214: Fatih Kadir Akın — Selling a Global Sticker Business

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Arvid Kahl: Hello and welcome to
The Bootstrapped Founder. Today,

I'm talking to my dear old
friend, Fatih Kadir Akin or FKA

for short. We discussed the
unexpected journey of building a

successful business out of a
simple idea. Fatih shares his

experience with building
Stikker.net and how he grew his

audience through community
building. And we chat about the

challenges of logistics when it
comes to shipping

internationally and how Fatih
found solutions that worked well

for him so that it led to an
exit. But before we dive in, let

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yourself if this is the right
option for you. And now, here's

Fatih. It's kind of weird,
right? Like we worked together

for a year or so. And back then
in San Francisco. And then,

like, we all like everybody
working at coding the company,

right? Had their own reasons why
they left or why they went away.

And then everybody kind of like
flew back to where they came

from. That was one of those
weird little things that I found

so notable, like, you went to
Turkey. I went back to Germany,

like everybody just went back
home in many ways. And that

thing back there. How was that
for you? Like for me, I just

went back home and after coding,
I just had a nap that lasted a

couple of months. I honestly I
really needed to relax. Because

it was so much. The work was so
much it was so intense. I was

burned out. And I just needed to
be home. How did you deal with

that? Were you similarly?

Fatih Kadir Akin: I remember
these days, actually, I was

working from Turkey remotely.
And I joined another company in

Turkey again. And I didn't
actually give a break. I

continued working. So then I
jumped from company to another.

And you know, as a front end
developer for a long time,

actually, I was doing front end
until last year that's how I

know how it's gone my site.
Meanwhile, I built a company

called Stikker.net. You already
know about it.

Arvid Kahl: I was excited about
this. Like,

Fatih Kadir Akin: Yeah, I wanted
to see if I can do a business.

That's my main, you know,
motivation. I am a developer.

And I wonder if I can run a
business. That's all the story

actually. And you know, I was
doing some community stuff in

Turkey. I organized J Istanbul
community, which is a JavaScript

stumbled actually gathering all
the JavaScript developers

together and there we are doing
some meetups, etc. So we were

collecting stickers as every
developer do, you know and I saw

that actually we needed some
stickers and we had two options

in Turkey. Either you should buy
stickers from Sticker Mule which

located in United States or we
should go to local print shops.

So, ordering from Sticker Mule
is a bit expensive and we should

wait for the shipping. And it
was not really easy for us. And

if you ordered too frequently,
it will be held in you know the

customs because the customs
thinks you are importing things.

But you have to tell them. Then
we go to we went to actually

local print shops but they are
really low quality. And they

asked us to print 1000 or
something you know. I don't want

1000 stickers because I don't
need them in that much. So I

thought there is a you know,
space there for Turkey market.

Everyone is asking stickers,
every company's startups asking

for stickers. They're ordering
from Sticker Mule or doing. They

were going to have print shops.
So I thought I can do it. And I

created a, you know, WordPress
and WooCommerce site. It was the

easiest, you know, stack for me
to do. I didn't want to write

any code, by the way. Because I
want to try the business. I

didn't want to try if I can
write some ecommerce site or

something. Yeah, that's actually
how it started. And

Arvid Kahl: How did it end? How
did it end? Tell me about that.

No, honestly the thing that I'm
excited to hear about is like,

you know where it got you. But I
think, oh, it's already so cool

that you stopped yourself from
building yet another piece of

software. Because so many people
when they think, oh, I'm going

to build a business, like with
software mean that they have to

write everything. That's what
they think, right? I have to

write login, software. I have to
write my password reset and I

have to build like a payment
system and whatever, right? I'm

glad you didn't because
otherwise, you probably would

have wasted a year building this
website for no reason and

probably wouldn't have worked

Fatih Kadir Akin: Yeah, exactly

Arvid Kahl: How did you

Fatih Kadir Akin: People around
me criticized me not to write it

from scratch, you know. People
were saying to me, you know,

you're a developer, you can do
it yourself, why are you using

WordPress, WooCommerce, etc? And
I said, okay, well, there is a

solution there. Why shouldn't I?
So it was, you know, a fun story

because everyone wants to create
same things again and again. And

as you said, you know, I didn't
want to write the ecommerce

system. You know, there are so
many things I should handle,

like checkouts, payment systems,
discounts, is not an easy thing

to do. I should create a company
and by you know, hire some

engineers or something. I
couldn't do it myself. I didn't

want something like that big. So
I was thinking just to try

myself if I can do business.
Yeah, that's the actually.

Arvid Kahl: How quickly did you
get customers? How quickly did

you find people to actually, you
know, buy stickers through that?

Fatih Kadir Akin: Yeah, that's
another story. I already have

followers on Twitter. I'm really
active on community. People know

me. The first day I opened my
sites, I didn't sleep until

morning to make all the
stickers, you know, because

there are lots of, you know,
orders coming from the site

because people know me. I
already have audience. I already

know people. You know, lots of
friends and my followers ordered

so many stickers from there. And
they gave me feedbacks, like you

know, the paper is bad or paper
is not good, but etc. And with

Arvid Kahl: I did not expect
that you actually would print

the feedbacks, I upgraded
myself, you know. It was a

unknown place for me, you know,
the local print shops or you

know, I don't know it's English
but the guys who sell paper, you

know. They're, you know, shops
sells paper. And I go there and

I asked, I bring some examples
from Sticker Mule. And I asked

them if they have these kind of,
you know, papers. So they have

their own jargons. You know, I
didn't understand anything. So,

I checked, I bought lots of
papers from them. And I tried

one by one, which is the best
one. Yeah and because, you know,

they are speaking in, you know,
paper types. They have some

jargons in Turkish is not, you
know. I can't google it, you

know, it's the jargon in
Turkish. So when I Google,

there's almost no result is
really hard thing for me to

handle this stuff, the
production stuff, but somehow I

figured it out. And I upgraded
my, you know, papers and I

bought some new machines and the
printers and the cutters. So,

yeah, that become active so
quickly. I didn't actually wait

too much because, you know, I
already have followers. I knew

communities. And when I go some,
you know, I was doing some

speeches around about
development, because meanwhile,

I'm already a software
developer. I didn't quit my job.

The sticker side is my side
project. So actually, like an

Uber driver. I was doing some
stickers at night and

development by the day. So

these stickers and send them out
yourself. I thought you found a

way, you know, to have somebody
else do this. But you becoming a

sticker expert, now that is news
to me. So awesome.

Fatih Kadir Akin: Yeah,
actually. I had a partner.

Actually, my wife's older
brother is my partner because

it's gotten a little big and I
couldn't, you know, I didn't

have time to do that. And he
asked me to help. And I said,

okay, let's do it together. And
he started, he handled all the

things like shipping, the
printing. I teach him how to

print and how to cut the
stickers, so he helped me a lot.

So yeah, I had so many customers
like 17,000 customers.

Arvid Kahl: Wow!

Fatih Kadir Akin: Yeah, and
unique, by the way. Mostly from

Turkey. Yeah, mostly from
Turkey. But there were customers

from Azerbaijan, Cyprus, UK,
interestingly, UK.

Arvid Kahl: Weird

Fatih Kadir Akin: Yeah, it's
weird to me because some people

know me. There was a developer
living in UK. She is Turkish.

But she you know, she works in
the UK community, Google comment

or something. I didn't really
remember but she knows sticker

and she told their friends.
There is a company in Turkey

printing stickers for really
cheap, you know, when you think

about the currencies, you know,
the pound is really high rate

comparing to Turkish lira. So
it's really cheap for them. So

they started to order from us.
And it was a win-win thing.

Arvid Kahl: Yeah, an
international business. That's

so cool. That's great.

Fatih Kadir Akin: Romania

Arvid Kahl: Yeah

Fatih Kadir Akin: Yeah,
actually, this site was in

Turkish. But people were using
it with Google, you know, Google

Translate and ordering from, you
know, internationally. Yeah,

that was crazy for me, you know

Arvid Kahl: I bet. How was the
logistics of that? Like how was

like sending packages or little
letters? Was that expensive for

you? Or did you expect to send
yourself outside of Turkey at

that point?

Fatih Kadir Akin: Yeah,
actually, we were sending the

you know, envelopes because
we're using stickers. If it's,

you know, huge order. We were
using boxes, but mostly people

are buying 10 or 20 stickers.
They love, you know, the React,

Apache etc, something like
JavaScript. So they were buying

10 or 20 stickers. So we were
using envelopes and sending

envelopes actually categorized
as documents, you know. So it

was really cheap for us to send
in, you know, in Turkey. But in

outside of Turkey is a bit
expensive, but you know, we were

charging customers on shipping.
So actually it wasn't actually a

big issue for us. We were
charging them. So it's okay. And

actually, for example, UK was
really expensive from Turkey.

But according to them, it's not
really expensive. So they were

okay about paying the shipping
costs. So it wasn't a big issue.

Yeah, actually, I was collecting
customers from you know. I was

going to some meetups speaking,
you know, about development and

I was collecting customers, you
know. You know, in every

community slide, I introduce
myself to the community, right?

You know, I emphatically
recommend I'm a developer and my

Twitter handle is this and I do
own a business called

Stikker.net. If you go to
Stikker.net and use that code,

discount code, you will able to
have a discount. So actually, I

was doing some

Arvid Kahl: Marketing?

Fatih Kadir Akin: Marketing on
yeah, thanks. Marketing on

meetups and people love it.
Actually, it was working. I

didn't do any Google ads or
something. Never.

Arvid Kahl: Wow. It's the
perfect product for community

too, right? Everybody, every
developer loves stickers on

their laptop on whatever
periphery they have, like iPads

and whatnot. And if you already
are in the JavaScript community,

not only do you have like
JavaScript stickers, but you're

gonna have UJS and you have like
React and you have whatever new

framework they invented
yesterday. You can put a sticker

out and this is such a gigantic
amount of projects, right? That

you can have massive amount of
potential stickers there,

genius! Like when I go to
meetups, I try to find stickers.

Not that I really need them,
right? I don't need more

stickers. Everything is full of
stickers anyway, but I liked it.

It's just such a it's almost a
meme, right? In our community

that we need those stickers.
What a perfect match of your

community contribution and the
business that you've been

building. That is really cool.

Fatih Kadir Akin: Yeah, exactly!
Yeah, actually, people asked me

a lot why I'm only, you know,
targeting developers and

designers because you know, lots
of people need stickers. And

last year, I upgraded my content
to, you know, target more

people, you know, not just
developers or designers. I edit,

you know, like, some other kinds
of memes, internet memes or

something. So actually, I tried
to expand my target audience.

But developers are, you know,
developers and designers were

actually my biggest customers.

Arvid Kahl: Yeah, that makes
sense. It's nice to have a niche

because you know exactly what
they want, right? I mean, memes,

I guess you can quickly figure
out what memes work but you know

exactly. I mean, you go to the
meetups, you see people's

stickers, you know what they
already have, right? So you can

make a pretty sound judgment,
still good to expand into memes.

I think it's a great idea to try
and see, right? How far you can

go. When did Sticker Mule come
knocking? When did they express

interest in your product?

Fatih Kadir Akin: Yeah, that's
another story. Actually, we were

running business in the
beginning of this year and my

brother in law, asking me to you
know, asking me to buy some new

toners and you know, papers,
etc. So, we were, you know,

running business, but for two
years like, Turkish economy gone

a bit, you know, bad. So, price
has gone high and, you know, the

dollar rate is go really high.
The Turkish Lira lost its value.

So, important things become a
little bit harder for us. And

the government decided to, you
know, harder the customs because

they want to support the local
producers. So, it was really a

nightmare for importers to do
something, actually and you

know, we don't produce toners or
printers. So you know, the toner

prices go really, really really
high you know. I tried to, you

know, like I was buying a color
of toner like 300 Turkish lira

and it become 5000 Turkish lira.
You can guess the

Arvid Kahl: Wow! That's a lot!

Fatih Kadir Akin: Yeah and when
I checked the prices, our toners

finished and there was some
orders waiting for you know the

printer to be filled. So, we can
you know, ship them. My brother

in law asked me to can you
please order some toner because

we need toners. We ran out of
toner. So, okay, I will do it, I

said. And I go to the toner
sites I always buy. So, I

checked, you know, five color
toner is like, sorry four color

toner is like CMYK you know,
like 20,000 Turkish lira is

amazing, you know, is too high.
You know, there are high level

printers, there were actually
high level printers in that

price. So I called back my
brother in law, I said I won't

order. Let's close the business
and he said what? How? Why? And

I said, okay, let's go high. We
are doing some business. We can

increase our prices, you know,
to make it more you know,

profitable. So, this is another
option, but I don't want to, you

know. I actually was selling
stickers. When I first started

the business, I was selling
stickers just one lira per

sticker, you know. It's really,
really low price. So it's gone

really high and I didn't want
people to pay really high rates

for a sticker that, you know, is
not a need for the people is

just a pleasure or something.
You know, I didn't want to.

Actually, we were earning from
sidewalks. I didn't want to, you

know. I'm doing this business as
my, you know, side project. It

doesn't actually, you know, I
didn't live with it. So I said,

okay, we already spent too much
time on it. I can't do better

things to earn money instead of
running a sticker company and

earn much more money. So let's
close the business. This is not

actually profitable anymore, I
said. And he said, okay, fine,

let's do it. Let's close it. And
I tweeted, actually, I stopped.

Actually, I didn't close the
site, but I just disabled the

payments, payment page. So
people can view the stickers,

but they won't be able to order
them. And I send a Tweet to the

people saying, okay, guys, in
Turkish, by the way. Okay, guys,

I'm closing the Stikker.net
because it's become, you know, a

little bit hard to run. So,
because of the economy and I

didn't actually want to increase
the prices, so I decided to

close it. And lots of people
mentioned me, replied to me, I

shouldn't do it, let's support
you or something, you know.

People are encouraging me to run
the business again. And somehow,

I didn't know how it happens.
Somebody from Sticker Mule sent

me a message from LinkedIn and
said, okay, we saw you decided

to close your business. Are you
open to acquiring, you know,

selling the site to us? And I
said, actually, I didn't believe

it at first because, you know. I
taught someone trolling me, you

know. The site, I said, it's not
profitable anymore. And not

much. And I decided to close
actually, the business is not

going fine, you know and so I
thought someone's trolling me.

And I checked his profile. I
checked his, you know, how many

connections. I was trying to
convince me if he's a real

person or not. And I said, wow,
are you serious? Yes, sure. I

will sell you. And he connected
me to the CFO of the Sticker

Mule. We had two calls with her.
So we had a deal. And that's how

it's gone.

Arvid Kahl: Wow!

Fatih Kadir Akin: I didn't
expect just for me, it's just

like, winning a lottery.

Arvid Kahl: Yeah!

Fatih Kadir Akin: Same chance
for me

Arvid Kahl: That is so nice.
What an incredible story,

particularly because it sounds
like a movie, right? You're at

the darkest hour and everything
fails and nothing works. And

there is the sun is coming out
and money comes your way. I'm

happy for you. This was so nice.
What a cool ending. I sometimes

wonder like you said something
earlier, which really stuck with

me. Like you already had a
Twitter audience and you already

had your community that you were
part of and that you were

organizing. Would you ever even
have started this business if

you didn't have this audience
and your community work? Do you

think you would ever have the
same level of success?

Fatih Kadir Akin: I don't think
so. No, it's yeah, people around

me say oh my, God! How did you
do that? You know, it's

impossible, they probably will
say and they add because of the

people you're you know, because
of the Twitter followers of you,

it's happened. They say they
believe actually I believe so.

You know, audience is really,
really, really important thing

for you know, you know, for the
business like, you know, like

Stikker.net. I don't know,
actually for every business

actually, I believe.

Arvid Kahl: I think so, too.

Fatih Kadir Akin: I think it's
important. And yeah, actually I

didn't expect that become, you
know, escalate so quickly.

Arvid Kahl: I'm happy. That
makes me happy to hear though.

That is such a cool story.

Fatih Kadir Akin: Yeah, I was
thinking there are many

printers. I had 12 printers, by
the way.

Fatih Kadir Akin: I had 12
printers and cutters. I was, you

Arvid Kahl: Wow

know, making some, you know,
maths. If I sell these printers

and the cutters, I had this much
of no money. And I was trying to

you know, I was calculating all
the things, but you know, when

the sticker comes, is like sun
shining, as you said.

Arvid Kahl: Yeah, that's so

Fatih Kadir Akin: And that's how
it ended. I'm really happy with

this ending, you know.

Arvid Kahl: Yeah, that's a good

Fatih Kadir Akin: Actually, I
think to me first, you know,

ending your business is a kind
of, you know, bad thing, right?

But I'm happy right now.

Arvid Kahl: That's good. I can
see it. That's really nice. What

a glorious ending. I think it's
just really, I'm very happy for

you. And I think you made a
couple of really good choices

along the way. That kind of
allowed you to even though it

didn't work out, that's not your
fault, right? The fact that the

Turkish economy has these
issues, that's not your fault,

really. But you dealt with it,
you had to deal with it and that

somebody else had the vision for
your existing business to still

flourish to still go on even
after you sell it to them.

That's great for Sticker Mule.
And what I find so hilarious in

this is that you said in the
beginning, Sticker Mule is too

expensive. I'm gonna build my
own Sticker Mule and then you

build your own Sticker Mule. And
then Sticker Mule buys the

Turkish Sticker Mule. That is
just such a funny thing, right?

It's this idea that you built a
local, local version of their

business that doesn't work
really well in your country, but

you make it work. And then they
get to benefit from that too.

What a perfect story. I'm just
really happy. And you said

you're not a front end developer
anymore. Can you tell me like

how that transition to I think
you're now working in what

developer relations? Is that
what it is? Or what are you


Fatih Kadir Akin: Yes, I'm
actually a developer relations

manager at Teknasyon, which is a
global company based in Turkey.

Yeah, actually, because of my,
you know, communication skills.

I upgraded in so many years with
the community stuff. So they

asked me to last year, beginning
of this year, actually, they

asked me to join them as a
developer relations manager.

Actually, I didn't know what a
developer relations manager


Arvid Kahl: I don't know either.
What do you do?

Fatih Kadir Akin: Yeah, actually
developer relations manager is

simply keeping the actually if
you can think of two parts

internal and external. Internal
developer relations is trying to

make developers life easier
inside the company like

improving the developer
experience, giving space to you

know develop their selves, you
know and kind of things

actually. I had a blog post on
it, but I didn't release it yet.

Yeah, actually some kind of
stuff inside and externally, I'm

doing some actually, a company
wants to grow, right? And the

growth becomes into ways in
terms of tech, you should

require, sorry, recruit people
hire people or you should. And

actually not all, and you should
make increase retention. People

shouldn't leave your company.
Yeah. So developer relations

tries to do both of them working
with CTO and HR. And because we

should increase the retention,
make developers happy. And

meanwhile, I should hire new
people, hire new talents and so

to do that, I go to conferences,
meetups and etc, find people and

try to hire them. Yeah,
actually, I'm trying to develop

strategies to achieve these two
things. I didn't know if I'm

clear or not, but

Arvid Kahl: Oh, yeah makes
perfect sense. Like internally,

you make sure that things work
well. And that people who work

in the company, get to grow. And
externally, you attract new

talent and you retain it. And
you do that by going to events

and making sure that the company
you're working for is visible to

the outside. I think it's funny
because that is what you've

always done, right? By going to
events and talking. But you were

talking about technology, not
necessarily a company, but like

JavaScript, right? You were
working for JavaScript this

whole time. I remember back in
2012, when I met you, for the

very first time. My mind was
blown that you had written a

book about JavaScript, like that
was already like I was so happy

to meet somebody who had ever
written the book because I had

not met a technical author
before. And about a technology

that back then at least, was
rather I guess, new ish, like

novel. There was something about
JavaScript where it was just

coming back up, right? Like
CoffeeScript was around. We

didn't have TypeScript yet. We
didn't have we had like, Node JS

0.6 or something. It was a
really, really new kind of

JavaScript on the back end and
stuff that was all very new. And

you've always been there. The
decades that we have, like, not

worked together now. You've
always been part of this

community. You've always been
bringing more people into

JavaScript in Turkey. And I
think worldwide, just looking at

your Twitter following, you have
a lot of followers too. That was

also impressive to me back then.
You know, like when when we met,

I had no followers on Twitter at
all. But you had lots and even

back in 2018-2019 when we sold
our business, I always look up

to you and your Twitter, because
I had no followers at that

point, either. But you had like
25,000. I was always impressed

by how many people you were able
to attract to you. I'm not

surprised that you're now doing
this professionally, is really

cool. Do you still get to code?
Do you still want to code, maybe

two questions at the same time?

Fatih Kadir Akin: Yeah,
actually, I love coding. I still

actually, we are trying to you
know, I'm trying to encourage

people inside the company about
doing some open source stuff. So

sometimes I try to you know,
lead them. So I'm doing some

code. Actually, last night, I
had a short session in YouTube.

So we were, you know, trying to
build something with Deno, the

new JavaScript runtime. So yeah,
I'm still doing code. Actually

not that much at all times. But
yeah, I still code. I love

coding. So yeah and by the way,
yeah. Now, you know, I'm envying

you, by the way, you become
really popular. And people say

me. And when I say, okay,
someone sends me, you know, your

book or something. And I say,
oh, yeah, I know Arvid for a

while, like 10 years or
something. They say, what? Your

know Arvid Kahl? You know each
other? You know, you become much

you become much more worldwide,
you know.

Arvid Kahl: Yeah, it's a bizarre
coincidence, I think. But it's

like, it's just me, Danielle and
I building building Feedback

Panda that was just like with
you. I feel like it was the

right opportunity at the right
moment with both of us co

founders, I guess. We're at the
right point to say we're gonna

build this now. And if it works,
great. And if it doesn't, well,

then it was interesting, you
know and it was a nice

experience. And then we built
that and it was successful and

we sold it. And that just kind
of escalated my public

appearance because back in 2019,
after we sold the business, I

think I had 400 followers on
Twitter, like that was

comparatively nothing, right?
And those were people who've

been following me for 10 years
on Twitter and I never used the

platform. So I didn't have a
following at all. But I've been

working on increasing this,
obviously, because I am

teaching, right? Just like you,
I've now written books, which I

always felt inspired by your
work as well. So it's just so

nice to talk to you, man. It's
been so long.

Fatih Kadir Akin: By the way, I
read half of your Zero to Sold


Arvid Kahl: Oh, nice.

Fatih Kadir Akin: I'm so sorry.
I didn't finish it.

Arvid Kahl: Don't worry, it's a
big book.

Fatih Kadir Akin: Yeah, you
wrote a lot.

Arvid Kahl: Yeah, that's right.

Fatih Kadir Akin: Actually, you
are one of the best writers I

have read, you know, you're
writing really nice. I think

it's not a coincidence you have
too many followers. You know,

you are a well known person in
worldwide. So

Arvid Kahl: Thanks so much!

Fatih Kadir Akin: Congratulations!

Arvid Kahl: Thanks, Fatih.
That's really sweet.

Fatih Kadir Akin: I'm really
glad. I feel, you know,

honorable to know you.

Arvid Kahl: Me, too!

Fatih Kadir Akin: Oh, I know
Arvid Kahl

Arvid Kahl: I'm equally
fortunate to have met you. I

think, honestly, back back, then
I would have called myself like

an amateur developer because I
had worked in software. I built

some stuff, mostly, you know,
PHP and all these things you did

back then, around the 2010 times
the 2010 mark, but it was in

working with you. And obviously
also with the other fine people

at coding, that I really learned
what professional software

engineering can be, right? It
took me being in a group of

really good engineers that
really love building software.

And being part of that, that I
always tell people when they

asked me, was it worth going to
university for computer science?

I dropped out, right? So I don't
know what should I say to begin

with. But in the two weeks, the
first two weeks that I spent

working for coding and getting
to know like everybody there,

including you, at some, I guess
later point, but in the first

couple of weeks and months, I
learned more than I ever learned

in five, six years at the
university. Because it was just

such a group of people and this
shared goal that we had to build

like an online IDE for coding,
that's just exploded potential,

right? I feel to this day, I'm
super thankful for the

opportunity. And even though the
business didn't work out and we

all went our separate ways at
some point, I don't think I

would be where I am now if it
wasn't for the people that I met

along the way that taught me
everything and taught me so many

things that I would have never
thought about. So now that you

work in developer relations,
what is the next business that

you're gonna be building? I have
a feeling you're gonna be

building something new in the
future, right? Or is Stikker.net

the last thing you gotta built?
What do you think?

Fatih Kadir Akin: Yeah,
actually, I have an idea. I

actually I have an idea for four
years. I have an idea for four

years and nobody still didn't do
that. But it's not an ecommerce.

You know, I gave up with the E
commerce. Ecommerce is not

really scalable, you know. You
know, the shipping thing is

really hard. Building things in
physically is really really

hard. It has so many blockers.
It has so many things that you

should handle with but I have an
idea, a business idea. Doing

some SaaS project for the
companies is for the actually,

startups. I didn't want to go
deeper on it. But I have an

idea, right? But I don't know
when I will start, you know,

because Stikker.net was
occupying too much time of mine,

too much time. So I gave a
break. And when I feel myself

really, I'll try to do some new
business. And I will try to see

if I'm doing SaaS business.
Yeah, if I try it in, you know,

the E-Commerce. Yeah

Arvid Kahl: Yeah, I think SaaS
has many benefits. I think

obviously, like, it's much more
scalable if you build it as a

low touch kind of business,
where you don't have to do sales

or you don't have to print
anything is just, you know, a

machine doing the work. But it
does come with a lot of

pressure, pressure in a sense of
you need to focus on it a lot. I

remember this, like,
fortunately, Feedback Panda was

low touch and it was highly
automated. And we could run it

as a side project for a long
time. Both Daniela and I, we

both had full time jobs while we
built the software on the side.

But at some point, there was
this kind of choice that we

needed to make, like, are we
going to do it full time now or

is it just going to be this
small side project, right? And

it was making good money at that
point already. But we had to

make a conscious choice to not
get money from our main jobs

anymore. So we could really dive
into the business. And one thing

that I noticed running the
business pretty much myself as a

technical founder, Danielle was
the non technical person and she

did all the design and all the,
you know, the business, the

outreach to sales to marketing
and I did all the tech stuff at

that point. There was a lot of
mental pressure to just keep

things running. Because if you
don't have like a DevOps team,

if you don't have like more
engineers that are on call at

night so you can sleep, you're
always on call and you're always

responsible for keeping the
software running. And if you

write a book and you've written
the book, you don't care. You

don't care what Amazon does on
their book printing store or you

know or your publisher does. You
give the book to them, they deal

with the book and they sell it
for you and you get the

royalties. But with a SaaS, man,
you better be like ready to

spend a lot of time on it, which
obviously, in your situation

where you have a full time job
and your community work. It's

probably gonna be hard to just
side project this. I can see that.

Fatih Kadir Akin: Yeah, I think
so. You know, I tried to start

and I'll see how it goes. I
don't know, I actually don't

have any. You know, I can see
what will happen, but I can't

feel the pressure, you know,
because I worked for the SaaS

companies. I didn't own one. But
I worked for the SaaS companies.

And it's like having a baby you
know. As you said you have

always have to think of it in
your mind. And it will occupy

your time maybe you know, you
know, as you said you have to be

on call all the time. It doesn't
feel you know, really easy but I

used to you know, used to have
some experience from Stikker.

Stikker.net is like actually,
you know, SaaS business but it

has pressure too. It's kind of
you know, people were mailing,

people were calling by the
phone. They were ordering and in

an hour later, they were calling
if it is shipped or not, you

know, it's like management
customers is not really easy

thing, you know. Yeah, so I can
feel it, but I'll try to do some

business and after the Sticker
Mule acquisition, you know, it

makes much more confidence, you
know, to me. I don't know

actually if Sticker Mule didn't
acquired it, maybe I would never

think of it but after Sticker
Mule acquires, it feels like oh,

I can do something.

Arvid Kahl: Yeah, that's right!

Fatih Kadir Akin: Let's try

Arvid Kahl: Yes, that's the
right mindset right there.

Honestly, what I would like to
see is that you started right

now or tomorrow. Get started,
man. I mean, what do you have to

lose, right? You can always run
your little SaaS project as a

side project. I mean, you know,
obviously, you still have to do

your job.

Fatih Kadir Akin: Yeah, I mean,
maybe I've started, no one


Arvid Kahl: You know, I will
support you. Yeah, you know

that, right? And you have a
community of what now 53,000

followers that will also support
your efforts. They did support

you with stickers. So they will
also support you with the next

thing. Man, it's so nice talking
to you. And just seeing you

smile when you talk about
business. Because I think for

both of us back in 2012, when we
were just regular software

engineers, neither of us was
thinking about building a

business, right? I certainly
didn't and I don't think you

were. And now here we are. Isn't
that cool?

Fatih Kadir Akin: Yeah. Yeah,
it's you know, the world is

small, man.

Arvid Kahl: It really is. I'm so
glad that you talk to me today.

That is such a wonderful thing.
Where do you want people to find

you after they listen to this?
Where do you want people to go

and check out your stuff?

Fatih Kadir Akin: Yeah, you can
find me on Twitter. Actually,

I'm always tweeting in Turkish.
Sorry about it. But most of the

time, I'm making fun. But Google
Translate works fine, you know.

You can translate and read my
tweets. I'm fakdev, like

developers and fak, my capitals.
So yeah, they can reach me out

there from Twitter and they can
find me on LinkedIn as well.

LinkedIn is much more, you know,
the much more you know, English

based, so yeah

Arvid Kahl: That's a cool!

Fatih Kadir Akin: I have lots of
open source projects on GitHub.

Use them.

Arvid Kahl: You also have the, I
think the shortest twitter

handle that anyone could have,
right? You're just F on GitHub.

Fatih Kadir Akin: Yeah, GitHub.
Yeah, I have github/f

Arvid Kahl: That is so bizarre.
Man, you were there at the first

hour of GitHub existing to grab
that handle. That is so cool.

Man, thank you so much for
chatting with me. That was

awesome. And I hope you start
your next thing immediately. Get

going, man. I know you'll have
the support of the whole

community behind you. Thanks so
much, Fatih.

Fatih Kadir Akin: Yeah, I'm
opening my IDE right now for you

to find me again.

Arvid Kahl: All right. Way to
go. Thanks so much!

Fatih Kadir Akin: Thank you,

Arvid Kahl: And that's it for
today. Thank you for listening

to The Bootstrapped Founder. You
can find me on Twitter

@arvidkahl. You'll find my books
and my Twitter course there as

well. If you wanna support me
and the show, please subscribe

to my YouTube channel, get this
podcast in your podcast player

of choice and leave a rating and
a review by going to

Any of this, will truly help the

show. So thank you very much for
listening and have a wonderful

day. Bye bye

Creators and Guests

fatih kadir akın
fatih kadir akın
happy human • developer • devRel manager @teknasyontech • writing books • AI prompts at https://t.co/Le9eGTUGkE • entrepreneμr (with two exits) • organizer @jstanbulorg
214: Fatih Kadir Akın — Selling a Global Sticker Business
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