This is part 2 of our interview with Sacha Greif. In this episode we talked with him about how to find a partner, and the pain involved in building up a product income.

Sacha is a designer and coder from Paris, France, but he’s now living in Osaka, Japan. He’s worked with companies like Hipmunk, but he’s best known for his cool side-projects. His most recent, called Telescope, is an open source platform for creating your own Hacker News.


  • When searching for co-founders, Sacha says: “If you try to find [partners] motivated by money it’s a lot different than finding people who are interested in the project itself”
  • He said that his “internet popularity” didn’t help him find a partner to build Telescope with him; what worked was getting involved in the Meteor community.
  • Sacha talks about the importance of side-projects: “The cool thing about the web is that anyone can create a hit. But it helps a lot if you already have a network, and an audience. When I launched Folyo I didn’t really have that audience. I think getting people to pay attention to what you do is the hardest thing on the internet.”
  • “If you think about it, there are two sides to the equation: having people pay attention, and the other side is having people pay money. Step 1 is doing something popular [where they pay attention]. Step 2 is getting people to pay for products.” – Sacha Greif
  • “The biggest problem people make is they think too big with their side-projects. They instantly jump to: ‘I’m going to build a social network.’ My advice is to bottle it down to the Minimum Viable Side Project. It should be something you can build in 10 hours.” – Sacha Greif
  • “My inspiration for is Daring Fireball; but a multi-user Daring Fireball.” – Sacha Greif
  • Building a product income is hard! Sacha was really transparent about how he’s not earning a lot of money right now as he attempts to bootstrap his current projects: and a book on Meteor.
  • At the end of the interview, Sacha shared this: we don’t hear about the failures of product people; we only hear about the wins. This makes people think that everyone is winning, when that’s not reality.

Show notes

Tom Coleman
Sacha’s website and blog
The side-project project
Sacha’s ebook: Step by Step UI Design
Amy Hoy – 30×500
Getting Real by 37signals
Startup Chile

(Photo: Sacha Greif on Instagram)

3 thoughts on “EP08: Sacha Greif on choosing a co-founder and building MVP

  1. Hey guys, this was a great interview. Sacha was brutally honest, didn’t inflate the success – his list of live apps and work speaks for itself. Refreshing angle from the typical podcasts. It’s not only about the exits and making a million, but also about the grind and the grit that it takes to build a product AND an audience. Word…

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