Hugo Cardenas

Build something cool, learn, talk about it publicly.

April 2, 2023

When you started to code and why?

Around 15 years ago, when I started my engineering degree in ComputerScience.

What made you decide to build your own products?

There’s some special excitement about building some idea of your own, fully by yourself, when you are in control of everything and can make any decisions. Also, I like having to learn many things - choosing which specific feature to build and how to design it and making technical choices. Only recently I dared to share more publicly what I’m building and paying more attention to the marketing side, which can be as impactful or more as the product itself.

How you came up with the idea of the First Internet Dollar?

I thought it would be nice to have a world visualization of indie makers to help discover similarly-minded people and make new interesting contacts. There are a bunch of different communities out there but I wanted to focus on 1)having a map 2) making it visually pleasant 3) keeping it simple.

Can you talk a bit about it and what is it?

It’s a world map of indie makers - a simple visualization using Mapbox, where users can discover any listed indie makers on the map. Anyone can sign in with their Twitter account to get listed and make themselves discoverable to others.

What is the stack and how long you took from the idea to the day youlaunch it?

I used Next.js, Chakra UI, and Supabase, deployed on Vercel. I think I used some 2 weeks since I started prototyping it until I shared it somewhere on Twitter and Indie Hackers. The post in Indie Hackers created some traffic to my Twitter profile and I connected with about 100 fellow Twitter contacts in a few days.

Thinking that you have a day job how much do you take per day on it?

I’m not working on it really consistently. In the last weeks I didn’t spend as much time hacking on side projects, so I put a bunch of hours here and there every weekend or so.

Do you plan to monetize it at some point?

Not really with this one. I built it partly as a design/UI exercise and trying to make something simple and fun.

Do you have a new project coming in or First Internet Dollar is your onlyone?

I have a few ideas in mind that I have to execute! Currently, my side-project time has been split between doing some design practice and prototyping some new ideas. I have to become better at timeboxing MVPs more aggressively and launching earlier and faster!

What about marketing strategies? What you use

I don’t think I could call it a strategy 😅 Definitely something to force myself more on doing. For now, I’ve tried to be somewhat active on Twitter, sharing stuff every now and then and having some meaningful interactions with the people I find interesting. This always helps bring viewers to whatever you share, if they find it interesting. My pending marketing tasks are writing and sharing more with communities like Indie Hackers, Reddit, etc.

Favorite tool and why?

Figma, since I discovered it a couple of years back, it was the first time using some tool for creating design clicked for me. So intuitive and easy to learn, coming to it with as a developer / beginner designer.

Word of advice

Build something cool, learn, talk about it publicly.

One book, one person to follow on Twitter, and one music?

A book: Factfulness

A person to follow: Rauno Freiberg→ inspiring design

Music: Jazz trumpet player Clifford Brown

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