Hi Victor, Thank you for answering a few questions and sharing your experience with us. Could you maybe start by introducing yourself?
Hello. I’m Victor, a full-stack developer from Moscow 🙂
I think that online presence is quite crucial for solo founders. As far as I can get it, there are mainly two ways for new founders to get first users and receive some feedback. On the one hand, you may of course go with paid ads and easily receive some traffic. On the other hand, it won’t give you so much experience that you can get by being active in founders community.
Sharing brings me really a lot of new contacts. Those people share their experience, give some advice, become your users, tell you about common mistakes they had, give you feedback about your product as well. For example, after the post on Reddit, I got more than 50 comments and realized that something’s wrong with my pricing model.
I didn’t know that people already know a lot of my competitors and their pricing. I thought that they’ll just check out my product and subscribe if they liked it, but they actually pointed out that competitors are cheaper, so I should pay attention to this too.
While being on IndieHackers and Twitter I got many friends which supported me on Product Hunt which lead to the product of the day.
I’m currently writing a book about UI/UX, and being on Twitter motivates me to make more content related to this area, as well as providing feedback on other products.
Can you tell us a little bit about Pingr?
Well, this is yet another uptime monitoring tool 🙂 Nothing that special about it, except that I have many plans and I want to mention that I’ve already been working on it for more than a year. For me, it’s non-usual not to give up after such a long period of time.
What is your objective with Pingr (for the product itself and personally)?
Eventually, I want Pingr to allow me financial independence. I think that it’s the best feeling when you have your own product, which you like, and which gives you money.
Regarding the product itself, I hope that one day it’ll become as popular as some other services. I also don’t want to have multiple products. Instead, I want to introduce different modules related to monitoring. I’ve already got some plans for what I’ll do next. There are so many related areas to monitoring: data collecting, analytics, server monitoring, etc. I know that there are many popular products, like New Relic or Datadog, but their weak part is their UI/UX experience, plus their pricing, plus that they are mainly for big companies, not for small products. I hope I’ll develop in this area.
What motivated you into building this product? You mention it’s mostly about enhancing the UI compared to competitors, is that it?
Yes. When I heard the first time about uptime monitoring tools, I checked Uptimerobot and thought that it’s impossible that such a popular service has such bad UI/UX experience. Also, I always wanted to have my own product. Motivation is crucial here: if I didn’t want to have my product, I wouldn’t develop it even though I knew that Uptimerobot’s UI is bad :).
It’s a business. I wanted to have my own. Combining with the beauty of user interfaces.
Why did this product got created vs maybe others that never passed the “idea” status?
I already had some ideas and I even started building another product before Pingr.io, which is a site where you can book co-working in Russia. Funny enough, it was for the same reason: the most popular site for this purpose had such an awful design that I used Google Maps instead of it. But at that time I didn’t realize that:
1. It’s a local site, in Russian
2. I can go global
3. This is not exactly a web app, it’s more like a CMS which I didn’t want to build myself. Just not my thing.
I think that regarding Pingr I liked that I immediately got the idea of what it is. Combining that to the fact that the most popular product didn’t look nice, I decided to create it. Plus, at first, I thought it would be easy to make such a service. I’ve never been so wrong 🙂
As a solo founder in tech, you are building everything by yourself, why this choice compared to teaming up with someone?
I think because I have enough knowledge to build it, plus I don’t like to share my business with others, since it may lead to some problems. If you need to share your business with someone, it’s okay to hire someone for part of the job. Actually, I did hire a designer for the landing page. Also when I build myself, I control it and am fully responsible for it!
I read on your Reddit post that you are building a product on a business that already exists and has a proven market. This limits the risk of working too long on a project that might end up without demand. I love this philosophy. How did you get to this conclusion in your journey?
Actually, I didn’t even plan to post. I just talked to some of my contacts on Twitter and they told me about “Saturday show-off” on Reddit. And it was Saturday, so I decided to drop a post, and voila!
But I didn’t get what I expected: I wanted to get paying users, but I just got sign-ups and a lot of feedback related to pricing.
It’s super useful feedback, and that’s cool. I mean, the eventual purpose of getting traction is getting new users, I thought. But it turned out that feedback is also nice. So I got maybe 4k+ visitors, ~30-40 signups, and 1-lifetime deal sold. No subscriptions yet but that’s alright since I’m going to change my pricing model completely.
How are you going to capitalize on this success?
I think now I believe more than ever in myself. I know that I’m able to write a post which will get some traction 🙂
What would you say to someone who wants to start a project?
Check out this tweet, and this post: and think about it. Feel it.
Don’t be distracted by others’ posts about overnight success.
Then read it again: and again.
Now, if you want to start a project, do what you like to do. If you don’t like your project, don’t start, really.
Investing money is probably okay, but spending time to build your own child who you don’t like – just no.
Now, if you got that it’s very probable that it’ll be hard, and if you’re ready to spend a year or so, then keep pushing.
If your idea is new – validate it. If not – don’t validate, just do it. Don’t pay attention to people saying that it’s not unique. Of course try to make something better than others, some small unique parts, but if it’s another site builder or CRM – it’s alright. We have 7 billion people on this planet, you’ll find your clients.
What should I wish you for the coming months?
More patience 🙂
Victor, thank you so much for taking some time to answer me. We wish you more patience for the coming months and the best of success for Pingr.io.
We will check in on you soon!