4 min read

A Bit of SaaS Weekly: Into the Woods

A Bit of SaaS Weekly: Into the Woods

This is a weekly newsletter on the Software as a Service world. Learning, building, and shipping. Written by Ethan Mick.

Some days you conspire against the world. On other days, the world conspires against you.

The Best Bits


Follow the Money

I read an article today about some mistakes to avoid when building a product as a solo founder. Or, solo engineer, as I like to call it.

It's a good article, so give it a read. I think it covers the high level nicely. In it the author lays out 4 mistakes to avoid:

  1. Avoid businesses that require scale
  2. Don't charge low prices
  3. Target businesses, not consumers
  4. Don’t choose a large market

I'm in the middle of all this, so I have some thoughts.

Do things that don't scale

Paul Graham said it best, and it remains true. And the great thing is there are lots of ways to implement this. For my freelance work, everything is about not scaling. I do whatever I can to make each client happy. I work with them individually and try to lavish them with attention and deliverables. It's the best and easiest way to have them come back to me for more work.

For a product, find just the first user you can make it work great for. Then the second. Just add them in one at a time.

Charge More

Patrick McKenzie says this so often it's basically his tagline. In short, you're almost never charging enough. The value you deliver is many times what you are charging, and you should almost certainly be charging more. This is especially true for products. The tendency is to price them low, to make them irresistible. Even if you start that way, you'll want to increase them as quickly as possible. Charging more will ensure your business stays in business.

Find the people with money

Businesses often have money. And they are pretty happy to spend the money to:

  1. Save time
  2. Make more money

It's hard to convince them to spend money any other way. And time savings really comes back to efficiency and allowing them to make more money. So... yeah. But there are also individuals who will happily do this too. Developers, for example. And then there are people who happily pay for things because it makes them feel good. Pet owners, for example. Just think of all the things you've bought for your dog or cat. Yeah.

And lastly, make sure you enjoy what you're building. Building a company and product is not for the faint of heart. It's going to take a while. You're going to make some mistakes.

Finding something you enjoy building will make it all worth it.

Quick Tip

Here's a quick command to convert QuickTime output to MP4. I needed to upload a video, and the website didn't support MOV files.

Convert QuickTime MOV to MP4 with FFMPEG
When doing a recording with QuickTime, it will export it as a MOV file. To convert this to an MP4 with FFmpeg, you can run the following command: ffmpeg -i screen_recording.mov -qscale 0 output.mp4 Fast and works great!

Tech Tip

One thing that is convenient is having identifiers that you know immediately what they are for. When building a database schema, you can build these identifiers into the models so wherever you look at an ID, you know what kind of object it references.

You can do this with a Prisma Schema. In the following code, it uses the prefix usr_ and I have this on my user object.

id    String  @id @default(dbgenerated("concat('usr_', replace(cast(gen_random_uuid() as text), '-', ''))")) @db.Text

This will generate an ID like usr_249676b6fc524372b7d43aac1df7dfff. It's a UUID v4, so it should be sufficiently random, and it has a nice prefix. Bonus points for being easy to copy and paste!

Go forth and code!

Cloud Chronicles

  • YouTube Subscribers: 1,440 (+62 in the last 7 days)
  • Newsletter Members: 306 (+30 in the last 7 days)
Weekly Update: v2023.6.19
Last week I touched base with all my current clients (and several I’ve been chatting with about future projects) to understand if they will need my services for the second half of the year. Project management! To my delight, I heard back from all of them and locked down several

This week my monitor died on Wednesday, so uh, yeah, that's about how it's going.

Hi, how are you?

While I've been quiet on YouTube, I've been planning my strategy going forward. My plan is to try some live streaming – not so much because I think I'll have a lot of people watching me, but because:

  1. Force me to keep a schedule of when I am making content
  2. I can't make it perfect but rather need to focus on making it consistently good
  3. I won't do as much editing post-production and make shorter videos from the longer form content.

It will be a bit different, so there will be some learning curve to it. But the time set aside to code and create will be good!

Last Byte