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On building slow burn companies 🔥

A tough economy is a great time to build a slow burn company.

  • This may be a side hustle…
  • An open source project
  • Or a slow burn startup 🔥

Some of my faves: @mailchimp, @airtable, @github, @glossier

How do you build a slow burn company? Some characteristics:

  • Single, simple use case
  • Small (often developer-led) team
  • User acquisition is cheap, simple, self-serviceMargins sustain growth
  • Strong community-driven support

Slow growth <-> slow burn Fast growth <-> fast burn

Slow growth must be paired with low burn, or you squander your natural organic growth advantages.

Some categories of slow burn companies you could play around with:

  • Communities
  • Open source projects
  • Bottoms up markets
  • Low ticket SaaS
  • Developer evangelized tools

With any company, but slow burn companies especially, it always helps to build from first principles:

  • Solve a real pain point
  • Have unit & growth economics that work
  • Build a dramatically, not just incrementally better product
  • Surround yourself with the best people

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