transitive dependency. 

Show Links:

Key points in this episode

KCDCportrait0126.JPG




Show Notes:

Michael Eaton heads up Kalamazoo X, a tech conference that’s about everything except code. We talked about what it's like to run a conference described as a braver, more profane set of Ted Talks.

Michael talks about the challenges fo marketing a conference that’s about the human side of technology, leaving the content in your speaker’s hands rather than curating it and how one talk changed the course of the conference. Finally, he shares he knew it was time for a change and what's next.

Show Links:

Key points in this episode

anne-gentle.jpg




Show Notes:

After writing a traditionally published book, Anne Gentle, self-published her second: Docs Like Code.

“No one else is doing this, I better write this down.”

A product manager at Cisco, Anne used her side project as a way to experiment with the full scope of product management from writing, to selling, and marketing it.

Anne shares how she got better at self-promotion, why she hired a life coach and how she wrote her book while having a day job.

 

Show Links:

 

Key points in this episode

Zed_Shaw_Headshot-1782.jpg




Show Notes:

Software developer and author Zed Shaw recently made the decision to start charging for his Learn Python the Hard Way book. He discusses why he made this decision after offering the book for free to the community for years.

“In many ways open source has conditioned me to not appreciate the value of what I do.”

Zed talks about the challenges of making money in open source software, the value of consistent practice and how he consciously switches mindsets for different phases of work.

Show Links:

Key points in this episode

H.Walker_CarlaHackett5.jpg




Show Notes:

Calligrapher and hand-letterer Carla Hackett shares her journey translating an in-person workshop into a paid online course.

“Could this be a new path I take?”

After holding successful workshops in-person, Carla longed to serve more clients internationally. Carla tells us about the process, how she choose which currency to sell the course in for a global audience and when she starting promoting her new product. 







Hercules (L) and Benedict Cumberbatch (R)



Hercules (L) and Benedict Cumberbatch (R)






Show Links:

Key points in this episode

Kim Goulbourne.jpg




 

Show Notes:

Often businesses and side projects are born out of a desire to solve a problem we have. That’s exactly what Kim Goulbourne was doing when she launched No Questions Asked. Kim created this community event while she had a day job.

“I need deadlines or nothing will get done. I have to be working towards something.”

Kim talks about how she lowered her out-of-pocket expenses through sales and sponsorships and how she plans to build more marketing into her schedule in the future.

What to read: Why your brain hates selling

 

Show Links:

Key points in this episode

Matt Wynne 1.jpg




Show Notes:

Matt Wynne, the CEO and a founder of Cucumber Ltd talks about building Cucumber Pro, a product designed to solve collaboration problems and bridge communication in software.

“It’s harder than you think. It takes more resilience than you think."

Matt gives us a behind-the-scenes look at building a boot strapped product. He shares the mistakes they made with Cucumber Pro 1.0, why they eventually built code they knew they'd throw away and the importance of asking the right questions.

What to read: How learning to ask questions transformed my career

Show Links:

Key points in this episode

Nadia Odunayo.png




Show Notes:

Nadia Odunayo is a software engineer and founder of Ignition Works, a consulting company but she's also a dancer.

“Always surround yourself with people who are better than you.” 

Nadia shares how breaking down her performance transformed it, the role of actionable feedback, what to do if you're stagnant when learning something new and how to know when to quit.

What to read: Wait, do that again! The secret to repeating your success

 

Show Links:

 

A post shared by Nadia Odunayo (@nodunayo) on Nov 13, 2016 at 10:36am PST


Key points in this episode

Jenn Schiffer.jpg




Show Notes:

Web app developer, pixel artist and tech satirist Jenn Schiffer loves to build tools that facilitate the creation of art and lower the barrier to get new people into programming, especially young girls. 

"I built this for myself so I wasn’t concerned about getting it out there.”

During our chat, we talked about the origin of make8bitart.com, why she didn’t monetize the site despite thousands of daily visitors, when to add features to a project that doesn’t make money and her accidental promotion plan. We also talk about why naming is the hardest thing in computer science and I share my own naming story for the first time.

Show Links:

Key points in this episode

sumi tonooka 1.jpg




Show Notes:

Sumi Tonooka is a jazz composer and pianists with a 30 year career spanning Philadelphia & Boston, to New York & Seattle. Sumi and I talked her experience of composing For Malala.

“You have to remember that you’re writing for human beings.”

We talked about the creative process, creating productive routines and how constraints can distill and be beneficial. She also shares Miles Davis’ advice to John Coltrane on how to know when to stop in the creative process. 

Show Links:

Key points in this episode

owen.jpg




Shows Notes:

Developer and journalist Owen Williams started his popular newsletter Charged because he was worried about the demise of Twitter and a longing to have a platform he owned.

"If I found myself needing a job, I could email the list with a nice message about emailing back and I think people would do that."

Highlights include: how creating a well-received newsletter can be a career changer, the best way to monetize a newsletter, whether your side project has to make money and how to build a paid product on top of a free one.

Show Links:

 

Key points in this episode

Seb Rose Agile 2015.jpg




Show Notes:

Despite the idea that we think they should, careers don’t always progress in a linear fashion. The career of Seb Rose, a software developer and partner at Cucumber Ltd has taken many turns including serving as a pastry chef and builder. He’s also worked for himself as well as with large companies like Amazon and Google.

"Our challenge is to deliver value to the community around us and also to be happy in ourselves."

Seb talks the power of BDD, how he came to Cucumber and his thoughts on career.

Show Links:

Key points in this episode






Show Notes:

As a software developer, or anyone who primarily works on the internet, we often spend most of our hours with a glowing screen in our face. 

“Stepping away is important.” 

Software developer Kinsey Ann Durham was looking for a way to get into the outdoors. She tells us how fly fishing helped her avoid burnout and how it influences her work.

What to read: The power of creative rest

Show Links:

Key points in this episode

Richard Schneeman .jpg




Show Notes:

As creators, most of us enjoy the making part much more than the sharing part. The problem is that unless we get it out in to the world, no one will see it.

"The product cycle of a feature isn't done until we get users, and some feedback on it."

This week we talk to Richard Schneeman, software developer and creator of Code Triage, the easiest way to get involved in open source. We talk about he found a balance between building new features and promoting his product, and how he went from a simple script to 20,000 developers and 2,000 projects.

What to read: Three ways to market yourself without being a sellout

Show Links:

Key points in this episode






 

Show Notes:

When you embark on a project, there will always be people who tell you that it’s going to be challenging or impossible. How you handle the naysayers (even the internal ones inside you) can mean the difference between a successful project and one that tanks.

“I’ll just take it as it comes.”

Software developer and independent event creator Bobbilee Hartman shares why mindset is so important when doing any sort of creation. She used her mindset to create events despite having experience and to get through a forest fire during her first event.

What to read: Three things to do when you feel self-doubt

 

Show Links:

 

Key points in this episode






Show Notes:

After a decade as a Java developer, open source helped Mike Perham build a name for himself in the Ruby world. He saw the open source burnout pattern happen over and over. He didn't want it to happen to him. So even though it went against industry norms,  Mike started Sidekiq with the intention of making money.

“I’m a creator and I love building tools.”

After five years, Sidekiq has more than 11 million downloads and has surpassed his goal of making $1M without taking a cent of investor money. Hear why it’s important to avoid what he calls “Tip Jar Mindset” and how he turned his project from making him $1/hour to the robust business it is today. 

What to read: Avoiding burnout

Show Links:

Key points in this episode






Show Notes:

Many of us have dreamed about what it would be like to create our own conference. We wonder what it would be like to pick the venue, curate the programming ,find interesting speakers and craft the kind of experience that we'd want.

Saron Yitbarek had this dream too.  Quitting her job allowed her to do bigger projects like a conference for her business, CodeNewbie.

"I wanted to make people feel special. I wanted them to feel like they belonged."

Saron shares what she considered the hardest part of a running a conference (hint: it's an uncomfortable task for most of us). She also shares the best piece of advice she received and the advice she’d give to others.

If you’ve ever wanted to host an event, this behind-the-scenes look is fascinating. 

What to read: Why your brain hates selling

 

Show Links:

Key points in this episode






Show Notes:

You’re in flow. Everything is working like clockwork. Good stuff starts to happen. And then…something happens. Breaking a streak is so common, everyone goes through it. Still, those habits can be very useful. How do you get back on track once you lose your streak?

“I was the guy who wrote short, easy to read articles.” 

On this episode, software developer, author and team trainer Jim Gay shares how he broke a streak and how he got back on track.

Show Links:

What to read:  Handling the surprises of independence

 

Key points in this episode






Show Notes:

Finding time to work on side projects is hard for anyone. The complexity increases when collaborating with a partner.

Of all her side projects: "It's a lot, but I never think it's enough."

Self-described side project addict and designer Femke van Schoonhoeven talks about her experience running the Design Life Podcast with fellow designer, Charli Prangley

Femke also shares why figuring out ownership on a side project is important even if it doesn’t make money.

What to read: Collaborating on side projects

*Affiliate link

Show Links:

 

Key points in this episode






Show Notes

Writing a book is on the bucket list for many of us. We look forward to the credibility it gives us, often not anticipating how difficult writing a book can be. When you write a book, or undertake any project really, you’ll encounter unexpected challenges.

In this week's episode, machine learning expert and author Matt Kirk shares how he got a publisher for his machine learning books, how he wrote his first book in nine months, why his second one took two years and what he learned about personal limits.

Matt's story takes a surprising turn you won't want to miss.

What to read: Avoiding burnout

Show Links

Key points in this episode






Show Notes

Have ever dreamed of chucking your daily grind to do something radical? On this week’s episode, software developer John Bafford took that chance. 

“I kinda liked the outdoors. I thought it might be kinda fun to hike the Appalachian Trail.” 

Despite never having camped outdoors or having done a long hike, John decided to hike the entire Appalachian Trail — a 2,200 mile foot path that spans from Georgia to Maine. Despite his lack of experience in this endeavor, John decided he wanted to take the chance to do something amazing. The decision changed his life.

What to read: The missing career path for the technical expert

Show Links

 

Key points in this episode






Show Notes

My guest this week is software developer and independent video game designer, Chris Parsons. He heads up Revelation Games and the creator of the indie game, Sol Trader.

This episode focuses on his latest video game, Ealdorlight, which he was in the midst of funding through a kickstarter campaign. You’ll find this episode interesting if you’re interested running a kickstarter campaign, creating a team or drumming up interest for a side project. 

What to read: How to recover from a business failure

Show Links

Key points in this episode

Artist, web designer Lynn Fisher is a serial creator. Her projects include: A Single Div, AirportCod.es and Why.AZ among others. Lynn specializes in light-hearted projects. Lynn shares why she started A Single Div, why she loves using constraints for her creative projects and why she finds CSS an expressive medium to experiment with.

Key points in this episode

Shares her experience of working on Crying in Public, a community-based map based in New York City. The project was one of her more technically complicated ones.
We talked about the aspect of the project she focused on the most, getting labeled as “offensive content” by Facebook’s API, how she knew she was on the right path when designing the project, the unifying element for all her side projects, how she determined when to launch Crying in Public, and her working style.

Key points in this episode

The creator of the popular series Ruby Tapas and MOOM shares how he determined what to delegate, the importance of taste when creating something, how he determines pricing of a product and how he markets is products.

Key points in this episode

Leah Culver talks about building Breaker, iOS app focused on podcast discovery.

She shared the one test she uses to know when it’s time to bring in others, the approach they took to get users, how she picked Erik Berlin to work with, the two week product process they use to build features, how to determine what tasks to give to others vs trying to do it all yourself.

Key points in this episode

Sean Griffin talks about why he writes detailed commit messages, how the Diesel core team was formed, how he grew the community and how he decided what features to put into Diesel 1.0

Key points in this episode

Building a photography community site

Key points in this episode

How to run a successful kickstarter, why you might choose to self-publish your book and the downsides of using Amazon for self-publishing

Key points in this episode

Seth shares: his advice for launching on ProductHunt, why Botlist’s launch was so successful, how the site makes money and why Botlist transitioned from a directory to a community

Key points in this episode

The creator of Codecaster on creating a product to solve your own problem, why he built it in a language he’d never used before and the features he shipped in the beta version.

Key points in this episode

Software developer Andy Croll on the impermanence of software, how closing down a project helped him figure out his technological preferences and helped his career.

Key points in this episode

The creator of Oh My Zsh talks about his popular open source project, how a rescinded verbal job offer changed the course of his career and the legacy he wants to leave.

Key points in this episode

The process of writing a book including the writing routine, the role of feedback and how she figured out the angle of her book.

Key points in this episode

An illustrator with a day job, Ryan shares how he wrote his first picture book in two weeks, how he creates minimum viable habits and his creation process.

Key points in this episode

An upfront conversation about how he settled on a business model and developed ethical advertising standards.

Key points in this episode

The creator shares why she created {key : values}, how she was able to go full time, what to do after launch and how to keep driving traffic.

Key points in this episode

How a job interview inspired Vaidehi to understand Conway’s Game of Life and other computer science problems by creating a weekly series, basecs.

Key points in this episode

Side projects as a means of exploring different types of media

Key points in this episode

Learning to be a manager for the first time, how he knew when it was time to make a change, the question he asked himself to get back happiness in his career and how open source helped him get a new role.

Key points in this episode

Stories of indie creators

Key points in this episode

Behind the scenes look at how the conference was named, how one talk changed the course of the conference and what it really take to run a conference.

Key points in this episode


Podcaster? Add your Podcast ->

Newsletter

Get podcast notes for this and similar podcasts directly in your inbox. It's free!

0:00
0:00