April 23rd, 2020
A couple months ago, I made this prediction.

And I think it's becoming more and more relevant. On sites like Indie Hackers, I continue to see "big success" stories from people selling content, courses, ebooks, etc.

In the next couple of years, I think we will see almost everyone trying to make money on the internet pivot to these kinds of models.

For a few reasons, I think:

  • It's becoming harder and harder to build an app (or more importantly grow an app)
  • Big tech companies are making it harder every day to build anything that "sticks" for consumers. For example, people spend 99% of their digital time using free Facebook and Google products (Instagram, Facebook, Chrome & Gmail)
  • It's very tempting to make "quick money" and once you make this kind of money, I imagine it's hard to not keep doing it over and over. For example, spend one week making a "course" and make $10k or spend 6 months building an app and make $1k..
  • Selling content on the internet has become more "accepted" - 10 years ago YouTubers would get canceled if they monetized their content - now it's weird if you're NOT monetizing

I think that the traditional business & entrepreneurship media has convinced all of us that the idea of "success" is building a "real company" - and it's probably convinced me. For me, if I built a business selling courses, I would not be happy with myself. 

Maybe that changes in the future, but to me, it's not my idea of success and it's not why I originally got interested in tech, learning to code, building products, etc. I'm a millennial, and I grew up on Wikipedia, Napster, Digg.com, Web 2.0 and the early days of YouTube - so my brain has been etched with "information should be free".

But I can see myself sometimes going in that direction with Starter Story... I need to make money and I need to eat, and when I see other people making $XYZ/month, it becomes so tempting to move in that direction.

But I think it's important to remember why I got into this whole thing. It's never been about making money. Sure, I want to be "rich" one day but I don't want that now.

I want to build something with IMPACT, something that changes the world. Maybe what I'm working on now isn't there yet, but I still have at least 40 more years to figure it out.

Some people just want to make passive income and have a nice life. For me, that obviously sounds nice, but I know if/when I get there I won't be happy. I would just start more things and keep trying to level up. 

So, for me, I hope to never need to make money selling my knowledge. Maybe it's because I, deep down, don't believe I have any knowledge that's worth selling. Maybe I will at the end of my life, but not now.

I'm not being self-conscious here. As an entrepreneur, I think you have to fundamentally believe that what you know isn't special. Everything can be learned, and it's usually never learned through a course or a book, it has to be learned by doing or through people you know or have a relationship with - and those things fundamentally cost nothing.