How Tony Dinh Became Famous on Twitter

Hey there, my name is Tiago, and I am the host of the Wannabe Entrepreneur Podcast. I recently interviewed Tony Dihn about his journey as a full-time indie hacker 🎙️

He gave a very good explanation about how he was able to grow his Twitter account super-fast (37.8K as of now) and I want to share it with you.

Btw, this is just my own personal observation based on my chat with Tony and his tweets. Tony also documented all of his journey on Twitter in this super interesting notion page.

How did Tony Dinh become famous on Twitter?

Tony started spending more time on Twitter at the beginning of 2021. Like most of us, he started to test the waters and learn the Indie Hacker lingo like:

Build in Public, Always do Marketing, As a developer..., etc...

And, like all of us, his account was growing slowly... 🐌

Here are some of his early tweets:

The alt image text

The alt image text

Typical build in public tweets, that were good but lacked engagement.

But suddenly everything changed...

Tony Dinh's Rise

In the interview Tony told me that he was spending a lot of his time thinking about how could he stand out on Twitter 🤔

Tony's first viral tweet happened when he shared the results of his experience trying to simulate water in javascript. To be honest it looks really cool!

It was something unique that no one had seen before...

The alt image text

Playing around with Twitter's API!

Turns out that the Twitter API is extremely powerful and allows you to dynamically update your Twitter Header.

On the 7th of May 2021 Tony shared his little Twitter game on a Tweet that reached 73 likes, 12 retweets, and 161 comments!! 😱

The alt image text

As a good entrepreneur, Tony was able to smell the public interest and quickly started exploring this niche.

He started by doing a poll asking if people would be interested in running their own Twitter dynamic banners:

The alt image text

After finding his niche, Tony's tweets started to have more engagement and people were interested in seeing what he was going to do next...

The alt image text

The True Build In Public

Tony started shipping new twitter games and integrations on a daily basis...

Do you remember the Progress Bar?

The alt image text

Everyone wanted one...

The alt image text

Tony wanted to make his launch exclusive and to accomplish that he only gave access to his Twitter tools to a group of 1000 people!

The alt image text

This worked really well and black magic started to get a lot of attention and was being featured by other creators

Tony kept pushing new features and introducing them to his audience with little screen recordings of how they worked 💻

One extremely successful feature came on the 26th of May 2021...

The alt image text

This dynamic header was a game-changer!! This tweet alone had more than 2k likes and in the interview Tony said that he got 4k new followers from it!! 🤯

Perfect Implementation of the Audience First Approach

With all of these cool initial features, Tony was able to capture the attention of a lot of people. He had created an audience and suddenly he was tweeting directly to his target customers.

Each new tweet was both a form of marketing and feedback collection.

This genius strategy allowed him to build the right features for which people were willing to pay and he perfectly used FOMO to his advantage. Everyone was speaking about black magic and everyone wanted to have a beta code!

With all of this traction, there is really one thing to be done next...

Product Hunt

The alt image text

The twitter real-time banner got 944 upvotes! 😱😱

Going Full-Time

In our chat Tony told me that he would only quit his job if one of his projects was going on the right trajectory to success.

At first, I did not fully understand how could he know what a success trajectory look like, but after doing this analysis I totally understand...

The alt image text

On August 16 of 2021, Tony announced that he was going full-time as an indie maker and the rest is history...

I hope that you found this analysis interesting and that you can use some of it in your own maker's career...

Here are other posts I wrote that might interest you:

3 lessons from my interview with Pieter Levels

9 Bootstrapping lessons from my interview with Arvid Kahl

I tweet a tone about indie hacking and about my own journey so come and say 👋 on Twitter

  1. 12

    This is so much detail! Thank you for taking the time to do this. Hope it'll be helpful for others 😄

    1. 0

      It was a real pleasure doing this Tony. Learned a lot from your journey! Thank you for sharing it with us and I am looking forward to seeing what your are going to do next!

  2. 2

    That's a really good summary Tiago, thanks for that.

    Tony is really impressive 😯

  3. 2

    Great read! Thank you for writing this out! I will definitely be listing to the interview!

    1. 0

      I am glad you liked the post and if you end up liking the interview too would you be up for sharing it around? I am trying to grow my podcast :)

      1. 2

        Yes, I'd be happy too. Do you have a blog?

        1. 1

          Thank you :) I think sharing this link would be enough: https://wannabe-entrepreneur.com/episodes/217/

  4. 1

    Somewhat reminds me of Ben Awad from YouTube. You know, VS Code Stories and VSinder (Tinder for programmers, right from VS Code). Also Tom Wildenhain who confirmed that PowerPoint is Turing-complete with just AutoShapes and nothing else (no VBA macros, either)

    I really love this kind of "abuse spirit" (if you mind) and it's something that we put out attention on at (#_ ). That said I'm still on seeing how "meme-driven development" would be profitable enough to implement on our products.

  5. 1

    Cool detailed story! I really enjoyed it! You did some fun stuff @tonydinh

    1. 0

      Glad you liked it :)

  6. 1

    This is dope ! Ready to go in on Twitter more.

  7. 1

    Good analyze here!

  8. 1

    Really great article Tiago !! Now onwards to the podcast 😎

  9. 2

    This comment was deleted a year ago.

    1. 0

      I wish I had... XD

Trending on Indie Hackers
1 year of being an Indie Founder 46 comments My startup is blowing up? (and I don't know why) 44 comments We launched on Apr 2 & scaled to a $1M sale by May 8 24 comments Just launched on Product Hunt 🚀 15 comments 2 Directory Sites Earning $10,000+ Per Month 11 comments Marketing In Public Day 20 6 comments