I've been watching the Hemingway documentary on PBS. I've always been a fan of Hemingway, and I particularly enjoy his short story writing. So it wasn't news to me that early in his career he lived in Paris among a community of writers and had many other already-published writer friends that helped his success along.
I couldn't help but see this in a new light, though. Hemingway was clearly talented and would likely have found a way to get published and find success. Nothing is guaranteed, however. And everyone, regardless of talent and ability, can always use a helping hand and boost from a network of supportive peers.
There's clear parallels with the indie hacker/bootstrapper community I have been diving into, particularly on Twitter. Just as Hemingway relied on introductions, referrals and encouragement from his network, I am seeing how helpful it is to expose myself to other makers. It is part marketing and part motivation.
It may be most helpful if your network and customer base are one-and-the-same. That's not really the case for me. I'm mainly in it for the motivation and to hopefully offer some encouragement and help of my own. More importantly, you never know when just the right connection will come along that leads to just the right kind of exposure. But success is certainly less likely if simply launching products into the void.