🧑🏼‍🚀 Blueprint 028

Content vigilante, buildalongs + manychat is gold, content experiments, identity dissonance, apple vision pro, wknds

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 28 weeks since I went on my own full-time.

Today’s topics:

  • 📈 | Week 28 recap and metrics

  • 🧪 | A week of experiments

  • 🤯 | Buildalongs + Manychat is a winner winner chicken dinner

  • 🥷🏻 | Content vigilante

  • 🥽 | Apple Vision Pro - the quick and dirty after 48 hours

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

I’m in a great place mentally.

If you’ve been reading for a while, you had a front-row seat to the emotional whipsaw that can come from being an entrepreneur & creator.

I’m glad I was able to capture some of the raw frustration in real-time. It’s rare to find this on the internet and will be good for the archives.

I have a lot more clarity on where the turbulence came from and why I felt it.

Here’s the short version: (1) speed of feedback and (2) identity dissonance

  • Speed of Feedback: The feedback loops on the internet are a double edged sword. It’s amazing to know if your idea has traction 30 minutes after you share it, but the instant feedback and daily metrics create way more emotional volatility. One day you’re feeling great and quite literally the next day you’re questioning everything. When compared to quarterly reviews and annual performance checks in the corporate world, daily feedback feels like riding a rollercoaster on 40 Red Bulls (haven’t tried, don’t recommend unless you’re my friend Winslow)

  • Identity Dissonance (more on this below): I have something that’s working super well and it’s kind of angling me towards becoming an “expert in content.” I didn’t seek this out. I spend a lot of time thinking about the topic, I have unique perspective, the market values it, and people respond well to it. This became crystal clear to me with the response to the Buildalongs video (more on that below). People want this from me. The dissonance was that I don’t want to be a B2B content marketer. Because my vision of how those people carry themselves isn’t what I want for my life. I want to be someone like Ronnie Fieg or George Heaton, dope visionary product builders. The increasing gap between what I wanted and where I was naturally drifting was paralyzing me. Everything I created that was antithetical to person B, even if it performed well, felt wrong. So I kept restrategizing over and over and over. Analysis paralysis. My wife can attest, this was a dark and annoying period

But I’ve come up with a plan to address both of these points, which is why I feel super calm right now.

On the feedback piece, I’m going to stop evaluating metrics daily. When I write Blueprint weekly, and put together the stats graphic, that’ll be the time I check numbers.

This way, I’ll slow down the speed of data intake and the influence I give it over my daily wellbeing.

On the identity dissonance point, I’m just going to stop worrying about it.

Here’s a little metaphor nobody asked for…if a tribe of cavemen were cold, and one of them stumbled onto fire by rubbing sticks together, do you think he would have felt bad about himself because despite making fire, which is really hard to do, he wanted to be known as the guy that used matches to do it?

Absolutely not…because fire is fire and the homies are warm now [Also, where tf did that ^ come from 😭😭]

Translation for anyone living is this epoch: If you have something working, ride the damn wave and stop questioning it. There are a million paths to get to where you want to go. Identity is a state of being.

I’m going to spend less time thinking about identity and just flow.

— — — — — — — — — — —

Here are three content trends/tips to know about:

  • 🚀 | Tiktok is boosting horizontal videos - Tiktok announced they are heavily boosting horizontal, long-form content. So videos like this. They’re doing this because they can’t figure out how to monetize. YouTube is the best content monetization engine in the world, so they’re trying to copying them. Spoiler alert…I don’t think this will work for Tiktok. But, to test, I uploaded a short pod Roberto and I made using the Vision Pros and it basically got auto-boosted to 45K views within 1 hour (super low engagement relative to the views and added negligible followers). Here’s how I’d play this. If you’re already making horizontal YouTube videos for YouTube, throw them up on Tiktok for a few weeks to see how they do. If you’re not, you could film yourself raw talking into your phone horizontally with minimal edits and post. Boosted views don’t really help you with anything, so doing this might be a waste of time, but, if Tiktok gets desperate, they might start paying YouTube level CPMs ($10/1000 views). This would be 10-40x more than they’re currently paying for shorts views. If this happens, I would consider making dedicated long-form on Tiktok. Will monitor and report back

  • 💰 | Instagram just activated monetization for ads in profile feed - IG had been trying to give creators a split of ads run between their Reels. The payouts were embarrassingly low (e.g., $4 for a video with 1M views). So they shut that down and launched this new profile ads monetization. If someone goes to your profile and scrolls your posts in feed form, they’ll pipe ads in-between and split that with you. I can’t imagine this will be significant either, but you never know. This heavily rewards people with dope back catalogues, and also means that if you want to keep someone scrolling (so you get paid more), you should drop bangers only as reels/feed posts.

  • 👩🏻‍🚀 | I changed my bios and followers went up - Sounds lame, but optimizing your profile is one of the highest leverage things you can do. I was getting hundreds of thousands of people hitting my profile every week, but converting a low percentage. Am I just ugly?! Jk that was the best smoldering smile I’ve ever made. Here’s what I was doing wrong. Your first line should tell people who your account is for. My old bio first line was, “Making videos about new tech & cult brands.” That tells you what I make, but it still requires someone to ask themselves, “Am I someone that likes those things?” Shouldn’t be a hard question, but you could make it even easier for them. Here’s the better way to do it. People like labeling themselves with identities. If you’re a Christian and see an account that says “X for Christians,” you know that’s for you without needing to question it. So I changed my first line to be “Daily videos for creators & entrepreneurs.” If you’re a creator/entrepreneur, it should be an automatic follow, as long as nothing else on the profile weirds you out. Tough to measure this with new content daily, but anecdotally feels like conversion has gone up

A SHAMELESS PLUG FOR WKNDS
A shameless plug for our podcast, wknds

If you’re reading this, you probably listen to podcasts.

Tbh, most business podcasts are super dry and boring. I can’t stand listening to them.

My favorite podcasts feel like brainstorms about ideas and business. You never know what they’ll talk about, but it feels like you’re in the room with them.

Roberto and I co-host the wknds podcast, which is exactly this.

We call it a live creative brainstorm. It’s the two of us (sometimes with a guest) breaking down business opportunities, content experiments we ran, and opportunities we’re seeing.

If you’re a builder, creator, or entrepreneur, I think it’ll be your favorite show in the rotation.

If you could do me one favor, it’d be to give wknds a try and let me know what you think. We haven’t broadly promoted it yet, so it’s still in the friends and family stage.

This is the link to my favorite episode on Youtube: Watch here
This is the link to all of the places you can find the audio: Listen here

BUILDALONGS + MANYCHAT
Buildalongs + Manychat is a winner

A few weeks ago, I had an idea to open source my “video secret sauce.”

Instead of starting with a fully baked paid course (which would take months to make), I wanted to test interest by filming standalone episodes showcasing my entire scripting and editing process.

I call them Buildalongs (the premise was to give people a way to “build along” with me).

If enough people liked them, it would give me positive signal that a course would be successful.

I considered launching a free community to host the Buildalongs (to collect emails), but for this first one, I wanted as low friction as possible.

So I published on YouTube. The first Buildalong was about my Stanley Cup video that got 6M+ in 48 hours.

But I had a problem.

My YouTube channel is still in its infancy stage.

I have 33K subscribers, but a lot of those are from Youtube Shorts (high subscriber number looks cool, but actually not ideal if Shorts watchers don’t convert to the long-form).

This means, my natural Youtube algo push for long-form videos is fairly weak at this stage, a thousand views at best in the first 24H.

So I needed a way to drive more traffic to this video or it wouldn’t get enough air time to truly test the concept.

Where do I have a huge audience of people that trust me? Instagram.

But if you’ve ever tried to ask people on Instagram to check something out on YouTube, they rarely do it. People don’t like jumping from one platform to another unless the premise is extremely compelling.

So even if I made a dedicated short-form video reel about Buildalongs and asked people to check it out with a link in bio, few would.

That wasn’t going to work.

Then I came across a tool called Manychat. And I love this thing so much.

Manychat lets you set up automatic workflows into Instagram.

So what I did was make an easier call to action.

Instead of asking people to go to my link-in-bio to then go watch on YouTube (high friction), all they had to do was comment the word “Stanley.”

When they did this, Manychat auto-sent them a DM (from my IG account) giving them the link to the YouTube video.

This absolutely crushed.

The Instagram video is currently at 115K views with 3,500 comments. The Manychat DM was sent 1,544 times (1.3% of views). It would have been more but it was so successful that it cooked through my 1,000 free sends in the first hour so there was a gap where I hadn’t paid for the premium version 🤦🏻‍♂️

Of those 1,544 DMs, 64% of people (988) opened it. 64% is a massive number.

Of those, 13% (128) clicked the link to the YouTube video.

The Youtube video is currently at 2,755 views with super strong engagement.

A few takeaways about this whole workflow:

  • Way more people wanted this Buildalong video than I predicted. That’s a screaming signal that lots of people trust my content expertise

  • 64% clicking the DM is ludicrous. DMs are way more powerful than I realized

  • Using Manychat to drive so many comments also propels the video to be shared more in the IG algo, so it’s a dual win

  • Manychat has lots of other workflows you can use (e.g., someone signs up for a free digital download and you collect their email, etc.)

My gut tells me that using Manychat (and saying “comment x to get y”) gets old and people start to view you differently even if you’re giving everything away for free. Because of this, I’m not going to use it on every video.

But any time I have a YouTube video where it’d be relevant to use, I’m going to.

This playbook is gold.

CONTENT VIGILANTE
Becoming a content vigilante

A big part of my comments in the opening section about “not wanting to become a B2B content marketer” is based on the perception and operating philosophy that typically comes with this type of person.

And if you’re a B2B content marketer reading this, and feel like I’ve inaccurately portrayed the stereotype, I apologize.

Typically, in my head, B2B marketer/content people publish lots of free content with the intention of setting up email flows, and lead magnets, and landing page funnels and on and on and on.

They typically have very colorful social profile banners with arrows guiding you to claim free ebooks.

Their goal is to get you in their funnel, collect your email, so they can sell you knowledge.

Your are some LTV to them, and they want to slowly extract it from you over a few decades.

They’ll give you lots of free valuable stuff, of course, but their intention from day one has always been, “What can I sell to this person?”

I don’t want to be this guy…which is why I resisted coming anywhere near this path and cause the identity dissonance.

Not because it doesn’t work (it does…it really really does), but because simply put, it’s not dope enough.

However…

Based on the results from the Buildalong experiment, people really do value my insight and thoughts on content strategy, marketing, and growth.

So I decided, this is how I’m going to approach the game.

A vigilante for entrepreneurs and creators.

My goal is to give away all of the sauce for free to any creator or entrepreneur that wants it.

I’m going to make a free community with free lessons and free videos.

I’ll host periodic AMAs where I do free live brainstorms, essentially free consulting sessions for whoever comes “on stage.”

My goal, during this season of my life, is to become the person you trust most when it comes to figuring out how to use content to supercharge whatever you’re doing.

I’ll then use all of this top of funnel trust to build credibility and sell stuff to brands.

I’d rather sell a $2,000 course to a brand marketer (paid for by their company) and give my sauce for free to fellow creators vs trying to sell a $400 course to everyone.

Does this mean I’ll take brand deals? Absolutely (with brands paying).

Will I build paid products designed for brand marketing teams to purchase? Absolutely (with brands paying).

But my goal is to give 100% of the knowledge away for free so that fellow creators and entrepreneurs can grow with me.

We’ll see how this strategy plays out.

APPLE VISION PRO
The quick and dirty on the Apple Vision Pro

I’ve had the Vision Pro for a couple of days…currently making a couple videos about it.

If you want the best comprehensive recap, check out MKBHDhe’s frustratingly good at what he does.

Here’s my quick take:

  • 🤯 | Free demo: The experience of trying it for the first time is insane. I got emotional. Apple is offering free 25 minute demos in any US Apple store. I recommend you make an appointment and do the demo. It’s the most mindblown I’ve ever been using any piece of tech in my life

  • 🔮 | It’s the future: It’s clear that the future of everything (entertainment, work, virtual social engaging, gaming, travel planning, etc.) will be done in the spatial world using some type of mixed reality device

  • 🫨 | Comfort: The eye tracking is incredibly responsive. Zero eye-strain or nausea. Using the single band strap that they show in all the pictures does create a lot of weight/pressure on the front of your face. You couldn’t use for full-day

  • 🎯 | Use Cases: The main use cases for v1 break down into a) things you can do (productivity, browsing, messages), b) things you can watch (watching normal movies/youtube), c) things you can experience (immersive spatial video/phots/facetime). In the current version, my take is that the “things you can do” are a novelty and not better than current workflows. The things you can watch are better given the expandable screen sizes, but tough for long durations with the weight of the device. But the third bucket…damn…it’s so insane. Better than you could possibly imagine

  • 💰 | Should you buy: The world of apps and experiences that exists today is not comprehensive enough to warrant a $4K purchase right now. That may change as soon as a couple months from now, but at this stage, I wouldn’t buy. I’m considering returning mine

All that being said, I’ve never been so convinced that Vision Pro is the future of everything.

CONTENT FROM THIS WEEK

My best content from this week:

  1. 🫡 | Sharing my secret sauce to video editing (IG Reel): Watch

  2. 👀 | The full Stanley Buildalong video (YouTube): Watch

  3. 💍 | The wildest wedding I’ve ever been to: Watch

  4. 📲 | I finally found a solve for my phone addiction: Watch

  5. 🦖 | wknds (011) with Zach Pogrob - Obsession, the artist + athlete +entrepreneur framework, discipline, obsession years, and more: Watch / Listen

  6. 🥽 | wknds (011.5) - First ever podcast with the Apple Vision Pros: Watch

  7. 🧑🏼‍🚀 | Blueprint 027 - How to become someone's favorite, shred the veil, change your inputs, Lil Dicky, wandering, sucking: Read

LOVING BLUEPRINT?

If you liked today’s post and you know another world builder, share this with them. Friends sharing with friends is the best way to help us grow 🤙🏼

Keep going 🫡