Possibility and Probability

A Python programmer with a personality thinking about space exploration

20 June 2016

Developer Mastermind

by nickadmin

Recently I have been describing myself as “A developer interested in entrepreneurship”. And lately I’ve been hearing a lot about masterminds. Inspired by a few podcasts, I threw together an MVP to see if I could find other like minded people who would be interested in a developer mastermind. Lets dive into this fun little experiment!

Finding my tribe

In his book “Think and Grow rich” Napoleon Hill introduces the concept of a mastermind. A mastermind is basically a group of like minded people who meet to discuss their progress and to hold each other accountable. For me, a developer mastermind sounds like a great idea: I can talk with people who share a common vocabulary, but are striving for something bigger and better. There seems to be a lot of entrepreneurs on twitter. Since I’m a huge fan of twitter (are you following me on twitter yet?) I headed over to ads.twitter.com and set up a card. The card pointed to a survey I setup on Google Forms. The intent of the ad was to discover if the people clicking on the survey were interested in forming a developer mastermind. E.g. People just like me. The total cost for this experiment was…. $0! When I signed up on Twitter ads, they gave me a $50 credit and I was able to run the experiment for a few days and only used up $30 of that credit. The form/survey was free also, and so was my MailChimp account. I used MailChimp to send out an email to the people who filled out the survey (the last question was “If you want to learn more, leave your email address”).

A developer mastermind: The results

I let the campaign run for a week. By the end 4 people to filled out the survey! I looked at the survey results and then sent out this email:

  Hi, I’m Nick and a few days ago I put up a survey on Twitter about Masterminds.  

When you filled out that survey you made a statement. You are saying “Hey, I’m serious and want to make things better for my business!” That is awesome. I feel the same way which is why I made that survey.

As a thank you for having the courage to fill out the survey I wanted to send you some mastermind resources that I’ve found very useful.


You can’t really talk about masterminds with out bringing up “Think and grow rich” by Napoleon Hill. He seems to be the first person to really propose a mastermind as a means of “checks and balances” when running a business. The book is a classic and if you would like to check it out, it is available on archive.org. To read only the part on Masterminds, jump to chapter 10!


I’m a big fan of podcasts, I find they are a great way to learn new things on my commute. Here’s a couple mastermind related ones that I have found to be both informative and inspirational. Quick note: all of the folks on these podcasts seem to be bootstrapped which is really interesting.

  • Entreprogrammers -- This is a really awesome podcast of 4 software developers-turned-entrepreneurs. Each week they record their mastermind hangout/call and post it as a video and an audio podcast. It is really interesting to hear them hash out their ideas and strategies.
  • Startups for the rest of us -- This podcast is hosted by Rob Walling (of getdrip.com) and Mike Taber (of singlefounder.com) talk about their week-to-week activities and also will typically have a little presentation for the listener about a certain topic.
  • Zero To Scale -- Hosted by Greg Hickman and Justin McGill, this podcast also features a mix of business reports and strategies mixed with interviews and lessons.


Everyone says “join a mastermind”, but where do you go to find like minded people? They can be hard to find at times! Here’s a few websites that I’ve seen come up time and time again.

  • Mastermind Jam -- I’ve heard a few interviews where entrepreneurs have mentioned they used this site to find their mastermind. Basically it is a service where you pay $45 (if you are in the I’m-just-getting-started phase of your endeavor) and then they match you with a similar group.
  • Founder Cafe -- This is a service run by Rob and Mike (from the Startups for the rest of us podcast) that is also a paid match making service. It seems to be more exclusive, the price is a little bit higher ($99 per quarter) and your application is reviewed before you are allowed in.
  • Zero to scale -- The podcast also offers a private Facebook group. This is probably less of a mastermind site and more of a “meet similarly minded people” site.
  • Fizzle -- This service seems to be an all-in-one solution that offers training and accountability. It seems like more than just a mastermind group, but I thought I’d include it.
  • Meetup.com -- I have found there are a fair number of “local” groups that are entrepreneurial in nature, but in this day and age of the internet, why limit yourself to people in your local area?

Are there any that I missed? Hit reply and let me know!

So what happened?

Sadly, no one responded to my email. I learned a lot and that’s ok. I learned how to run a small ad campaign, how to look at a survey, and that while a mastermind for developers is a great idea, to form one I would need to take a different approach. Copy writing is a serious skill. More people would have filled out the survey if I was better at it, I am confident that of that. In fact, If I had a developer mastermind, that would definitely be something I reported back to them. ;)

Next time:

Be sure to let me know if you would like to learn more about this experiment! I’d be happy to share some more knowledge about this experiment, leave a comment or ping me on twitter! (I’m @nloadholtes) I still think a developer mastermind is a great idea, if you agree, let me know!