🧑🏼‍🚀 Blueprint 037

Content infection factors, Elon's hidden brilliance, rabbits vs buffalo, turning 31 years old

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

My goal with Blueprint is to provide an unusual level of openness and transparency into my highest leverage learnings, ideas, metrics & playbooks.

It’s been 37 weeks (9.25 months) since I went full-time.

Today’s topics:

  • 🦠 | Content Infection Factors

  • 🐦 | The hidden brilliance of Elon buying Twitter

  • 🐇 | Hunting rabbits vs buffalo

  • 📈 | Week 37 metrics + I turned 31 this weekend

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 👩🏻‍🚀

CONTENT INFECTION FACTORS
Content Infection Factors

The best content is highly infectious.

If you’re the creator, you want it to spread like a virus.

We live in a world where the right piece of content can “infect” hundreds of millions of people in 24 hours.

Information infection, both good and bad, is the most potent form of virality in our society today (which of course, is how “going viral” got its name).

As someone that’s fully focused on harnessing attention at scale, I spend a lot of time thinking about how to ratchet up the infection factor of my content.

There are 2 main variables that go into it:

  • Shareability - the likelihood for a story to be shared given its packaging (i.e., is it designed to induce more sharing>)

  • Applicability - the “total addressable population” the story would be relevant and interesting to (i.e., how many people would find it interesting enough to share again?)

Shareability speaks to the rate of infection while applicability maps to the scale.

To increase shareability, you want to focus exclusively on improving the idea selection and packaging. This includes answering questions like:

  • Is your story new and interesting?

  • Does the beginning make someone want to consume more of it?

  • Are you telling the story in a way that’s complete, simple, and easy to follow?

  • Are you using visuals that help add additional context to your words?

To assess applicability, consider the following:

  • What is the category or niche I’m making this content for?

  • How many people are in that category?

  • How many of those people would be interested in this story specifically?

The larger the category, the more people you could “infect” if your content has high shareability.

Of the two, shareability is more important.

If your content has low shareability, it doesn’t matter how large the potential category is, it’ll never go anywhere.

If you have consistently high shareability, but low applicability, your content will have high category penetration, but low absolute impact. And this scenario is probably okay…bc it’s what winning a small niche looks like.

The golden goose, of course, is to have high shareability and high applicability. 

This would be something like making consistently highly shareable content for gaming, tech, health, or pop culture. Big categories with tens of millions of applicable consumers.

As you can tell, virality boils down almost exclusively to share rate.

If your content is shared at a high rate, it will start going viral. If your content is continually shared at that high rate, it will keep going viral.

Bam, the First Law of Social Motion: A piece of content going viral will continue to go viral as long as the share rate holds with a consistently expanding audience.

Great Scott…we solved virality.

But wait…there’s a twist.

Most people think going viral is the only objective to content. If I can go viral, I’ll win. They are wrong.

Because like disease…infectiousness (virality) is only half of the equation.

The other half is the severity of the virus once infected…in the context of content, I call this Implantability.

Does my content actually affect the person that consumes it or was it just another empty calorie in their day?

Common colds are highly contagious, but the severity of the illness is low, so almost everyone that catches it is fine.

In other words…it doesn’t affect them for a long time. You probably can’t even remember the last time you had a cold.

There are other illnesses (e.g., Tuberculosis, Rabies, Meningitis) where the infection factor is much lower, but the severity is much higher.

If you catch these, it will affect you for longer. You remember if you get these.

In the content game…you want your content to significantly affect as many people as possible.

Implanting deeply (lol) in the largest amount of people will lead to the most action, conversion and adoption.

And the reason I bring this up is because different platforms and content mediums have varying levels of natural implantability.

A long-form YouTube video will implant much more deeply than a static IG feed post. This line of thinking relates to my concept of content minutes I wrote about in Blueprint 032.

So the equation that matters for content success actually looks more like this….

Infectiousness + Implantability = Content Infection Factor

Am I nerd for thinking about content in this way…yes.

But if you want to get the most out of every content rep, run it through the content infection framework and I guarantee you’ll have better results.

ELON TWITTER GENIUS
The hidden brilliance of Elon buying Twitter

When Elon joke bid to buy Twitter 3 years ago for $44B, I thought for sure he was doing it as a prank.

Then, when he was forced to actually go through with it in 2022, I assumed his only mission was to find a way to break even financially, establish a politically neutral “internet town square,” and eventually, look to resell or take it public.

That was his stated mission at the time.

But that was back when I (and potentially even he) didn’t fully understand the power of unlimited attention.

There is nothing more important in business than being able to activate scaled attention at will.

The fastest growing consumer companies in the world are built on the backs of people like Mr. Beast, Logan Paul, and dozens of other creators that have scaled attention.

And the fast growing consumer companies that weren’t built with creator founders are paying billions to those creators to rent their attention.

This is why you see no name millionaires desperately making IG Reels trying to grow a personal brand.

They’re not doing it for the brand deals.

They’re doing it because organic attention is a cheat code that they haven’t unlocked yet.

But there’s one thing more powerful than being a creator with scaled attention…owning one of the 5 platforms that enables that attention generation in the first place.

YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, LinkedIn.

When Elon bought Twitter, he essentially gave himself the attention infinity stones.

Here’s what I mean…

3 weeks ago, one of Elon’s companies, Neuralink, demoed the first successful implantation of a brain-computer interface (BCI).

They put a chip into a quadriplegic’s brain that let him use his computer with his mind. Pretty wild.

The main demo tweet has 96M impressions.

Now given the scale of the achievement and the mindblowing nature of the video, I’m sure it would have had tens of millions in a pre-Elon Twitter era, but I’d bet everything it had extra juice because of the mechanics that Elon designed in X.

As he should…as the owner of a private company, Elon should reap the full benefit of owning the attention pipes.

But this is my point…

For as long as Elon controls X, he owns the attention spigot it comes with.

That means Tesla, SpaceX, Boring Company, Neuralink, X.AI and anything else he launches will have compounding attention advantages.

What Elon is doing with attention on Twitter is so genius that it forced Zuck to start playing along on his own platforms.

Zuck was fairly inactive on social for years, but is now posting things like this...

jersey swap 😂

Zuck realizes that in order to be relevant in culture, he needs to use his platforms to build a relationship with the people…just like Elon is.

Surely there are lots of other interesting benefits that come with Elon owning Twitter:

  • The private, real-time data stream will be immensely helpful for training Grok, X’s open source AI model

  • There’s a path to build X into a super app that handles payments, messaging, social, etc.

  • Building a politically neutral town square is a noble mission for humanity

But I think the hidden genius in the whole deal is that Elon now controls own of the most powerful attention generators in the world.

RABBITS VS BUFFALO
Hunting rabbits vs hunting buffalo

Story/idea selection might be the most underrated factor in the content stack.

It’s where I’m spending the most time right now trying to improve.

Am I picking stories/ideas to cover that are actually interesting & unique to my target audience?

Here’s a helpful framework I came up with to change the way I think about it…hunting rabbits vs buffalo.

Let’s say you were a Native American living off the land. You’re responsible for feeding the tribe and the only available animals to hunt are rabbits and buffalo.

Which are you going for?

Most people would say buffalo…because they are slower moving, easier to hunt, come with significantly more meat, and also have other useful components (hide, bones, etc.). One buffalo could feed the tribe for several weeks.

Rabbits might be more easily available, but are much faster, harder to track down, and come with significantly less meat. It’ll take many rabbits to keep the tribe fed.

When it comes to content, I’ve been training my brain to hunt for rabbits.

These are fast-paced, breaking news type stories. They are flashy and interesting in the moment, but quickly fade out of the spotlight after a couple days.

Without a perfect script and immediate reaction time, rabbit videos almost always lead to sub-par results for me.

As I reflect, this is mostly because there just isn’t enough meat on them.

Instead, I need to start looking for buffalo.

These are meatier topics that aren’t as dependent on timing to be good. Millions of people are interested in these stories and that won’t change for a while.

Here’s a tactical example…

  • ChatGPT is a buffalo

  • A new AI lipsync model in a research paper is a rabbit

ChatGPT has a ton of different video applications that could still work today (and it came out 18 months ago).

There will be high search intent for ChatGPT as long as it remains a dominant product in the cultural zeitgeist, which means if the videos are evergreen, they should continue working over time.

Depending on your space, it may be weeks between true buffalo sightings, so if you have to intermittently keep the channels alive by hunting rabbits, that’s okay.

Buffalo > rabbits

WEEK 37 METRICS

I turned 31 this weekend…feels like time is flying by, but I’m super excited with where things are headed.

Birthdays are a fun time to reflect…so here are a couple of changes I’m making as I head into my next year:

  1. 😎 | Enjoy the ride more: I’m the type of person that is always thinking about what else I could be doing to improve and grow. I haven’t had a Sunday that wasn’t work or travel since I was 22 years old. Because of this personality tilt, I haven’t been fully present during some of the amazing trips, experiences, and activities I’ve done with my friends and family. I regret that and want to be sure to enjoy the ride a bit more. My goal this year, and all others moving forward, is to double down on my presence as I do non-work things

  2. 🧮 | Simplify: I tend to overcomplicate things. It’s not from decision paralysis…it’s more because I look at things for what they could be vs what they should be. I build up the 10 year vision before taking step 1. Simple is better. Less things but better is better. So for this year, my goal is to say “yes” less, but do the things I commit to 10x better than I’m doing them now

  3. 🤔 | Lean into my preferences: The prototypical “builder playbook” has certain steps and approaches that most people swear by. Because of who I am and what I like, some of these don’t sound interesting or fun to me. This year, I’m going to trust my intuition and only do the things that I want to do. If I win slower, so be it

  4. 😴 | Sleep: I’ve felt my sleep efficiency drop tragically this year. Not sure why, or what changed, but getting good sleep feels like the highest leverage thing I can do to up level my life and work. I’m going all in on setting up my days to prioritize my sleep. This means eating dinner earlier, hard work cutoffs, supplement stack, etc.

Really appreciate everyone that has been on the ride during this early phase. Grateful for the love you guys share weekly 🫶

CONTENT FROM LAST WEEK

My best content from last week:

  1. 🎵 | Major artists sign an anti-AI petition: Watch

  2. 🎨 | Adobe Firefly’s new Structure Reference tool will help make graphic design easier: Watch

  3. 🧑🏼‍🚀 | Blueprint 036 - The Choice Paradox, LeBron James & the 3rd era of content, digital member clubs, month 9 strategy update: Read

QUICK QUESTIONS!

Which was your favorite section in today's letter?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.