Cover Image for How We Got Our First 100 Users

How We Got Our First 100 Users

By Pierson Marks

If you’re like me, your inbox is overflowing with newsletters. Even though I actively opt in and subscribe, it’s impossible to actually read them all every day.

One morning, I was on my daily walk to my downtown Seattle Amazon office, listening to a podcast, when I saw a newsletter come in on my phone. And I had this lightbulb moment.

What if there was a way to take all of the most important topics from each newsletter and generate a daily podcast just for me? I spent a few days trying to find a product that could do this, but none existed.

So I decided to leave Amazon to build it.

Building Jellypod

Jellypod transforms your newsletter subscriptions into a personalized, daily podcast – solving email overload and enabling you to stay up-to-date with the news you actually care about.

I spent about 3 months building the initial MVP and it launched on the iOS App Store in mid-December 2023. Although I had a lot of experience working on consumer apps (I worked on multiple features in the Alexa App and Amazon Shopping App), I never had to go from 0 to 1. Things that I took for granted, like authentication, app store deployment, etc., were all new to me. So there was definitely a slight learning curve to ensure everything worked as expected.


After the app launched, the focus shifted towards distribution. Like most engineers, marketing was not my strong suit, so I had to get creative. Because the app used Generative AI to create user podcasts, I learned a lot about building these types of applications efficiently. So I wrote technical blog posts (example) on Jellypod’s website and found subreddits like r/programming and r/SaaS that I thought would benefit from these experiences in optimizing LLM spend (link). These posts received a lot of traffic, with the one in r/Saas becoming the top-upvoted article for March. These posts brought in about 1500 website visitors and 3% of them converted to Jellypod users.

I also launched on Product Hunt, but I didn’t see many high-quality users from there. But one of the best days of growth was when Matt Wolfe, an AI Youtuber, covered Jellypod in his “Underground AI” series. Check out the video here! It brought in about ~200 new users over the next few days.

Jellypod is fully bootstrapped, and now gets about 15 new users a day. It’s not much, but getting there! We do have some paid channels, like TikTok and Apple Search Ads, but the majority of users are organic, mostly coming from searching on the App Store.

Looking forward to the next year, Jellypod will expand organic marketing on TikTok and Instagram, leveraging my personal brand on Twitter (which is essentially non-existent today), and potentially YouTube.