Survivorship bias

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You go on Indie Hackers and see tons of people “winning the game”: $50kMRR, selling for $10M to a big company, etc etc.

Those are great success stories.

Everyone loves writing success stories (who doesn’t?), and people love reading them.

No one wants to talk about failures. Especially big failures. It’s painful.

When someone talking about a failure, often times it’s in the context of a so-called “soap opera sequence” where a past moderate failure is the starting point of a big success story.

That’s a popular marketing strategy, too. Ever wonder why someone emails you their “huge failure story”, childhood drama, etc? It’s because it helps them form a bond with you. You sympathize with the poor person that experienced such a bad failure.

But in the real world, without a successful end of the story and without anything to sell, we hate talking about failure, as much as we love talking about success. We take success and failure personally.

Some people succeed in one thing, and they think they can replicate that kind of success any time.

Not just that: they think they can teach you how to replicate what they have done.

You can see this on Twitter where everybody that gets over 5k followers immediately has the urge to make a book or course on how to get Twitter followers.

You can see this when a startup founder becomes an advisor for other startups. Or a person made a successful book, so writes a book on how to write great books.

What if they had success just for blind luck? Hard work is not always enough. Maybe they were early in a niche. Maybe they hit a nerve. Maybe they had the right “formula” for getting SEO visitors.

But future success is not guaranteed.

I get a lot of visitors to my blog from Google but I don’t know if I’d start again today from zero I’d be able to do the same. In my mind, I could think I’m an expert at the SEO game because I got 1M pageviews from Google last month. But am I?

I could say I’m an expert, make an SEO course, but that’d be false advertising. I have no insight on what worked for me. I can just speculate.

I love giving advice to people looking to start a blog or start an online course. But what worked for me might not work for you.