The most powerful paradoxes of indie hacking

jasonleow  •  12 Feb 2024   •    

Chanced on this thread by @SahilBloom about the most powerful paradoxes in life, and I love it. Truth bombs that are so counterintuitively contrarian.

Made me want to apply it to an indie hacking lens:

1. The Failure Paradox

You have to fail more to succeed more.

Our transformative moments of growth often stem directly from our toughest moments of failure.

Don’t fear failure—learn to fail smart and fast. Never fail the same way twice.

If I learned anything watching folks like Pieter Levels and Marc Lou, it’s that you got to fail an embarrassingly huge number of times before you get a hit product. They ship like madmen. They launched so much. Their success to launch ratio is in the low single figures. Yet we don’t usually associate them with failure but success.

2. The Growth Paradox

Growth takes a longer time coming than you think, but then happens much faster than you ever thought possible.

Growth happens gradually, then suddenly.

The best things in life come from allowing compounding to work its magic.

Slowly, then all at once.

8. The Effort Paradox

Effortless, elegant performances are simply the result of a large volume of effortful, gritty practice.

You have to put in more effort to make something appear effortless.

Small things become big things, simple is not simple.

Over the 4-5 years observing the build in public scene, one thing rings true. Everyone’s either an overnight success or a nobody. There’s folks in between in theory but it feels very polarized. I feel that’s in part because of the growth paradox. Everyone’s a nobody grinding, grinding, grinding… until they aren’t. Things go slowly, compounding, then they hit a major unlock and all the potential energy gets all released in one go. And they make it look easy that it creates an illusion that it is easy for everyone. What doesn’t show in a 280-character tweet is that they had put in the practice to make it look so effortless.

5. The Fear Paradox

The thing you fear the most is often the thing you most need to do.

Fears, when avoided, become limiters on our progress.

Make a habit of getting closer to your fears—treat them as magnets for your energy and you’ll find growth on the other side.

Does marketing ring a bell when it comes to the fear paradox? Especially for folks who prefer to build. Marketing, selling, putting yourself out there, can be scary for people who don’t enjoy it or not good at it. Yet it’s the one thing that will likely bring success for the product than thinking “build it and they’ll come”. For me, I’ve gotten more comfortable with marketing now but I still feel tinges of that feat when it comes to new aspects of marketing, like SEO, ads, video.

19. The News Paradox

The more news you consume, the less well-informed you become.

Nassim Taleb’s “noise bottleneck” says more data leads to a higher ratio of noise-to-signal.

Want to know more about the world? Turn off the news and go spend time in it.

This resonated with my previous post about hinderous vs helpful learning. It was helpful to read up and learn when early on because everything about indie hacking felt so new. But beyond a threshold, the more I read up, the more confused I got, the more mistakes I made. It started to hinder more than help. So being super selective about your media consumption, curating who you follow, is important.

What other paradoxes resonated with you?


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