How Gumroad got its first users?

Sahil Lavingia was a teenager from Palo Alto who had already built a few applications earlier. Unfortunately, they weren't much of a success. He began experimenting with Photoshop. He created a pencil icon for yet another app.

But, he didn't finish it. Still, he believed that the icon was profitable itself. He just needed a few hours to polish the job. He got the idea to follow certain designers on Twitter and try selling the emblem on a marketplace. Sadly, he couldn't find a good place anywhere. He thought then that he could create one.

It came to him one weekend. The entire thing was just one Python file on Google App Engine. You submitted your work, gave it a price, and then shared a link. 7.5% + 25ยข from each Gumroad transaction was the starting payout rate. It made for one of the first elements of the Gumroad business growth strategies. Later, a few models appeared to choose from, and folks began to show up, which boosted Gumroad user acquisition. They wanted Gumroad just like Sahil did.

Sahil sent out a slew of emails, and that was the core factor of the Gumroad user acquisition strategy. Those emails gave him his first users. Together with the team, Sahil cold-emailed people that could be interested in what Gumroad offered.


Get your
"oh sh*t, this might work for us!"
moment in the next 5 minutes

Viral marketing case studies and marketing psychology principles that made hundreds of millions in months or weeks

In the first email:

  • a step-by-step strategy that made $0-$30M within 9 weeks with $0 marketing budget (case study)
  • cheatsheet (PDF) of 10 biases in marketing used by top 2% companies

Other than that:

  • weekly original content that helps you STAND OUT by providing more perceived value with less work

(You won't find it anywhere else)

Explore Cognitive Biases in Marketing

You cannot copy content of this page