Hi, I'm Kareem - 8y bootstrapper now running Codetree

Hi all,

Been lurking for a long time. I founded a venture-funded co back in 2007 and in 08 left it and went the bootstrapping path. Been funding my failures (shuttered one co) and successes (sold one co) by doing product and dev consulting (I led product and dev for a client and helped take it from napkin to $100M+ in revenue).

Currently running Codetree.com, a lightweight Project Management tool for GitHub issues. My partners and I bought it in June via FE International.

Happy to be here!


Hi - Interesting that you choose to buy an existing product rather than create one from scratch (which is often the more tempting path for us nerds).

Care to share your reasoning?

(hope not being too nosy, just interested!)

Not nosy at all. We actually have a 3 part blog post series that talks about this (the first part is up here) and are doing an AMA on HN today with the seller where we’ll answer any questions that come up.

But at a high level it’s because buying something can give you a 1y headstart (or more) on building. You have some revenue, you’re able to call up a bunch of customers, you have a product that you can improve, and you hopefully have a marketing channel or two sending you regular sign ups. If you have the cash or can borrow it (money is cheap today and if you choose wisely you can pay off the debt with cash flow from the company) I’d highly recommend thinking about buying.

(Oh BTW the AMA goes up at 10a PT if you want to join - go to hacker news, click on newest, and search for kareemm (my alias there) and you’ll find it.)


Nice intro and like how you approached that - very in keeping with the ethos here I think.

Have to stay away from the HN crack… must… not… stop… whenever…I… want.

CodeTree was originally founded by a Drip employee, correct?

At first I missed the sentence where you aid you bought it and thought for a second Drip was doing 100M+ in revenue haha.

Judge.me will be signing up this week btw. Default Github issues aren’t cutting it anymore for us and Pivotal is a separate system that requires integration.

Rob, on his wife’s podcast, mentioned “… and then I would lose 1M dollars”, discussing the sale of Drip. Assuming 2-3 annual revenues as a price, I’d say Drip is some 500k/yr.

@Rhino thanks for the kind words :slight_smile:

@pjc yep, Derrick Reimer co-founded Drip with Rob. He built Codetree because he couldn’t find a tool that helped him get the overview that he wanted of what was going on in GitHub. I’ll keep an eye out for judge.me - I send all the welcome emails to new signups :slight_smile:

Hey good to have you!! I saw your Reddit thread on the aquisition. Super cool how you made all that transparent!

@kalenjordan thanks! love the thinking behind magemail BTW - take a function (trigger email) and build it for a big platform. Great approach to bootstrapping!

Nice! Thanks man - appreciate it! :slight_smile:

@kareem, I read the Codetree part two: a framework for picking your business idea, and thoroughly enjoyed the ‘insider view’ on how you made your decision. I also thought several of your criteria offered a different and interesting perspective, and I may add them to the criteria list we use. :slight_smile:

I have an ask of you: would you be ok if we put the startup ideas you didn’t pursue on our site? (with attribution to codetree of course).

Our new offering Capabuild (https://capabuild.com) is a platform and network focused on helping founders with startup execution. Part of that is an area to enter your startup idea and get community feedback and suggestions. We think putting “un-owned” ideas on the list is a great way to spur additional brainstorming and connecting the dots; and who know someone may decide to run with one!

Feel free to DM me (here?) or on twitter (@ doserved). Thanks!

@kareem have you seen https://github.com/blog/2256-a-whole-new-github-universe-announcing-new-tools-forums-and-features ?

Seems like Github just launched a new “Projects” feature that could do a lot of what Codetree offers. Correct me if I am wrong.

Codetree seems to have enough differentiation to make it worth paying for. The multiple repo feature is a big one, as are the filters and different viewing formats (Kanban / List). I wonder if Github built a repo-dependency on the Projects. Who the hell puts an entire multiple-project app in one repo? Not me. The $9 Solo plan is a no-brainer if you like what it does.

I use Trello to organise these things. The One Unmissable Feature (for me) is frictionless mobile access - I often have ideas when I’m out on walkabout. Being able to whip out the phone and get those thoughts into that board/list/whatever with minimal friction before the idea disappears back into my brain-ether is vital. The steps to do this in the Trello iPhone app are…

  1. Unlock the phone
  2. Open the Trello App
  3. Tap the list name
  4. Tap “Add a card” (the 1st list is my braindump dropbox)
  5. Dump contents of brain.

or alternatively, when the phone is locked, go to the iPhone notifications screen,

  1. Tap Trello
  2. Tap Card
  3. Unlock the phone (fingerprint)
  4. fill in the card
  5. pick a board

done That’s how easy it has to be. Frictionless.

@pjc yep, saw that, thanks. To @cadbloke’s point, GH Projects isn’t as useful as Codetree if you want multiple repos, or if you want to filter your boards down. Projects seem to be a tool to manage a specific feature, since you need to add issues manually to a board yourself - issues aren’t automatically added to a board.

GH may continue to develop Projects though, so we’ll see how it unfolds.

To @cadbloke’s point, I have ideas on the go all the time. We’re investigating a fast way to enter issues via mobile.

Thanks gents!