Anthony Castrio is a digital nomad, indie maker, and founder of the Indie Worldwide Community. He’s spent the last five years traveling the world, organizing meetups, and interviewing startup founders while building his community and other indie projects.
Where did the idea for Indie Worldwide Community come from?
5 years ago I started traveling the world as a digital nomad. I knew I wanted to become an entrepreneur, but I wasn’t sure what to build yet or how to do it, but I did have some experience organizing events, so that’s what I started to do.
Each city I went to I tried to start an indie hackers meetup: Medellín, Boston, Montreal, Mexico City.
It was a lot of fun! But every time I moved cities I was leaving the community I built behind and starting over. It couldn’t compound.
That’s when I started Indie Worldwide: to create a virtual community I could take with me anywhere. We would be the meetup group for indie hackers who didn’t live in a popular city or for whatever reason couldn’t go to local meetups.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I jump right on my laptop to check Slack and Twitter messages. It usually takes me about an hour to catch up.
If there are no events scheduled for the day then I start walking to the nearest cafe.
I hate going every day into an office with co-workers and I don’t like working at home either, so that usually leaves with libraries, cafes, and coworking spaces.
I’ll spend the rest of the day crossing items off my to-do list until about 5 or 6pm.
On days that there is some live event to host, then I’ll stick at home for that.
And on days that I’m launching a new campaign, then I’ll probably work later into the night so that I don’t lost my momentum.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I tend to work in sprints. Ideally I’ll have almost nothing I have to do at any given time so that I can spend all day brainstorming marketing ideas or new projects I want to build. Once I get inspired I’ll work as fast as possible to get it shipped so that I don’t run out of enthusiasm before the MVP is done. The founder of Angel List, Naval, calls that “Working Like a Lion”.
That’s ideal. Reality is that I often have obligations to fulfill and the day gets eaten up doing those things instead.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Very excited about the emergence of useful AI!
I started writing a newsletter about the trends and projects I think are cool called Bot Eat Brain https://boteatbrain.com/
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I’m extremely motivated by novelty and I’ve designed my life to be extremely flexible and interesting in order to optimize for that.
I get bored really quickly, so finding ways to automate as much as possible is really important.
At it’s best this helps me create a business that is easy to manage and gives me lots of time for new ideas.
At it’s worst this keeps me from following through with ideas and leads to a pile of half-finished projects.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I like where things are going right now, not sure I want to potentially derail things by messing with the spacetime continuum like that, but I’ve got an entrepreneurial little brother who’s 10 years younger than me, and what I tell him is to focus on building things people want to pay for, keep experimenting, and keep launching new things. Eventually, you start to figure it out.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
More people being born is good for the world and demographic collapse might end up being a bigger problem than climate change within 100 years.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Fire yourself from every task you can. Everything that is not core to your business should be automated, delegated, or deleted.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Talk to your users constantly, figure out what they need (which might not be what they say they need), then build it for them. The ideas that work are the ones that start with people and solving their problems.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I’ve failed to grow more projects than I’ve succeeded in. Most of those projects failed because I started building instead of starting with gathering people. The projects that have overcome my ability to derail them are the ones that started with marketing instead of with engineering.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
A while ago I was trying to build a scoring system for natural disaster and climate-change vulnerability. The idea was to collate datasets on all types of natural disasters and create an overall risk score. This score could then be used to help people decide where to live and where to invest. Like WalkScore for natural disasters. We’d make money from selling real-estate to individuals and research to organizations.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
$100 on stickers to give away to Indie Worldwide members, feels great to be able to create a tangible connection to the community.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Feather (https://feather.is/) has made it way easier for me to write blog posts and ship new webpages quickly. It turns a Notion database into a website that you can update instantly just by making changes in Notion.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. Bombastic title, often recommended, and worth reading. It’s the missing manual for making the people around you happier.
What is your favorite quote?
“I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man.” Jay-Z
- Talk to your customers (or potential customers). Build something they want to pay for.
- The ideas that stick are the ones that start with people.
- When you’re motivated by a new idea, don’t wait. Ship something in public right away. Start gathering interest. Build momentum before you lose your inspiration.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.