Recently saw a Tweet from Constantin about building in public and whether that’s a good thing or not.
The Tweet goes from a perspective that your product will get copied and let’s face it. If you are in certain circles on X, you will see the occasional cry or accusation tossed around that someone copied your ‘idea’, product or SaaS.
I have my own stance on BIP, and for over 15 years I never had the intention to build or share lots in public until I found my edge.
Even today what X sees is only 10% of my activities and minimal has been shared over the past months.
For me it’s as simple as: You work on your project or build, shut the fuck up about it until there is traction and/or enough authority so others will have a hard time catching up.
Even then, the chances are that someone better skilled, better funded or smarter will come along and crush you.
By design I choose deliberately what I would talk about in public because my road to PE carries a lot of weight. But it’s only after years of hard work and the ability to react to markets I stand a chance against.
Take templates and boilerplates for example. More and more faster solutions were built to launch, deploy or ‘ship fast’ (gosh I hate that mentality) in the last couple of months in 2023 than I’ve witnessed in 5 years.
What’s funny is that lots of them preach the following:
Starting a business can be easy. Use X template, with Y solution and build a simple landing page with Z integration and you can make your first dollars online.
Whilst that looks fine and is absolutely correct, what does one expect from a potential competitor doing exactly the same thing?
It’s not because you launched a directory with a template that can be bought from the open market and someone else does the same thing the next day that you have the right to shout copycat.
If I would take the directory example then those same people probably never realize that directories have been around longer that they’re alive.
The concept and core DNA of it never changed. It’s just built with different tech, built by a different creator and certainly not unique.
But my biggest observation is that the build in public is very two-faced.
It’s weird, that I see the same public shouting building in public is the best thing would lash out to others because they happen to have launched a similar or exactly the same product as theirs.
On one hand they make it look like they want to support others but let’s be real: You want to belong to the top 1% or beat the shit out of everyone.
Except, rarely it’s admitted in public.
Are you really that supportive over someone that does the same thing as you but makes 100x more per month? Or is it all a façade?
There’s lots of positive energy going around in a build in public community, but I am confident it’s equally fueled with:
Even when the balance between positive/negative is in favor of the positive elements, it’s the negative elements that make people go tilt and decide to start hiding. Because they realize that it’s more mentally draining to even keep up or defend it than just being more quiet about it.
Over the last year, I’ve seen some great people building in public. But they stopped. They just stopped either being detailed in their journey on X or stopped using hashtags like #buildinpublic #indiehackers (still hate this term as well btw) and go in stealth mode.
And I think they just realized how much merit it has when you’re early in a build or startup and you want to eliminate as much noise as possible. It’s not even competition that would bother you but the energy and time spent on a channel like X.
Realizing probably that most of their traffic or customer acquisition will come from a different platform or search engines and they start defining their audience vs followers on X.
Another major point is that lots of them started to focus more on delivery and build than worry about public statements. Konstantin, a member in our FocusX group told me this a while back.
Once he started more active behind the scenes and in our private Discord channel he 3xed his productivity and is more driven to finish the job.
Building in public makes sense if:
- You are looking for an audience that is interested in buying your product.
- If you are making attempts to build personal brand equity, but know when to stop or what to share about your business.
- If you have a mature product that is already crushing competitors on X and most likely are not going to catch up soon
- If you have a way to funnel that 1% of your followers into a different platform
- If you are entering a red ocean market (yes contraire to what others think) and it’s just an additional project for example
- If you are navigating in a hyper specific niche with extreme knowledge about it
- If you are in a position to bankroll any hits coming at you that require overnight change
Build in public doesn’t make sense if:
- You’re the one stuck in the middle where you need to focus one execution more than your personal brand equity. Reaching the top requires more focus
- You can’t take variance in entrepreneurship
- You are easily triggered by someone or something else that is doing the same thing or similar. Including copying design (could be template) or services
- You spend way too much time on X defending or promoting a product to a following that is just not interested. X is not a gateway to dollars. It’s a vehicle to build a better story
- You are living in constant fear someone might copy you or catch up on you and your mental tax increases significantly
- If you’re new to the game
- If you realize that solo entrepreneurship is not a lifestyle. It’s really fucking hard
- You do not know how to manage your time (yet)
I have seen people building in public for the wrong reasons. And lots of them are tied to their product launch on Product Hunt. You can acquire thousands of votes because you build your BIP authority, and yes everyone is asking for you to vote for your product, but how many of those actually truly support you by opening their wallet?
It’s almost zero to none, in most cases.
Build in public should be seen from a perspective where you as a creator or builder are trying to build a story. A story tied to your journey where an audience can resonate to.
I also want to stress out that lots of builders in public do not realize how much WE (and by we I mean Private Equity, Venture Capital, Angels, etc) are soaking up social signals and spot trends to make better data driven decisions in what to fund the next round or year on the market.
Our side works very data driven and social signal driven and the more signals we parse or data extract from public, the easier it is for us to make a decision and fund a competitor because the market indicates a significant growth or interest in this niche.
The difference between you and me? I use parsers, data flows and platforms like PitchBook to find inefficiencies. Tied to lots of social signaling.
This is exactly why I decided to pull the trigger in 2024 to go in public with Micro-PE and acquisitions. Not only for the storytelling but also to attract major leagues and hopefully one day my role model Tiger Global to have a chat with me.
Be smart about your build in public journey. Do it for the right reasons and not just because everyone says that it’s the best thing.
Oh and, Merry Christmas everyone.
- For more focused advice or actual coaching, I would suggest to take a look at LaunchPad.
- If you are looking for a more private circle of entrepreneurs, then you can join me on Discord with FocusX
- Looking to start out? NanoBets might be a great place to start with.