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Failure = Opportunity

Franco Petra

Franco Petra


How I am creating an MVP for makers in the IH community

“Don’t build links. Build relationships.” Rand Fishkin, @Moz/@Sparktoro

(Indie Hackers Repost)


We assembled a peer group that meets on a regular basis to exchange insights and get feedback from fellow IH makers. You can check out the project here -> Failure as a trigger Ever felt like your friends don’t get what you’re trying to do? Or that your family is biased when giving feedback?

Well, I was going through all of that, and more. I started a mix of a “SaaS (Software as a Service) + marketplace” project and left everything I had in Argentina to live the entrepreneur’s dream and travel to the US to validate the idea. Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out so great. It was meant to be an online therapy platform, and I couldn’t get any therapists on board because they were too busy, which was the problem I wanted to solve in the first place.

After several interviews with therapists and clients, it wasn’t gaining any traction and started feeling down because of this. I wanted to figure out how to overcome this hurdle. I wasn’t achieving what I wanted to, and it caused a series of negative moods.

Knowing the cause of the negative moods, I set out to solve this problem and tried to find other solutions or tools that could achieve the same goal from a different approach. I found that coaching could be a good solution, but it would be difficult to afford for a foreigner bootstrapping a startup with no revenue, no users, … nothing.

Scratching the itch#

That’s when I started looking for peer groups. It was like a revelation: it was exactly what I needed. I found Vistage, a peer advisory group for CEOs, and thought about enabling something similar for me and other entrepreneurs: a way to connect and to build significant relationships with other similar-minded people who care and who can give sincere feedback. I got even more motivated when I recalled a peer group composed by Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Harvey Firestone, and John Burroughs, calling themselves the Four Vagabonds. They got together in many summer camping trips between 1915 and 1924.


I wanted to get started as soon as possible, to see if there was anyone “crazy” enough to join a group of random strangers. “Well they are entrepreneurs, they already have the crazy mindset”, I thought to myself, and it seems I was right.

Inspired by TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington’s quote: “The best startups generally come from somebody needing to scratch an itch.", I decided to post a thread on IndieHackers titled “ASK IH: Is MY itch YOUR itch?? 🤔”, to see if the idea could get traction. While there were no comments (just a couple of upvotes), eight people signed up for the lovely form I built.

Forming the first Grind Group#

Five entrepreneurs (myself included) were selected to participate. All of us were in the same stage: pre-revenue but with an MVP.

We got together and met up on Skype. The brave four indie hackers were:

Adam - Make podcasts through a phone call Ben - Get prizes for predicting the winners of different sports Ethan - Web development tutorials for beginners SĂ©bastien - Be GDPR compliant in the blink of an eye


It definitely challenged the “Minimum” in “MVP”, but it worked as well as we could have expected. Ben had connection issues and couldn’t join, so we had to keep going without him for this session.

After presenting ourselves (our projects, where we’re from and our background), we went through our list of questions that we had prepared beforehand, going through the questions that everyone wanted to ask for their own startup.

At the end of the session, we debated if setting individual challenges to use the group to stay accountable was a good idea. That triggered that each of us set a measurable and actionable challenge for ourselves to be accomplished for the next session (in two weeks), and we set two group challenges to leverage the impact of the group through the synergy created.

Now we are looking forward to the next meeting!


What we expect in the future#

Linhub is a work in process, a constant iteration, it’s a project for entrepreneurs. In the future, we expect that instead of getting answers to our questions we got more question to our answers, that made us dig further the rabbit hole. This is a joint effort to address problems from a first principles’ perspective, that is Elon Musk’s secret sauce described by Tim Urban on his blog Wait but Why (a must-read if you admire Musk).

I’m working to form other groups for different stages in the future, so if you feel like joining, jump in and hold on for a new adventure!

To set expectations, Linhub’s grind groups are not for:

Sell your product/service: If you come to get leads, you’re in the wrong place. Networking: Even if it can be a side project, networking is a one to one relationship and is meant to be a starting point. In Linhub we want to care about each other’s results, be happy about other's success, and encourage each other when the slope is too steep. If looking to network highly recommend Stephanie Hurlburt’s guide on Stripe Atlas’s blog. BS: This is not a place for assumptions, we want to build a crap free zone. If you want to check out the landing page go to