🧑🏼‍🚀 Blueprint 032

Content minutes, time allocators, dots on the map, boredom, Steve Jobs

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 everything I’ve learned, open sourced for free, forever.

It’s been 32 weeks (8 months) since I started world building full-time.

Today’s topics:

  • 📈 | Week 32 recap and 8 month snapshot

  • ⏱️ | Time allocators

  • 🧮 | Content minutes

  • 🗺️ | Dots on the map

  • 🥱 | I miss being bored

A reminder that the 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 👩🏻‍🚀

BLUEPRINT VIDEO
Visual Blueprints

I made the first video version of Blueprint! Link to watch here

I think this could be an amazing format to share weekly on YouTube.

Will need to hire an editor to be able to ship these in tandem with the email version weekly.

Would love to get feedback on how the video version resonates with you and if you’d look forward to watching it weekly. Give it a watch and lmk.

WEEKLY RECAP
Quick Recap (from the trenches)

Felt a bit of burn out for the first time this week.

I typically function like a robot that can work endlessly without fatiguing (if inspired to do so). But this week, I ran into a wall.

Upon reflection, it stemmed from two things:

  1. Skipping my daily health routine (for too many days in a row)

  2. Spending too much time on low leverage, poor fit tasks

On the health side, I’ve found that if I (a) stay hydrated, (b) workout daily, and (c) sleep well, I’m a machine for creative and tactical execution.

Eating well helps too, but I can get away with poor nutrition here and there. The other 3 are non-negotiables.

This week, I skipped workouts, stayed up late, ate terribly, etc. The behavior of a madman playing a short-term game.

When you play long-term, you don’t make these daily sacrifices because you realize you have endless game left to play.

On the “low leverage, poor fit” side of things, I had a realization (and a framework) that may help creators.

In the business world, most investors and high-level CEOs refer to themselves as capital allocators.

Their only job is to allocate where resources go…to put their organization/fund/project in the best position to return capital to shareholders.

Similarly, as a creator, your primary role is a time allocator.

There are dozens of channels and hundreds of ways you can spend your time across different formats.

You only job is to figure out the optimal mix of time spend that maximizes your ability to build depth and trust with your audience.

The entire role of a content creator boils down to this one idea.

If you were to map all tasks that a creator needs to do, it’d be a 2×2 matrix of leverage vs fit (this is similar to a previous concept I shared called the Solo Matrix).

Essentially, as a creator, your goal is to find the things that are high leverage (a good return on time) and you like doing (a fun way to spend time). These live in the upper right box.

Everything else should be automated or hired away.

What I didn’t realize when I originally made this chart, was how much the fit/fun variable mattered.

I assumed that fit was a “nice-to-have” and I could just brute force my through things that had high leverage but poor fit.

Turns out that spending my time on those tasks (the ones that were poor fit) actually crushed my productivity everywhere else, because it burned me out.

Think of it like a bad apple ruining the whole batch.

I don’t need to get into exactly what those tasks were, but the lesson is this…

As a creator, doing things you don’t like doing (but think you should), will likely lead to you doing less of the things you actually like doing. And if there’s one thing I know about this game, it’s that the only way to win is by doing things you actually like doing, for years, consistently.

Be a time allocator.

— — — — — — — — — —

As I reflected on previous newsletters, I realized I don’t do a great job of providing snapshots for where things actually are (e.g., strategy, channels, income approach, etc.). I share a lot of little ideas and thought nuggets, but it’d be hard for someone reading back through the archive to easily track how my strategy changed over time.

So every 4 episodes, I’m going to drop a quick section around my current thinking.

8 month snapshot:

1. Target content mix/cadence:
  • Shorts (3-4/week) [mix of business meets tech/culture & creator frameworks]

  • Pod (1 full ep/week + 1 clip)

  • YouTube (1-2/week) [Blueprint vlogs + creator frameworks]

  • Email (1/week)

  • IG stories (daily)

  • Tweets (daily)

2. Monetization strategy:
  • Week 32 was first 5-figure week

  • Current revenue streams in focus:

    • CPMs: Atuomatic through Tiktok/YouTube

    • Affiliate: Turned on where relevant in Youtube videos

    • Brand Deals: Super selective to only take brand deals where I’m excited to do it and it’s a perfect overlap with existing content

    • Brand Consulting: Working with 2-3 brands on content strategy, scriptwriting, video feedback, etc. (max 2 hours per day)

    • Video Agency: Lead gen + strategy/storytelling consulting

  • Waiting on:

    • Digital, software & physical products

3. Major focuses moving forward:
  • Spend less time doing low fit tasks (to solve, I’m hiring YouTube editors, thumbnail/packaging team)

  • Find better time allocation in content mix and continue producing consistently

4. Biggest realizations:
  • I shouldn’t do things creatively that I don’t want to do. If I feel burnt out, everything suffers

  • My unique background (strategy consulting + creative ability) is extremely valuable to brands, much moreso than I realized. Building a productized agency around this (with the right operator) would almost certainly succeed

  • I actually enjoy making wknds vlogs style stories, being a guest on podcasts, and recording walk-and-talk IG stories. I should do more of this

CONTENT MINUTES
Content Minutes

Content minutes is a first-cousin to the “time allocator” concept above.

It’s a super helpful frame for thinking about the efficiency of building fandom.

Think of every minute someone spends consuming your content as an individual block of time…a one-minute block…a content minute.

You goal as a creator is to convert that person from a stranger → passive viewer → follower → fan → die-hard fanatic

I call this “fan journey” the road to fandom.

To advance a potential fan through the fandom funnel, each level requires a different quantity of content minutes consumed.

In other words, maybe to convert a person from a passive viewer to a die-hard fanatic, it takes 90 content minutes.

Those content minutes can be consumed a variety of ways.

  • Tweets/IG stories = .5 content minutes

  • Short-form videos = 1 content minute

  • Email newsletter = 2-5 content minutes

  • YouTube videos = 10-20 content minutes

  • Podcasts = 40-60 content minutes

  • Livestreams = 60-120 content minutes

As a creator, and a time allocator, your job is to make this conversion process happen as efficiently as possible, meaning the fewest unique consumption sessions for them and the least amount of time spent making for you.

Said another way, “What is the least amount of time you can spend making content that will accomplish this conversion?”

Here’s how long it takes me to make each type of content above…

  • Tweets/IG stories = 5 minutes

  • Short-form videos = 2-5 hours

  • Email newsletter = 2-4 hours

  • YouTube videos = 8-10 hours (without an editor)

  • Podcasts = 2 hours (with an editor)

  • Livestreams = 1:1 with time streamed

If you look at the efficiency ratio of each at lower end (content minutes created : min. time spent), it’d look something like this:

  • Tweets/IG stories = 1/10

  • Short-form videos = 1/120

  • Email newsletter = 1/60

  • YouTube videos = 1 /48

  • Podcasts = 1/3

  • Livestreams = 1/1

Looking at these ratios, it’s clear that the channels on the barbells (podcasts, livestreams, tweets, IG stories) are the most efficient to create relative to the content minutes they produce.

So why doesn’t everyone just do only these?

The one huge variable not taken into account here is discoverability, or the absolute total content units consumed per piece of new content.

If you start livestreaming or podcasting today, it may be an “efficient” way to create content minutes, but very few people will actually be consuming those minutes (because of low organic discoverability).

For something like a short-form video, it may be low efficiency, but I can have 1M people consume that content minute within the first 48 hours of posting.

So then what do I do?

Here’s the big aha moment that’ll really make you scratch your head.

The goal of a creator is not to get the highest number of people with at least one content minute consumed…the goal is to get the most people across the red pill line for die-hard fanatic (e.g., 90+ content minutes consumed)

The goal is not breadth…it’s depth.

As a creator looking to make a living from this, you’re better off with fewer unique content minute consumers but more across the red pill line.

And this is where short-form video can be a trap (unless you do it for a long-time).

For me, there’s a good chance that more than 20M unique people have at least 1 content minute consuming my stuff.

But how many have over 100 content minutes? I’d guess the number is in the 4-figures (1,000-9,999).

For me, to make 250 content minutes via short-form video, at my desired quality, it’d take me ~1000 hours.

To make that same 250 content minutes through podcasts with Roberto, it’d take me ~4 hours.

Clearly, I’ve been allocating my time in a suboptimal way (if I’m optimizing for die hard fanatics, which I am).

So if you’re like me, what do we do about this?

The goal is to use high reach/low content minute channels to transport more people to low reach/high content minute channels.

The classic, “get them from IG/Tiktok → YouTube/podcast.” It’s much easier said than done.

But based on the above, I’d probably be better off spending 5x more time figuring out how to transport people and 1/5 the time on actually making the low efficiency content.

DOTS ON THE MAP
Dots on the map

One of Steve Jobs's most notable speeches is his 2005 Stanford commencement address.

In it, he talks about “connecting the dots” and famously describes how he took a calligraphy class at Reed College.

At the time, he was just pursuing his authentic interests and natural drift. Taking the class wasn’t a calculated maneuver…it was just Steve being Steve.

Looking back, everybody could clearly see how that experience influenced the font design for all Apple computers.

The dots only connect looking backwards is the infamous lesson.

But to me, this is only half of the lesson.

The other half, is that you actually need to put unique dots on the map for there to be something novel to connect.

Dots are authentic, organic experiences that you want to pursue. It’s what you find interesting and cool.

Too many people curate their life with a backdrop of, “Would others find this cool?”

This leads them to plot the same dots as everyone else…meaning when they go to connect those dots later, their lines aren’t unique.

The “Steve Jobs like” revelations come from the uniqueness of the dots.

Here’s a funny story about how this relates to me…

When I graduated college, I worked as a consultant…and hated it.

Before that, I had been creative & spontaneous. Consulting was sandpaper that ground me down into a uniform cog.

To resist this convergence to the middle, I started rapping in my hotel room when I was on the road.

Every night, no matter what time I got back from the office, I wouldn’t sleep until I finished a song.

An intro, 2 verses and 2 hooks.

I had been freestyling in college at parties, but never made proper music. I had no idea what I was doing, but was determined to figure it out.

After many months doing this, I self-produced my first album, Misunderstood.

On Spotify, the 3rd song Cool Cool was up to 100K plays (sadly the album isn’t on Spotify anymore).

At the time, making music was my escape hatch…a creative outlet.

I never truly believed I was going to become a professional rapper, just that there was power in learning how to dream things in my head and create them from nothing.

But fast forward seven years and now I make videos, delivered in a bit of a unique style…almost as if I’m rapping or speaking the words rhythmically.

I also write in metaphors, and frame my thoughts in layers, kind of like a rap verse.

Because of my experience as a rapper, I understand writing and delivering vocals in a unique way.

This is me connecting the dots looking backwards.

It would have been easier for me to have never made music.

I didn’t know how to do it, my friends made fun of me for it, and it was an unlikely road to monetize in any significant way.

But I did it anyways…I put the dot on the map.

I MISS BEING BORED
I miss being bored

The longer I play this game, the more I realize that my best ideas come from empty space.

Boredom. The nothingness between the somethings.

And lately I’ve noticed that I’m less bored than I’ve ever been.

I miss it.

My lack of boredom is coming from two things:

  • Microfillers

  • Invisible ripples

Tbh I just love making up random phrases for things and seeing what sticks lol

Microfillers are the 2-10 minute random pockets during the day that we used to use to reset our brains.

Maybe it’s walking from one place to another…or getting the mail…or going to the bathroom…or cooking lunch.

These pockets used to be breaks…a time where we could let our mind wander and be bored throughout the day.

Lately, I’ve found that I immediately reach for my phone to mindlessly scroll or put something on in the background.

Microfillers.

And the worst part is the mental gymnastics I go through to justify to myself why I’m doing it.

In my head, if I’m not constantly looking at stuff, then I’m probably missing something great that could be giving me an edge, or an idea for a new video I could use later.

Of course we all know that most of what we see/read is garbage…static hidden beneath more static.

These microfillers suck up our boredom time.

The other thing eating my boredom are the invisible ripples, or hidden hangovers that content leaves us with once you stop consuming it.

For example, let’s say you were listening to a podcast on your walk to the gym, but there’s 5 minutes left when you arrive.

It’s not as though once you press pause your mind completely shuts that session down.

Instead, both the concepts you listened to and the mystery of what remains is still rippling around in your head.

Even though you aren’t actively listening to anything, you’re still passively thinking about it.

And that’s filling space in your mind when you could be bored.

The combination of these things, over the course of a day, happens hundreds of times and fill almost every open pocket of silence.

I feel myself frying my dopamine sensors on a daily basis because of it.

Collectively as a society, our phone addiction is a much bigger problem than anyone realizes.

I don’t have a cure or a hack…I’m just as addicted as you are.

But I miss being bored.

CONTENT FROM THIS WEEK

My best content from this week:

  1. 🌮 | Finding the greatest taco in San Diego: Watch

  2. 💰 | Why will phones not exist in 2035: Watch

  3. 🤖 | This Lipsync AI demo is wild: Watch

  4. 🦖 | wknds podcast (015) - OpenAI's new launch of Sora, why LLMs have gotten less useful, the AI hardware race, Kallaway's creator success equation, speed vs weird: Watch / Listen

  5. 🧑🏼‍🚀 | Blueprint 031 [video] - Avoiding the "spread too thin" trap, a foolproof playbook for beginner creators, Novak Djokovic and "hitting the ball, why the MKBHD x Ridge partnership is a new brand collab model for creators: Read / Watch

  6. 🥵 | Guest appearance on Sweat Equity [video] - My backstory and best ideas around content creation/building: Watch

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