How I Met My Co-Founder and Started Podots.com

My journey from 3 months ago until now.

If you don’t follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn, then maybe you are not aware of my new project - Podots.com and you don’t know how I met my co-founder, Jackson.

Well, It all started 3 months ago when I found an online community of freelancers (baza7.ro). The community was still in its early days and form, but it was the start of this journey.

In this community, I learned how to optimize my LinkedIn profile, how to update my CV, and how to get ready for a life of freelancing. But here came the problem, I didn’t want to freelance in the same position that I currently work in, not even the same domain. I found out I want to be a product manager!

Here is the thing, nobody wants a product manager without experience. I have plenty of experience but in the automotive industry, electronic components, electric vehicles, and things like that.

You probably guessed what projects are in need of a product manager - web applications, web platforms, mobile applications, that kind of products. You probably guessed that nobody wanted a product manager that has no relevant experience in the respective industry.

I might not have the experience on paper to get people to hire me, but I sure have the knowledge to be a good product manager. So how can I prove that?

Start my own project!

So, if I want to be a product manager, I need some products to manage in order to prove my worth. I was always the creative type of guy, used to sing hip-hop in high-school. I’m passionate about photography. I’m an avid gamer. I love cars, motorcycles, mobile phones, PCs, and everything tech-related.

Let’s say that I’m the balanced combination between human sciences and tech. I love tech, but I also love people. Since I’m an extrovert, it’s natural for me to love people.

Okay, now you know that I want to have some products to manage, to create my portfolio. I started researching some ideas I had over the years and figured out that I need to do something with them.

I need to make these projects public, or else all this research will go to waste! And so, this newsletter/blog appeared! This is my first product out of this new maker mindset.

It’s easy enough to set up a newsletter/blog, but I need something more. Sure, here is where I write all my research, my experience, my thoughts.

What do I know best? Well, I know how to manage teams. I’m a goddam good programmer, but in C and embedded stuff, so it will take some time to learn web technologies. What else do I know? Well, I know marketing, growth hacking, and some design.

That means I can actually help other people promote their projects. Well, cool, but where can I find damsels in distress? I found out that Reddit and Indie Hackers are good places to search for people to partner with.

There’s where I found Jackson. He is a cool guy living on the opposite side of the planet and working for Amazon. Also, he has a newsletter about open-source software, you should check it out (console.substack.com).

So, he posted on both Reddit and Indie Hackers that he is looking for a co-founder to start a Hacker News Clone but for podcasts.

Well, I’m not a particular fan of podcasts. I listen to them, but not regularly. If I want to listen to people talking, I usually also look at them in video format. If I do something else (driving, other stuff around the house) I usually listen to music. Music is a vital part of my life.

Can I promote this project? Yeah! Can I technically contribute to it? Dunno, but probably yeah! So, I’m in! I replied to the thread. I said I am interested. We then continued our discussion on mail, but that was rather short since Jackson was just about to go on his Christmas Holiday.

We resumed our discussions via email somewhere around New Year’s Eve and then we moved to an IM platform (initially Telegram, then Signal). Podots.com was up and running when 2021 hit, but I was not thrilled with the initial face of the project.

Since the project is based on news.python.sc, the interface was the same. That might be okay for programmers, but it was not okay for me. And so the makeup changes started.

This was one of the first variants of the changed interfaces. It was okay for the first variant of the interface.

But I was still not happy, it looked too old, too “lifeless”. I needed more. So I continued the facelift process, and this is how it turned out 1 week after.

Sure, I am biased when I say this, but I think this is so much better than before. It even has a welcome section that tries to answer some basic questions like: What is this site? Why should I care?

As you might have expected, all this process of changing the interface did not go as smoothly as one would want. We had lots of problems with AWS’s Elastic Beanstalk health checks. These problems kept the website down for almost 1 full day. And made the deployment of changes incredibly hard until we found some kind of “hack”.

Fortunately, the health problems were fixed by Jackson this weekend and we can now continue with our work without having the hosting get in the way.

Basically, I met my co-founder by rising my hand when he asked for help. That’s it. Yeah, we discussed a little bit about the idea and we set some expectations. But the basic fact is that I only had to show up. And maybe that’s the most important lesson. Sometimes all you have to do is show up and the rest just happens.

Practice:

  1. Find the most basic step that you can do today in order to start working on your goals.

  2. Set a memento/alarm to do it daily.

  3. If you skip it one day, make the step even more basic.

  4. Repeat until you have reached your goal.


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