🧑🏼‍🚀 Blueprint 018

The biggest opportunity in content, how to invent new formats, wknds podcast launch, new Blueprint dashboard, travel in entrepreneurship

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

It’s been 18 weeks since I went on my own full-time.

Today’s topics:

  • 🧮 | Week 17 & 18 recap & metrics

  • 🗺️ | The new Blueprint dashboard

  • 🚀 | The wknds podcast is officially live

  • 🤼‍♂️ | Pioneering a new format…collaborative storytelling

  • 🤫 | The biggest opportunity in content

  • 😖 | My relationship between entrepreneurship & travel

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 ✌🏼👩🏻‍🚀

WEEKLY RECAP
The Recap

I just got back from one of the craziest travel stints of my life.

It was a traditional Indian wedding in India…one of those once in a lifetime experiences.

And while I absolutely loved it (and will be dropping a wknds vlog recap video this week), the travel absolutely wrecked me.

Over the last two weeks, I traveled 21,246 miles (for reference, San Diego to NYC is ~2,700 miles).

During a six day stretch, I spent 72 hours in planes/airports for 72 hours on the ground.

I tried my best to bang out Blueprint last Sunday, but with the jet lag, sickness, and holidays, I figured we could lump these last two weeks together and call it even.

One cool thing that happened during my travels, I got recognized by a fan in the Udaipur airport on the way back from the wedding. Getting recognized on the street blows my mind every time it happens 🤯

Blueprint Dashboard

You’ll notice the Blueprint metrics dashboard looks a bit different than it normally does.

Here’s what I realized…

The initial design did a great job of sharing a snapshot of audience/income growth during a particular week, but it lacked the context to help explain where those movements came from.

You might see +8K followers and wonder, “Did all those come as a result of that week’s videos going viral or was there something else added to the mix that became an additional tailwind?”

My goal with Blueprint has always been to provide a hyper transparent look into the moves I’m making and the rationale around how I’m thinking about building my digital world so that a future creator can pull relevant insights and apply them to their own journey.

I’m not the world’s best designer so this new dashboard graphic is very much a WIP. I’m going to have my Dispatch design team take a stab at reimagining this in the coming weeks.

For now, I’ll quickly walk through a couple of the new things and why I think they’re helpful:

  • 💰 | Audience & Income: I’ve gotten a lot of feedback that the Audience and Income tracking is a highly desirable component of Blueprint so I kept those front and center and beefed them out a bit.

  • 😀 | Happiness Index: I think it will be interesting to track my net happiness…a single number that encapsulates how I’m feeling week to week. The goal would then be to retroactively find what drives maximum happiness and do more of that

  • 🗺️ | Wavy World: Think of this like a real-time snapshot of all the content channels and businesses that I’m actively working on at one time

  • 📈 | Trajectory: These are charts tracking audience growth and income every month, meant to visualize the progress I’ve made over a longer time horizon

  • 🚀 | Launches: These are things I’ve recently launched and added to the rotation. You’ll see that Roberto and I officially launched the wknds podcast. More on that below.

  • 🧪 | Incubation: This is a list of things that I’m working on figuring out, so they can graduate to Launches in the future. I have a few things in the hopper right now that I’m really excited about including redesigning this newsletter, figuring out YouTube medium-form videos, rebuilding my studio for better filming backdrops, and creating a personal web hub for everything I do

  • 🙋🏻‍♂️ | Needs & Questions: This is where I’ll list various open roles or things I’m looking for help on. Right now, I’m looking to find a long-term video editor to partner on YouTube as well as a Cold Plunge company that is interested in partnering

  • 🎁 | New Products: Lastly, new products is where I’ll highlight different things that I’m trying. For this week, I’m experimenting with Beacons (for link in bio), Echo (for hydrogenated water), and Henbu’s presets and LUTs (for better colorgrading)

As for these past two weeks, it was a struggle to produce content while on the road. I was only able to post 3 videos during this stint, which meant growth and income was negligible.

I’m stoked to get back on track and triple down on my focus over the next few months.

WKNDS PODCAST
The wknds podcast is officially live!

I think wknds is going to be one of the biggest podcasts in the world.

Here’s why…

I’ve listened to dozens of podcasts over the past few years. The ones that end up staying in the rotation have a couple things in common:

  1. They strike the perfect balance of entertaining and learning across a topic I care about

  2. They’re full of witty banter and unscripted dialogue

  3. It feels like I’m in the room and part of the crew

For me, as a creator/entrepreneur, all I want is to be a fly on the wall in the middle of creative brainstorm/strategy sessions. That’s my favorite type of content.

I find that 1:1 interview shows and topical news rundowns are helpful occasionally, but I often go through periods where I avoid listening to them.

But I can never get enough of builders talking about building.

That’s what wknds is.

Roberto and I spend 60-90 minutes each week talking through our best ideas, the most pressing challenges we’re facing, and the behind the scenes on how we plan to win.

After we nail the format and process, we’re going to bring on some of our internet friends to jam with us.

This guest episodes will be closer to LeBron’s show “The Shop” vs traditional interviews about their life.

If this sounds like something you’d be into, give it a listen and let us know what you think:

We’re also trying to build up the wknds channels from scratch, so if you really enjoy the show and want to help out, please subscribe/follow wknds on these channels as well:

We’re going to open up a Q&A segment on the podcast where we’ll answer any question from creators/entrepreneurs. Feel free to reply to this email with your question and we’ll answer some on the show!

COLLABORATIVE STORYTELLING
Pioneering a new format

I promise this whole edition of Blueprint won’t be about the podcast, but this was too good to skip over.

While we were recording episode 2, we captured a live moment of inspiration that eventually turned into a new format for short-form video.

If you want to watch the live brainstorming process unfold in real-time, click here (again sorry the audio on this episode got a little messed up on my side).

We call it…”collaborative storytelling.”

What if we took a conventionally popular format on linear television and remixed it using a medium we know best, short-form?

Imagine First Take or Around the Horn, but in a bite-sized, short-form native format?

So we piloted that idea the same afternoon, collab posted it, and got amazing reception. This was the video we made.

We plan on pushing this format to its limits, adding more than just two people, varying the discussion styles, etc.

But the reason I wanted to call it out, was to highlight the importance of uncovering an original format.

This “collaborative storytelling” idea is completely novel in short-form. We were the first ones to do it.

That doesn’t mean we stake a claim over it that prevents anyone else from trying it, but if we do it enough before it gets popular, we will become known for it (e.g., the same way Casey Neistat became known for the traditional YouTube vlog format)

There is extreme value in being known for an original format.

My friend Zach Pogrob was the first to create the B&W animated reels on Instagram. He racked up hundreds of millions of views in a few months using that style.

TRANSPOSITIONING
The biggest opportunity in content

There’s an even bigger idea that spawns from the collaborative storytelling example above.

In fact, I think it’s the biggest opportunity in content.

I call it transpositioning.

In a general sense, "transposition" refers to the act of transferring something from one place or context to another. It's often used in music (to shift a piece from one key to another), in mathematics (to interchange rows and columns in a matrix), and in genetics (to describe the movement of a gene from one position to another within the genome).

Now apply it to content…

There is infinite white space to take content that works on one platform and reimagine it to natively suit the format demands on another.

The key is to “natively” reimagine it.

For example, the think boi’s on Twitter generate thousands of well-researched, information heavy threads every single hour.

Imo, Twitter is oversaturated with this information.

But that doesn’t mean the content isn’t gold…it just means the eyeballs viewing the content are not eager to consume it in that format.

It’s a supply and demand problem. Too much supply for not enough demand.

So the opportunity is not for that Twitter user to write yet another thread. The opportunity is to take that good information and repackage as a short-form video on Instagram Reels.

Now this sounds like an obvious insight, but from my perspective, it’s quite untapped.

Here’s why…

Most people do not have the ability (or interest) to create content across multiple mediums at a high level.

If you’re a great long-form writer, you’re almost never interested in making videos.

If you’re an amazing photographer, you’re almost never compelled to write quippy tweets.

This means that it’s fairly common for people to exist as “one-dimensional creators.”

And that means, there’s a lot of trapped gold stuck within suboptimal formats.

But I’ll make it even easier for you…to take advantage of this, you don’t even need to be able to create across multiple content mediums.

You just need to be able to organically consume content on the overserved channels to then repackage and create native content on the underserved ones.

Again, the key word is native.

Taking a written tweet, pressing the share button to IG stories, and pasting the tweet in it’s original format on IG is not native. That’s just lazy.

Native is studying what works on IG Stories and literally repackaging that text in a more optimized way.

From my perspective, Instagram and Tiktok are incredibly underserved when it comes to edutainment video content. This is content that is designed to both educate and entertain, across almost any topic.

If you’re not good at generating new content ideas yourself, just go to Twitter/Reddit/Linkedin, find interesting stuff and make videos about it on Instagram/Tiktok.

Transpositioning also applies to formats, which is why I thought of it initially.

  • Zach Pogrob took Jack Butcher’s Twitter/IG B&W image style and made videos

  • Morning Brew took the Wall Street journal and repurposed it in an email format

  • Huberman took scientific research papers and repackaged them in consumable audio podcasts

  • Barstool took reality TV and repackaged it for YouTube

  • Almost every interview podcast is the repackaging of talk radio

If you zoom out far enough, you’ll realize that most of the biggest creators on earth found their signature format by transposing something from a different medium that was already working.

If you’re struggling with cutting through the noise, add the lens of transposition and see where it takes you.

TRAVEL
My love-hate relationship with travel

I debated writing about this because I think it comes off a little whiny, ungrateful, and full of first world problems.

But I’m sure a lot of you feel similarly, so I figured it might help to share.

I have an unhealthy relationship with travel and work.

When I worked a corporate job, I traveled as much as I could and maxed out my vacation time.

But this was mostly because I hated my job and wanted to do it as little as possible.

It’s sad to say, but I didn’t care what the effects were when I left work to go on a trip. If the house burned, it burned, but I was having margaritas either way.

But now that I work for myself, and actually enjoy what I’m doing, I don’t like to stop working. I just don’t.

For one thing, I love the game. I actually enjoy playing it. And when work is play and you’re on a wave, you don’t want to stop.

But it goes deeper than a desire to keep playing the game.

Traveling is often bad for business.

Here’s why…

The lifeblood of being a creator is not views or money…it’s momentum.

Getting momentum to work in your favor is super difficult.

It’ll feel like you’re carrying 100lb boulders up sand dunes for years before you get the hint of a tailwind.

So when you do get some momentum, and things are going well, you want to do whatever you can to keep it.

Traveling is a guaranteed way to lose momentum. 

It takes you out of routine, flips your schedule on its head, and prevents you from doing what helped you unlock those tailwinds in the first place.

Because of this, I often find myself internally sour when I’m on longer trips.

It’s not that I don’t want to be there…of course I do. It’s because I can feel the momentum slipping away.

The reality is, I don’t have a great way to mentally reframe this.

Here’s what I’m going to try moving forward:

  1. Be extremely selective about the travel I say yes to (if more than 3 days)

  2. When I go on those trips, it’s a complete detachment from work. What makes travel miserable is that I’ll try to both work and enjoy myself, which makes it hard to do both

Anyone have any mental frames for this? Happy to share in a future episode of Blueprint if it works for me!

VIDEOS FROM THIS WEEK

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

  1. 🤖 | Is AI Video Replacing Hollywood?: Watch on IG | TT

  2. 🏝️ | wknds in San Diego (drone edition): Watch on IG | TT

  3. 🤯 | The OpenAI Saga: Watch on IG | YT | TT 

LOVED THIS EDITION?

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