books as product design, reframing marketing, and business partner marriages
When it comes to starting any new project – whether an app, a product, a course, a book – there are so many potential traps to fall into.
One of the biggest is not understanding what people actually want. After falling into this trap more times than he’d like, Rob Fitzpatrick decided to write a book to help others avoid it.
Fast forward a few years and Rob’s career is entering its third phase: from seeking scale in his days as a founder going through tech accelerator Y Combinator, which gave him the inspiration for that first book – The Mom Test; to going after the hammock lifestyle that comes with the freedom of working remotely; to focusing more on consistency and reliability.
This third chapter arrives alongside his third book, and brings together much of what he’s learned and built so far. Write Useful Books is a book, but it’s also a community, software product, and potentially a backer for independent nonfiction authors.
In this conversation we get into several topics Rob hasn’t talked about much in public before – from how he deals with tougher days; to changing his mindset about marketing; and the unique approach he’s taken with his business partner.
04:00: The gap between books two and three
10:30: Applying product design principles to books
16:00: The theme running through Rob’s books
24:00: Staying loyal to an audience, but also to yourself
28:00: Respecting marketing
35:00: Y Combinator Rob vs. Hammock Rob
40:00: Solo versus team and a novel way of being in partnership
47:00: Interlocking layers to support independent non-fiction writers
56:00: From 700 copies to 100,000
61:00: Comfort tasks
67:00: Overcoming the rough days, and disappearing
75:00: The importance of thinking as entrepreneurship as a career, not a company or project