Discover more from Build In Public Newsletter
How I Built This In Public: Luca Restagno
Lessons from building, growing and selling SaaS Products all in public
Hello everyone, it’s KP. Welcome to the 11th edition of “How I Built This In Public“, a special series that features top founders and creators who’re boldly building their projects, startups and creative ventures in public. My intention is to ask them a consistent set of simple questions and distill insights and lessons so we can all learn from their experiments.
He has done all this in public and his approach is worth emulating.
Without further ado, here’s the full interview. Enjoy :)
“I’m Luca Restagno, software engineer from Italy, and indie hacker on the side of a 9-5 job. I love building SaaS products, and as of now I’ve built and sold a bunch of them. Currently, I’m working on userdesk.io - a customer support live chat platform powered by AI.”
1. At what point in your startup journey did you begin your “build in public” journey and why?
I discovered the BIP movement early 2021. At that time I was building my first SaaS product, that was sold in September of the same year.
I started doing build in public at the end of the same year, when I decided to build the MVP of a new product Hivoe.com, and I decided to build it in public.
At that time a user asked to pay for the service even before I integrated any payment system. I’ll never forget that moment.
2. What personal / business benefits do you believe you attracted from building in public?
Building in public is sometimes electrizing, especially when your audience helps you shape a better product and give feedback on your work.
But it’s also very useful to introspect about yourself and your product.
I usually ask myself, “how can I involve the community in what I’m currently doing?” There’s a part of entertainment in building in public and collective learning at the same time.
3. In the early days, did you have any specific challenges or hesitations on whether you should build in public or not? If so — what were they and how did you overcome them?
I didn’t have specific concerns about BIP, but I didn’t know what to share exactly.
Doing BIP includes a certain degree of courage, because you put yourself and your work out, in front of strangers. The fear of judgment can be real.
But at the end, you realize that you don’t have absolutely nothing to lose, keep a breathe, and hit the “Tweet” button.
4. Are there any myths or misconceptions about building in public from before that were debunked by your personal experience?
It’s common to think that if you are not building any product, you don’t have anything to share. But it’s not true.
We all have experiences that lead to lessons learned, or we’re living a particular period of our life.
Be sure to be comfortable with sharing such experiences, and don’t limit yourself too much.
5. What are your 3 tips for someone who’s just starting their “build in public” journey?
Don’t treat BIP as a “today I did this” task list, people are not interested in reading todo lists, but to understand how you got there.
Share your point of view, challenges, successes, and failures.
If you don’t have a big audience, be patient, and interact a lot with your peers, they will eventually notice you and start following your journey. And be consistent.
6. In your experience, how did the 80-20 rule play out? What few vital activities of BIP do you believe have resulted in high leverage outcomes for you?
Sharing victories, even the small ones, generates a lot of engagement, especially on Twitter where the community is particularly supportive.
I keep posting product updates every month, they give insights about how the business is going, but I also share my experiments and struggles.
People love to follow your personal story.
7. How much time do you allocate for building in public on a daily/weekly basis?
I have a regular routine. I spend on average 1 hour a day to write my own tweets and interact with my peers on Twitter.
I also publish an issue of my newsletter every month, in which I share the details of what happened in the last weeks.
8. How did you stay motivated in the early days when generally you don’t see quick results or super high engagement as you begin building in public?
Building in public is a long term game, you need to gain trust and reputation from the community. I was motivated by a persona wish to change my lifestyle and explore the potential of the community. And meet new like-minded people of course.
9. How did you handle copycats while you built in public?
Fortunately that never happened to one of my products. I think that's inevitable for digital businesses to get cloned. What they can’t copy is your supportive community and the trust you gain from people.
10. Who are 3 people you would recommend for others to follow in the BIP niche?
Other blog posts and Twitter threads where we can learn more about you/your story?
I don’t have one, good idea I should write it somewhere
That’s a wrap for now! Hope you enjoyed this piece.
Here are the rest of the interviews in this “How I Built This In Public“ series.
Would love to hear any comments, feedback or questions. If you enjoyed this article, don’t forget to share the link on your Twitter, LinkedIn etc. Also, feel free to DM or reply to me for cross-promotions or ad sponsorships.