Philip Thomas - Moonlight

Episode 3
28m | Apr 2, 2019

In this episode we hang with Philip Thomas, he shares an inspiring story about how his first failed startup gave him the learnings needed to launch Moonlight, which is bootstrapped and rapidly growing.

We discuss many interesting topics with Philip including:

  • when to quit working on an idea, and move on
  • the importance of getting to know your early users 
  • how to validate your idea with data before building anything
  • ways to start a software business and get revenue, before writing code
  • the importance of experimenting with different pricing models
  • and much more!

Extra Extra - go deeper on topics from this episode

  • Pricing and rake strategies for marketplaces - Bill Gurley, legendary VC @ Benchmark, published this excellent piece on how to approach pricing as a marketplace. My last startup was a marketplace, I would reference this often when modeling different pricing strategies. It's very tricky to keep your rake low to reduce supply-side friction, while also maintaining favorable unit economics to acquire both the supply and demand sides of your marketplace. Bill knows marketplaces very well given years of experience in the space, he was really early in cos like eBay, Uber, and others. Great book about Bill and the founding of Benchmark, eBoys.
  • Remote work is the new LaCroix in 2019 - let that one sink in... companies are becoming more and more comfortable hiring remote workers. This is what allows for products like Moonlight to thrive. Here's a list of 900+ Startups that are hiring remotely.

Notable Mentions

Stripe (1:40) - credit card processor for internet products

OpenDNS (2:20) - where Philip started engineering, they provide consumers with safer, faster, and more reliable internet in their homes. (acquired by Cisco in 2015)

Y-Combinator (2:50) - the most prestigious startup incubator in the world

Squarespace (7:40) - modern no-code website builder

Typeform (7:45) - the future of web forms and surveys

Zappier (9:25) - allows you to connect and automate work-flows between popular internet apps (awesome tool)

Calendly (10:25) - a tool for scheduling meetings to your G-Cal, I use this regularly to avoid back/forth email scheduling

Paid Labs (11:28) - invoicing tool, acquired by Auction Mobility

Stripe Invoicing (11:30) - Stripe has an awesome suite of tools for end-to-end payment management. For invoicing specifically, hit the link and scroll down to the "Modern invoice made easy" section (11:40) - nifty tool for paying contractors, it manages all of the tax paperwork (W-9's and 1099's)

Dogfooding concept (12:12) - it's a concept that refers to teams that use their own products to do business. There have been multiple references to this concept from major cos like Microsoft and Amazon. Hit the link for more details and references

Stripe Connect(13:00) - this is Stripe's tool for managing the flow of cash for marketplaces. It makes it easy for platforms to take payments and manage pass-through funds to vendors on a marketplace. (think Uber and drivers... you pay Uber, then Uber pays drivers and takes a cut)

Lean Startup (14:08) - a product development methodology (and book) that focuses on rapid prototyping and constant product iteration with the goal to capture learnings cheap, fast, and often

High Growth Handbook (19:35) - a book written by legendary angel investor and executive, Elad Gil about the common challenges the best high-growth companies have encountered and overcame to be successful

Product Hunt (25:40) - a daily list of new products around the web

Show HN (25:42) - a way to share something you've made with the hacker news community

Indie VC & Permissionless Entrepreneurship (27:00) - Indie VC is a venture capital firm that has spearheaded a new type of deal structure for startups. Instead of giving up huge chunks of equity in exchange for an investment, you can pay returns with your companies revenue

It's with tons of love ❤️ that I ask you... if you find this interesting at all and want to support this project, please pass this along to a few friends by forwarding this email or text them a link to the podcast. Thank you and enjoy!

Makers Weekly