BuildPublic: Starting a SaaS for the Indie Hacker Community

by | Feb 17, 2024 | Entrepreneurship, Product

Today we will talk about BuildPublic, a tool Ramon and I created to connect easily with the indie hacker community on Twitter and different forums. This project was inspired after some months of trying to connect with folks while building Mapmelon, our major project.

As we didn’t launch the project, I was in charge of UX and User Interviews to make the project more appealing to indie hackers and entrepreneurs.

So let’s dive in!

Our Goal

We were mostly looking to get passive revenue and have some fun! You know, when a developer needs some tool they prefer to build it rather than to buy it…

BuildPublic was an easy tool tailored to indie hackers who will become stressed with all the different platforms to connect with others.

The Four-Month Adventure

BuildPublic was intense, Ramon and I work with a different approach than in most companies: Ramon builds first and then I correct or redo the design. I understand this may sound like double work but it is what let us build faster in Mapmelon as I am not only doing UX but also marketing and my time can be limited sometimes.

Before the integration with Twitter (the first of the list) was built we created a landing page to get some emails. We worked on it and shared everything on our Twitter, we were building BuildPublic in public!
We got like 15 emails without promoting it, so I decided to contact them and conduct user interviews to test the product.

After 4-5 insightful calls, we managed to craft adequate pricing (5eur) and improve the user path to make it flow better. It was interesting to understand pricing because the indie hacker community is very diverse, with a lot of people from the US, and Europe but also Southeast Asia with weaker currencies that can’t invest the same.

In the end, we had to close the platform, the growing prices of Twitter API made it not possible for us to launch the product and be profitable. We were also starting to focus again on coliving communities and Ramon started coding MangoBeds. So it was time to say goodbye to this idea.

Lessons Learned

  • Launch landing pages without having the product ready and build in public as much as possible using the platform that your audience uses. People like to see something grow and engage in it, after that, they will be more likely to buy the product.
  • Do not base your whole product on third-party APIs, particularly those of social media. A small change for them can suppose you close your project.
  • Early user interviews, I know everyone talks about this but it is true! Get those emails from the landing and add them to a community (WhatsApp, Slack, Discord, whatever), create polls, and make calls with them. Connecting with your buyer persona is key to developing a useful product that will improve their quality of life.
  • People pay mostly for two things: To save money or to save time. Do not waste your time building something that doesn’t solve any of these things. The easier to see this connection the easier to do the marketing for it.

And this was it! Hope you enjoyed one of my adventures as an indie hacker.


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