I hadn't heard from my friend Paul Jarvis in a while, so I sent him a message.
Today, Paul is the co-founder of Fathom Analytics, but previously he was mostly known as the author of Company of One and for his newsletter and courses focused on helping creatives build better businesses.
Paul, Jarrod Drysdale, and I met weekly from July 2014 until June 2020! We would jump on a call and update each other on our businesses, struggles, and life. They were both a big encouragement to me while Jon and I were starting Transistor:
Paul effectively quit the Internet in 2020. He deleted his Twitter and Instagram and removed all the articles from his website. Since then, he and I haven't been in touch as much. (It's funny how not seeing someone on Twitter affects how often you chat with them). But, according to Paul, there are advantages to not being on social media: "The longer I'm offline, the more trivial everything on Twitter seems."
Anyways, back to that text message, I sent this to Paul on July 18:
We decided to jump on a call and catch up.
And then we decided to record it.
It was an open and free-wheeling discussion. If you're curious about the realities of running an indie SaaS business, you'll dig it.
Here are some of the things that came up:
The "Company of One" mindset: Paul's big on the idea that businesses don't always have to chase constant growth. We discussed prioritizing purpose and personal satisfaction over traditional notions of expansion. Company design is lifestyle design.
Why small is better: Sometimes, having a smaller, leaner company gives a team more freedom and flexibility.
Business is surfing: Paul is a real surfer, so I asked him to comment on my surfing metaphor for business.
Business ethics: In our conversation, ethical business practices were a significant theme. This includes fair treatment of employees and customers and considering the business's environmental impact.
Paul's daily schedule: I was surprised to hear about when Paul wakes up, and how many hours of work he gets done in a day. 👀
Is there room left in SaaS? Marketing channels are noisier, more expensive, and more challenging in the past, but we both felt like there were some opportunities.
After we published the episode, Paul texted me: "Lots of folks have texted and emailed me about this ep :)" It's worth a listen.
If you do give it a listen, let me know what you think!