Hello! Who are you and what are you working on?
Hi! I'm Brett and I'm building Mindstamp to turn any video into an interactive experience.
It lets you add notes, pop-up questions, and CTAs that show up in the video at the time you made them for future viewers - it's like you're right there watching with them ? Our customers are using Mindstamp to capture and qualify new leads, onboard and support customers, engage and educate students + employees, and lots more!
Check out the demo at https://mindstamp.io/demo
What motivated you to get started with? how did you come up with the idea?
I originally built a social version of Mindstamp called Aech in order to share videos with my friends back home. I was tired of endless chains of messages or emails full of timestamps that we were trying to match up to the video content, and thought that there had to be a better way.
What went into building the initial product?
It took me about 9 months to build the initial version of Aech - I was pushing my technical abilities further each week after the first month or so. It took me another 9 months to rebuild the product as Mindstamp, with new technology and features making it a much better product overall.
During each of these periods, it went through a bunch of iterations on features, copy, UI and UX, Onboarding, and everything else that needs to be constantly tweaked to be as good as possible.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
Talking to your customers is by far the most effective advice you can be given as a founder. I email every single person that signs up for a free trial (and many that complete the demo as well) to personally welcome them and ask about their problems and how we might solve them.
If I can get them talking to me and to viewing Mindstamp as a potential solution for them with a friendly, reliable face behind it, that goes further than any marketing copy or drip email campaign does at our early stage. We will see how things change as we grow in the future :)
Describe the process of launching the business.
I love the idea of the launch being a continual thing as opposed to a single event that you bet it all on. I've launched Mindstamp in a number of places over the last two months and have no plans on stopping as I discover more places or add features that might be relevant to launch again in old ones.
My two most successful launches, in terms of numbers, have been Product Hunt and Hacker News, with PH being much more effective overall because of the user demographics.
I think a big reason Mindstamp's launch has been so effective, outside of the technology itself, primarily because of the demo video: it's a 2-minute interactive experience in which you interact with me while I briefly explain all the features. The first pop-up question really captures your attention and makes you wonder what's next, and most people stick around to find out!
What’s your business model, and how have you grown your revenue?
Basic SaaS monthly subscriptions based on the number of videos stored and playback time. We're always looking for new ways to create value for both us and our customers and are listening to those that say they want something outside of our offered plans, both on the lower and higher ends.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced and the obstacles you’ve overcome? What are your goals for the future?
As a solo founder, I feel like I'm constantly a mile wide but an inch deep: handling marketing, support, development, sales, and everything else for a company in a single day can make you feel like you're getting almost nothing done.
That's not actually true, but it can contribute to burning out when you feel like you're working so hard just to keep the ship from sinking. Additionally, being solo means you have to make every single decision and usually without feedback or the brainstorming abilities that a partner provides.
I often find myself frustrated when something isn't working and don't have anybody to help me get to the answer.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
Mindstamp has never been better: our successful Product Hunt launch last week has filled the funnel with free trials and has brought in a ton of interest from people of varying backgrounds that are useful for us to set our next steps in terms of growth.
You can see our PH launch at http://producthunt.com/posts/mindstamp
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
Learning to own a problem is inherently valuable in all areas of life and something you learn really well when creating a business, especially as a solo founder. Many people will only ever solve problems given to them by somebody else with boundaries that allow for a concrete definition of success with regards to their work.
Owning a problem means working on it from the 3rd degree, knowing what the ultimate goal is and focusing your work towards that rather than the groundwork that exists at the 1st degree.
Of course, you have to do the groundwork too, but it's easier and more productive when you look at it from the higher level :)
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
Mindstamp uses Rails, Heroku, Vue.js, Cloudflare, S3 for asset storage, Mux and Zencoder for Video transcoding/hosting/streaming.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
Books: Zero to One by Peter Thiel, Influence by Robert Cialdini, The Wright Brothers by David McCullough, and others are https://brett.coffee/books
Resources: Twitter, Indie Hackers Podcast + Forum, Pieter Levels and the rest of the Open Makers crowd, Julian's Growth Guide
What’s your advice for a fellow aspiring entrepreneur who is just starting out?
Be honest with yourself at every step of the way.
That doesn't mean to quit as soon as something doesn't look like it's going to work out, but don't bullshit yourself into wasting your most valuable resource (time) because your ego wants to be right.
Consistency is everything, don't burn out trying to work crazy hours to #CrushIt because the only thing you'll be crushing is your ability to be productive.
Also, follow me on Twitter @balindenberg