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One Man Company

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This is regarding a now dead HackerNews thread, with the title: “1-man company that pulls in $13M/yr selling the most basic software”.

Firstly, this is an obviously click-bait title. Secondly, I really wish they would stop posting Twitter threads there, barely anything worth reading is expressed in a handful of characters. Thirdly, the submitter is a serial submitter on HackerNews (for better or worse).

With those points out of the way…


I’m going to quote the stuff out of the Twitter thread and comment on it here.

I just discovered a 1-man company that pulls in $13M/yr selling the most basic software you’ve ever heard of.

Firstly, as we will learn, $13M a year is a really rough estimate. Secondly, I find the use of ‘basic’ incredibly disrespectful to the developer.

Jon Davids (@realjondavids) has the following description in their profile:

I build profitable digital companies | Using the cash flow to grow and buy more. I drop 1-2 awesome threads each week.

They can’t be that profitable because he is shilling a podcast too. It sounds like a “get rich quick” scheme with extra steps.

Anyway, continuing the thread:

I was curious so I went full Sherlock Holmes to figure this out.

Translation: He did very basic research.

The poster in the Hacker News thread at least actually found the website for Amit Agarwal’s business. Good luck to any investments Jon Davids makes if this is his “Sherlock Holmes” research.

You can download that plug-in for free and upgrade to the paid version starting at $39/yr per user.

According to Google, it’s been downloaded 7.5M times.

So if even 5% of these downloads end up in a paying user, that’s $1.5M in annual recurring revenue. And I’m sure it’s more than that.

Sounds great, except 5% is an insanely high conversion rate. I hear more often of conversion rates of 1% or lower.

This plug-in has to bring in $4M+.

He just calculated at 5% it’s $1.5M, now he inflates this 3x because…? So he’s now assuming a 15% conversion rate to the paid tier?

With my rough math, this dude is making $13M/yr 🤯

My guestimation is that it’s more like 10% of that ($1.3M) at most before tax.

Hacker News

One of the comments (before the thread was deleted) was:

Even if it’s 100x less, that’s still $130,000/year. Subtract taxes, fees, upkeep, etc, and I think an even $100,000 is reasonable. For a person living in India that might be a lot of money, but I don’t know. Even if it isn’t, who among us wouldn’t LOVE $100,000 in at least sorta passive income? The dude is still doing really, really well, kudos

$100k sounds like a better number.

The problem I had with this comment was it being described as a “sorta passive income” - nope. This is a full-time job. This guy does support, bug fixing, new features, video tutorials, etc. He’s a one-man company, this all falls on him. He has a nice income, but he sure does a hell of a workload to match.

What would be a smart play here is for this guy to outsource this work to third parties. He could definitely pay several Indians a good wage to lighten his workload in order to focus more on the product, or even outsource development to somebody else.