Sahil Lavingia on August 3rd, 2012
While preparing for the release of our new web app UI a couple weeks ago, Fetchnotes decided to give people an option to help fund our efforts — hey, we’ve got servers to pay for and engineers to feed. But “please give us money” felt cheap, undignified and so 2011.
We asked ourselves, “What could we give to our users that they would pay for?” Tshirts? That costs up-front money. Our bodies? Illegal (we checked). After an additional seven seconds of brainstorming, we settled on our dignity: we decided to make a video of us singing karaoke. To which Chase responded, “Let’s go viral TODAY.”
One problem — we didn’t have any infrastructure in place to accept payments. We didn’t have time to set up a Paypal button, and all the other solutions I spent 30 seconds googling for didn’t allow us to let users set their price. Then I remembered that I had been occasionally bothering a 19-year-old named Sahil about his blog posts for the past 4-5 months, and that he was working on a payments site called Gumroad.
Perfect! I get to support a fellow entrepreneur and solve a personal problem. We set up an account, put up the page, and set the “content” that Gumroad gives to buyers to a Google Form that allowed users to vote on a list of 10 songs we would sing. It took all of five minutes. As you can probably gather by now, I go for the path of least resistance. After all, Fetchnotes is all about simplicity in note-taking — you should check out if you want to make your life easier, just sayin’.
At around 3AM, we emailed our user base (~15,000 at the time) about the update and Gumroad page. On the walk home from the office an email came through that said, “You sold something on Gumroad!” The donation was for $5, so the time to set up the page was already well worth it. The next day, I woke up to enough to fund our servers for 4 months.
Now we’re up to 9 months and still picking up a few here and there (we’re singing this weekend). All I can say is thanks to Gumroad for being the easiest way to make this happen!
Want to watch us sing karaoke too? Donate here!
Alex Schiff is the co-founder and CEO of Fetchnotes, the note-taking app that fits your busy lifestyle.