29: Lukas and Dago talk about burnout and therapy


Dago: Hey guys, it's finally time for a new episode of This Indie Life. As you can see if you're watching this in video, I look like shit. And the reason is, I just finished the edit last night at 1am, and I realized this morning I need an intro to give you a bit more context. And I haven't recorded it. But since I really want to post the episode today, I'm like, you know, fuck this.

Dago: I haven't even showered, my hair looks like shit, but let's record this quick intro.

Not posting episodes because of perfectionism

Dago: and actually that's what I wanted to talk about in this intro. The reason why I haven't published episodes in a month, since my interview with Nico, It's not that I didn't want to do this podcast. I was thinking about it every day and I actually recorded five more interviews with other entrepreneurs that are awesome and that you're going to love.

Dago: But the problem is I was struggling to edit this podcast. Editing the episode with Nico took me three days. And so I was procrastinating on it because it was so painful for me and so [00:01:00] boring and not enjoyable to edit an episode. But thankfully I talked about it on Twitter a couple of days ago and people helped me see that I don't need to do such a perfect job.

Dago: I can just like, you know, do a clean edit, publish the episode and move on. The value of this podcast is the content and the. Original and unique conversations that I'm having with founders, you know, talking about the deep and the dark stuff. I don't need to make this a perfect podcast.

Dago: that's one of the big reasons I failed my previous startup is I was always trying to do everything perfectly and spending months on things that could have taken weeks or even days sometimes.

Dago: So thankfully this time even though I wasted one month procrastinating because of this I noticed it and now Hopefully I will be better and now I can edit one episode per week because it's only taking me four hours instead of three days so stay tuned for more episodes now as they're gonna come quicker I hope if I can manage to fix my perfectionistic tendencies [00:02:00] And for this episode, let me give you just a little bit of context.

Intro Episode

Dago: the entrepreneur I invited for this episode is Lukas Hermann. And I known him from Twitter for a couple of years, he's an entrepreneur who's building. Stage timer with his wife as a co founder for the last three years,

Dago: the reason why I invited him on the show is that when I tweeted about my burnout, like let's say one year ago, he reached out to me to tell me that he was having A weird sound in his ear, like a beeping sound in his ear at all times.

Dago: And it was caused by the stress and anxiety he felt about his startup. So, once I realized I was gonna have guests on this show, I really wanted to talk with him because, you know, he's been through some shit.

Dago: and in the conversation you're about to see we're talking about all the deep stuff from feeling like shit when opening Twitter and seeing other founders succeed while you're failing to being betrayed by his previous co founder and [00:03:00] having to deal with like super stressful tax issues of the government on his own without having any idea how to fix it.

Dago: and as always on this podcast, we also try to look at the bright side and how we can make fun and laugh out of these

Dago: Obstacles to try to overcome them and grow out of it so I really hope you're gonna appreciate this episode Please forgive me for still being a shitty interviewer.

Dago: I didn't really care about knowing what he was building. I wanted to know about what he's been through. So, you know, please forgive me for that. And please also leave me your feedback on Twitter or whatever you can reach me so I can make this podcast better. But I think all in all, the content is high quality and that's what matters the most.

Dago: So let's get into it.

Start conversation - hiring troubles

Dago: Recording working seems like it says recording.

Dago: Yeah, it's

Lukas: going

Dago: okay. It's gonna figure it out. I guess man So yeah, I'm about 15 [00:04:00] minutes late Yeah, I guess, you know typical French guy meets typical German guy what happens I guess, you know How

Lukas: are you, man? I'm doing actually really fine these days. Great work.

Lukas: Yeah. I just, because I just hired a, like an engineer for our team.

Lukas: Okay.

Lukas: So, so suddenly I feel like I don't have to do everything myself anymore. And it's like this huge pressure off my shoulders.

Dago: And I guess, so I guess they are good. Cause like, it can be so very challenging to find someone that you can rely on and shit.

Dago: Like it's always so hard to hire.

Lukas: It was super hard. Like I, I did, I did interviews, right? I talked to people. I was unsecure about it. I tested with somebody. I was like, okay, let's do, let's do a, you know, I'm choosing you. Let's let's do a test period.

Lukas: Two weeks, wrong person was not the right fit. And, I couldn't sleep for days trying to, how do I tell this person that he's not the right fit? How can, you know, how [00:05:00] do you fire somebody?

Lukas: It's super hard.

Dago: Americans do it well. They just say, you know, get the fuck out.

Dago: But

Lukas: yeah, I guess I feel like Americans have to have to disrespect, not in a negative sense, but they have to kind of like, you're my worker, you're my, my labor, just do whatever I say. They don't care. Europeans are more like, you know, thank you for working with me. How can I make this experience great for you?

Lukas: Yeah.

Dago: Okay. So that was, that was challenging for you to do that. Yeah.

Lukas: Yeah, totally. Like I literally, the whole, like the whole hiring is so, so stressful because so much work and then, you know, this happening and then kind of finding the next person and handling everything I was, I was completely done, but then last week I found the second candidate that I tried.

Lukas: Really good, really cool, like good, good engineer and engaged. And I kind of feel comfy with him in a, in a call. And so now I feel much more relaxed.

Intro Lukas

Dago: You know, I want to talk [00:06:00] about it, but I realized we haven't even introduced you. So like in a couple of words, how would you introduce yourself?

Lukas: So my name is Lukas. I am active on Twitter. That's how we know each other. The end. I kind of, you know, see myself as an indie hacker, like probably most of the people that come on your show.

Dago: Well, you're the second one. So yes. Yeah.

Lukas: And entrepreneur, like I love, I think I love building products. I love building a good solution.

Lukas: Okay. That's, that's really in my heart.

Lukas: then the whole business is. Basically, I kind of, I learned that along the way with all the ups and downs.

Dago: And what are you working on?

Lukas: So right now I'm working on my own product is called stage timer and it has been around for three years now.

Lukas: It grows much lower than other products you might see on Twitter. But it is, is steady [00:07:00] and, and I'm really happy with it. And it does finance our lives. So that's a plus. Okay.

Dago: and your wife works on it with you, right?

Lukas: Yeah. Yeah. She does marketing.

Lukas: Like later on, I got her on board. She does a good job.

Dago: Yeah. You better say that. I'm going to write down to ask you about it. But it's funny.

Comparing yourself to others on Twitter

Dago: I just wanted to pick up on something you said. You said that on Twitter, you know, compared to Twitter, you're not growing that fast or something.

Dago: I feel like it's because we only see the success stories. But I mean, from the people I know on Twitter, I think a lot of people aren't like making much, you know, it's like a lot of. You know, this is actually, is actually

Lukas: the point. Like I, from the beginning, I always compared myself a little bit to, to the guy from testimonial Damon.

Speaker 3: Yeah.

Lukas: Dam. Damon. Chen.

Speaker 3: Yeah.

Lukas: And he's so, he, I don't know how he does it. He has like success after success. He, he skyrocketed his testimonial. And then he made the, the ai what was it? [00:08:00] They literally bought a pdf. ai domain for like thousands of dollars and, and, and got like TikTok success. And I don't even know how it does it, but I, you cannot help but compare yourself to those people.

Lukas: And he, you know, his growth, like

Dago: rocket ship. I need to get him on the show and dig to see if there's some shit in the closet, like something that he's not talking about. You know, but it would make us all losers feel better, but no, I'm kidding. But, you know, I don't

Lukas: know. Do you know this guy who does Jenny AI?

Dago: David Park. Yeah,

Lukas: exactly. David Park. And he, what was a few months ago? He said oh, I had, you know, I had cancer and I wish it was really hard time.

Speaker 4: Yeah.

Lukas: Yeah. I felt so bad for him. And then he was, oh, but, but Jenny AI just well, cracked a million dollars per year revenue. I

Dago: felt bad for myself.

Dago: Cause dude, he has cancer and he's more successful than me.

Lukas: But this is like, unwittingly, you just compare yourself to these kinds of people on Twitter, [00:09:00] right? And I, no, no, no disrespect to David. I love him, amazing person, but wow, you know, compare yourself to this person, you know, to somebody who has cancer and still runs a startup.

Dago: Yeah, fuck this. I mean, yeah, that's like the, the most difficult thing, man. I feel like opening and not just Twitter. I think LinkedIn is probably even worse. But it's similar and I started trying TikTok and it's even worse like TikTok is like so crazy.

Dago: You know, it's always the same shit. you know, it's cool. Like whenever somebody makes their first like 20 or something, it's really cool, you know, or somebody launches a project, you want to support them and it's nice.

Lukas: all in for it. I'm all in for people like sharing their first, their first successes.

Lukas: But you're right, especially when you have been in the area for some time, like you see the same patterns over and over and all, like the same new people coming with the same. You know, same, same bullshit, really. Some, some people, yeah,

Dago: kind of, kind of, yeah.

Lukas: Making it look like they can, you know, they're super successful and know [00:10:00] everything.

Lukas: And yeah, TikTok is even worse because it's like this, this kind of hype, this hype cycle is even more, you're right, right. Twitter, like in the past, I feel like Twitter was people just sharing. All right, I did this. I did that. I, you know, kind of weekly update and we liked it. And then they really changed it into a more go, go, go hype or go bust.

Dago: I feel like maybe good for Twitter as a whole, but for, for our kind of indie hacker circle, I felt you have to, you know, show off more, show off more to, to get, to get any engagement.

Lukas: I actually

Dago: think, you know,

Twitter algorithm is healthier now

Dago: I don't think so. I think now it's, it's a healthier algorithm, but you have to give more. Like, for example, my kind of like authentic post where I share my struggles. They do very well. And I think it's because it's just, you know, it's engaging. Like it's something you, it seems like it is at least like people seem to be like, Oh, wow, this is a real story.

Dago: I think basically you can't just say, Hey, you know, I took a piss [00:11:00] today. Look at it. Kind of, you know, like you can't, you have to put a bit more effort. And I feel like the easy way is to just be like, Hey, I made a lot of money. Cause it's like the go to way. Right. But I'm noticing you can go viral with other stuff.

Dago: and also like type of content, even video, you know, audio spaces and shit. Cause I, even if you look at Instagram and I spend a lot of time on Instagram these days. If you look at Instagram, you can see a lot of very cool content, you know, with this type of algorithm.

Dago: I feel like it's, it's more human. it's more like the normal way than human, like stuff. So usually the, the stupid and funny stuff will win, but if you do emotional real shit, it can win as well. but like, it's not the same game as before. So I think like a big problem we've had is that we were all used to sharing one type of content or like specific type of content for years.

Dago: And it doesn't work with this new kind of algorithm. And so, but to me, I see it as no, I think, I really think it can be, it can be actually better. So [00:12:00] I, I'm actually enjoying the new algorithm. I still need to figure it out, but yeah.

Lukas: You're actually, I mean, I probably have to check myself a little bit, right.

Lukas: Because I was crying like this, Oh, people are in the past. Everything was better how we did it, but you're right. The, it does, it does force you to like reinvent yourself. And, and and when, if you don't want to go the kind of clickbaity way, It's true. You go to you become more raw, you become more this is me, this is authentic.

Lukas: And that works.

Dago: Yeah. You know, to be honest, even after a while doing a few authentic posts, I'm turning this into clickbait because I'm starting to figure out, you know, how to make people cry. And that's terrible. That's just like my mind, you know,

Lukas: You're so good at that too. Like you are analyzing.

Lukas: Yeah. Okay. How does this work? You really go deep down

Dago: and I'm just posting, oh,

Lukas: it

Dago: didn't work. Okay. I think everything can become clickbait. You know, even authenticity that is that is a trap, man. So yeah. I'm trying to be mindful of that.


Beeping sound in his ears

Dago: so the reason why I invited you on this pod originally is because I think about a year ago You [00:13:00] told me about you had a weird sound in your ear because I had tweeted about my burnout and you told me about it and I So can you, can you tell us about that?

Lukas: Yeah. So this was like we, my wife and I, we traveled in Asia a little bit, tried the real indie life.

Lukas: Probably a bit too old, came back after half a year, settled down. But it also was because I. I felt like I was really anxious. I was really anxious at the time.

Dago: Okay, so you were building StageTimer already? Yes, I was building

Lukas: already. I was completely 100 percent in already. And I was still so, so very anxious from stuff that happened in the past.

Lukas: Stuff that just I recently went through. And couldn't sleep some nights. Had, I had like panic attacks. And I, I don't really share this openly. I can share a story if you, if you want to. Stupid. It's not I don't want to make it a big thing. Okay. Okay. But it's had things happening. And then suddenly, we are here, we are back for two months or so, [00:14:00] in Germany, and suddenly I hear like this beeping in my ear, I can hear it actually now, you know, talk about it comes back.

Speaker 3: Okay.

Lukas: Yeah, in my left ear, and I, And I know because my father has, has this called tinnitus or tinnitus, or I don't know how to pronounce it in English. So, and I went to the doctor and he measured it through and he said, yeah, it's it's physically there. Like he could measure it essentially.

Speaker 3: Yeah.

Lukas: And he said like right away, he said there's no, there's no cure. we don't know a cure, there's some stuff we can try and we tried it and it didn't help. And like peep, there is this theory, right, it comes from stress apparently not everybody shares it, but it definitely comes from, you know, some behavioral patterns that you had, like some, some, it's some mental things, some like something with your, with your head that's happening.

Lukas: Yeah. The change is something. Maybe it's

Dago: something that you, You had, you were like predisposed to have, like it was like, but like it triggered it because of the stress. Cause like my now ex wife, you know, with whom [00:15:00] I was building my, my startup too. Yeah. She's been having that, you know, after two or three years of building our startup and being very stressed.

Dago: And she started having that almost constantly also. And I think it's, it,

Physical scars for life

Lukas: it's somewhat scary when, when you realize that you're, you're stressful, like the pressure you're under. Has effects on your, on your life, you know, if you, if you can, you know, if you get fat, you can train it away. If it's too big, you go to the doctor, but this it stays forever.

Lukas: I'm going to have it at the rest of my life. It's a bit of a profound thought that I had wasn't, it was not easy to, to, to work through. Yeah,

Dago: yeah. You know, it's, I feel exactly the same with my eyes. Cause basically, I think I probably had some sensitivity and like it, the burnout and the stress triggered it.

Speaker 4: Yeah,

Dago: and now I'm like I literally have to [00:16:00] do I literally have to spend hours a day consciously blinking So my eyes don't hurt too much this is fucked up like just because of looking at screens and shit because I looked for too long at screens Without, you know, and being too focused.

Dago: And it's interesting what you said that, you know, it can really impact your body and then it's there. Yes. Cause I used to think it's all in my head. Like it's only mindset and shit. And as long as I can push through it, you know, with my mindset, it's okay. But then eventually you can't really push through it.

Dago: And it kind of like break something in your body and then it's broken. Yeah. And now you have that, like with your thing in your ear, I have that with my eyes. You know, I still hope it goes away, but I'm kind of like losing hope it will go away. I'm like getting used to it And, and also, you know, getting old kind of, you know, cause like maybe like the body like me, I think when I was 18 or 20, I could take it, [00:17:00] my body didn't give a shit.

Dago: Now I'm 35, my body starts to be like, no, fuck you, you know? Same. And yeah, you know, so.

Lukas: I would play computer games, you know, all night long with my friends, no problems. Yeah. And now. It's this, and it's really subtle, especially, I think you had the same, like you build your own business, right?

Overworking by default

Lukas: You build your own startup.

Lukas: You don't make a lot of money yet. You feel this constant pressure of, I need to build, build, build, ship, ship, ship, right? It's like the typical indie hacker thing that people say, ship, ship, ship. And you just use every minute of the day and, you know, maybe you notice as well, suddenly, you know, your friends are not as important anymore and you lose a little bit of contact.

Lukas: You don't schedule your dentist. like things just get pushed aside or they're not become as important and you just build, build, build and sit in front of the computer and eventually, you know, you know, your body can take six hours, seven hours concentrated work and then it's, it's [00:18:00] tired.

Lukas: And if you push that, if you like stretch that rubber band every day, every day. At one point it's just a snap and then your body says, like you with the eye, like me with the ears, like something's broken now. And it's because you, you, you pull too strong for too long.

Dago: It kind of, it feels like, kind of like a scar.

Dago: Like it's like a scar that you earned in battle, kind of. And that reminds you of your, of your mistake. Kind of like somebody who's like, like imagine a warrior of like, you know, you know, sword and shit. And he got like A skull there. And that means he wasn't like, he almost died and he almost like, he, he messed it up.

Dago: And so now the sad thing is like, there's nothing sexy about shitty eyes or like, you know, the sound in your ear. So you can't like turn this skull into something cool. I mean, you know.

Lukas: Yeah, it's really like this. Someone, one of my [00:19:00] former, former CTOs in, in a startup I was working, he took me like in private.

Lukas: He told me once when I, when I did The early start of work, I didn't go to the dentist for like years and all my tears got like all messed up. And once I went again, once I had like the energy or the presence of mind again to go, it was crazy hard to get everything repaired. And this really scared me because at that very moment, I also hadn't gone to the dentist for two years.

Lukas: You know, and I started feeling like the tooth aches, you know, like the bad weather tooth, you know, coming in. It's man, maybe I should, I should. stop now instead of like in three years when it gets even more intense.

Dago: Yeah. Cause like you're always thinking like it's never the priority. Yeah.

Dago: because you only have one priority. So is that something that you started to manage a bit better now?

Lukas: Yes. Yeah. It's actually really consciously said to myself, [00:20:00] you know, what, what is this? I don't really have friends physically here. I don't really.

Lukas: When did you

Dago: realize this? When, when did you feel like you had to change something?

Lukas: Honestly, it was basically my wife and this is a bit shameful to say, but like telling me for years. You are like, you have, this anxiety is not normal. You should do something about it. You have to, you have to see somebody.

Lukas: So this happened six years ago and I had to fix a lot of tech stuff. You know, Germany is very strict on taxes. I cannot mess up and everything kind of came on crushing down. Yeah. Yeah. And I had to take care of all of this and it's really set set this into motion. And I always thought it's okay.

Lukas: I'm going to manage it. I'm going to get over this. I was really depressed for a time. I like even thought, man, you know, if you know, if you would die today, it's all over. You wouldn't have to worry about it. I never really planned like suicide or something like this, but I had these thoughts [00:21:00] of, you know, You know, if, if, if it would be over, if you get hit by a bus, it wouldn't, wouldn't be the worst.

Lukas: And it did scare me, but I always thought, you know, you're almost done. you're almost over the hill here and it will get better. We'll get better.

Cofounder betrayal and having to clean behind them

Dago: That was with your, that was with your previous business, right? Yes.

Lukas: I got together with two co founders and it kind of turned sour and the one threw the other one out and then he escaped to the U. S. essentially leaving me hanging with being the minority owner but still having all the liability now because I'm the only one that What do you mean

Dago: escape?

Lukas: Yeah, he just left.

Dago: He just left. And that was enough for him to not be liable?

Lukas: Yeah, but what should he do? He's in the US, you know, what should the German government do? Send him a letter? You know, who cares? He doesn't care. They don't even have his address.

Dago: They have mine. So. So this co founder left you in the shit.

Dago: Yeah. And then you spend the next [00:22:00] few years kind of like. Cleaning it up. Working your ass off. Yeah. Okay. Why didn't you just leave? Or give up?

Lukas: Yeah. That's the question, right? That I felt like.

Lukas: I didn't wanna, I didn't wanna leave the country. for good, you know, I felt like

Dago: you couldn't like just declare bankruptcy or something and give up.

Lukas: I tried. I tried to go to my tax advisor. Can you, can I get out of this? And he said, the problem is you are, you are a like a kind of board member. You know, you're like in, in the, in, in the registry, you're, you're, there's your name, so you cannot, you cannot get out of responsibility.

Lukas: And what was the problem? like the main problem,

Lukas: what was it? The main problem was that we. chose like an accountant that was basically the cheapest we could find.

Lukas: And the accountant somehow didn't do the job. And then two years later, the government sent us all these letters and said, [00:23:00] Hey, where, where, you know, you have to pay your taxes. Where's your taxes? Where's your annual reports?

Dago: Yeah.

Lukas: And I like, man, like you're responsible for that. You know, you are the CEO.

Lukas: What, what's happening? And he was, he was doing shit. And then to make matters worse, all the letters went to this other guy that he kicked out of the business. So it was just a huge pain even to get this information. And then I had to find it. I

Dago: see what you mean. Yeah. Find an accountant

Lukas: and tell them I have a deadline of four weeks and I need to do taxes for two years in the past.

Lukas: Can you help me?

Lukas: the government coming Hey, we're gonna charge you 22, 000 euros if you don't if you don't do this and I'm thinking what do I do?

Lukas: I don't have the money that at that time. I don't don't have the money

Going into depression

Dago: so this experience kind of like traumatized you or something,

Lukas: It did almost the same as it did to you. Like it, it threw me into a depression. I quit everything entrepreneur, right? I like everything that freelancing, everything I did with business, I [00:24:00] quit all of it. And I, I looked for a job and I started working in a startup and I worked there for two years and had this like stable, you know, going to the office, getting my tasks, being a, being an engineer.

Lukas: And it was a nice startup. And then after two years, I felt like kind of this itch again, okay, now I feel recovered enough to start the next project.

Dago: Yeah. I see what you mean. Yeah.

Lukas: And, the worst of this depressive state was over. And I thought.

Lukas: Yes. I'm, I'm thought I'm like, I'm over the hill, right? I'm getting out of this a bit more time. I still have some effects, a bit more time. Anxiety will go away. I will be able to sleep again normally and, and, and, you know, get my life back together. And that partner, that part didn't happen. I didn't get my life back to back together.

Dago: I like, so did it got worse than when you had your job or did you just stop getting better?

Lukas: It just kept, it [00:25:00] just kept like it was. I didn't really have friends. I didn't, I wasn't able to, like I was concentrating on my job and I couldn't get other things done. Taking care of other things was such a burden for me.

Lukas: And I pushed everything aside, you know. scheduling dentist appointment, getting a haircut getting new glasses, which every normal person would say, you know, just go to the city, get, get yourself new glasses. Yeah. Yeah. No, I see what

Dago: you mean, but it's everything seems like too much. Yeah. You know, just go getting the groceries.

Dago: You want to get them delivered or like you like, cause you're like, Always kind of like in a rush, always like in a hurry.

Speaker 4: Yeah.

Dago: That's how it feels to me. You always in a hurry. You'll never quiet. You'll never calm and like, yeah, you know, it's always going fast. You

Lukas: don't allow yourself to relax. You don't allow yourself to such a sit back and do like nothing.

Lukas: It's always, you feel like, Oh, I have to do something tonight. I still have to work a little bit. I still have to do a little bit and you [00:26:00] never get anything done. Yeah. Yeah.

Lukas: So that stayed, that, that literally stayed behind and I couldn't get rid of it. And then beginning last year when we came back to Germany from our Asia trip, it was amazing, by the way. Love it. Amazing. But I had these episodes where I just couldn't sleep the whole night. Or once we were in a, in a, we went to the cinema.

Speaker 3: Yeah.

Lukas: And we stood in line and my wife asked me, what do you wanna drink? And I'm like, I panicked. I don't know. You have to make the decision for me. I can't, I can literally not make this decision right now.

Dago: Too many decisions in your head all the time. Too many things to think about.

Lukas: What to drink?

Lukas: You know, just give me a Coke. Just give me a Sprite. Who cares? And I couldn't make the decision. And this is when it was like, okay. I'm gonna, I'm gonna look for help.

Getting help from a therapist

Dago: So what did you do to look for help?

Lukas: I I, I Googled for like therapy [00:27:00] and then I just went there. I'd I literally went there.

Lukas: I said, I go there and I talk to this person and I see what happens and I talked to the person and then she she said, yeah, there's going to be, you know, some, some position free. I, I, I will get in contact with you. And they did. And I had 12, 12 sessions with a therapist. Yeah. Yeah. And she. So this was very, this is very interesting.

Lukas: I don't know if you have never taken therapy, what was happening, you know, you sit on the couch and they kind of talk about your parents and your childhood. This is not so much what happened. I told her what, what symptoms I have. And she said, yeah, this sounds like a.

Lukas: She had light depression, you know, essentially saying, you still kind of suffer from this depressive state. It's not, not hard, but it's there. Yeah. And then she like explained to me how depression works. Like we literally just almost like in school, there's a workbook and she went through with me and said, here, these are the symptoms of depression, you know.

Lukas: [00:28:00] You, you know, you have this problem and this problem and that problem and like easy things that should be simple like getting a new glasses is suddenly hard. And I read all of that and I thought this fits so well to my situation and I, I hadn't connected all these individual points together to one sickness, quote unquote.

Dago: Yeah. Okay.

Lukas: And suddenly in my head, it was like, yeah, this is all connected. It's all all these problems, all these little tiny problems that I thought I can ignore. They're not that important. They're not that big in my life. They all came together. It's ah, this is all because of this one problem.

Lukas: It's all the same.

Dago: Okay. So you had the 12 sessions with her.

Lukas: Yeah.

Dago: So what did happen? what happened because you did that?

Lukas: Yeah. I think the good part was I went in and I said, I want to get healthy. I want to get healthy fast. And I'm ready to make all the changes. Like I'm doesn't matter. I'm and she said like most people, they don't want to do any change.

Lukas: I [00:29:00] was like, I'm ready to do all the changes, no matter what I

Dago: hear you. Yeah.

Therapy tips for founders

Lukas: And and she was. Like first thing is, is she said you need stability. Like you need to eat breakfast at the same time, lunch at the same time and dinner at the same time. You just get a rhythm into your life, do things at do, do certain things at the same day of the week.

Lukas: Get a rhythm helped incredibly routine.

Dago: Yeah.

Lukas: Yeah. I get a routine helped a lot. Just it sounds so silly, right? As Indiakers, we are like, Oh, it doesn't work whenever, you know, work on the beach, work on, on in the evening, in the morning at midnight. And I'm suddenly I'm like, no, I'm going to get up at eight.

Lukas: I'm going to start my work day at nine 30. And I'm going to work until five, you know, like really structuring my life helped so much. That's really

Dago: helpful. Yeah. And then eventually, I don't know how it was for you, but I think eventually you [00:30:00] also realize that you accomplished quite a lot in this time.

Dago: Like maybe not everything, but you accomplished almost everything. And you feel so much better. So it's worth like getting just 80 percent of what you thought you could have done, but like feeling way better, you know, and being able to keep going. I don't know how it was for you.

Lukas: Absolutely. She, she gave me this mindset shift.

Lukas: I always had this feeling of I have my task. I need to finish it today. I need to crunch through until I finished a task, committed, push it to GitHub, done. And, and she said there's always going to be. tomorrow, there's always going to be more work tomorrow. Your, your list is always going to get longer, do what you do.

Lukas: And then, and then tomorrow is another day to do the next thing. And just this kind of calms you down and say, okay, I get done what I get done. And tomorrow I continue doing what I'm doing. And in the beginning, you think you get less done, but in fact, you actually get more done.

Dago: Yeah. It's very interesting [00:31:00] because you know, I'm going to a co working space for a few months and it's helping me so much with having a rhythm.

Dago: Also having friends and like, when I go there, I like, I have lunch with them and it's and sometimes I'm like, no, I'm going to keep working. I'm like, we're all having lunch. I'm like, okay, I'm going to come. And I feel bad about it because I'm like, no, I wanted to work at noon. it's in France.

Dago: So the break is two hours, but like, it's so good. Like to have this break, you know, it feels so good. And actually like. Just before this podcast, I was feeling like shit. Cause like I was there today, I had some bad news about it. Cause they're going to shut it down in a couple of months.

Dago: It made me so sad because it was so important for me, That's very, that was tough for me emotionally, but anyway, I keep through the day.

Dago: And I wanted, I mean, just before this recording, I, you know, I posted the last episode, like the interview I did with Nico and like fucking Twitter wouldn't allow me to upload the video. Like I just spent one hour fighting with it. And so I haven't [00:32:00] uploaded it when I wanted to, cause that's my big thing.

Dago: And I was so like, you know, mad about it. And then I was like, you know, it's almost 6 PM and we had our meeting like one hour later and I'm just going to go home. And actually the fact of, well, switching locations.

Dago: But also walking home, cause like my, the walk is like 20 minutes. So I put some music on. I literally sing now in the street. I don't give a shit about people. Like I'm like, I have my AirPods pro. I put it in kind of like isolation mode. And I literally sing. I'm passing through like tens of people.

Dago: I'm like singing, whatever I'm listening to. I'm like, fuck you guys. I don't give a shit. I'm having my like break, you know? Yeah, I think if you get

Lukas: older, like you gave so many fucks in your life. There's just no more fucks to give. Exactly. And I'm

Dago: like, Nobody's listening anyway. Everybody's stuck on their phones.

Dago: and it's not worse than like a homeless guy shouting. at least it's positive. So who gives a shit? [00:33:00] And so like just doing that. And now I literally do that all the time. Like I go there and I like, and I, so twice a day, I do a 20 minutes walk from my home to there and from there to my home and I'm literally usually singing.

Dago: And when I do this, man, You know, I came home and I was like. Oh, it's okay. I'll figure it out tomorrow. You know, I'll figure out this shit tomorrow. It's okay. in the past, I would have, if I had just stayed home and not thought about it, I would probably been, you know, fighting with it until the last minute before we record this episode.

Dago: I would have been in a hurry, this whole recording, I wouldn't have been present. I would have been thinking about it, you know, maybe even multitasking while you tell me your life. I wouldn't even have listened. That would be like trying to fix it on another laptop.

Dago: And that would have been like such a shitty experience. And I would probably wouldn't have fixed it and maybe even have made mistakes and maybe did something stupid, post it in a bad format because I was such stressed about it. And so, yeah, man, [00:34:00] like we need more quiet and more calm in our lives.

Dago: cause it gets so mental and so crazy and,

Lukas: your point is very good. You make the wrong priorities. And you said that you're going to this coworking space.

Lukas: And what I told my therapist is, Hey, she asked me, what do you want? what is your goal? And I said, I really would wish that I had just a friend here in the city that I live that I can meet. Yeah. And I wish I would go to the gym and have a training program that is really nice that you know, that somebody tells me do this, you know, train, train this way today's today's lower body tomorrow's upper body.

Lukas: And she said, you know, here's what you do. You make a superiority and tomorrow, it's not that tomorrow you go there, you may not have the energy, you may be, you know, not get out of bed or something, which happened to me. But you at least make a call, make an appointment, make the first step. Yeah. Make a move.

Lukas: [00:35:00] Call a friend and tell them, let's meet next, next week. Yeah. Do the things that like follow these goals, don't, don't ignore them because you think you have to work and finish everything and do this task and do the next thing and look good on Twitter. And

Dago: yeah, man, you know, I've been, I'm going to therapy too now for the past six months or so. And I was always thinking I wouldn't need it. Yeah. And everybody told me you should do it and I'm like, no, but I know what's happening. I know, you know, cause I, I, I really did. I really did know that something was wrong and I could, you know, journal about it, meditate and identify shit.

Dago: But there's just something about somebody else telling you, you know, somebody who you can trust and who's like professional telling you like, cause like when it's you it's yeah, I know, you know, but like when he's telling somebody, tell you, no, you're like, this is the mistake you're making.

Dago: Just this, it changes everything. And [00:36:00]

Lukas: just telling you like, this is normal, this is not normal.

Dago: Yeah, that's it. Cause it's, yeah, it's so helpful. And I'm so grateful I found this therapist. Actually, she's she's really amazing. Cause so she's from Argentina. Oh. Somehow she decided to move to the north part of France, you know.

Dago: Cool. Good for me. So I got to see her and she's you know, psychotherapist. So she's that's what she's trained in, but she also took like a new discipline of kind of like energetic work, like with the body. And so basically a session with her is mind blowing.

Dago: and you can't go more than twice a month cause like it's too intense. So you can't go every week. And so it's an hour and a half, first 40 minutes, normal therapy. You just talk about your shit. She helps you see things, you know, you figure things out.

Dago: And then after 40 minutes, [00:37:00] she tells you, where do you feel that in your body? Where is this located? You know, this fear, this pain, whatever, like usually for me, it's like my chest or my neck, it's like something is stuck there. And then like for the next 40 minutes or 30, she's going to do like crazy, you know, kind of like massage, but like not, not to make you feel good, really to heal you and remove like the things that are blocking you in your body.

Dago: And then after that, you have 10 minutes of debriefing how you felt and shit. And this has been, man, the most useful thing. cause then, cause the, the body part is kind of like the magic part to me. cause then for the next two weeks, you can, I can feel my body literally heal and change.

Dago: Like my posture changes, like just without doing anything. So I'm so grateful. I met her and now I mean, well, first of all, I think just in life in general, having therapy, like basically constantly having someone that you can talk to, to be sure [00:38:00] you're not fucking shit up.

Dago: I feel like it's just there's no reason not to do it. it's kind of like going to the gym. Like it's like, It's like mental health.

How therapy helps with building your business

Dago: I feel like so many mistakes I made

Dago: the problem isn't we don't know that we should do marketing,we know what we need to do, but we don't really want to do it, or we have our ego, or we have our like pride, and we don't do it, You know, and I feel like if, when you're building or doing something and you have a therapist and you can just tell them about like how you feel about your startup or whatever you're building.

Dago: And if they can just tell you why do you feel this way? This is real. I just make you notice that maybe like in your ego, you're protecting something. Like I wasted six months building useless features. It's not because of the useless features. It's about, I had my pride of I want this product to be perfect because I was scared of failing.

Dago: That's what was happening. If I had a therapist by my side, probably could have saved the six months, man.

Lukas: [00:39:00] And just being forced to explain to somebody who is not in your bubble, who is not in the Indie Hacker bubble, who is not an entrepreneur,

Dago: and you have to

Lukas: explain to them what you do and why you do it and what it is and what is your goal.

Lukas: And you're like, it's, it's such a really reality check to yourself.

Dago: Oh yeah. And it's good also. Cause like we live in such a bubble. if you're like on X on social media, everybody's kind of like repeating the same shit to support each other. Like it's good. But at the same time, it can become kind of like.

Dago: You know, you have like blinders and you don't see shit,

Lukas: And they take you out of this bubble and say, what is we like, is this really so important as you make it to be? And you suddenly realize it's actually, it's not such a big deal.

Lukas: Why do I make it such a big deal? It's not such a big deal. Yeah. And then to tie it up to kind of this, this story before, right? I was in this, in this place for five years. Always thinking, just like you said before, I'm going to get over this. I know I have this problem. It's just time. I'm going to get over this.

Lukas: I'm going to manage it. And then [00:40:00] comes the moment where I realize it seems like I cannot do it alone. I actually should look for help. And that was, that was a turning point. In the end, that was the point where I got better.

Dago: it's such a relief to feel like, no, I can't, I can't do it alone.

Dago: Yeah, for me, it was like, I can't feel good if I don't have friends like locally and then I started going to the co working place or you know, or and for me, that was also like with my ex wife, we had some problems that I wasn't looking at and it helped me to see, Oh no, I can't like, I can't keep doing this.

Dago: But you need to take a step back to be able to see this. You know, so a therapist can be really helpful in helping you see that. It's so funny, like I went to the therapist and like the second session she told me, oh, you should leave your wife. It's obvious . I was like crazy.

Dago: I was like, holy shit. I mean, she didn't tell me, but she let basically, I was like, not sure what I should do, and she just showed me what I had said in the session and yeah. Like the [00:41:00] answer is like right there.

Lukas: Sometimes, you know, you know, the answer and the answer feels a bit too scary and a bit too scary to speak out.

Lukas: And then you get somebody who is interested in any other thing on your life, who like, who doesn't care of anything. And you can just tell them stuff. Yeah,

Dago: yeah.

Lukas: And you speak it out loud, and suddenly you realize, you know, that's, that's the point. For me, it was the opposite, almost. My wife really put up with me, and I credit her a lot for having this, but I mean, she could have left me.

Lukas: She saw what's happening. And she, she really very slowly moved me in this direction of, hey, you should, I think you do need help. You cannot solve it yourself. And when I was in therapy and telling my therapist kind of what's going on, she was like, did you ever think, did you just tell your wife, Hey, I'm grateful for what you do and I'm grateful for your patience.

Lukas: And so I went home and said that and it was like night and day. She almost cried.

Dago: Yeah. Oh yeah, I bet. Yeah. [00:42:00] I told that to my wife after leaving her, but that still counts. But yeah, no, yeah, yeah, it does. Cause

Being a shitty cofounder with my ex wife

Dago: Like man, I mean, my ex, she put up with so much of my bullshit, so much of my bullshit, like so much of my ego, like wanting to be the CEO and not letting her do things. And I told myself it was to make life easier for her. But it's also because I was so fucking shit scared of losing control. You know? And, and she was so mad, towards the end.

Dago: because basically everything was on my shoulders and I had made it this way. Yeah. And so when I burnt out and I collapsed and so everything collapsed with me, cause like she wasn't responsible for much because I had put everything on my side.

Dago: It was really, you know, a bad time for her. She was really mad at this and she's right. That she, I mean, I totally understand. And yeah, I mean, tying it up to therapy. like literally right now, if tomorrow I [00:43:00] start a new startup and I have a co founder, I will do couples therapy with them.

Dago: Yes. Like it's the same relationship, like a therapy between every co founder. At least once a month, because I mean, if, when you have co founders, I feel like even for us, like it wasn't the reason of all of our like failure, but that was a big problem.

Dago: having a startup together, like having kind of like a kit together, like at least a big project together.

Dago: So how is it going, you know, with your wife and being your co founder and stuff, how is it working together?

Trusting your cofounder

Lukas: So that part is, is really working well. So this is where I, I kind of won in life, I would say this is where I made good decisions versus other, other areas.

Lukas: I think that the reason she stayed with me, because I always, I always felt like, I want to learn and improve I don't have all the answers and I don't have I'm not [00:44:00] perfect and I'm not I don't know better and if somebody tells me, you know, this is not good what you do.

Lukas: Or we should change that. I at least, at least give it a really good thought and say, okay, sub, you know, objectively looking at this, how does this look like? And then often finding out, yeah, the other person is actually not wrong, right? You, you get, you get rid of your anger, you get rid of your frustration, and then you think of it logically and say, okay, there's a point here, I can, I think we can find ourselves in the middle.

Lukas: And I think that's, that's held us together. And we have a really good relationship. And also, yeah, this, I'm learning this a little bit now too, right? You have this kind of perfectionism. I'm, I want to do everything perfect. I want to do everything exactly how I think it. But then saying, okay, but, but you do this part and I trust you.

Lukas: I trust you that you do it right. I trust you that you have your, your ways and you, you have your own experience, your own kind of conclusions that are maybe better than me because you have done it longer than me. And that's why [00:45:00] it's marketing, right? Yeah. She does marketing. She has customer service.

Lukas: And I think she does it really well. And whenever I come with a crazy marketing idea, she often tells me, yeah, so I did this experiment and this experiment in the past has happened like this and this, and, and we should do it different. All right. Okay.

Dago: I see. I was wrong.

Dago: And so like, do you have any challenges that came up, you know, cause you've been doing this together for a few years now, are there things that happened that kind of challenged, you know, Not necessarily the relationship, but you know, the startup or something.

Lukas: In this particular case, nothing that goes beyond the typical what you have as a couple. And you always have, eventually you're going to have a fight. And the question is, how do you resolve a fight?

Dago: Yeah.

Lukas: And often resolving the fight means heading into it. Except, you know, it's there. The elephant is in the room.

Lukas: Talk about the elephant. That's how you resolve it. And it's in marriage the same. And this has [00:46:00] been working very well for us. And I think it has actually grown better over time, instead of like us growing apart or kind of hating each other more. No, it's, it has, it has grown better. So I'm really, really blessed in this area.


Taking time off for personal life and building lego sets

Dago: So do you have time to do shit together?

Lukas: So this is a good question, right? Because when I was. like in this depressive state, we didn't, because I always felt too busy. I always felt like I had to work and finish this and do this. And now after the therapy, we take every, every month, we take one day that is date day, right?

Lukas: We go to the cinema, we go eating, we go brunching, we do something like this every, every month. And it's all, and then one month I organize it, one month she organizes it. And then we, I allow myself to say, I'm just taking this afternoon free. I feel a bit tired. I think tomorrow I will have more energy.

Lukas: I will take it free. I will allow myself to take free time. [00:47:00] I just like, just

Dago: hearing you say that made me feel better. I just felt Oh shit. Yeah, that sounds good. Yeah.

Lukas: Two months ago, I bought a Lego set, like a big Lego set and I build it. And I was like, this is amazing. I love it. And then I, what

Dago: Lego set, what was it?

Lukas: it was the, sorry, the, the, the Mars Rover curiosity. Mars Rover. Yeah. Awesome. And I was, this is amazing. Yeah. I love building Lego. Like I haven't allowed myself to do this. And suddenly I was there, like building it. And then I found this website called Rebrickable, where people take Lego sets and then make alternative models and you can.

Lukas: Purchased the instructions for a few, for a few euros, for a few dollars and build yourself

Dago: the same pieces, same pieces. You make something else. Cause I was like, I don't want to

Lukas: buy more stuff because then it, you know, you have to put it somewhere. I don't have so much space. Yeah. It's Oh, well, you know what I can do?

Lukas: I buy like a car. And now I bought a car, like a big car for a hundred, 150 bucks. [00:48:00] And then, and then just download new instructions and build different cars out

Dago: of it. But you bought it, did you buy it? Because you knew you could do so many things with it already. Like you picked the one with the most variety that you like.

Dago: Oh, wow. That is so awesome. And it's just, it gives me so

Lukas: much joy because it's so useless, but it's also so just nice. I enjoy it. And, and the same is sometimes we, I just say I take off for this day and I'm going to play and, or we're going to go to the mall and we're going to drink a bubble tea and we're going to sit on a chair and observe people and make fun of all the kids that are running around.

Lukas: this, this, this makes life, you know.

Dago losing joy in coding

Dago: You know, it's funny you talk about doing something useless. I had a thought a couple of days ago. It's going to sound weird, but like

Dago: when I started coding, I'm 35 soon, but I mean, I'm going to stay, I'm going to say 34 while I still can. I am 34. And [00:49:00] when I was like 15, that's when I learned to code. And it was always so fun to me, it was always something fun. I was making cool shit, I was making, you know, video game websites. I was trying to learn 3D modeling also at the time, trying to do an actual game.

Dago: You know, really having fun. Then it became a job. I mean, it became kind of like something I always did. Freelance almost very, never had a job, but you know, freelancing is kind of like a job. It's, it's not, it's pretty close. So I was doing that for a long, long time. And the past couple of years, I really lost interest in coding because it had become so complex, especially now with like, All this fucking frontend shit, you know, and I had became like years ago, I became kind of like an expert at React js Mm-Hmm.

Dago: because it was the thing to be in if you wanted to make more money. So I did that and I, and I enjoyed it. But now, I mean, I don't want to build anything 'cause it's [00:50:00] so complex and something switched like couple days ago I had this kind of like realization that coding is gonna be useless now because of ai and.

Dago: At the moment I really started believing that yeah, coding is useless now. I was like, I want to code again. I was like, now there's no pressure. I don't need to find the best library. I don't need to think of the most complex shit. I can just do something I love. Like I love Ruby, Ruby and Ruby on Rails.

Dago: I fucking love it. I love coding with that. I learned it and I think it's so sweet and so enjoyable. And it's useless to, to do an app with that right now. Cause I mean, just. The joy of coding with that. I mean, it's going to probably going to trigger a shit ton of people listening to this, but it's going to be useless soon.

Dago: Like it's over at least it seems. And so being a coder is going to become, and it was my whole career for 15 years. Doing the like building building blocks like this kind of oh yeah, I'm going to set up a form. I'm going to do [00:51:00] authentication Create routing between the pages, you know membership and shit This is going to be like automated or like very easy to do with ai and I was like I want to code again.

Dago: I just want to build a small app now that is completely useless And that that can be done in 10 seconds by AI, but I would spend like a month doing and I was so good, man. It's been 20 years. I haven't felt like this and it doesn't have

Lukas: to earn like it doesn't have to earn any money. It can just be.

Dago: Yeah, that is so scary though, because I had this thought, but then I still haven't do it because I'm like, But it's not going to make money, you know, but I'm getting there.

Dago: But it's so hard, man, to be like, right.

Stop turning everything into a side project: have hobbies again

Dago: Cause like initially it's a hobby. And when you learn to turn a hobby into making money, then it becomes hard to just have a hobby. So hard because every thought

Lukas: for anything, every thought you think, you know, this could be a project, this could be sold on the internet, you know.

Lukas: This could be a template. [00:52:00]

Dago: Yeah, this could be a fucking template. All these fucking boilerplates, man. And you know, I appreciate it, it's awesome. But we all thought of doing a boilerplate at some point. You know, we all thought at some point, you know, Oh wow, I had to do this twice in my life. So it means it can become a boilerplate.

Dago: Let's fucking go, you know. And we do this. And it's cool, you know, it's useful. But oh yeah, man. I just want to be coding the most useless app. I want to code like I have a friend who actually builds an app like this, so he's gonna get mad, but in me, the most useless app in my head is gonna be, like, a movie ranking app.

Dago: something like that. Something that's like a tutorial app. not a real app, to learn something. I'm gonna do but like I'm gonna do like a movie ranking app. Or you know, or something just for me. scratch my own itch, but really like an itch that I'm the only one to have, like really something that's not gonna be anything and wow, that would be so like, we've [00:53:00] or maybe not even the rails, maybe just fucking PHP, you know and not, and not brag about it, you know, just be like, you know, yeah, I'm just going to do something basic.

Dago: It's

Lukas: beautiful. I bought, so I bought, you know, this Lego car and, and because there's, you know, there was just like very cheap, small set. I was like, ah, let me just buy this one as well. May, may as well. And it has like few, like 20 pieces or so. Oh, 20 pieces. That's nothing. Yeah, it's super small. I have it here.

Lukas: I have it

Speaker 3: here. It's like very, very, very tiny, right? Maybe cool

Dago: 20. I'm well, yeah. I'm sorry. I'm exagerating. Sorry about, sorry for you, man. Did you just, it's two pieces. Okay, cool.

Lukas: And, and I'm like, man, all these people, they build this alternative models and then they make the, The, the, the instructions and the 3D model, and they put it up on this website.

Lukas: I want to try this as well. So I take, I literally take this model, I [00:54:00] take it apart. Oh yeah. And I think, what can I build out of this? And I build a little, must be so hard. I build a little, like space shuttle. Like just,

Speaker 5: you know, I, I look around, okay, this piece could go there and this piece and then, ah, this one is not perfect.

Speaker 5: Oh yeah. I let do it a bit different.

Dago: But now you gotta put, now you gotta put it on Goma. Hold, man. So you're gonna sell it for two new No, here's the

Lukas: point. Here's what I build it. Right? It's like this now it looks really good. It looks really good. Okay. Then I, I downloaded, I literally, I went to this website.

Lukas: I downloaded the kind of 3d modeler where you can put Lego pieces together in 3d. I spent my whole Sunday just reconstructing this thing for in 3d. And then I spend another three hours doing this manual where you like step by step, you know, this piece goes here, this piece goes here, and I just loved it.

Lukas: I just loved it. And then I put it up on this website. yeah, let me share, let me put it in for free. Obviously, I'm not going to charge money for something like this. And it was just so, I felt like it's so useless. But it's also so [00:55:00] joyful and then other people started building it and they upload pictures how they build my thing.

Lukas: Oh, they did. Oh my god. I should send you the, I should send you the homepage here. I have to, I have to show you. And they upload pictures how they are building what I like constructed on my Sunday. And it brings me so much joy. Even though I'm not earning, I'm not earning a cent from it.

Lukas: Like I'm not collecting followers on Twitter from it. It's just, it's just there. Wow.

Dago: I'll add it in the show notes for

Lukas: everyone to see.

Lukas: And you can, you can see like the picture I made and then you scroll down and you see the pictures that the other people uploaded. Oh, the shuttle is nice.

Dago: Yeah, looks nice. Nice? Yeah. I would have wanted to do it. Oh yeah, so 31 people liked it, 11 pictures of people who did it. Wow. It's such a man,

Lukas: such a cool community.

Lukas: You know, I feel, I feel almost like in the past, you know, when we were all hacking and building stuff [00:56:00] and sharing it.

The joy of ugly unusable websites

Dago: I, and even the website design that looks so dated, it reminds me of like my teenage years and that's part of it. Perfect. Part of the fun. It's not fucking, Vue. js or some shit like that.

Dago: It's some, it's not fucking, it's like an old looking website. That's that's better. The usability, the usability It's probably not responsive. Let me see, let me see.

Lukas: Oh, it's

Dago: responsive. I'm disappointed. But, anyway.

Lukas: I uploaded this stuff, right, like this instruction. You can even download the instruction.

Lukas: And it takes you 50 clicks to get anything done. It's, it's awful, but it's just, it has to be like, it cannot be perfect. Otherwise it's part

Dago: of it. It's a part of it. It looks like a Pieter Levels website, man. Like, it's

Speaker 5: I'm

Dago: being a dick, but, I'm being a dick, but you know what I mean?

Dago: Like and I think that might explain his success as well. Cause he's, he's found something. he's focusing on what matters, you know? And, man, this is so joyful to see [00:57:00] this.

Dago: Wow, so yeah, I loved it. I love it. You

Lukas: can buy this Lego set for like I don't know not nine nine or ten euros Yeah, and then and then you you can buy you can download all these alternative builds and just have fun for days

Dago: It's really the website that's getting me though this old UI. I'm like, holy shit. I want to build an old UI again This looks so fun. Like they didn't give a shit. They didn't try to do brand. I mean, even the brand is not that bad. No, it's really good. But yeah. Wow, man. I miss, it's almost making me sad.

Dago: cause I, I remember like,probably 18 years ago or something when I was like 16, I did a website about windows XP custom visual themes, you know, because back then you could actually change the styling of the, the windows UI. Yeah. Yeah. And then, and not just the ball, like you could have [00:58:00] Entire themes of the icons, the cursor icon everything.

Dago: And basically the most successful theme is basically trying to replicate MacOS. So that was actually funny, but anyway,I remember I had built this website where like I had put all of the best teams, you could download them. And that was it.

Dago: That was a similar kind of UI than this one you just showed me. Yeah. I mean, more dated, but you know, kind of the same style. And I love, I remember spending two days doing the logo in like a 3D design program, like a shitty 3D logo, but I was so happy about it.

Lukas: I, I, then I was on this website because I downloaded the same stupid Mac OS style for Windows XP.

Dago: Yeah, probably it was called the Aqua theme. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I remember that. So, but I didn't make the theme. I just made the website about the themes, but, and and so, but yeah, man, it's making me so sad right now.

Dago: cause I internet like 20 years ago, it was more open. It was all [00:59:00] about creating website. And now it's kind of like more walled gardens of apps. And, you know, big companies like Facebook, Amazon, like all these big companies kind of like capturing the value. And it used to be like, you could just create a website kind of like hippie mindset, just everybody's, you know, free, like open source and shit.

Dago: And like a lot of illegal download and shit also back then.

Lukas: Put a stupid repeating gif background. And yeah, yeah, yeah.

Making indie life easy and fun again

Lukas: And you didn't have to spam content and you didn't have to have a newsletter and you didn't have to have people sign up to your, to your stuff. Yeah.

Dago: Yeah. And you know,

Dago: I burnt out also partially because this has became such a job and such a chore to do it every day. And I'm kind of like finding my joy again with this podcast, man. you know, for example, doing this interview. I didn't plan anything. I just, you know, ask you a few questions in [01:00:00] DM and like nothing.

Dago: I was late. I'm sorry about that. and I just want to have a nice conversation and I feel like it's fun. I think it's valuable. I think people are going to love it. And you know you know, for example, we have a sponsor and I, this week, you know what, I'm not going to do it, you know, fuck this.

Dago: And I love him. You know, I love you, Chad. thanks for sponsoring us. I'm not going to make you pay this week. Cause this week I'm not feeling it. And you know, this is it, man. Yeah. Like we don't have to, and I want to go back to being fucking 16. I mean, that's because I'm getting old, man. So I want to go back to being young, but I want to go back to, you know, building Lego sets and just having fun. And how can we bring that, you know, in this indie life? Cause I think it's because of the stress of having to make money. And also comparing yourself with others on Twitter and shit.everything is making us insane and we're losing kind of like the joy about it.

Dago: even like young kids, you see them on Twitter and they're like 15, 16, they're already hustling. And [01:01:00] in a way it's awesome. In a way it's like, ah, shit, you know? We know where this ends. Already burning out, you know,

Saying f*** you and following your instincts

Lukas: I heard somebody saying what, what is the, what is the sense in having fuck you money if you never say fuck you?

Lukas: And I felt like when, when, when Elon Musk bought Twitter for me, worst decision. I hated it. Like, why don't you concentrate on, on SpaceX? We need, we know, we need your genius there. But to a certain extent, I respected him because I felt like he just said, I'm going to build by Twitter and he just bought it.

Lukas: He just did it. He didn't,

Dago: he didn't care. I'm not a fan of him, but I respect that about him. Like it's, it's something that I kind of like want to do, just take huge risk and yeah, let's fucking see what happens.

Dago: And fuck you. Like when he said, fuck you to advertisers, that was so cool.

Lukas: And people like make it a big deal. And I understand why [01:02:00] people make it a big deal, but it's just. It's just that the doing it

Dago: Yeah, exactly. And I feel you know, that's really the path I'm on right now is I'm noticing I'm really starting to follow my, my instincts more

Dago: And man, it's weird right now. I'm like thinking. You know, I'm taking big risks cause I didn't have much money, like on the side when I left my job, just enough to kind of like give it a shot. I just had left my wife, like I'm like, I don't have a support system much, you know, and shit. And, and even then now I'm, I'm starting the indie life again and people offering me good shit.

Dago: Like. I don't know if I can say this. but like Daniel Vassallo just offered me 4k per month to be like ambassador to small bets. That's good. But at the same time, I'm like, do I want to do it? I don't know.

Dago: And I've had like opportunities like this that came [01:03:00] up, like people offering me a lot of money just to do a few memes. And I'm like, yeah, you know, I'm not into memes right now, you know, anymore, like for a while. And, and I'm trying to feel like where my heart wants to take me. And I think like it's, I'm trying to find a balance basically between when, where my heart wants to take me.

Dago: And kind of like having the stability, you know, financially, because I feel like just saying yes to money is the easy way you basically can't go wrong. you know, in my brain is yeah, if I say yes to money, I can't fail kind of, but in a way you fail because if it's not what your heart wants, you end up not in the right life and then you burn out and you're unhappy.

Dago: So I'm trying to find, you know, kind of like this balance. And I think because of the burnout. I'm like, I, I'm not, I'm not willing to compromise on it anymore. You know?

Lukas: Yeah. I just, it reminds me of something that I just heard in, in a, in a MFM podcast my first million with Jason Fried, you know, one of the [01:04:00] founders of, of Basecamp.

Dago: Oh, I love it. Huge fan. And original bootstrap. Yeah. He is.

Lukas: And he said, if you say, if you say no to something, It's like a scalpel. It's a very precise instrument. It's one option and you decline it. But if you say yes to something, it's almost like a nuclear bomb, like it's collateral damage. You say no to everything else.

Lukas: If you say yes to something, you spend your time with that and you'd say no to so many other things. So no, no is a, is a, is small impact and yes, it is big impact and it make me, it made me think so much because it kind of really puts FOMO into perspective because if you get the freedom of saying just no to things.

Lukas: without being afraid, because you know, no is a very precise instrument. It's just this one thing.

Dago: I get chills when the German guy says precise instrument. I'm just so sorry, man.

Lukas: But if you say yes to something, and then [01:05:00] it turns out not to go, and then you just washed away all these other opportunities and all these other things you could tend to spend your time with.

Lukas: And yeah, think about it.

Dago: Yeah, no, it's exactly that. Basically, when you say yes to one thing is going to bring a thousand things in your life. Yeah. It's going to change everything. But if you say no, it's just you're just keeping it as is kind of, and it's so hard to do that. So this is making me think that probably the good thing is to say no to most things.

Dago: Yes. Cause if you say yes to everything and you know, when I was burning out, I was saying yes to everything. I was replying to everyone on Twitter, even at my peak, when I was getting hundreds of replies a day, I was like, being nice to everyone. I was saying no to nobody, because I was too scared, you know, of missing out on something.

Dago: People write me all the But then eventually, it's too much. You know, you get

Lukas: all these DMs and cold emails, and people want to make free videos for you, and they want to write free content for you, and do whatever. Oh, fuck that. Search Everybody who offers

Dago: me something for [01:06:00] free, I'm like, fuck that.

Dago: Fuck you. Fuck your free shit. I know you're, I mean, and it's terrible because they mean well, and sometimes they're very nice. Yes. But fuck this, it's not free. I have to spend time getting into it now. I have to spend time just looking at it.

Lukas: You divert your focus away from what you wanted to actually do.

Lukas: And in the beginning I was answering to everything. And now I'm like, no, this is not my agenda. This is not what I want to do right now. I just ignore it.

Dago: and, and the funny thing is when you, when you do that, you notice you don't lose as much as you thought.

Dago: Yeah. At least for me, that's what it was. I was so scared of losing my momentum on Twitter, losing engagement, losing shit. And eventually you realize you don't lose that much. I mean, I'm lucky I didn't lose as much engagement as some others because I have really a strong community of people who really give a shit about me.

Dago: So I'm like, so grateful for that. So, so it's definitely like a plus, but it's not just that I don't know, like, it's okay. You can let go sometimes you can let go of trying to [01:07:00] control everything and saying yes to everything and being like, you know I think it's also probably like fear of being abandoned or something, at least for me, like fear of People are gonna stop giving a shit if I don't give a shit first.

Dago: You know, if you're not always active, people are going to stop, you know, thinking about you or they're going to forget you, you know, that's why it's good to go to therapy because you know, for me, it ties up to like childhood things, but yeah, yeah,

Lukas: yeah. I mean, often, you know, the, the, the, the tech, the nerd in the classroom, I was a nerd in the classroom.

Lukas: You know, you're, you barely get invited to the party and then you have to kind of bring your best self. Otherwise, you know, nobody will invite you ever again. And. And just

Dago: didn't even go to the parties. I was too scared and

Lukas: just laying it down and say, you know what? I can just be myself. I can just play Lego tonight and I'm still going to be okay tomorrow.

Dago: And even if they do a Lego party, you can still say no. No, I want to do Lego alone. You can say you're free, man. Yeah, man. Awesome. [01:08:00]

Fake episode ending

Dago: Yeah. Did you have anything else you wanted to bring up, you know, about all I. You're good.

Lukas: I think, you know, I think we talked about good points. Any other point would just Yeah, me too.

Lukas: make your mind full of other stuff. Yeah, it

Dago: seems perfect. It seems like, yeah, it seems it was like, awesome. So well, like, where can people find more about you? Is there anything on top of your mind you wanted to like promote or anything?

Lukas: I don't, so I'm on Twitter and I love sharing stuff. I love like posting stupid things and posting serious things at times.

Lukas: And, but I don't really care for Twitter because it's, my customers are not on Twitter. My customers are somewhere else.

Dago: Oh yeah. Because, yeah, because it's like kind of like B2B, like specific, a B2B event industry, event industry, video production industry.

Lukas: So we, we, we have cool, really cool relationship with our customers and we find them and, and they share us, you know, So I can just be myself on Twitter.

Lukas: I do share like behind the scenes things from my [01:09:00] business. Kind of the, the, the, the one to 100 stage that you might not get so often.

Dago: And your wife, she used to be on Twitter and she's not that active anymore. Is that so?

Lukas: Yeah.

Lukas: She just said who cares? Like our customers are not on Twitter and I, it's too much for me. And she has her Instagram that, that she does for her own project. So he just took the priority and I respect her for it.

Finding the right social channel for your business

Dago: Well, you know, when the marketing girl says fuck Twitter, you know, something's up, you know, like that's awesome.

Dago: Yeah. But if it's not your audience, so no point in going there. And actually I noticed something when trying to diversify, you know, Because what burned me last time was like going all in on Twitter instead of diversifying. So when Elon took over and so many things changed, it was so stressful to me, you know, because I was depending on it so much for traffic and sales.

Dago: So I started diversifying this time and I tried different platforms. And I first, I thought, you know, [01:10:00] Instagram would be great because memes would perform well on Instagram, you know, and I realized it doesn't at least for now. And what I, what I learned is that, and TikTok is the same, is that it doesn't so much matter the platform in terms of like content, but it, what matters is like who uses it.

Dago: so like my people who are interested in what I say is going to be founders, small entrepreneurs, you know, startup founders and indie hackers. And these people, they are not on Instagram. I mean, they are, but not in that way. But, and so I found success with threads. You know, which I, out of all of the platforms, I literally didn't think I tried it.

Dago: And literally now I have like literally only a hundred followers and a couple of days ago, I had 60 likes on one of my memes, huge at this level and I enjoy it so much. And so, yeah, this is, this is just made me think of one small tip for [01:11:00] people is that it's about

Speaker 3: who

Dago: uses, you know, your part. I mean, who cares about what you say?

Dago: You know, what's the topic you want to talk about? It's not about the type of content it's about, who you're talking to and where are they hanging out and probably, for example, StageTimer, people probably not hanging out on TikTok.

Lukas: No.

Dago: You know, so you don't need to go on TikTok. You know what I mean?

Dago: So maybe LinkedIn, probably, maybe not even LinkedIn. That's actually what works the

Lukas: best. And we literally just share Hey, this is what we built. Yeah. this is what we launched a new, new, new feature. People love it.

Dago: Yeah. Well, you know, that's actually an interesting thing. because a lot of people, they're trying to be viral on social media and they can't.

Dago: And maybe it's because of that. Maybe it's because it's not the right platform where the audience is for them. Cause even me, like I have 85 K followers on Twitter. I'm posting memes on Instagram. I get two fucking likes, you know? it's like literally my best memes, like my best archive memes.[01:12:00]

Dago: I was like the most successful prime

Lukas: on Twitter. So it's

Dago: really not about me. Yeah, exactly. Like memes who had like hundreds of thousands of views and like they're completely failing. So it like just telling people, if you are failing on one platform, maybe it's just because the people you are talking to are not on this one.

Dago: Yeah. Maybe you should try TikTok or like whatever. Like whatever they can be. And so yeah, to say that I tell people

Don't build apps for indie hackers - his app stagetimer

Lukas: stop, stop building for India, for other India, stop building for other developers, all their problems have been solved. All the etches have been scratched. I mean. Some will be successful, obviously.

Lukas: But I feel like just go out on other platforms, learn, get to know other industries, other, other people with, with much, with problems that nobody has fixed yet and build for them.

Dago: And actually, this is making me curious, man. We're making this podcast so backwards, but like, why, why did you go into building StageTimer then?

Dago: Like, cause like, did you have like, I think in like, why did you build [01:13:00] it? Cause it's like such a weird thing. It's because like for people who don't know, it's basically like an app where you can see the time for an event when you're in on stage and you like put it on an iPad or on the screen and you see the time and that's the app that you built.

Dago: Yeah. How did you come about building this?

Lukas: Yeah. So it was really the, the, an accident. I was, a friend of mine had a studio and he was doing recordings. And he had this old laptop with a timer and he was running into his room, clicking like on a, on, on the keyboard, on a button to start it, running back out of the room and all this other tech, you know, cameras, switching cameras, recording, all remote, all like super, you know, new tech.

Lukas: And then this stupid old timer where you had to get up and, and, and, and walk. how can this be? There must be a web solution for this. So easy to build. And I put it on my list. You know, everybody has the idea list, thousands of ideas, project. I put it on my list [01:14:00] and the time, the day when I decided today, I'm going to start a project, I look at my list and I literally, you know, people would say, what is the, you know, the best idea, the most awesome idea.

Lukas: And I was like, What is the stupidest idea? What is the simplest idea I can build on this list? Yeah, yeah, yeah. And it was this time, I was like, it makes sense. It's a problem somebody has. And it is super simple. And I build it. And the magic of it is, it is so simple, so easy to understand, especially for people of the kind of video production scene.

Lukas: It's a fucking timer, man. They're like, this is exactly what we need. We have been waiting for it. They told me on Reddit, like, we have been waiting for this. I've been looking for this. Yeah, that's how, that's

Dago: how. this is the sass for plumber thing. Yeah. This is the, the thing we're trying to build, you know, we're trying to find, but like, how much work do you do?

Dago: Cause I mean, it's going to sound insulting, but what the fuck do you need to build a [01:15:00] timer for three years?

Lukas: Unfortunately, I always call it a simple timer. It's crazy complex cause it's in the cloud. And then suddenly you're like, how do you, You know, make sure that if you click a button, it has to start on somebody else computer really fast, like within, within a few milliseconds,

Dago: advanced, kind of like advanced video and event production.

Dago: Yeah. I have all these complex data. Yeah. And you're like, it has been used for

Lukas: elections. It has been used for use broadcasts for like political debates, all kinds of stuff. And it has to work. And then. And then it's a live tool, right? So, so you have your show, you know, you, you depend on it. It has to work.

The stress of an app that requires 99.9999% uptime

Lukas: It cannot even, it cannot even stop two seconds. Like we, if our server drops, if our server drops 20 minutes in, we get three emails of people.

Lukas: So. Wow. There is, did this happen? Yeah. It once happened when I slept, you know, worst case scenario, I sleep. How did it feel? I sleep, server [01:16:00] goes down.

Lukas: Five hours later, I wake up. And so everything is burning. Fortunately, it was at

Dago: the beginning. can you tell us the

Lukas: story? How did you feel and shit? I was, I just panicked. Like I was like panicking. Fortunately, our customers are really kind and they kind of forgave us. And, and, and what we did is we just openly said, this is what happened.

Lukas: We made a mistake. We fixed it. Sorry about it. And there was one time when, when one person wrote me and was like, I have this, this is not working. And I literally spent until midnight just to fix it. and get it deployed. But lately we hadn't had that quite, quite stable.

Dago: Awesome. Does it stress you out?

Dago: Like this kind of pressure that it cannot go down?

Lukas: It, in the beginning, like crazy, but now that we have, you know, a load balancer and several servers, it kind of works.

Dago: So now you know that basically something goes down, there's some backup that's going to fire up or something. Yeah. Don't feel, you feel like the system is like solid.

Dago: Yeah. I have, I have

Lukas: You know, [01:17:00] three servers have to go down and then there's still one more backup and then only will start burning.

Dago: Okay, cool.

Open source competitors

Dago: Did people started copying you?

Dago: Did you have like people who thought like, This is the dumbest idea. Like I need to do it too. did you have that? Yeah, we

Lukas: have, we have, we have an open source project that copied us more or less. And. Oh, now I'm, I hate them suddenly,

Dago: even though I love them. No, no, they're actually, they're actually

Lukas: okay.

Lukas: And they did a good job. I at first thought, Maybe they stop because open source and maybe they lose, but they, they kept that in and I respect them for it. And I think we have very different customers because, you know, somebody who is technically, who just wants to use open source as somebody else, then who comes to us and says, Hey, I just want to open a website and it works.

Lukas: I don't want to, oh yeah. I don't want to download code. People don't wanna set

Dago: it up.

Lukas: Yeah. I don't wanna mess with ips and, and, and, and firewalls and servers and I just wanna have it work. So it's not, it's not that big of a deal.

Dago: , you could probably even open source it and just sell the cloud version so you even like.

Dago: you know, get rid of [01:18:00] like the competition, even in open source, but you know, I don't have to, so

Lukas: that's enough.

Lukas: And just for the question, like how much work can there possibly be with a simple app, I think you said it before, right? You, you fixed the problem of the plumber. If you fix a problem for the plumber, you suddenly find out how big the problem actually is and how much he wants to know. And then the plumber falls in love with your product.

Lukas: And he says, man, if I could do these other two things, it would be amazing. It would solve all my problems. And so your, your list just grows and grows and you, you see how, how many, how many edge cases and complexities and, and, and things people do with your product that you never thought of, you know, like the one guy uses it for a horse race and the other guy uses it for, for a workout session.

Lukas: And this one uses it for a political debate. You know crazy and it has to work in all these contexts.

Dago: Wow. Anyway, awesome, dude. That was so cool. That was amazing. Talk to you.

Lukas: Thanks for the call. Thanks for the for the for the talk I hope people people take something along from [01:19:00] it.

Dago: I think so. I think we had some really good time I think it will be worth it. Yeah, man. So yeah, people will check out your Twitter to see your real thoughts. Good news is your customers aren't on Twitter, so you can be real. So that's cool. No Twitter bullshit. Yeah. So yeah. Yeah. Cheers, man. So say hi to your wife.

Dago: Will do. And that was good having you. See you again. Cheers.

Creators and Guests

29: Lukas and Dago talk about burnout and therapy
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