Ask me anything!

(Andrew Chen) #1

Here’s my bio:

I’ve been living in the bay area for nearly a decade. I spend a lot of time with startups as well as tech investors.

Ask me anything!

(jeremy) #3

Just curious…how did you end up using Discourse? I love Discourse, but just wondering what brought you to it?

(Andrew Chen) #4

Back in the day, I used forums all the time- mostly stuff that today would be on Reddit, but back in the day, ran on phpBB. Anyway, a few months ago I was thinking about trying some of the modern forum software, looked around, and found Discourse. I still find it a little confusing, to be honest, but it’s probably still the best software out there.

I think they could certainly do better by decreasing the number of actions on everything. There’s so much you can do on each topic and post, and they could probably use the principle of “progressive disclosure” much more throughout the app.

(Brad Little) #5

We are developing an app and are considering using PayPal to transfer money between smartphone ( a person to person money transfer). At this point in time, are there any other useful options to accomplish this? Thanks

(Andrew Chen) #6

I think the most famous example is M-Pesa in Kenya. Also it looks like all the messaging apps will eventually build mobile-to-mobile payments. Within the US, probably Venmo is the most successful at this point?

(Andre) #7

Yo Andrew … what discussion platform are you using for this?


(Andrew Chen) #8

This is Discourse - I found it a few months ago here:

(Andre) #9

Nice find. I’m curious tho … why did you choose Discourse over a FB group?

There’s pros and cons with any platform - so would really value how you decided on this over FB - unless FB was never an option in your mind.

(Andrew Chen) #10

Good question. When I first started writing, I didn’t care much about the platform I was writing on- so I tried Blogger, then Typepad, then Wordpress. Over time though, I realized that having a stable, open source platform that you control is really important. Ideally I’d like to keep writing for the rest of my life- it’s hard to know what products and platforms can really survive for a timespan that’s that long. Who knows if Medium, Quora, and others will be around?

Because of that, I don’t trust Facebook Groups because they might discontinue it in a few years. I’d rather own my own domain, run open source software on my own computing infrastructure. This means I’ll have a better shot - certainly not guaranteed - of being around for longer.

The other benefit is that over time, the content on this forum will generate SEO value to my primary domain, whereas Facebook doesn’t offer that.

(Andrew Chen) #11

(Miguel) #12

What do you recommend for an aspiring entrepreneur with no technical background?

Starting a company when you can't code
(Cae Silva) #13

@andrewchen As I mentioned before, I am in the process of “conceptualising” my company. Briefly speaking, it’s a marketplace for university and experts to propose Study Tours and interested people apply for those trips.

Our main concern is regarding the scalability / revenue generation. The first idea is to charge a participant fee (let’s say 100$) of each individual participating on the study tours - similar to what Airbnb does. But even if we have 100 tours with 10 participants each, our revenues would be limited to $100.000 revenue per year (which is quite low).

If my demand can reach max 1.000 buyers (this is a simple guess for the moment) per year would you suggest just giving up? Am I missing any revenue opportunity here?!

Is your market too small?
(Aaron Wolfson) #14

Hi @andrewchen!

What do you think are the biggest advantages and disadvantages of bootstrapping a tech startup before seeking funding?

Bootstrapping versus raising money
(Zach ) #15

Hey Andrew,

Awesome discussion. Quick question for you. I have a online dating blog that gets 6k traffic / week. I get the majority of my traffic organically or through sub-reddits. I find my articles blow (do poorly) on social networks such as facebook and twitter. I’m thinking people don’t want to share online dating articles publicly but on reddit, where it’s anonymous, people are cool with it. Any thoughts or advice?


How to think about online dating blogs that aren't doing well?
(Justin) #16

Hi Andrew,

I’m curious if this is a Wordpress site, because I want to add the ability for users to edit posts, show and track the edit history. If it is a WP site is there a plugin you can share that does this?

Thanks, Justin

(Holly Cardew) #17

@jklineia - You can give users the ability to edit posts and comment without a plugin. It is part of WP. A friend of mine users Member Mouse of memberships on his WP site.

(Andrew Chen) #18

This website ( is actually a discussion forum powered by Discourse.
I decided I wanted a full-blown piece of forum software rather than trying to combine WP with a bunch of plugins. Have been pretty happy so far.

(Yao Hong Kok) #19

Hello Andrew or anyone that is interested,

I am probably crazy to ask this, but would spare me 7 mins of your time to evaluate the features of our product that we are thinking about?

Our product is called Rasanti Seek. Its purpose is to help tech workers find high quality information to solve their problem faster.

The features are listed in the form below:

Please feel free to provide me with any feedback. If you anyone would like to learn more about our product, leave me a message and I would love to chat with you more.

(Fajer) #20

Hi Andrew,

What are your recommendations for getting a (1st) job as PM ? Thanks

How to get a first job as a PM?
(Zetong Teoh) #21

Hi Andrew, thanks for doing the AMA!

How do I join your mobile growth team when I’m a marketer? Any specific tech stack/languages one should know?