🧑🏼‍🚀 Blueprint 027

How to become someone's favorite, shred the veil, change your inputs, Lil Dicky, wandering, sucking

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

It’s been 27 weeks since I went on my own full-time.

Today’s topics:

  • 📈 | Week 27 recap and metrics

  • 👰🏻 | Shred the veil

  • 🥇 | How to become someone’s favorite?

  • 🎙️ | Lil Dicky

  • 🫨 | Your inputs need to change

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 worlds. If that’s you…let’s ride 👩🏻‍🚀

WEEKLY RECAP
Recap

Couldn’t bring myself to make any content last week due to the funeral and travel to Ohio.

Was really happy to have that time with my family away from the daily grind.

Now we’re back and locked in.

The most impactful thing I consumed last week was this clip of Chris Williamson talking with Alex Hormozi.

The first two minutes are absolute gold.

Chris read a tweet from Hormozi, “Not to piss off the Positive Polly’s in the room, but if you haven’t gotten what you want, then you’re not worthy of it. And that’s okay. Now you can admit you suck and improve. Better to know you’re bad for a season than pretend you’re good for a lifetime. You’re not making as much money as you want because you’re not as good as you think you are. You’re not struggling from imposter syndrome, you’re a student pretending to be a teacher. No students say they feel like frauds for trying to learn. You’re a fraud when you get up to teach the class and you’ve never done it.”

And Hormozi added, “I think it’s just giving yourself permission to suck. It’s giving yourself permission to be unhappy. It’s giving yourself permission to not achieve while you do for a long period of time. It’s giving yourself permission to lose friends. It’s giving yourself permission to do things than people in your social circle or age group are doing. It’s giving yourself permission to be an exception so that you can become exceptional. Accepting that you suck and that it is okay because the first step is accepting that you suck so that you can do the second step which is doing something about it.”

These are the words that people won’t want to hear but need to embrace if they want to build something great.

A slight reframe on them…

In order to become great at anything, you need to wander within that thing for longer than you expect, and suck for longer than you hope, so that you can build mastery in it.

As I mentioned last week, much of my stress/anxiety/depression stems from an internal belief that I should be better than I am.

Better meaning quicker, doper, cooler. Better in every way.

But why should I be better than I am if I don’t yet have the skills to do so?

I shouldn’t.

And why don’t I have the skills yet?

Because I haven’t done the thing for long enough.

In my case, the “things” I’m talking about include everything from design to content to video to storytelling. I just want everything I touch to be dope. Some things I make are, but most aren’t (to me).

I’m 30 now. The things I spent my first decade “sucking at” (management consulting) have almost zero overlap with what I’m trying to do now.

So it’s a complete restart. A complete reinvention.

Beating myself up over the fact that I expect to be a pro when I’ve had a single year of experience doing the thing, is unfair to myself and a loser’s game.

The reason I share this is because I’m sure there are other people reading that want to be better at something and find it hard to understand why they aren’t yet.

It’s because you haven’t sucked at it for long enough.

That’s the brutal truth.

Also, if you read these and are like, “damn, this dude is hard on himself.”

This is what it’s like during the suck period…it sucks a lot.

It sucks because every attempt at making something, no matter how much you close the gap, will fall short of where you think it needs to be.

And anyone great you’ve ever followed has gone through this phase. Few talk about it this transparently because it can be embarrassing/painful to articulate.

But here’s the big takeaway…

It’s okay to be in that suck period. It’s okay to suck. In fact, you must suck first in order to not suck.

I realized my stress comes from my subconscious response to the idea of sucking, not the fact that I actually am.

So my goal for this next 6 months is to let myself fully wander and embrace the suck.

Because if I fight it continuously, like I have been the past few weeks, I’ll never get where I’m trying to go.

— — — — — — —

A few quick updates/other things I’m working on:

  • ✍🏼 | Redesigning the Blueprint newsletter (this should be done in the next couple weeks, very excited for this)

  • 🧪 | Testing Buildalongs on Youtube + Shorts + Manychat (dropping my first Buildalong about the Stanley Cup video on YouTube. Will then make a short-form video about the Buildalong and use Manychat to DM the youtube link to all commenters. This will help transport people from short-form to YouTube. Will report back on how this works)

  • 🎥 | Weekly Vlogs (Starting weekly vlogs tomorrow on YouTube. This will be a brand new skill, but super excited to try these. Goal is for me to shoot them all week and then drop on Sundays)

SHRED THE VEIL
Shred the veil

As I prepare to start making vlog style content, I’ve watched a lot of different people on YouTube.

My favorite right now is Lough. He is amazing at making you feel like you’re in the room with him and his friends.

The most engaging long-form videos all have the same thing in common…zero veil.

Think of the veil as the filter between authentic you and published you.

The thinner the veil, the more authentically yourself you’re being in the content you publish.

The ideal scenario is to shred the veil completely.

This means what you put into the world is an exact representation of who you actually are.

As an example, this is why people like Emma Chamberlain, Sam Sulek, and Life of Riza all blew up on YouTube. They were able to shred the veil much more quickly than most.

In this state, you’re just flowing, almost in a stream of consciousness. Your content or art becomes an extension of you.

This is the optimal state for a few reasons:

  1. You don’t have to “act” when making new things. You can just exist and be

  2. You don’t have to play a fake character forever (which can be exhausting over the long-term)

  3. People can tell when you’re not being authentic. Authenticity drives trust, so a thick veil will lead to less trust and slower growth

If you know me, you know that I have a fairly introverted base state.

My default is pretty quiet and reserved. I like listening and thinking more than talking.

The challenge for me is to figure out how to make the vlog content compelling without adding an “energy boosted veil” on top of my normal daily persona.

Will be a fun challenge.

I’ll do my best to cut short-teasers of the vlogs and share them on IG/Tiktok, but if you want the full experience, make sure to subscribe on YouTube.

1,000 TRUE FANS
How to become someone’s favorite?

There’s a famous blog post from Kevin Kelly (Founder of Wired Magazine) called 1,000 True Fans.

If you’re a creator or entrepreneur, you’ve probably heard of this framing. If you haven’t read it, it’s worth the 5 minute read.

The tl;dr is that in order to make a full-time living as a maker (creator/artist/musician/filmmaker) you only need ~1,000 true fans.

The idea is that these true fans are super fans and would buy anything you sell.

~$100/year profit *1,000 true fans = $100,000/year income for the maker

I’ve always found this concept fascinating…because 1,000 is not a huge number.

Last month alone, my videos were viewed ~6M times by 4.5M unique people.

Now the funny thing about “general fandom” is that you might not even be someone’s favorite thing in a category.

It’s likely that every person on earth is a “super fan” of 3-5 people/brands/movements/things.

So the more interesting question to me is…how do you become someone’s favorite? Their #1.

In theory, being someone’s favorite is an even more elevated level of true fandom. The most rarified air in the world.

I’ve been reflecting on this a lot, because at the end of the day, ”# of True Fan Favorites” is probably the only metric that actually matters for a creator.

Said another way, “How many people would rank you as their favorite person across all categories?”

In my mind, the recipe to achieve this rarified air is simple:

  • 🎯 | Make stuff in a category someone cares about

  • 👩🏻‍🚀 | Be 100% authentically yourself (a true one-of-one personality that they can’t experience anywhere else)

  • 👀 | Give them complete behind-the-scenes access to your journey

  • 🤗 | Acknowledge their dedication when you have the chance

  • 📆 | Do this for years with relentless consistency

If you do these 5 things for long enough (some ofc harder than others), you will become some person’s favorite person.

Stack enough “True Fan Favorites” up over time, and you’ll eat forever.

DAVID ANDREW BURD
Lil Dicky

If you’ve never heard of Lil Dicky, he’s an American rapper most famous for the song $ave Dat Money, where he filmed a luxury rap music video without spending a dollar.

He’s an icon, and most importantly, a one of one.

Last week, he released a new music video for his song HAHAHA, where he dresses up like the Joker.

The video is an 11 minute mini-movie, with some of the most absurd scenes you can imagine.

I had two main takeaways from this that I wanted to cover in Blueprint.

  1. Format Remixing

  2. Cult Hopping

Format Remixing

One of the easiest ways to become one of one in a category is to use formats from other categories (that don’t commonly exist in your category).

I call this format remixing or transpositioning.

The classic meta for music videos is high quality cinematography, but usually scenes in cars, houses, parties, weird locations, etc.

So anytime you see a music video, you’re expecting this type of visual.

Lil Dicky is known for his cinematic mini movies, where he essentially shoots the highest possible quality scene, with amazing storytelling, in a funny way.

The first time I noticed him doing this was in his video for Pillow Talking. He also did this in his song, Earth.

These videos have a collective 500M views on YouTube.

Why does this work so well?

The most important factor in creating viral content is share rate.

By using uncommon formats in your category, it compels people to share more frequently.

Chris Williamson of Modern Wisdom takes a similar approach with his “cinematic film set driven podcasts.”

He was the first in the world to treat podcast sets/environments from a filmmakers perspective. I think this was one of the biggest factors in his meteoric growth this year.

Cult Hopping

The other thing Lil Dicky did, which I talk about often, is cult hopping.

If you watch the video, he purposely shoots it to recreate exact scenes of Heath Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight (the car scene, opening scene from behind the Joker, etc.).

The circle of Lil Dicky’s influence is in the millions.

The circle of the Joker is in the hundreds of millions.

By dressing up like the Joker in his video, he is essentially hopping on the broader relatability, making the video appeal to a wider audience automatically.

This is why he uses his Joker-painted face in the thumbnails…instant recognizability.

If you’re trying to become one of one in a category, try analyzing your content strategy through these two lenses.

INPUTS INFLUENCING OUTPUTS
Control your inputs or they will control you

Each day, you intake two main things…food and content.

Just as your nutritional diet directly influences your mood, mental clarity, performance and energy, your content diet has the same impact.

We don’t always treat our content filter with the same rigor we would our food.

In 10 years, I think we’re going to look back at “dirty content” the way we see seed oils and microplastics today.

If you want to change your output, you need to change the way you live.

To change the way you live, change your inputs to match your desired lifestyle.

Here’s how I’m doing this tactically:

  • I use the Brick (code Kallaway for 10% off) to block social media on my phone before bed, while working out, while working, and when I wake up. I love this thing. It’s the perfect dopamine blocker without being too permanent

  • I’m going through my “Following” lists on all social media and unfollowing or muting anyone that isn’t directly adding to my creative influences

  • I’m choosing music over podcasts during my morning routines, workouts, etc.

Intentionally controlling your inputs is one of the highest leverage things you can do.

CONTENT FROM THIS WEEK

My best content from this week:

  1. 🦖 | wknds (010) - Why are YouTubers quitting, Sam Sulek, giveaways working too well, how to build a movement, and more: Watch / Listen

  2. 🧑🏼‍🚀 | Blueprint 026 - Comparison, storytelling tips to improve retention, internet ripples, passive selling vs active selling, why are youtubers quitting, trusting your gut: Read

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