The Truth about Success – Brick by Brick

Scene: Last Thursday, at a big round table in a — no joke — Portugese-Chinese fusion tapas joint, sealed off from the rest of the room by beaded curtains made of brass. At the table, a bunch of geeks eating finger food and shootin’ the shit.

It was, in a way, a business round table. (As well as an actual round table.)

The folks I was dining with run a hybrid consulting/product business, like Thomas & I did before we quit consulting. (Though these guys are a hundred times better at consulting than we are.)

Now, what you need to know is that these are great guys. Guys I’ve chatted with before about products. Guys who’ve inspired me.

One of them told me that I am brave — brave for what?

For putting our biz numbers out there. For talking about this stuff. For my dedication to drawing back the curtain.

I thanked him, of course. What a compliment.

I’m Not Brave…

But, the fact is, I’m not brave. I’m angry.

I’m angry that the vast majority of tech biz content is so much tabloid nonsense.

I’m angry that the stories we’re assaulted with every day are statistical anomalies and nothing more.

I’m angry that it’s become an assumption that “success” means getting a big fat investment, not turning a profit. That success means founding your own company in order to determine your own destiny, then happily become an employee again when some megacorp snatches you up.

I’m angry that nobody is willing to point out the obvious, dirty truth: when you can’t fund your own projects, you are at the mercy of the money men. And the money men do not have your best interests at heart.

Most of all, I’m angry that because of all of this, it’s almost impossible to learn what it makes to build a business from nothing, on the side, to profitability.

Don’t Get Mad… Change Stuff

So, I’ve decided to do something about it.

I aim to remind everyone that successful, bootstrapped product businesses are far more common (and far more natural!) than hockey sticks and big exits. And to show folks how it’s done.

So, I blog. I give interviews (see that sidebar). I name numbers. I tweet.

And I teach a deep, involved, pragmatic 3-month course that encompasses just about everything I’ve learned from launching my own successful, profitable products.

Stacking the Bricks

Below is a video lesson from my 30×500 Product Launch Class.

It’s called Stacking the Bricks, and it’s a no-nonsense look at how 5 businesses got started, and how they grew — including a couple famous businesses, a couple nascent ones, and mine.

This video lesson is part reality check, part battlecry, part kick in the pants. It is ruthlessly practical, and it’s an investigation of patterns and systems.

Based on feedback from folks who’ve watched it, I can tell you: It’s worth your time. Make it happen. (And let it load, because it doesn’t stream.)

Watch it now, here, or download it. Rip the audio and listen to it on your commute. Just don’t fave it for later, because we both know that means never.

Click here to download the MOV file

It’s 43 minutes long, and there’s a blip in the audio part way through. (Sorry about that, but it’s too important to get out there, rather than waiting forever to re-record.)

Ready to Make Your First Brick?

If you’re a designer or a developer who dreams of having an independent income made by selling products directly to the people who use them…

…if you’re not sure where to start, or how to get over the problems that have plagued you every time you have started…

… if you’d sleep easier if you knew how to drum up customers before you ever put pencil to paper or code to git…

Then my 30×500 Launch Class may be just the kick in the pants you need.

A kick in the pants followed up by sensible, actionable advice and a process (with workbooks! so many workbooks!) you can implement yourself. And, when you join, you get access to a community of nearly 200 alumni as well as your fellow students.

This video is just one of many useful, butt-kicking, inspiring lessons in my 30×500 Product Launch Class… and I’m adding more all the time. This lesson, specifically, is an accompaniment to the heavily action-oriented, workbook-based lessons. 30×500 helps you understand the why as well as implement the how.

Tickets are on sale now. (As of writing, there are just over 20 left.)

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  1. Me

    I wonder how many more people you are getting to sign up for your classes by writing posts like this rather than directly saying “hey join my class where I tell you how to be awesome”

    Easy to see all the marketing hooks here.

    Just wondering, not saying it’s bad or anything =)

  2. Jason "J-Ryze" Fonceca

    Loved this. I’d love to see it remixed and offered to more than just developers, because I feel the ideas apply to anyone offering… anything :)

    Maybe I’ll do it :)

    Either way, so thankful to have seen this, Amy. Keep ryzin’!

    P.S. I’m not a developer, but I do have a deep love and huge background in design, if that counts.

  3. Dwayne


    The words in your articles are down to earth and 100 percent real, I can relate to them and feel the frustration that you had.

    As you said “Unicorns are a fantasy” but sometimes its hard to see the house that is being built by the bricks. I often stop and wonder if I am building on solid ground so to speak.

    Would you have went 2 years without turning a profit ?


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