The Other Half of Indie Hacking

Austin Moninger
Austin Moninger
October 16th, 2021

This was originally published on my website in September 2020.

I was reading The Black Swan by Nassim Taleb the other day and came across an interesting idea.

"Mother Nature destined us to derive enjoyment from a steady flow of pleasant small, but frequent, rewards."

Most people would be much happier overall receiving $100,000 every year for the next ten years than they would be to receive $1,000,000 in one year because the excitement would fade. Further than that, it would probably be better for your happiness (and mental health, probably) if you were to receive no money at all than to receive ten million dollars and proceed to lose nine million of it.

A lot of people are predisposed to prefer a steady income than to toil away for years on a business, a book, or some other kind of work with asymmetric financial upside. This is super reasonable as those pursuits fall into the “winner-take-most” categories of life.

The financial goals of indie hacking are perfectly intuitive: build a modest business with steady recurring revenue, and then you can focus your efforts on other areas of your life that you choose.

Paul Graham says that starting a startup is like compressing all of the work in your career into a few years (exiting a company and bearing the fruits of that labor in theory). Why would you want to do that? Lots of people overestimate how happy they will be in retirement, with nothing to do.

What would you do differently if you were getting paid $10M a year just to live your life? Are you sure you'll like that more than running a business you actually enjoy and believe in?

Therein lies the other half of indie hacking. The first is recurring revenue; the other is recurring meaning.

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