3 episodes

Thoughts on online work, dependability, tools, and craft

Contraption Company Podcast Contraption Company

    • Technology

Thoughts on online work, dependability, tools, and craft

    Creator versus software businesses with Ben Weiss

    Creator versus software businesses with Ben Weiss

    In this episode of the Contraption Company Podcast, host Philip Thomas sits down with Ben Weiss, an entrepreneur who transitioned from founding Zcruit, a software company for college football recruiting, to working in creator businesses. They discuss the nuances of running software versus creator businesses, the journey of growing and selling Zcruit, Ben's experience enhancing operations at Meat Mafia, and his insights into consulting for creators through Velcro. Philip and Ben delve into the importance of product-market fit, the dynamic of selling and marketing in the digital age, and the evolving landscape of content creation and management. Throughout the conversation, they highlight strategies for leveraging content across platforms, the impact of creators on software businesses, and the potential for collaboration between the two realms.
    Show notes + links: contraption.co/essays/creator-vs-software-businesses/
    Join the Contraption Company newsletter: contraption.co/essays

    00:00 Introduction to the podcast and guest00:25 From software to creator businesses: Ben Weiss's journey01:43 Deep dive into ZCruit: Building and selling a software company02:33 Transition to creator business: Operations at Meat Mafia07:09 Exploring the creator business model and value capture09:27 Operational challenges and solutions in creator businesses14:15 Advice for creators and software brands on media strategy21:58 Reflections on the shift from software to creator space23:41 The allure of the creator economy23:56 Transitioning from founder to creator24:47 The changing prestige of working in tech vs. creator world25:38 The power of attention in the information economy26:02 Creators vs. Hollywood: The battle for eyeballs26:52 Choosing between software and creator careers27:57 The value of content creation and audience building28:40 Breaking into industries through content29:31 Marketing strategies for software startups in the creator age39:39 Leveraging creators for software product growth46:20 Final thoughts on software and creator business models

    • 50 min
    Talking Shop with Aaron Cohn from realnice

    Talking Shop with Aaron Cohn from realnice

    Aaron is the co-founder of realnice, a simple personal website builder. realnice competes with my product, Postcard, which is also a personal website builder. So, I thought it would be fun to sit down with a competitor and talk shop.
    Show notes + links: contraption.co/essays/talking-shop-aaron-cohn-realnice/
    Join the Contraption Company newsletter: contraption.co/essays
    Timestamps:
    00:00 Introduction and Welcome
    00:32 The First Guest: Aaron Cohn
    01:10 The Competitive History
    01:59 The Shift to Craft Software
    03:27 The Challenges of Building a Personal Website
    03:29 The Journey to Indie Software
    03:50 The Birth of Personal Website Builders
    04:41 The Struggles with Marketplaces
    05:22 The Evolution of Website Builders
    06:41 The Importance of Simplicity in Software
    11:03 About Postcard, Philip's product
    12:09 The Power of Personal Email Updates
    14:14 About realnice, Aaron's product
    23:03 The Power of No-Code Tools
    27:22 The Power of Bubble: A Developer's Superpower
    27:34 The Indie Maker's Journey: From Scarcity to Abundance
    27:46 The Pieter Levels Approach: Launching Multiple Apps
    27:50 Craft Software: The Art of High Conviction Development
    28:10 The Rise of Craft Businesses: A Case Study of Glass.photo
    29:09 The Indie Hacker's Dilemma: Money vs. Passion
    29:44 The Artistic Element in Software Development
    30:21 The Power of Distinctiveness in Craft Software
    32:38 The Challenges of Building Personal Website Builders
    36:09 The Future of Personal Website Builders: New Features and Ideas
    37:15 The Importance of Design in Product Development
    38:47 The Real Competition: Battling the Status Quo
    39:19 The Power of Collaboration in Business
    39:33 Conclusion: The Contraption Company Podcast

    • 40 min
    Rethinking Work Beyond the Factory

    Rethinking Work Beyond the Factory

    Presentation about what software developers teach us about the future of collaboration
    Originally given at Almost Perfect in Tokyo on 3 Feb 2024.
    Links:
    Written version of talkPDF of accompanying slidesContraption CompanyGet future content via emailBookletFRCTNLThe focus of the talk is on the significant shifts that modern-day work practices are undergoing. It highlights emerging trends in software engineering that indicate the future of knowledge work: smaller and remote teams, less structured workweeks, and written asynchronous collaboration. Philip also addresses new issues arising from these changes such as loneliness, isolation, and disengagement with low-quality leisure activities. Additionally, the talk examines the efficient use of open-source software tools like GitHub and Bitcoin, and companies like Airbnb that successfully implement structured centralized decision-making. 
    00:00 Introduction to the Creative Residence in Tokyo
    00:34 Exploring the Concept of Gallery Presentation
    00:49 The Influence of Craftspeople 
    01:27 The Evolution of Work and Technology
    02:11 The Shift to Information Age and the New Scarcity
    02:40 The Impact of Industrialization on Work
    03:06 The Role of Technology in Changing the Nature of Work
    03:22 The Struggles of Adapting to the Information Age
    04:12 The Restoration of Craft and Autonomy in Software Development
    04:30 About Philip
    06:43 Exploring the Trends in Software Development
    06:56 The Rise of Smaller Remote Companies
    08:33 The Impact of Remote Work on Economies and Governments
    09:47 The Efficiency and Impact of Small Teams in Software Development
    13:56 The Emergence of Fractional Work
    17:46 The Shift to Written Asynchronous Collaboration
    19:24 The Role of Open Source Tools in Collaboration
    21:53 The Future of Work and Communication
    24:53 Conclusion and Final Thoughts

    • 25 min

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