51: Recast - The Origin of Level from Startups for the Rest of Us


August 9th, 2018

35 mins 27 secs

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About this Episode

Ben is out of town on a retreat with his Tuple co-founders, and Derrick is deep into building Level. So, this episode features Derrick as a recent guest on the Startups for the Rest of Us podcast. Rob Walling interviews Derrick about Level - what inspired the idea and how he went about trying to validate it.

Today’s Topics Include:

  • Level’s landing page and current query of number of members; scarcity play is effective
  • Level is a Slack competitor, but much less interruptive and more asynchronous
  • Derrick discovered Slack does not scale well as a team grows, interrupts people’s flow; Level is Derrick’s take on the solution to those issues
  • Derrick hit the ground running with his manifesto and getting people signed up for Level
  • His efforts on Twitter were effective because it’s a product marketed toward developers
  • Dealing with feedback, ill-informed comments and conversations
  • Derrick wanted to talk to too many, rather than too few people about value of creating a new product to address pain points
  • Differentiation from Slack: Level niched down to developers and open sourced
  • Derrick plans to offer free and on-prem versions of Level
  • Whiteboarding to go over ideas and transform them into something tangible
  • Derrick is working on mock-ups; challenging to lay out UI elements, such as the Inbox
  • Risks are involved; when building something new, the challenge is to validate your most risky hypotheses - the ones that are most likely to fail
  • Level is the third Saas startup that Derrick has worked on; first time he will not earn income or revenue while building Level, so had to make adjustments

Links and resources:

Derrick Reimer Website
Derrick Reimer on Twitter
Ben Orenstein Website
Ben Orenstein on Twitter
Derrick’s Manifesto
Fostering a Culture of Creativity with Rob Walling
Exploring the Open Source Business Model
Startups for the Rest of Us: How Derrick Reimer is Validating His Ambitious Third Saas