November 25th, 2019
Let's talk about Starter Story vs. Pigeon - my two projects that I'm working on.

Starter Story is an info product (sort of, it's a blog), and Pigeon is a SaaS.

In a given week, I spend 80% of my working day on Pigeon, and 20% of my working day on Starter Story, yet I generate 80% of my total revenue earned from Starter Story and 20% of it through Pigeon.

People probably look at my situation and think I'm stupid to be doing this, and I can definitely see their point.

It also feels so much harder to grow and get traction for Pigeon than it does for Starter Story.

But I do justify this for a couple reasons:

  1. Pigeon is a much more scalable business (and business model)
  2. I wouldn't be proud of myself if I didn't try to build Pigeon.
  3. Info products life time value is much shorter

It's like skiing vs. snowboarding. In my opinion, skiing is really easy on your first try, but gets really hard as you take on more advanced terrain. Because when you stand on skis, you can naturally balance without falling. But as you take on steeper terrain, you have to face pointing your skis straight down the mountain.

When you first try snowboarding, you catch your edge and fall on your ass the whole time. It sucks. But as you get better and take on more steeper/advanced terrain, your edge actually becomes a crutch. On steeper terrain, you don't have to point your snowboard straight down to get down the mountain - you can just do a "falling leaf" and never have to point your board straight down.

Info products (like Starter Story) are soooo much easier in the short term, for a couple reasons:

  1. You don't have to provide value every single month (to avoid churn)
  2. You can rely on one-time impulse purchases (funnel, buy this book, course, etc)
  3. Can easily differentiate (there are millions of books in the world)
  4. Can use your own audience / founder "clout" to propel the business

But in the long term, there are really big downsides (in my opinion):

  1. Not recurring revenue and unreliable business model
  2. You take advantage of people's impulses (which is morally questionable - that's just my opinion - but there are thousands of scummy courses out there)
  3. It's hard to scale the business beyond "yourself" and your own brand
  4. You will likely not be acquired or have a big multiple on your business.
  5. Can the business run without you? 
  6. Fulfillment for the founder. Are you really adding value the world?

So - I think info product businesses are a great way to get started. It's a stepping stone. For my case, Starter Story allowed me to quit my job and own my own time.

Without Starter Story, I wouldn't be able to build Pigeon - from a financial/time perspective, as well as experience.

That's all I'll write today, on this, but more to come soon. Wrote too much.