The Small Product Lab.

Sahil Lavingia
2 min readJun 15, 2015

“Go big or go home.” No, don’t. Nor should you wait for the “stars to align.” They never will. Just bite off a small part of a problem and see if it takes you somewhere.

If you want to make big, large, meaningful things you have to start by making tiny, single-quantum-of-utility things that become big, large, and meaningful over time.

I started my “career” by building small apps like Taxi Lah! (an app I launched five years ago that let you call a cab using a button on your iPhone). It cost me nothing besides my time (a long weekend). And some of them give back. A few of my projects would go on to make me thousands of dollars in recurring income.

But money is a small part of the reward. As I developed my skills and reputation (still fully in school), I was noticed by a company called Pinterest. I ended up being their second hire.

I never stopped making small things — apps and other things. One weekend I designed a pencil icon. And I wanted to sell it. And it was harder than it should have been.

That led to building Gumroad, a 24-person startup aimed towards helping people that make things, make money.

I did not intend to run a 24-person startup. I intended to build the germ of an idea into a more valuable solution. Every day, over and over again. The parts that make up my day: I would never have signed up for.

In short: there’s no substitute for doing. Reading and talking are great, but don’t let it replace doing.

Gumroad has always been about empowering the independent creator, no matter how small their project, by making it easy and inexpensive to sell their work online. We have grown to support thousands of creators who sell small projects or the byproducts of their work. Things like Photoshop brushes, icon sets, guides, short stories, quick video tutorials, recipe books, templates, and sketchbooks. Many do it for a living.

We don’t want to stop at just building a product.

Introducing the Small Product Lab. We hope that our 10 bite-sized lessons (plus access to mentors, and a community of support) help you get started.