Monthly Archives: March 2021

📻 — Capital, Coaching, and Legitimacy in Community

Good morning yeniverse!

This is a good week to get things moving! Hell, is it almost April or what?! Whew. A few links and a few high-level thoughts in today’s issue! I hope you enjoy!

  1. Slack message connect. People have some thoughts. Email growth playbook.
  2. Crowdfunding round. This is why the internet. Don’t bet against it. GoPuff.
  3. Antifragile. Yes, yes, and… yes. #yenYEAR? Resilience. Hopin buys.
  4. Savage. Tesla dominance or Bitcoin! Elon’s education for kids. Anyroad!
  5. WFH via HBR. YC EdTech. FB is unoriginal. Very cool accessories.
  6. These are good. The dive. Stories for social. Cryptosocial. Airwallex.
  7. Robinhood IPO. Only then we’ll know. Your data $. Memo. Disco.
  8. Quick-start to meaningful engagement. Rival peak. Lobbying. Proud.
  9. Blippar. Lolli. Podsights. Recroom. Tourism. Bevy raises. Guide to sales.
  10. Bootstrapping. Running. Uncomfortable. Bigger. Tragedy. Drum machine.

To infinity & community,

— john

Theories of legitimacy

Vitalik Buterin’s piece on legitimacy got me thinking something fierce this weekend and I wanted to share some of it with here with you all. Give the following few lines some good thinking time:

Vitalik: There are many different ways in which legitimacy can come about. In general, legitimacy arises because the thing that gains legitimacy is psychologically appealing to most people. But of course, people’s psychological intuitions can be quite complex. It is impossible to make a full listing of theories of legitimacy, but we can start with a few:

  • Legitimacy by brute force: someone convinces everyone that they are powerful enough to impose their will and resisting them will be very hard. This drives most people to submit because each person expects that everyone else will be too scared to resist as well.
  • Legitimacy by continuity: if something was legitimate at time T, it is by default legitimate at time T+1.
  • Legitimacy by fairness: something can become legitimate because it satisfies an intuitive notion of fairness. See also: my post on credible neutrality, though note that this is not the only kind of fairness.
  • Legitimacy by process: if a process is legitimate, the outputs of that process gain legitimacy (eg. laws passed by democracies are sometimes described in this way).
  • Legitimacy by performance: if the outputs of a process lead to results that satisfy people, then that process can gain legitimacy (eg. successful dictatorships are sometimes described in this way).
  • Legitimacy by participation: if people participate in choosing an outcome, they are more likely to consider it legitimate. This is similar to fairness, but not quite: it rests on a psychological desire to be consistent with your previous actions.

Note that legitimacy is a descriptive concept; something can be legitimate even if you personally think that it is horrible. That said, if enough people think that an outcome is horrible, there is a higher chance that some event will happen in the future that will cause that legitimacy to go away, often at first gradually, then suddenly.

I shared a note from this article already in the above links but I had to give this section a bit more love. The TL;DR: is this: Mr. Beast is building a venture fund that will support creators. More important than money is the mentorship that he and his crew will give the folks who get funded.

That, my friends, is the real benefit. He even goes on to share a story of how he’s already done this for others:

They definitely do not. I’ve literally seen people with under 100 subscribers get a million views on a video, if me and my friends just show them how to make a video properly.

There’s this guy who is pulling 10,000 views a video. He asked me for some advice. I was like, “Fine, I’ll help you get a viral video.” So we gave him a video idea. I told him how to film it. You know, he filmed it multiple times.

I shit on the thumbnail after he did it. And he had to keep making the thumbnail. And he got mad at me because he’s like, “This is good.” I’m like, “No, it’s not there yet.”

So I made him put like four times the amount of effort in a video. It was an idea I gave him because I knew it was just a very clickable one. And that video went on to get 10 million views, which was more views than his entire channel had.

I’ve had tons of other instances like that. Usually a lot of people are either really good at making tons of thumbnails or they’re really good at making great videos, but like very few people are good at both.

So it’s usually just identifying what they suck the most at, but just telling you about how to not suck at it. And then yeah, I mean, that algorithm works like wonders. It doesn’t matter if you have 1,000 subscribers or a million. If you upload a really good video with great retention, a great [click-through rate], it’s gonna pop off.

Mentoring and coaching can transform someone’s life and Mr. Beast understand that combining that with a bit of capital might be a darn good combination. For us in the creator / community space, we’ve known that for years! But finally there’s a bit more capital going around.

And that’s a good thing.


📻 — This is How Creators and Startup Founders Win: Goals, Systems, and Execution

Good morning yeniverse!

It’s been such a busy week that I decided to take a half-day yesterday! I spent the day with my 3.5 year old biking around the house, making fires, digging up worms, and effectively wasting our time doing cool shit that 3.5 year olds like to do.

That’s living folks… that’s the real juice!! 😂

I hope you’re finding time to do the same. It’s Friday, y’all! Here’s your daily dose:

  1. Measurement. Microsoft opens. Box sale? Notes like Kendrick. Hive index!
  2. Newspaper as platform? Bake it in. Chums. Good developer docs. Hype.
  3. Cookies & marketers. Nordstrom testing live shopping? Kill drones. Work.
  4. Wired on CH. Modern intranet. Try now. Ulysses 22! Chatparse. Fellow.
  5. Sellforte. Telegram $150M. Microdiscord. Alt education. Life’s stories.
  6. Charter lotteries. Boyish zeal. Tabs. Finance @ YC. Wellcome. Short, long.
  7. Jane. TikTok repeats mistakes. Prince Harry’s new job. Software won.
  8. 4 day work week. Ellen. Text to video. Donuts for vaccine. HGTV renovation.
  9. Good vs Great leaders. Keyword surfer. Ambi. Working backwards. Odds.
  10. Air quality. Bedrock SaaS. Coursemaker. Google page exp. Soapbox.

To infinity & community,

— john

Take notes people. Take notes.

The 15% Rule: The Zone of Safety, Danger, and Learning

The following points are via NFX:

  • The closer I hold my cards to my vest, the closer you’re going to hold yours to yours. And no relationship is going to get deepened in that.
  • I’m not advocating to tell everybody everything. We have a heuristic that I think is particularly useful. We call it the 15% rule. Think of it as three concentric circles.
  • The circle in the middle is the zone of safety, which is where you don’t think twice about what you’re saying.
  • The circle on the outside is called your zone of danger where you can’t imagine saying that to somebody.
  • The zone in the middle is called the zone of learning. And by the way, that’s the only way we learn is to step outside of our comfort zone.
  • I used to tell my students, no risk, no reward. My students used to say, “But Carole, the minute I’m outside of my safety zone, I’m terrified that I’ve gone past the learning zone and into the zone of danger.” So then we would say, “Why don’t you try 15% outside of your comfort zone? Just a little bit. You’ll know if you’ve said something that makes you a little uncomfortable.

I discovered that if you search “build in the open” (try it!) you’ll see this “Featured Snippet” that was automatically-created by Google.

This — obviously — is a huge win for our community and our project! Linking directly to our post in the IndieHackers community will give us a lot more attention and is a direct result of — unironically — building in the open!

This is another great example of how you win the battle for SEO! You make a goal(s), you build systems that work and are effective and repeatable, then you show up and you do the work. You hope for the best and you give it your very best.

Sometimes (most times) you won’t get the results you want; then, you’ll get results that you weren’t even asking for (like the Featured Snippet!). But the cool thing about the internet is that it rewards the creator and startup founder because they have the courage to build, to ship, and to share their learnings with others.

This is how you win folks. I promise you. This is how you win. Have a great weekend!