Tom MacWright

I read MAKE by Pieter Levels on


There’s a sect of indie tech company-building that is public, scrappy, and adaptive to such an extreme degree that it’s hard to pin down whether it’s creating anything or just recombining minimalistic versions of existing themes in a sort of postmodernist blur. This self-published ebook is a part of that, for better or worse.

MAKE was sold before it was written, then written in public. And then edited, presumably, after I read it. You, the buyer, see it made. The seller tells you how this is going to make them money, and they’re going to do it in a scrappy way. It’s a scrappy product manual that is itself a scrappy product.

And it’s good, in a lot of ways. I know a lot about technology, tech companies, and making things, but I still learned some things. And when Pieter does have useful knowledge, like an understanding of how the different sites work on which you can announce your product, he shares it in a straightforward, no-BS way.

I think Pieter has a natural understanding of a lot of things that has led to his success, and he’s a good communicator - despite grammar and editing mistakes.

But don’t go looking for the sort of introspection you’d find in a 37signals book: this isn’t about a new way of building a startup, or a new way of understanding technology. This is about conceptualizing and selling a product.


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    • Publisher: Self-published