#016 - JR (@TheBuilderJR) - Going above and beyond for your early customers
Today's Maker: JR (@TheBuilderJR) - Going above and beyond for your early customers
WHY HE'S FEATURED:
Building Flurly in public (a Gumroad competitor), which is serving over 1,000 sellers and has processed over $130k in GMV (Gross merchandise value) since it's inception one year ago
Also building GraphJSON (a Mixpanel/Amplitude competitor) which recently reached $100 MRR and is tracking 1m events per week 😱
Goes after big markets, builds in public & involves his users in product development process
JR is a different kind of maker. He's not afraid to go after big opportunities or go up against big incumbents like Gumroad or Mixpanel.
Using his "User ➡️ Product ➡️ Outcome" framework, JR goes after product ideas that deliver an outcome he knows users already want.
In Flurly's case, he knew people wanted to sell digital products online. It didn't matter that there was already an established player in the market. JR knew he could connect with makers, learn what they wanted, and provide additional value. For instance, he got a DM from a Notion template maker that they wanted to share revenue for a digital product. Thus, the "Collabs" feature was born—and his customers love it.
In GraphJSON's case, he knew people wanted to track analytics for their products. Again, it didn't matter that Mixpanel or Amplitude were already dominating the market. JR saw the opportunity to deliver more value—like allowing for SQL queries, and integrations with Stripe, Vercel, and Segment. And guess what? His customers love it too.
JR is managing multiple products, that although may be early in terms of revenue, are on a great trajectory and in markets with huge upside. Turns out, he has some great habits that give him the confidence to take such big swings 👇
3 Habits that changed JR's trajectory:
🤓 Get in the habit of learning - In my spare time I like to learn about electrical grids, poker, chess, etc. Although what I learn doesn't directly apply, it does (1) improve my general ability to learn effectively and (2) often times there are patterns, techniques, and methods from completely orthogonal areas that can be re-used. For instance, much of my learning about adversarial thinking / probability / etc from Poker has been critical in my ability to ramp up to fight fraud for Flurly. Similarly learnings about how electrical grids load balance has been useful in how I've constructed the data infrastructure for GraphJSON.
🙌 Go above and beyond for your early customers - Perhaps because I'm an engineer at heart, I find it really hard to get early users for my project. Thus, whenever I start a new project and someone shows interest, I generally go out of my way to ensure they are happy. In practice this means dropping my plans to go on a hike to build a feature while I have the user on Crisp/Intercom chat or doing things that simply don't scale. For instance in the early days, I would manually keep track of payout schedules in an excel spreadsheet to customize payout schedules - weekly, monthly, every other tuesday, etc. Most likely your early customers represent a larger customer segment, so if you can make them love you, you'll likely be able to find many more customers like them.
🔍 Identify your weaknesses and actively work on them - I'm pretty good at building things. I'm much less good at writing/marketing/design/etc. It's really easy to sit in your own comfort zone, but it comes at the expense of the quality of your product/company. Forcing yourself to step out of my comfort zone (like agreeing to do this interview!), has helped me slowly get better at things I'm weak at. Another way I address my weaknesses is simply delegating it to others who are better. For instance paying for the TailwindCSS component library has drastically mitigated the product risks associated with my poor design sensibilities!
But JR, what if we don't have any weaknesses? 😂 JK, JK.
Make sure to follow JR on Twitter to stay up to date on these projects and for a great example of how to deliver value for your users 👉 @TheBuilderJR
Build new habits + stick with them
Looking to build some new habits? Harold is a quirky SMS bot that helps you build habits by tracking them via SMS. Enter the habits you want to work on, and Harold will text you to ask if you did that habit that day.
You can use Harold to build habits like JR, for example:
"Did you go above and beyond for your customers today?"
"Did you spend time learning something new?"
You'll be surprised what can happen with just 1 text message each day.
Need some help with #BuildingInPublic?
Check out my new product Promptly.so (launching soon!)