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Pixels paid my rent for a month

The ridiculous story of Buy a Pixel: a board of pixels that became a success, made #4 on ProductHunt, and paid my rent for a month.

If you've been on the internet for a while, you might remember the Million Dollar Homepage. It was a website created by a student in 2005 to pay for his tuition. The idea was simple: sell 1 million pixels for $1 each. The website was a huge success and made him a millionaire in a few months.

I am in a Discord group where I became friends with some of the members and talk to on a daily basis. One of them, called Kris, messages me one day and says: "How about we build a pixel website?". My first reaction was that the idea was stupid and it would never work.

Three days later, I couldn't stop thinking about it. So I did what any indie hacker would do: I built an MVP in 8 hours. Here's the full story of Buy a Pixel.

From idea to MVP

I tell Kris that I want to build it. We decide to start with a 20x20 board of pixels. Word spreads around Discord and Twitter. Before I know it, another member of the group starts selling pixels on Twitter with a Stripe link. They were selling out like hotcakes. I had to build something fast.

The three of us have a meeting and decide we need to have something before the end of the day. I'm still at university at this point.


I decided to go with the same tech stack I had used for my previous project: NextJS and Supabase. This allowed me to ship fast and focus on the product. I ran into a few issues, but it was smooth sailing overall. After 8 hours of straight coding, I deployed the MVP.

Laptop with energy drink

Being a pixel manager

With the MVP ready, we started reaching out to pixel buyers and manually adding them to the website. We had to do this because the MVP didn't have self-serve functionality yet. It was getting late, but sales were still coming in. At around 1 AM it started to slow down. I packed my things and left university.

The next few days, I'm stuck as a full-time pixel manager. We were all baffled that people were so excited about this idea.

After adding close to 100 pixels manually, I decided to build the self-serve functionality. It was deployed in a few hours, but my work as a pixel manager was far from over. To avoid spam, we had to manually approve every pixel. Still, this was a huge improvement.

ProductHunt launch

Half of the board was sold out and hype was slowly dying down. At this point, we have been talking about launching on ProductHunt for a while, but we kept postponing it. To motivate us, I scheduled a launch date in 2 days (on a Saturday).

Funnily enough, we didn't prepare at all and we didn't even have any assets for the launch. This is when another member of the group, Konstantin noticed our lack of preparation and offered to help.

Discord message from Konstantin

He starts making assets, writing copy, and preparing the launch. We were all very grateful for his help because God knows we needed it.

Launch day

The day of the launch arrives and we are all excited. Around 9 AM, we start posting on Twitter and messaging pixel owners. It seems like everything is going well, until we notice a big issue: Buy a Pixel is not featured on ProductHunt. We were all confused and didn't know what to do. We tried to contact ProductHunt, but they didn't respond.

Buy a Pixel launch tweet

Nevertheless, we didn't let this stop us. We kept going and tried to make the best of it. 7 hours in, a miracle happens: We get featured on ProductHunt and land on spot #4.

All 400 pixels sold out fast, but our main goal was to keep the position until the end of the day. We kept reaching out to people and posting on Twitter, even getting the attention of the ProductHunt founder himself.

ProductHunt comment from Ryan Hoover

We end the day around 2 AM and go to sleep, convinced that we did everything we could. The next day, we wake up to a pleasant surprise: We kept the #4 spot on ProductHunt.

What's next?

This was a fun project that exceeded all of our expectations. The board is filled up and it will stay in the history of the internet.

Buy a Pixel showcase

We are still thinking about what to do next. We have a few ideas, but we achieved our main goal and we are happy with the results. All in all, everyone involved had a lot of fun and learned some valuable lessons.


Besides having a lot of fun building this project, I learned some important lessons:

  1. Story and marketing: Pixels don't solve any real-world problem. It's just a fun project. People were excited to be a part of it because it was a fun and ridiculous idea from day one.
  2. Ship fast, scale later: The MVP was just enough to get the job done. It required manual work and it wasn't responsive at the start, but it was enough in the beginning.
  3. ProductHunt - Don't schedule a launch date 2 days in advance. We were lucky that Konstantin was there to help us, but we could have easily failed, as none of us had any experience with ProductHunt.

Final thoughts

So this was the story of Buy a Pixel. I hope you enjoyed it and learned something from it. It was a fun project and I'm glad I got to be a part of it. If you want to see the board in its full glory, you can check it out here.