🧑🏼‍🚀 Blueprint 011

Less is more, a simple framework for picking the right skills to win at business, wknds in Tokyo, Renz Sadiwa

Welcome back to Blueprint, a series where I share an unfiltered, behind-the-scenes look into my journey as a full-time creator & entrepreneur.

It’s been 11 weeks since I went on my own ($27K earned • 422K audience)

Today’s topics:

  • 🧮 | Week 11 metrics & earnings

  • ⚖️ | Less is more

  • 💡 | A simple framework for picking the right skills to win at business

Feature creator:

  • 🤯 | Renz Sadiwa (@renzsadiwa) - Renz is a creator that makes technology & productivity videos. His style is super clean with aesthetic editing. He has shown up on my feed 10+ times organically and I’m consistently pulled towards his videos. If you like tech products, check him out!

A reminder that this internet game is not zero-sum. Everyone reading this can win at an unlimited scale. I’m writing this for the internet astronauts building their own digital worlds. If that’s you…let’s ride ✌🏼👩🏻‍🚀

AUDIENCE GROWTH
Weekly Recap

Just got back from Japan…my favorite place I’ve ever traveled!

These were my 4 favorite pics I took with the Fujifilm X100V (I love this camera).

The entire trip (Tokyo → Hakone → Kyoto → Osaka → Tokyo) was amazing, and I highly recommend it for anyone that’s interested in traveling to Asia.

During the trip, I was able to ship two “Japan-specific” videos:

I suspected that this style of video wouldn’t perform very well (in the traditional “views-based” sense) given the lack of embedded virality in the format.

Given that, you may be wondering why I spent time making these videos in the first place if I already a) knew they probably wouldn’t go viral and b) have a different format that is already extremely effective.

Here was my thinking…

  • 🧳 | Building depth - Travel is a great way to build personal depth through authenticity. While only a few thousand people saw those videos, there’s a good chance that a higher percentage of viewers connected with me as an individual vs my usual content

  • 🔪 | New skills - This type of vlog style video gave me the chance to sharpen my skills in a different format. It forced me to practice recording clips in the wild, finding the right music and stringing them together in a compelling way. This is a type of storytelling I want to get better at

  • 🧮 | Algo test - It may sound like a psycho move, but I wanted to test the resilience of the algorithm. How “cold” would it get if I posted a few videos in a row with poor performance? I have a theory that social algos have streak multipliers built in. If you feed them 3 viral bangers in a row, they are “probably” going to give extra juice to your next video. Is the reverse true? If I share 3 “dud videos”, will that cool off my algorithm and require me to work harder to revitalize it? Knowing the answer to this will help inform my posting strategy moving forward

  • ♟️ | Style mixing - My hypothesis is that creators with 3-4 different styles of content win much bigger than creators with a single fixed format. Any creator that comes to mind as a cult favorite brings variation. I want these type of vlog recaps to be in my mix

Also, I’m working on something exciting around the wknds concept, which I’ve now tested for the Tokyo and Kyoto videos.

THINKING

Less is more

My biggest takeaway from the time away is that I’m intaking too much information. Way too much.

Too many podcasts. Too many tweets. Too much mindless scrolling.

My head constantly swirls with same question…“what else can I be doing to get an edge?”

Because in my head, if I can just find that one little hack, it could vault me into the next level.

So I end up pumping in as much information as I possibly can, searching for infinite needles in infinite haystacks.

All my walks. All my car rides. During two minute trips to the trash. I practically live with headphones on.

And I’ve realized…this is not the way.

I’m in the business of executing on creative ideas. Coming up with an interesting concept, thinking through how to storytell around it, and producing content about it at the highest level.

Everything else in my head while I’m trying to do that job is a distraction.

It’s space junk.

And every time I pick up my phone to answer a text, scroll social media, read a newsletter, listen to a podcast, watch a YouTube video, I’m not only turning the creative spigot off, I’m filling the pipes with digital sludge.

Sludge that needs to be cleared before the creativity can flow freely again.

And here’s the worst part…if you’re like me, you justify all that content consumption by saying it’s “inspiration.”

I listen to 10-15 hours of entrepreneurship/business podcasts per week. I love them.

And I always tell myself, “These are good for you…they’re helping inspire you to build something cool of your own!”

You know what’s more inspiring than listening to business podcasts?

Actually building one.

It’s tough love to give to myself, but it’s the truth.

Now as someone that makes content, it could be easy to see this take as hypocritical.

If you’re telling us to consume less content, why should be consuming yours?

All I’m saying is that if you’re not where you want to be, and your creative/productive output feels stalled, do an audit of the raw amount of information you’re pumping in on a daily basis, and try to prune the junk.

I won’t ever fully give up consuming my favorite content, but I’m going to make an active effort to cut back the forced junk food.

DOING
A simple frame for picking the right skills to win at business

When I was younger, I approached the “business skill development” game the wrong way.

This is probably the only business framework that matters and what I wish I understood at 21.

In order to build a $10M/year business, you only need two things:

  • Someone that makes a product/service

  • Someone that sells the product/service

That’s it. Every other role outside of the those two buckets is not vitally necessary initially and can be hired/automated away.

A maker role can be anything from design, coding, physical manufacturing, service delivery (person actually doing the service), product manager, etc. It depends what type of product you’re making, but think of it like whatever you need to go end to end on actually making something people want.

A seller role can be anything from sales, customer acquisition, retention, demand generation, etc. Whatever you need to get people to pay you for the product.

I believe you could build a $10M/year business with just 2 people if they are each full stack and perfectly complementary across maker and seller.

By full stack, I mean each person can do all of the tasks required in their given silo.

So a full stack seller would be able to both generate demand (either through paid ads or organic content) and convert that demand into sales.

The less full stack you are, the more additional people you’ll need to hire to plug those gaps (e.g., if you’re responsible for the maker role and can code but not design, you’ll need to find a solve for the design right away).

So what does this have to do with skills?

When I was starting out, I worked in management consulting as my first job. It’s basically a business generalist role that advises companies on business strategy.

You can quickly see that “business strategy” is not one of the core skills needed by either makers or buyers.

It’d be a stretch to say that business strategy is worthless, but my point is that it’s not one of the vital skillsets required to get a business off the ground.

When this was my only skillset, it’s no surprise that my business attempts failed.

Instead of choosing to study and practice business strategy, I should have picked one of these two paths (maker or seller) and began to accumulate relevant skills accordingly.

Now which to pick…

In my opinion, a full stack seller is the most valuable skillset.

Here’s why…

A full stack maker with a poor seller has a great product with few customers. This means ~$0 revenue.

A full stack seller with a poor maker has an average product with lots of customer demand. This means small to medium revenue initially that will slowly fall off as customers realize the product is shitty.

A great seller can brute force some revenue in the beginning, even with the worst of products.

The only way to have a true winner with durability is to have both a great maker and a great seller.

For me personally, I feel like I have a pretty solid product mind, but don’t have design, coding, or manufacturing knowledge.

Rather than exclusively pursue the maker path, I’m choosing to become most dangerous as the seller.

It’s where (I believe) my natural talent can be maximized.

As mentioned above, sellers are responsible for both demand generation and conversion.

How do you get people in the door, and then, how do you compel them to pay?

Organic content, in my opinion, is the most effective method for making this happen with long-term compounding durability (paid ads work faster, but aren’t as reliable for building long-term consumer trust).

So for me, organic content is where I’m playing.

I share this breakdown because this would have been soooo helpful to understand when I was pretty lost in my early 20s.

VIDEOS FROM THIS WEEK

Here are links to this week’s videos if you want to check them out:

  1. 🗼 | wknds in Tokyo: Watch on TT | IG | YT

  2. 🇯🇵 | My Japan trip through my Fuji: Watch on TT | IG | YT

SHARE

If you liked today’s post and you know another creator building their own kingdom on the internet, it’d mean the world if you shared this with them 🤙🏼