πŸš€ Framework: Strapping yourself to the back of someone else's rocket
6 min read

πŸš€ Framework: Strapping yourself to the back of someone else's rocket

πŸ’‘ The idea

  • It's much easier to piggyback on someone else's success than to start something from scratch.
  • Examples include building a plugin for a new piece of software, launching a browser extension that automates and simplifies workflows on a new platform, creating a course that explains how to effectively use a new technology, or building a user-friendly wrapper around a newly launched API.
  • As the rocket you've attached yourself to takes off, so does your business.
  • The earlier you strap yourself to the back of a fast-growing business, the higher your chance of success. When a software or platform is already huge, it's much harder to stand out and make a name for yourself. But during early days founders are often very approachable and happy to support plugins, extensions, or really anything that enhances the ecosystem around their product.
  • There is of course platform risk. When the rocket crashes or simply decides to "shake you off", you're screwed. However, as many successful examples demonstrate the upside in many cases outweighs the downside.

πŸ”₯ Highlights

πŸš€ Roam Research

πŸš€ GPT-3

  • GPT-3 is a machine learning model developed by Open AI that made big news because many of the texts generated by it are indistinguishable from something written by a human.
  • Copy.ai started as a simple, user-friendly wrapper around the GPT-3 API, quickly grew to $100k MRR and recently raised $2.9M. (They now started to develop their own machine learning models.)
  • Many tools with similar features are doing really well, including Conversion.ai and Copysmith.ai.
  • OthersideAI uses the GPT-3 API to generate emails based on a short summary and recently raised $2.6M.

πŸš€ Figma

  • Figma is an online collaborative design tool that's now valued at around $2 billion. Think Adobe Illustrator but in the cloud and multiplayer. It is a popular choice for design teams and individual designers to use to create high-quality interactive prototypes and graphics for web and mobile.
  • Set Product offers custom templates for the software and currently makes around $20k/month.
  • Pitchdeck by Figmatic is a Figma plugin that allows users to turn designs into a presentable slide deck, or export them to PowerPoint that's currently generating $10k+/month. The same company also owns another plugin called Tiny Image which is equally successful.

πŸš€ Next.js

  • Next.js is a minimalistic open-source framework for server-rendered JavaScript apps that's developed by Vercel.
  • Gabe Ragland made more than $20,000 in revenue from his Next.js boilerplate tool Divjoy.
  • Nytro, another Next.js boilerplate, is generating around $1k in monthly revenue.
  • The Next.js course by Maximilian SchwarzmΓΌller sold more than 15,000 copies so far, meaning he netted at least $150,000 in revenue (assuming that most students only paid the discounted price of $9.99).

πŸš€ Discord

  • Discord started as a chatting app for gamers to communicate while they're playing, but is now used by all kinds of teams. According to news reports they recently walked away from a $12 billion acquisition offer by Microsoft.
  • MEE6 is, despite its strange name, one of the most popular Discord moderation bots. Given that MEE6 is installed on more than 3 million servers and is used by more than 12 million users, it seems obvious that they're doing very well.
  • Emoji.gg is a bot that makes it easier to add custom emojis to a server. It currently generates $8k+ in monthly revenue and is installed on more than 100,000 Discord servers.

πŸš€ Apple Watch

  • The Apple Watch is a personal device that is worn on the wrist and can be used to do a variety of tasks, such as making phone calls, reading and sending text messages, listening to music, playing games, and providing information about the wearer's physical activity.
  • In Q4 2020 Apple sold around 100 watches per minute which boils down to 1.5 watches per second.
  • Nate Schmidt was able to grow a store selling third-party Apple Watch straps to $1.5M in sales in less than 12 months.
  • The WaterMinder app for the Apple Watch is netting $40k in revenue per month.
  • The Outcast podcast app for the Apple Watch is generating around $1k in monthly revenue (all from $0.99 one-time payments).

πŸ’­ Opportunities

  • The Facebook Marketplace is still growing like crazy.
  • There are almost no Chrome extensions that streamline processes for Facebook Marketplace sellers. What would a Closet Tools ($40k/month Poshmark automation tool) for the Facebook Marketplace look like?
  • Facebook Marketplace dropshipping looks like an interesting new type of side hustle that's just starting to get some traction. Targeting these semi-professional side hustlers and thinking about their needs is certainly a great place to start.
  • Preply is a live teaching platform with over 40,000 tutors where anyone can become a teacher that recently raised $35 million in funding.
  • Online language tutoring is definitely another type of side hustle that's becoming increasingly popular. To understand what problems tutors are struggling with you could simply book a call with a few of them on a platform like Preply.
  • One interesting related data point is that Arvid Kahl was able to grow Feedback Panda (an organizational app that allows online English teachers to manage their courses, students, and feedback) to $55k MRR in two years.
  • Bitclout is a platform somewhat similar to Twitter where every user has its own cryptocurrency. While the first hype wave is already over, given that they got funding vom Chamath Palihapitiya's Social Capital, Coinbase Ventures, Winklevoss Capital and Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, it seems likely that the the slope of enlightenment is yet to come.
  • The whitepaper is worth a read as it lays out nicely the features they have on their roadmap.
  • Since the platforms are so similar, it makes sense to study the Twitter ecosystem to understand what opportunities might open up around Bitclout. Highly successful are automation tools like Hypefury and Zlappo, but also Dan Rowden's analytics tool Ilo is growing nicely (currently at $2k MRR).
  • Another new social network worth keeping an eye on is Racket. It's a social audio app where users can share short sound bites akin to mini podcasts.
  • Apple's latest smart device is the AirTag, a small, puck-shaped tracker that can help you locate misplaced or stolen items.
  • Similar to how there was and still is insane demand for Apple Watch straps, it seems likely that there will be at least some market for AirTag accessories like protection cases.

I hope you enjoyed this report. If you have a minute, please respond and let me know what you think.

Thanks,

Jakob

PS: If you want to find more rockets you can strap yourself to, check out Under the Radar (another project of mine) that's tailor-made for this use case.

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