Why I quit a $500K job at Amazon to work for myself

Last week I left my cushy job at Amazon after 8 years. Despite getting rewarded repeatedly with promotions, compensation, recognition, and praise, I wasn’t motivated enough to do another year.

I spent my entire time in AWS building tools for developers. I liked that field so much that I would have been satisfied working in it for the rest of my life.

I joined Amazon as an entry level developer. Within 3.5 years I had been promoted twice to a senior engineer, and I was practically guaranteed another promotion to principal engineer this year if I had stayed. …

I have two info products on the market:

These two products made $237,207 in sales so far, and $210,822 in profit, for an average profit of $24,802/month. The AWS product took about 160 hours to produce, while the Twitter product only took 16 hours. But in this business, creating the content is generally the easy part. Finding customers is the bigger challenge. I’ve seen many creators succeed with various approaches, but I’m only familiar with one. And it goes like this: You find something you know really well, and you give everything you know about it for free. You do it on social networks, forums, and wherever people interested in your topic hang around. If you manage to get some attention, you will inevitably start getting questions, and these questions become your market research. You start answering the best way you can, and whatever doesn’t fit in a short response becomes an opportunity for an info product. …

What’s my Twitter audience worth?

Someone asked me this question recently. Let’s see if we can get to a rough valuation.

On Christmas day of 2019, I released my first info product (a technical ebook). Earlier this week, I released my second product (a short video course). I announced both on Twitter (here and here), and I let word of mouth do the rest.

In the 4 months since, I sold $104,754 worth of videos and PDFs. 95% of that is directly attributable to my Twitter account: some customers were my followers, and some customers were referred to by my followers. …

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Amazon describes DynamoDB as a database, but it’s best seen as a highly-durable data structure in the cloud. A partitioned B-tree data structure, to be precise.

DynamoDB is much more similar to a Redis than it is to a MySQL. But, unlike Redis, it is immediately consistent and highly-durable, centered around that single data structure. If you put something into DynamoDB, you’ll be able to read it back immediately and, for all practical purposes, you can assume that what you have put will never get lost.

It is true that DynamoDB can replace a relational database. Sometimes, this simple data structure happens to be enough. But you can only get away with DynamoDB as your database if you can afford to have all your data in a primitive B-tree. …

How I Prepared my Finances Before Bootstrapping

Earlier this month I left my cushy developer job at Amazon to work for myself. I am 35, living in Seattle with my wife and two small kids, ages 2 and 4. I’m starting this quest for an independent lifestyle with no business and household income yet, and my target is to cover my family’s expenses from my new work before I run out of savings.


Due to extraordinary luck and being in the right place at the right time, I managed to save a good amount of money in the last 5 years. My net worth was negative in 2013, but it now stands at around $1.4M, with $1M in liquid assets and the rest in home equity. That entire $1M, minus a small amount, is at stake in this venture. …


Daniel Vassallo

Being independent. https://twitter.com/dvassallo.

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