Product Ideas Newsletter #13

the product ideas podcast, indie thinkers, and the opposite of good ideas

🚀Products of the Week

Product Ideas Podcast. I’ve finally published the first episode of my new Product Ideas Podcast. It’s heavily inspired by the My First Million Podcast and basically just an excuse for me to talk even more about product ideas.

What to Tweet. I just launched a super simple tool that helps to develop tweet ideas.

📈 Opportunity of the Week

Indie Thinkers. This idea comes straight out of the first episode of the Product Ideas Podcast. Daniel observed that many people (me included!) have some reservations when it comes to the term Indie Hackers. The word hacker has still some negative connotations and most non-technical people don’t feel comfortable calling themselves hackers. Hence, I personally like the more generic term indie maker.

But it’s worth pointing out that a new class of indie makers is currently emerging. Daniel calls them Indie Thinkers.

They gather in communities like Nesslabs and monetize their writing using Substack, their expertise using Gumroad and Teachable, and their research using the Lagstack.

One huge opportunity is to create a platform like IndieHackers for indie thinkers. Positioning yourself as the indie thinker guy in the same way Courtland Allen did for indie hackers seems like a great way to build a following. (Daniel bought the domain IndieThinkers.com and is very interested in the topic. So collaborating with him would probably be a great way to start.)

Indie thinkers are generally still an underserved niche. What about something like Product Hunt or Hacker News for indie thinkers? What about new tools that makes it easier to sell research? (Currently people still need to stitch different tools together.) What about a dedicated marketplace for independent researchers?

While indie thinkers are currently certainly just a niche market, it’ll rapidly grow in the next few years. Most researchers and intellectuals are not happy with the current system and would love to try something new as soon as it becomes a viable option.

For example, it’s not uncommon that professors spend as little as 10% of their time doing research. And most original thinkers, can’t find an academic position anyway.

So given that it’s becoming harder and harder to do serious research in an academic environment, the rise of indie thinkers seems inevitable.

If you want to understand some of the problems, independent researchers are currently struggling with, start here and here.

💭 Thought of the Week

“The opposite of a good idea can also be a good idea” - Rory Sutherland

This is a quote from Sutherland’s fantastic book Alchemy which I’m reading right now.

An example he’s using is Red Bull. It’s a product that tastes worse than Coke (by all objective measures), is more expensive than Coke, and comes in a smaller can than Coke. And still, it’s selling like crazy.


Another fun example I came across recently is Slow. It started as a joke. Ash and Whit noticed that Fast.co was generating a lot of hype around their fast, one-click checkout experience. So they thought, let’s create the opposite of that: the slowest possible checkout experience.

This seems like a really silly idea until people started to point out that it could actually be useful. A slow checkout experience helps to prevent impulse buys.

I’ve been using this trick for a while now myself. For example, I don’t save any passwords or credit card information on stores because friction like this helps me to prevent buys I’ll regret later.

So the lesson really is that the opposite of a good idea (like a super fast checkout experience) can also be a good idea.

🤔 Prompt of the Week

Have a look at trending open source products on Github. Which one of them could you turn into an out-of-the-box SaaS product? (E.g. PagerDuty Nagios)

👋 End Notes

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