Lessons Learned From Successful Founders Building in Publicby@morgankung

Lessons Learned From Successful Founders Building in Public

by Morgan KungApril 25th, 2023
Read on Terminal Reader
Read this story w/o Javascript
tldt arrow

Too Long; Didn't Read

Morgan: I’ve spent the last few days posting and sharing my (and my team’s) experiences. This is my first public building project. You may be wondering why I build in public and who motivates me to do so. There are three major advantages of building in public, according to Ryan Hoover.

People Mentioned

Mention Thumbnail
featured image - Lessons Learned From Successful Founders Building in Public
Morgan Kung HackerNoon profile picture

Hi everyone, this is Morgan again.

3days ago, I published “Weighing the Pros and Cons of Building Your Startup in Public” here and got some support. I have to say thank you so much for all the kind words and support from the Hackernoon community members.

As you can see, I’ve spent the last few days posting and sharing my (and my team’s) experiences. This is my first public building project. You may be wondering why I build in public and who motivates me to do so. That’s what I’m going to write about today.

Previously, CEOs and founders appeared mysterious in their ability to make decisions and steer the ship; however, things have changed dramatically; more founders are willing to share and show the public what they do every day, how they succeed or fail, and so on.


Building in public can, to some extent, reveal your personality and characteristics. That is how trust is built; once people see how trustworthy you are, they will trust the things you build.

It can also be viewed as an effective marketing strategy for imprinting a brand’s image in the minds of others and attracting more potential users.

Being a public founder building is akin to being an influencer in your field, willing to share almost everything and learn from one another. Now, I’d like to share some of the best founders I’ve ever seen building in public and how they have influenced me.

Joel Gascoigne – Buffer

Although I am an internet addict who enjoys reading and posting, I am not as enthusiastic about posting and sharing because I am reserved. However, when I learned the buffer story, it completely changed my thoughts.

It really astounds me to see their transparency about salaries, MRR, ARR, quarterly revenue, and anything else you can think of, check out Joel’s article here.

He has been writing these for many years, and his transparency, persistence, and sincerity have earned him the trust of users and, eventually, investors. Without a doubt, Joel is one of the best founders who build in public. So, when I decide to build in public, I regard him as my model.

Ryan Hoover – Product Hunt

This is a well-known name for almost all startups; Ryan is so amazing that I’ve read numerous interviews and stories about him and how Product Hunt was built.

Building in public is a way to bring Product Hunt and users closer together in the early stages, while also allowing Ryan to talk to users and listen to their feedback more efficiently. That teaches me that building a product is about creating something users want, so listening to their ideas is critical to success.

From Ryan Hoover: <Stil> Building in Public

Furthermore, when it comes to the benefits of building in public, I agree with Ryan, as I stated in my previous article: Should a Start-up Build in Public?

  • Increase the possibility to attract potential users
  • Act like a human to leverage trust and attraction
  • Set a strict timeline to motivate yourself
  • Build a strong relationship with customers
  • Get engaged with more founders or people from professional fields

According to Ryan, there are three major advantages of BIP:

From Ryan Hoover: Why you should build your product in public

Why You Should Build Your Product in Public

It appears that we both agree that people should always come first! If there is a shortcut to success, it must be interacting with users as much as possible.

Also, I learned something like taking an email-first startup strategy and getting engaged in maker’s communities, like Indie Hackers and Hacker Noon, etc. If you want to learn more about how Ryan builds in public, check it out here.

KP – Leader Bird

If you ever get engaged in Product Hunt, you will come across a top hunter named KP, full name Karthik Puvvada, who refers to himself as The ‘Build In Public’ Guy.

You can see how addicted he is to BIP by the fact that he runs a BIP studio.

KP’s Bio

I’ve signed up for one of KP’s newsletters to learn from his insights on analyzing and interviewing other people’s BIP strategies, how to acquire the first 100 users, some unique ways to build in public, and so on. He is a lighthouse for me as I begin my journey of building in public and even starting my own business.

KP’s Weekly Newsletter

Besides, he is very kind and generous to share almost all of his experiences over the years, which is extremely beneficial for founders who are new to this field, as well as founders like me who are unfamiliar with some strategies for building in public, ranking first on ProductHunt, and so on.

KP’s Free Resources

Pieter Levels – Nomad List

Nomad, a member of a people who have no fixed home but wander from place to place, is now used to describe a group of remote workers who frequently change their work location. It’s a novel way of working that piques my interest. So, when I search for it on the internet, Pieter comes to mind.

Nomad List is a site dedicated to the rising trend of traveling remote workers, also called digital nomads: it lets people find the best places to go based on their preferences like internet speed, cost of living, weather, and safety (and thousands more data points).

It’s also a paid membership site where people can meet other nomads in the places they go, through the site.

He has been building this list since 2014, and as one of the members who build it in public, he is an OG in BIP, who contributes a lot and has a lot of Twitter followers. Currently, he is still committed to building his new products publicly and will frequently share thoughts and engage with other founders.

Founders like him are very appealing and will create a big wave when launching a new product and receiving useful feedback.

Pieter Levels’ Twitter Account

Nomad’s development has been quite winding.

In the early years, Pieter faced endless challenges and put in thousands of hours of hard work without seeing much growth. However, his persistence and determination paid off when the market underwent a massive change due to the increasing number of remote workers.

This reminds me of Zoom’s success; sometimes you need to prepare enough to welcome the right time; otherwise, you will miss out on the opportunity to grow even if it is the right time.

So, don’t be upset, founders; just do your thing, and time will tell.

Experience Sharing Thread by Pieter

Tony Dinh – Xnapper

You may not recognize this man, but I do. He’s been building in public as an indie hacker for a long time and has piqued my interest throughout the year.

Undoubtedly, Tony is one of the best models for super innovation in the startup and indie hacker community. He generously shares his wealth of experience in building successful products, turning down acquisition offers, and insights on the technology industry. Additionally, he offers valuable tips on launching products and achieving revenue in a short time.

Tony’s Personal Resources

He’s on Twitter, Linkedin, Product Hunt, Hacker News, and Indie Hackers, and he even has a YouTube channel! You can also find him on some subreddits. Every effort is made to ensure his success. There are many users and founders who would engage with him and provide feedback and support.

When following Tony’s journey, you will notice that innovation can play a significant role in a public building. His posts are both amusing and educational. More importantly, he creates some fantastic products. If you are the same founder who is just starting to build in public, I guarantee you will be inspired by Tony’s journey.

Final Thoughts

I’m a kind of newcomer to the BIP field, so I’m still learning how to build in public successfully; all of the founders mentioned above are my role models; if you have any additional recommendations or more inspiring stories, please leave a comment, and you’re welcome to DM me on Twitter as well if you got something to talk about.

Also published here.