In the current climate, it would be easy for Instapaper creator Marco Arment to raise a couple million dollars in order to scale his business.
But Arment isn’t interested in chasing user growth like most startups. He would prefer to build something his users care about a lot, enough to actually pay for it themselves.
“If you can go without funding, you can be a one or two person shop without a whole level of bosses,” Arment told GigaOm’s Ryan Kim. “You’re not worried about getting more money and getting diluted anymore.”
There is a delicious irony to Arment’s approach. He first created Instapaper while working at Tumblr, the fast-growing blogging network. Tumblr raised $25-30 million back in November, but hasn’t introduced much in the way a business model beyond paid themes. In the meantime, its infrastrucutre costs continue to climb. Somewhere in all that growth, Tumblr hopes, a business model will emerge.
Arment, by contrast, has turned his back on chasing the network effect. “I don’t need the entire market,” Arment said. “I can get 5 percent of the market and be rich.”