Diversifying Your SaaS When Money Dries Up

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Hello and welcome to Arvid and Tyler catch up. I'm Arvid.

I'm Tyler. Let's catch up.

Yeah. We've been off air for a week, I guess. Like we missed a week.

Because we and that's what we said from the beginning with the podcast.

We're going to take time for ourselves when we need to.

And the podcast will be done the week after. And this is one of those occasions.

I'm really happy about this. That we can do that. That we don't feel bad about it.

At least I don't. It was nice to just say, yep, sure. Let's do it next week.

We'll have more to talk about. That was really fun.

So let's get into these two weeks that we've been spending not doing this podcast.

And just talk about all the things that happened. Why don't you start?

I think you were out and about. Is that right?

Sure. Yeah. Yeah. Last week I got outside.

So I did some rock climbing in Colorado, which was fantastic.

It's one of my favorite activities by far.

And I find it very almost meditative in a way. It's a very sort of focusing activity.

Sort of a thing that I don't get it just from going to the gym, lifting weights or running.

I feel like my mind can still kind of run in the background while I'm doing those things.

But there's something about being several hundred feet up in the air that really just shuts off everything.

And so that was super helpful, super re-energizing. Yeah. So that was great.

And then work-wise, I think, just been really settling into doing a lot of the actual work of investing.

So meeting with lots and lots of founders, working through some of their situations, things like that.

It's been pretty interesting. I would say that – I don't know if we want to talk about it or not.

But there's been a lot of founders that are in slightly sort of sticky situations, it seems like.

A lot of folks who kind of accidentally – not accidentally, but they raised a chunk of money in the last two years when money was getting thrown around.

And then they had that money, so they grew the team, and so they grew their monthly burn rate.

And they have a product that's live, that's good, that's making some money.

But the math just doesn't work right now.

The product's not growing or the revenue's not growing fast enough to get to break even on the team that they have.

And they're kind of facing a lot of these tough choices of do we – we just hired all these people.

Do we lay off 40% of them to get back on a course to where things are sort of normalized?

Or what? Do we kind of like try to raise more money and try to keep going this way?

So it's been good. It's been kind of challenging, some of the conversations for sure.

Trying to figure out, okay, great founders, great business. How do we make this all kind of work?

So it's been, yeah, interesting, but really fun to really get back directly to the work of investing in founders.

So that's been great. What about you?

I bet. Yeah, it's funny. It does remind me what I've been doing.

Like for my little media business, I'm always on the look for sponsors.

I always need people to put their names and things into my newsletter or podcast or whatever, because that's how I monetize the business.

And I feel something you just described about like things not working the way they did a couple of years ago.

That's pretty much what I'm experiencing from this perspective as well.

I've had a chat with Danielle over breakfast this morning, and we were also talking about how just the purchasing decisions of people are very different now.

Like there used to be a time where people would put ads for all kinds of things and all kinds of campaigns all over the place.

You would have these direct conversion purchasing ads that are fairly common.

Like people click on it, you convert, you get paid, something like that, or the person in whose property it is gets paid.

And those are the only things that people are still spending money on.

But other things like just awareness ads, brand awareness ads, or just even supporting somebody to get some kind of recognition in the community.

All these things, all these kinds of sponsorships, they're gone.

And I've been struggling to find the same quality of sponsors that I did in the past for this reason,

because I don't want my news site or my podcast to be full of click this link to make this worthwhile for me.

I want this company, this person supports the Bootstrap founder or the projects that I'm working on, and therefore you should also support them.

That's the kind of sponsor that I want.

But that is hard to measure.

And in an economic downturn, anything that is hard to measure is not interesting because now you really need to make every cent count.

So I see a lot of sponsors, particularly from India.

That's something that I've noticed, like companies that are either headquartered or heavily outsourced to India, they are super, super interested in numbers.

And if those numbers aren't what they thought it would be, they pressure you.

They try to pressure you into things like I'm not going to divulge too much about this, but they want more for free because their expectation wasn't met.

That's kind of where this is going. So that has not happened over the last couple of years.

But now I see more and more of this because they have to report to somebody, they have to show numbers.

And if they don't, they have a problem.

And in an economic downturn, losing a job over numbers you didn't create and it didn't have nothing to show for that becomes an existential risk.

So people get easily frustrated and quite easily into the kind of pushy, pressurey mode.

So that's what I've been noticing. And that's what I've been doing mostly over the last couple of weeks.

Obviously, I've been writing and recording and that kind of stuff.

Had nice conversations with lots of cool people.

But the biggest thing that I've been constantly doing was lining up sponsors for the months to come because usually it usually takes some time to get that set up.

So that has been a very active selling period for me because I have to still sell people in a placement.

Even though I think 50 some percent of my sponsors just come in organically through Twitter and connections, but the rest of the slots I have to sell.

And I've noticed that very strongly that the quality of what people want is very different from the quality that it used to be a couple of years ago.

How do you think about I'm curious about this because I I've observed a bunch of these kind of independent media businesses, but I've never actually sold sponsorship slots like this.

And it's always wondered to me like, how do you assess the value of using that that real estate, if you will, to just promote your own products versus other people's products?

Yeah, in a newsletter where I wouldn't already do that, that would probably be a good idea.

But I already have like a little or not so little image with all my products in my newsletter itself, not as much on the podcast, but it is good real estate for me just to ramble on about my own stuff because nobody is limiting me to what I can and cannot say on my own show or in my newsletter.

So that is definitely great.

But I feel just as much as I don't want to oversaturate people with ads in general.

I don't want to oversaturate them with just my stuff.

And some, if not, if not all of the time the sponsors that I find our services that I either use myself or have strong ties to the founders in many ways.

So it's kind of community service that gets compensated, because I get something out of it because I get to highlight somebody who's in the industry in the community with us with me and with with my readers, I guess, my readers get something out of it because it tends to be a really, really useful thing.

Other things that wouldn't be as useful.

I don't allow to get into the sponsor slots.

And for the sponsor, obviously they get both the readership to see what they what they do and they get the kind of reputational attachment to my brand.

So it's kind of the win win win situation that I'm trying to go for.

And if I wouldn't do this, I would have just just a win win situation.

You know, it would just be it's just pretty good.

And it would be kind of cool. But I again don't want to oversaturate people with the same ad all the time.

I know that this probably would work and I would get a lot of conversion there more than I already have, which I'm fine with.

I don't think I need to push it more.

What I want in for my products in particular, particularly for my books and my course, is that people talk about it because they consume it and it helped them.

I don't want to I don't want to push it in front of people who don't need it because that's that's the worst when people buy something they don't really need.

I don't have that pressure.

And I would rather it be recommended by somebody who actually fund use in it.

And then I amplify this. So that's that's how that's my philosophy to advertising in my own newsletters.

I sometimes do when I don't fill a slot. I often just put my own stuff in there.

But when I do fill a slot, it also enables me to build a relationship with a potential client.

I consider myself kind of an agency that places ads or sponsorships or whatever you want to call it in media, which is also mine.

And I know that if I double my readership over the next year or two, the potential compensation for a placement also doubles, if not gets higher because of the network effect that comes with this.

So it is also relationship building with potential customers that have a you know, a net net benefit in the future for me.

Mm hmm. Why? Why? Let me push you a little bit on that.

I'm curious. Why don't you want to oversaturate your audience with your own products?

Presumably you believe because you know, you're selling these sponsorship the sponsorship real estate to other people's products.

So you think it is a good way to, you know, drive customers or drive an audience to to convert on a product.

What do you think would be bad about oversaturating?

Do you have like evidence of that or you've heard from it or you've seen it elsewhere where it's it's bad to to be, you know, just saying, hey, you know, here's my great content.

And by the way, here's the ways that you can support me. And like that's the singular message.

Yeah, that's that's really nothing wrong with it.

And I don't feel like the term oversaturating has a kind of connotation that that is something wrong or something harmful.

And I don't think it would be. But I do feel I do. I do want to spice it up a little.

I kind of want to make this newsletter interesting to others because I also believe that somebody who has a vested interest in an issue of a newsletter being read because they have a placement in there,

they will do community work to get people onto my newsletter.

So it's both a leader recruitment scheme, particularly as I advertise in the community.

Right. It is a it is an immediate monetization scheme. Like people pay me for the placement.

It's not like with the it's kind of anti conversion. If you think about it, it's like I don't necessarily need to have people immediately convert on the thing for it to be lucrative for me.

But some of the tools that I have or some of the services that I have in there, they are long term things.

Right. There are either courses themselves or services agencies, people who want to build a relationship with the people who read the newsletter, click on it, check it out and then start interacting with the company.

That's monetization on conversion could take years to actually come back to me.

But it is immediate monetization that pays the not so low convert kit bills and all the other things around it that the media business creates in terms of expenditure.

So it's a nice way to immediately monetize the product.

You're absolutely right that if I really spent a lot of time and energy on turning this sponsor slot into, hey, here's here's more of me that you can purchase and then you have a lot.

That would also not be a bad idea. Let me rephrase this. That would be a great idea.

So I think that I can definitely try this. The thing is, you know what? This is one of those things where bias comes into play because I think it's yet again the loss aversion bias.

Because if you make and I think I'm somewhere between two and four thousand a month depending.

Right. If you make that right into your bank account from somebody else in like a billable form, that is money that is right there.

And if you would have to create a good enough copy to convert that exact amount of money in your own products.

Now, all of a sudden, I need to do more work than just selling those placements.

You know, and it's more risky because it comes like down the line.

Thanks for sharing the questions because it makes me think like, why not?

It's kind of where I'm at right now. But I do like sponsors. It's kind of nice.

This is the we're going to turn this into a little bit of a rant, but I'm curious.

I think this is a good strategy session here. What what do you do?

I mean, I think, you know, your initial state of what's going on does not surprise me at all.

I think everybody could kind of see this coming with the doubt, like people cutting jobs and things like that.

You know, that that sponsorship budgets are one of the first things that's very sort of likely to contract, you know, even if we're not in a full blown recession, just once people's optimism starts to wane a little bit.

That's one of the first things. So, you know, you run a media business that's largely driven on sponsorships or let's say it's an important component.

How do you adapt? What do you do? What's the game plan?

Well, fortunately, I have the books and I have the course and I have consulting.

I just added a rather price intensive consulting package to my Twitter course.

Like, of course, I want twenty five dollars because it's like a four hour video course that I put a lot of work into and I've sold a mid five figure amount of that course already, which is nice.

But I thought, well, nobody seems to know that I do consulting about this kind of stuff.

And nobody has the option to actually purchase it. Like I have my consulting thing on my website, but people need to actively seek out my website and then want me to consult.

So they need to find a little consulting link. And that's that's how they find the opportunity for me to spend like an hour or two with them and set up a strategy about their business or about Twitter growth or whatever.

And I thought, well, let's just add that to the Gumroad page. Let's just charge right on Gumroad.

I have set it at five hundred dollars because I want to see if that is a price that people are willing to pay to set this up.

Sure. And I just have a account the booking link in there for the extra tier.

And then they booked this two hour call that I suggested. And then we have a chat and then we set up a strategy and then people know exactly how to spend the next couple of days, weeks and months to build a Twitter presence that they can be proud of.

Right. That's that's kind of what I what I thought. Why haven't I offered this before? Because obviously I seem to know a little bit about Twitter and I seem to understand like how to build a brand that people enjoy.

This is something I can help other people with. I've just really never offered it.

So that's like part of my strategy now is to figure out the things that I do well and actually put them front and center for people to find.

So that's that's how I would do it. Like there's always the service component, which that would be selling.

I don't know. Selling my time is that's always kind of tainted as a phrase. But what it actually is is selling a result.

I'm selling people a result of a two hour call. Right. You come in, you don't know what to do. You have two hours with me and then you know what to do. And that's what you pay for.

So that's that's what that that service in particular is. But with the books and the course itself, I have a pretty solid income distribution.

I think it's the it's a it's a 50 50 between sponsored and non sponsored stuff for me right now.

So if sponsorships were completely to implode and fall away, I would heavily focus on ramping up, like you said, putting my my own ads for my own work, both for my work work, my time spent consulting time spent helping people and for my purchasable info products that I already have.

And you know, I'm writing the third book and I have ideas for more courses that I could very quickly record because I could just like, you know, talking to the camera for an hour.

And that would be something somewhat value valuable coming from this. So that's that's my strategy would be to do that diversify the info products and service products and then try to figure out a way to establish long term sponsorships that I don't need to constantly renegotiate.

That's me too. Like that's one of one of the things that bothers me between this is that people book one or two, because they're not sure because they don't have the budget.

It's not like with micro acquire last year where they have effectively a year long weekly sponsorship with me.

And that was great. But now they also have a constraint budget. So that is that is not happening at the moment. So yeah, I'm kind of that's what I'm looking for in terms of sponsors, the perfect sponsor somebody who negotiates with me for a long period of time.

We figure something out. I make really cool content and make a video and you know all these kind of things. And then we just consistently bring that message home. That's what I would look for that weekly daily sponsor hunt that I've been doing over the last couple weeks just drains me.

Yeah, always have to kind of manage expectations and people haggle over $100 or something is just. Yeah, I like that idea. I think maybe I can generalize a little bit as a you know, counter recessionary strategy for businesses.

I think I use this term the vegetarians are going to cringe massively, but for some reason somewhere I got this idea of like using all parts of the buffalo.

It's like referring to like the Native American tradition of you know, you kill a buffalo and you use every single thing out of it to turn it into you know all kinds of tools and clothes and food and all this sort of stuff.

And I think like that's a good mindset going into this kind of environment which is you know when things are all just like going great you kind of just you don't optimize things especially on the revenue side of things you get one or two things out there and they're all just working and you move on to the next thing or you just keep going.

Now is a good time to really look and say okay is it time to price test is it time to add pricing tiers is it time to add a services component to this sort of thing is it time to be like you said okay I'm selling my time okay when everything is you know going great you can just say I don't sell my time you know move on but now the time to get a little bit like okay like maybe we should sell our time a little bit you know you really start to look at okay I have a customer I have an audience I have a product and how can I make sure that I'm making sure that I'm selling my time.

How can I make sure that I'm getting kind of maximum juice out of this squeeze versus you know just relying on that kind of top line growth of just like more people coming in buying the thing off the shelf.

I think that's a really good strategy so yeah layering that stuff and I think it you know we're seeing it in SAS businesses as well where they have the same mentality of like no we have this you know self-serve SAS business and now it's time to really consider like hey maybe you should do some you know high price consulting and enterprise tier that actually is more

hands-on all that kind of stuff so yeah I like that a lot.

This is a good way to expand also your capacity or your capabilities as a business owner right like it's great to have this low touch self-serve SAS and you just sit at home and the money comes flowing in but when it doesn't doesn't mean your business is done.

I don't know anyone with business like that. Yeah it would be nice. Well there was like Damon Chen just recently posted on Twitter like a photo of him with the stroller and his kid and his Apple watch and on the watch was like a Stripe notification and he just said like yeah yeah somebody just paid me to go have a like on a walk with my kid which is really that is you know that's a dream that's the indie founder of SAS business builders dream is to be there with your family and still making money of your incredibly well-built and highly monetized SAS right.

That's kind of where I want to go but in moments where this is not the only way or let's just rephrase it let me rephrase this like in moments where this is not enough it doesn't have to be the only way I really like what you just said maybe look into other ways I think Brennan Dunn is doing something really cool right now with Palladio his convert code email template generation and design tool it's really nice I use that for my own emails there like that.

Like this that sounds very cool. I think it's Palladio.dev or something like that so it's a yeah effectively it's a email builder that is specifically targeting converted users because it has their liquid text substitution the tags and stuff liquid HTML whatever that's called.

He's he's been doing convert kit from the start he's a great sponsor Brennan.

Yes and I have the email draft open already like that I've seen converted sponsor other emails so I'm just going to have to talk to Nathan here but yeah the idea is that he this was just a self-serve kind of email builder that you can then copy and paste right into convert kit for all your email newsletters or marketing emails or whatever.

It's really cool but he has figured out there is potential this there's way more potential around it because why not have a designer do your email design for you on Palladio.

And he's he's currently working with with Nick who does my my thumbnails is he's my designer. Of course he has way more clients than just me but he's working for me and now he is working with with with Brennan on making Palladio kind of multi-pronged SaaS business has the low touch.

Can I do it yourself kind of thing and it has a very high touch you get your dedicated designer to design your templates and and figure everything out for you and I love this idea, not only because two people I really like are involved is always great, but the fact that you can take a SaaS business that runs pretty well.

It's pretty profitable from what I know and turn this into a bespoke creation system that is also highly monetizable and involves the skills of a real human being that is just specifically applied to one situation.

What a great idea and yet another person gets involved in the product and makes it more valuable. It's really really cool.

I think I think this is something that I predicted about two years ago. I wrote a blog post basically talking about how like we're going to start to see the decline of what I call like empty sass right where you just like open it up and it's like here's the raw tools to start making your stuff right and you're and it's kind of like the onus is completely on the user to figure out how to use the tool figure out how to get from you know this empty software product to the actual job they want done.

And I think yeah like actually we're going to see more and more people starting to use some combination of you know services maybe productized services or even AI right like all kind of coming together to say no no you can actually just pay us more and we'll just do the thing for you we will use our own tool to actually just get the job done for you.

So that's really cool. I like that a lot. Yeah, yeah, me too and it involves humans more which is always nice right there was this time when everything sass was kind of kind of pointed at complete automation and nothing is ever going through the hands of a human which because of scalability mostly right like if you can automate everything away then you just like pay some more money to I don't know AWS or something and all of a sudden you support like 50 times the amount of customers.

Nice, but you also still have customer support and that becomes a chore and that becomes a problem particularly if you are a founder like me who doesn't hire, you know with that's that's my feedback panda story is like we had so much automation in the tool that all the work on the business was really just customer service.

Like there was no need for anything else and that is not necessarily the most enjoyable thing because it always has this and it was enjoyable that that's the thing with with our customers it was just enjoyable because they were teachers but they were frustrated teachers and you want to interact with anybody frustrated at least not every single day.

So that became quickly a very stressful activity and not saying that have having more people involved in the process would have made customer service any less interesting.

For lack of a better word but it's certainly it shouldn't be the only thing that happens in a business that involves people and I love the idea of having bespoke stuff created for people who are willing to pay the price and not so bespoke stuff created for people who are not.

Another example is my logo for example for the founder and this year very t shirt that people who watch this can can see that was designed by Lucy Barrett and dog over a new like the people behind logology which itself is a SaaS business that allows people to create logos in a SaaS like in a program like they have this pay 50 bucks for your logo and you get a really nice logo created or talk to us and we do it.

The traditional agency way and that's what I like I mean obviously knowing doggo bear from Twitter ways always enjoyable and funny and sharing a story he's on the podcast this in the life way talks about this journey with logology and his business and stuff.

So I already was kind of predetermined to interact with him in some way but getting this custom experience first of getting them to design a really nice logo and then the merch and stuff around it that I can use to project my brand.

That is something that I wouldn't necessarily trust to an AI just yet.

That's that's not what a software. I don't I don't know what it is but if if it's something that is supposed to be between humans which a brand technically is.

I want humans to be involved in the making of it. And I think we see more and more of this now that AI is so prevalent, where people I have so many stories man I recently like wrote a cover letter to for something that needed a cover letter.

And I use chat GPT for it because why wouldn't you write it like that thing writes so much better than you do. And I got the result that I wanted obviously switched a couple things up and stuff but I was thinking, the quality of chat GPT writing things that you task it to write, if you provided with enough information on high, why and how and the outcomes you want that quality is superb.

And the fact that even set spending 10 minutes on that interaction with chat GPT created such a high quality cover letter will shift the baseline of expectations in the industry to what communication is significantly.

Right, that is something that I was thinking about if everybody has access to chat GPT for everything, then we can expect cover letters resumes, any professional communication to be massively impacted in terms of what people expect in terms of quality and lucidity and clarity that comes out of people's or into emails in boxes, people's email inboxes.

Not sure how I feel about this because that raises the bar a lot for actual human interaction and at the same time kind of lower said because even just a nice hello that is not machine generated feels so much more genuine compared to all the you know machine augmented communication that we see happening right now.

I am rambling but this is the rambling part so I'm allowed to.

How do you feel about that.

I feel I feel like we should re recenter.

It was just such a strong feeling like with the AI thing.

It just dawned on me how, how massively globally accessible tool like chat GPT will impact what people expect communication to look like over the next couple years.

And that kind of frightens me because you know the the have you ever heard this Ira glass quote about your capacity to do a thing and your understanding of what the good thing is that they are very far apart and through practice and working on it you get closer and closer chat you really lifts what you know a good thing to be but your initial capacity is still down here so I'm thinking that the.

Yeah, how divergent they are just got massively bigger. And that can be a problem for people getting started with anything.

That's just, yeah, I'm, I'm rambling, I'm noticing, but I kind of want to. This is a, this is an interesting problem. This is kind of an interesting technical socio socio technical challenge.

I feel.


All right.

Let's switch gears a little bit. That's all I got. Let's talk about.

Let's talk about actually, you want to talk about common BA stuff for a second. Yeah, let's do that. I've seen you be very active on Twitter. Go, go ahead.

So first of all, accountability podcast is working because on the last podcast I said I would put up a form for folks to, you know, express their interest in working with us on this. And then I realized I hadn't done it until this morning.

And so I did it. So,

Mission accomplished. The accountability loop is is working here. So fortunately we did have some people reach out to us directly from from listening to the podcast. I got the form live just this morning.

Looking at, you know, decent number of folks in the last literally a few hours.

I think.

I want to ask your opinion on this because.

So first of all, the responses, some of the things I asked in this form. So if you go to my Twitter, you can see it.

I asked a couple of questions like how far along are you in the sort of business stage, right? Just an idea. Are you already working on something?

I also asked about some of the questions you and I have been talking about. Like what would be sort of ideal format be something like self paced content, you know, just essays all the way to workshop accelerator, all that sort of stuff.

The responses are just literally almost exactly all over the map with these things.

There is absolutely no clustering as far as I can tell. And from conversations as well. I have not seen much of a clear answer or clear pull for a particular format.

And I think I'm wondering if we have been sort of as in you and I have been framing the challenge of this incorrectly. I think we kind of came at this with like, oh, you know, we have tons of great content, you know, either actually produced or things that we've kind of written on or around about or had tons of discussion on.

All we have to do is just kind of like figure out exactly how to package it up in a way people like. And we kind of treated that second half as like the sort of easy part. We do that in public. We'd ask people we'd like maybe run one or two experiments and we'd figure that out.

You know, we have to think too hard about that. I'm kind of thinking that maybe that is the hard part of actually like people don't necessarily know what format is going to be the most motivating and and effective for them.

And yeah, they read our tweets and they know there's good stuff there, but they don't know what the answer is. And I'm kind of thinking like maybe maybe this is something we can't just I don't think we've exactly been doing this, but I feel like we've sort of like building public outsource this right?

Like in the sense of you might be like, what's a good name for my, you know, new blog, right? And you just like get some good answers there. Maybe we just have to take a bet and like make a decision ourselves and do the work upfront to make it ready and then put it out there.

Yeah, I feel that's that's kind of where I'm where I'm at as well. No way. Having had conversations with people that showed similar results. Yeah, that's that's the thing. Generally, people don't know what they need.

They only know what they want, but they don't know what they need. And sometimes they they want not what they need. And you know, it's complex. It's a complicated thing.

I believe that whatever we do, like whatever we do, if we if we create a self paced thing or if we write a book about it or record a podcast about it, or if we do the workshop thing, or whatever, it will leave us with something useful to then if it doesn't work, convert into a different format.

And if it if it does work to work to make better to improve upon. So yeah, I what I genuinely believe is any work put to this is useful and will be useful in the future.

What I would suggest we do at this point, because I feel like we can guess as much as we want is just really have invite the people that responded to the thing to a workshop with us and talk to them about it like give them a structure and say how many of you are on board, like tell them, I know for the next four weeks every Friday, we're going to have an hour and a half of a call of a workshop and you you have to bring updates or whatever like figure this out with them.

During that first initial conversation. And if they say not and really have that time I don't want to spend that much on it or we could do more we could do this like two days a week or something. We get more information just from having the conversation because between the two of us.

We know what our preferences would be. But that doesn't say like you said anything about not just stated but also kind of subconscious preferences that other people show by either showing up or not.

So we can ask as many times in a, you know, a survey or something as we want. But the thing that decides if a thing works or not is when you present it and people either buy into it or they ignore it. Right.

That's that's kind of where I'm at.


Yeah, I think I think I agree. I think.

Good train if we can get even more like if we can tighten the screws on that even more.

Because I'm almost thinking.


I think maybe we've been trying to think about this from the sense of the the individual entrepreneurs journey right we've said like hey the job to be done here is getting someone from point A to point B and we're not really sure exactly what the right A is or the right B necessarily.

I mean we know the long long long term but we can't promise that right we're not going to hand hold you all the way to you know a massive exit and you know we can't necessarily get you from whatever high school right so we've got to figure those out and I wonder if actually we should just tackle it kind of topic by topic first and and build it this way so maybe if instead of like a bunch of people saying hey welcome to the experimental batch of calm MBA we're going to.

Try to take all of you who are all over the map some of you have a lot of time some of you are still working some of you have an idea some of you don't have an idea and we're going to try and get all of you you know from here to here.

If instead we start breaking it up into some of the topics so a lot of the questions for example would be around you know how do I think about building a company right what is that company structure looks like how should I think about.

Funding to the extent that it exists how should I think about you know cost effective customer acquisition those sorts of things should we potentially start to just tackle those topics one by one in a format that.

That also has some interactivity so almost like you know hey this is module one on this and we can write a little bit we could potentially record something ourselves we could do a version of the podcast that could talk about this sort of topic and then we do like open roundtable to see who wants to come in and ask questions about it that sort of thing what do you think about that.

It does remind me so strongly of the small bets community by Daniel Vassallo of which I heard and that I know a lot of people that are part of that.

Daniel Daniel has like ongoing I think weekly recurring meetings that people can just join or not. It's kind of the idea. Yeah, of course, he records every talk that is given by people that he invites for special topics into the community.

I can take a quick look at it so you know like the spread of the topics here.

Let me find my mouse. Well, my mouse is gone so I won't be able to do that for some reason.

Complicated technology here but yeah the idea is that every week or so he has a kind of event. He had like Sahil from gumroad they're talking about the state of the creator economy.

Then April and alter about getting started on YouTube and Justin Welsh was there but LinkedIn like all these topic specific talks like an hour or so every couple days like every five days every every seven days every week.

And then you know the domain first development Peter ask you was there.

It's really really interesting mix gumroad crash course how to get the attention of highly influential people like that's what this community is about building these small bet it's it's really not that different from what we want to do.

It's just with a different perspective and a different kind of SAS business focus. But, so the idea is he has this community that consists of a website that he built, where people look into they they pay to be to be able to access that community.

It has a discord where people just form community by being present there, and then it has these recurring events, where, you know, it's like a weekly catch up or a weekly introduction into the community that is live, and, and then these other events that are effectively recorded as lessons individual sessions around a certain topic.

This is something we could just copy one on one and would probably be quite useful, depending on how much we charge for access. If we do like free access for a couple beta testers or something like this.

It feels like the community aspect creates this kind of cohort, like, feeling and if we, and I do have the time spend some time administrating and keeping some control over the community which is going to be interesting, then that can be empowered to for people to help each other.

The recordings of sessions with cool people is something we had planned anyway. So that might be something that that is really helpful for people in the moment as either a life recording or something we organize with them and then edit into something useful that could also be kind of

two different things, and then having access to this makes it so much more valuable to join the community at any point, right, and you don't have to be there from the start, because it's not something you have to be there like every week, you can skip a week or two do your thing and then

watch the recordings of what happened during that week. This is kind of a self paced, but real time effort so I think that could marry the two ideas and with that community. We have a pretty successful example in the reality of our field.

If people know what this is. Sure. Yeah. Okay, cool. I think it makes sense. I mean, I think that it's just, you know, I was having a conversation about this with some other folks who are planning live events again and, you know, sharing my experience from the summits that we've done where it's just it's very hard to build something where you have to catch people at the exact right moment.

Right. And so with the summits for example like, you know, you never made it to either of two summits over two years and I'm sure you're like really wanted to but it's just, you know, it's very hard like you have this funnel of all these people that are super interested, and then you have all these filters of, you know, can they do they already have a wedding plan that month and do they have a

they're expecting a baby or this sort of thing you know and it's just like you you you get all the way down to this narrow funnel of people from who really want to experience this thing to the people who can actually logistically make it happen.

And it's just very hard to build a business to build a great product around that when you have such a kind of aggressive filter, and I feel like we've kind of been setting ourselves up for a similar situation where we're trying to get.

We're trying to build something around getting people from exactly point A to point B. And if you're not at point A you're not going to be the right fit and you're not trying to get to point B you're not going to be the right fit.

And it turns out that's just super hard to find like a critical mass of people who are at exactly a you know and like really want to do this and all the other kind of things.

And so I wonder if we want to just kind of release that a little bit for a moment and just start producing stuff that we think would be applicable to people somewhere in this you know broader spectrum and start there and then start to refine that over time.

And I like this idea, I like I like that. If you think about it like from that from this vantage point, we are kind of boxing ourselves in quite a bit by trying to find exactly the right people to do the exact rights, four or eight weeks of step taking to get to result be, which not only is it is it hard, which it always will be you if you want to teach people, but it also requires them to sacrifice quite a bit.

Right. Like it's not that we give them any opportunity to just sit out a week and then like do it a week later, if it works for them then like either they're there or they're not they're gonna gonna miss the interactive part.

And, which is why I thought of the small nets thing because there is an interactive part every week where people can like join in and do Q&A, that would be effectively what we would do right we would have a either we record a thing live or we produce it beforehand and then publish it in a live session

and have an active interactive Q&A session at the end of it. The interactive Q&A session is what people tune in for in sync. And the thing that we record is async by nature, and is consumable and async nature, we could even turn like that's the great thing about this idea.

I'm getting very excited about this. The great thing about about having this kind of async catalog is that with every new thing you create, you kind of create a bigger product outside of it, you create the absolute like video based compendium that with now transcription

technology available, and you know like outtakes and small segments available snippets that you can pull out of this, you can create a searchable video database of content, you can, the people can, you could probably feed the transcripts into an AI, have an AI bot in the

discord, and people ask it, I need this and this information, what should I watch, and it tells you video 17 started minute 21. Right, that kind of stuff is a massively time saving and specifics problem solution fit that I think a community tool, a community plus tool plus lecture plus weekly, or bi weekly whatever we choose to do live event could facilitate for everybody.

So I would definitely want to take a look at that.

The specifics of it if you're up for that.

Yeah, why don't we set as archive, you know, deliverable between now and next time you tell me if this makes sense.

Maybe like an eight to 10 week sort of roadmap. Okay, so like, what does this thing look like from launch. What is the physical and stance you instantiation of it, you know, in terms of is it a forum is it a live thing is it a pre recorded as a q amp a, and then the topics that we would want to sort of dive into for the first 10 weeks.

And then we can basically look at it and see like, okay, is this going to be a useful starting place or or not, you know, I'm a fan, I'm so glad we're doing this in public, like anybody who listens to this.

I hope their mouth is starting to water but from all the potential in this, because I'm excited about it too. Also the idea of just like what Daniel is doing with all these wonderful people from our community and from outside the community, who have these really specific ideas and specific

knowledge, pulling them in and making the stuff that they do available later and outside of it is, is, it's going to be great. It compensation is going to be interesting because I think Danielle, Danielle pays people for these sessions, because he gets to reuse them massively over

time so we would need to think about how we would do that I think that's also part of the career, the planning I think in the beginning it would be us sharing what we all already want to put in there, but over time we can add more and more interesting people, I think we could probably get several people from the, the calm mentor space to very much do this as part of their mentorship, like, activities

and work long long long list of very interesting people who've been sort of waiting for me to say hey do you want to do this thing.

Basically, yes, I'd be excited about that too, because I, one thing that I love about this idea is like getting, getting actual experts in.

You know, you or me, but you know, like having having people that really really know something be in front of people who really need it. And not just us, but everybody else who really can bring something to the table that excites me, I'm going to talk to Daniel about this cool website he's been building

and he effectively built a little tool that houses the parts of the community that are not on discord, like all the recordings and all the event planning the calendar and directory of people in the community which is also kind of cool.

I wonder how he built that. And I wonder if he's willing to give that away. I'm going to have a chat with him about this because that would be an interesting software project to not have to completely built by hand.

Yeah, it's, yeah, that is, I think that's a great idea, I think going going like an eight, eight to 12 week or however many roadmap that would also give us, I think, like how many posts blog posts that I write about this I think it was like 10 ish as well.

Yeah, yeah, I mean, that's up that there's definitely some stuff that that that you didn't cover and that also would definitely not be, I think that'd be some thematic overlap with with small bets I'm not in that community but I see.

What comes throughout comes out of it on Twitter and stuff. Maybe like some thematic overlap but of course there's a lot of like practical stuff, you know when you're, when you're thinking about building a company versus a kind of solopreneur, you know, portfolio kind of approach that there's a lot of things that we could talk about I mean I think like building a team is is a big one there's constantly active discussions around, you know, how do I build a distributed team How do I pay them How do I, you know, source folks from different parts of the world.

How do I keep that whole thing mean, how do I think about, you know, compensation as a company in a world where, you know, people are throwing money at, you know, developers and stuff like that I mean there's, you know, there's a lot of different topics that we could also delve into that I think would be new ground.

Even for folks who might be ravenous consumers of your essays on the series and and small bets and other stuff like that so yeah quite a few I think things we could we could really dive into.

Yeah, I don't, I don't think we would run out of new topics to have like an hour long conversation we already do this like kind of just shaking it out of the woodwork around like our lives right now right it just yeah we find these topics to talk about for hours that are just like randomly source with some afterthought or for forethought I guess this could probably be more specific in helping people yeah I like that we have stuff for years that's that's how I feel about this.

And it's an evolving subject to which is great, like we can constantly like update the stuff we're talking about and adjusted to the reality out there. I hope that in a couple years from now we're going to have like the big money sponsorship spenders coming back, not just for my sake but for the whole creator economy, right where people can now finally do the thing they wanted to do and not like try to grab every single cent that they can find along the way.

So, that will also impact how we approach business but yeah super cool. Yeah, I'm that that is that is going to do this. That's a lot of work for for one more week. My, my parents are going to come over to Canada on the 19th, which is two and a half weeks from now, it's going to be okay they don't speak, they don't speak a word of English so that's going to be so much fun.

Having them here. I'm looking forward to that but I'm just going to tell you this because that that means from, you know, around the 19th to like 10 days later won't be much available for many different things I'm we might still.

No, I don't think we can actually do the podcast on on that Wednesday the first Wednesday but maybe the next one. So, just telling you that at the end of the month I'm going to be slightly occupied by Germans wandering through the Canadian landscape trying to figure out what to do.

Please, please, please do a little Twitter vlog of your parents visit Canada I totally watched like a one minute a day on that whole experience. Oh, we have so many plans we're going to go to Toronto and do the big city and then Niagara Falls like see the falls there and do countryside and stuff

that's going to be a lot of fun. Cool. That sounds awesome. A couple of quick things. Okay, so this sounds great. We should definitely do it. We should, you know, wish I think time pressure is good, you know, well I think at this point, we're both feeling also a little bit like we've strategized long enough it's time to get rolling.

So that's great. One thing that just popped into my head randomly is we should do a would you be open to doing like a recorded version of your Twitter consulting for me. Yeah, sure. Yeah, I think that'd be cool. Yeah.

Just randomly I was like, Oh, he's doing these like, you know, let's show don't tell that as well just like anyway. So that would be super cool. But second thing, what did I had two things and I just completely dropped it.

Anyway, that's that's that's when you get excited by Twitter consulting. Tell you, you forget about everything else. Yeah. Well, you know, like you can you and everybody listening to this can always reach me with the second thing or first thing in Twitter DMs, whatever you want to talk about. I'm always up for that.

And yeah, it's going to be it's going to be a lot of work like building this, particularly a little the community integration and being present for people. That's going to be something and then also considering the monetization down the road because like Daniel can pay people because it costs people like 300 bucks or something to join the community.

It's a one time purchase. They can stay for however long they like. They can join every live event. They can also not join any live events and it's perfectly fine, which is kind of cool because you allow people to self pace, which is something that I that I personally really enjoy as a person that doesn't want to show up when other people have time right I want to do it when I feel like it. So yeah, that's cool. But that that monetization thing will impact how we can like long term run this as a community.

Unless we have like ulterior ways to or alternative, I guess ways to monetize. But if there like if there is a potential investment in there for you or if there is like a couple sales or something in it for me, that wouldn't hurt me either. But it would be nice to know how this as a business itself is constructed.

Right. So we would have to think about that. That's definitely something that is important for us to figure out because it impacts our bottom bottom line with all this. But yeah, fun. Funny, we didn't even really get to talk about the big topic that we wanted to talk about today. What about that?

Sounds like us.


we could talk about it next week. You know, it's, it's, it's, it's funny because spontaneity is part of it. So it's kind of part of the conversation. Yeah, I ran earlier, I could I could talk about this derailed the entire podcast.

Yeah, see, the AI topic is so incredibly present in my life as a writer and everybody on Twitter and my community is like every day something changes and it's kind of freakishly fast how the field is evolving and anything that is freakishly fast in a society usually breaks it in a way.

Yeah, like you, if you even look at privacy laws and how long it took us to figure out what privacy is and how Google may not be our friend when it comes to privacy. Like this is a situation we are dealing with now.

Right. The European privacy law that's like three years ago, Google exists since like 2000 and something like an or 9897 I don't know that's an old company with that and it was always their idea to do this.

And in 2020 something we dealt with it with regulation. And if that is the internet which in many ways, very slowly developed compared to what we see with AI now. I'm just freaking out left right and center about these kind of speed increases and the impact that these tools have on our communities.

But I think, I think we should have a definitely in our first 10 weeks we should have a how to stay calm in the, in the world of AI progress module have a couple people on.

That is a really really good idea and I hope the advice we give lasts for longer than a couple weeks, you know, because you never know with technology. Yeah, that that is, that's an important thing I think that might give us.

Yeah, that's what I was trying to say like there's always new topics because with new technologies and new developments, we have to react to them and being part of our community will be the place where you hear about it first, and you get to deal with other best to deal with us right that's kind of what I want this place to be.

I'm excited. Oh, if you can, if you can tell us. I remember what my second thing was is, how's the podcast doing.

Like I'm in a month for sorry no I was podcast doing like numerically like how are like our people's going to it. Yeah, I don't I don't have access to it. Yeah, it's I was trying to say we are meant like what two or three right now.

Oh, sorry. Yeah, yeah, don't worry.

The podcast to me is always an ambiguous term because right yeah yeah I thought you were talking about your other podcasts which I also want to hear how that's doing but you know, like, I was asking about this one, which both are spectacular we are 10 published episodes in we have like roughly 3000 downloads, which is okay.

And I looked on on Spotify recently, we get a solid hundred plus downloads on the day of release, which is okay. And I think if we had a cadence that is actually weekly.

We would improve it a bit more, but it's still perfectly fine. I think posting it to Twitter is always a good idea like the link of it and the whole podcast itself I'm going to keep doing that I think because that is just fun because people can then listen to it or watch it right there.

And yeah we get what is it 200 listens. Within the first 30 days for for each episode is just kind of nice.

Nice. And on all together like that. That's how much I can pull into transistor I would have to check every, every single page or by itself but it's all right I think 100 something subscribers is what transistor things we have.

Okay, that's, there's a lot of cool people listening to us rambling or listen to me rambling and you trying to get me out of it so

I think I think it's, it's going real great, and my other part is doing great too but this part podcast in particular is doing pretty well. Yeah, you what wasn't it something you you gave it like 12 weeks, that's that's how many calendar invites I have for this.

If I check my calendar, you said let's let's let's give it.

How do you feel about it. Oh yeah it feels really good it feels really good. Yeah, I mean I wonder if maybe within two episodes we will actually have figured out you know, more or less how to launch this and maybe it will morph slightly like maybe.

I mean I still like the just ad hoc ketchup as well, but it might start to blend into some more straightforward calm MBA content I mean, who knows, but that's pretty cool actually that we're coming right up like 12 weeks.

That's really cool. We should, we should force people who joined the call MBA to listen to the first 1110 episodes of the show to even get to the content over that.

How about if you do that you get in for free maybe.

Yeah, here's a little test answer like two questions per episode.

That's funny. Yeah, I think it definitely wouldn't hurt for us to shift the format into something that we could then reuse. I mean it's already video. It's already recorded my just as well.

We could have like our little intro part and then we go right to it we cut that out put the middle part into the community and the rest of it is just us kind of rambling on and on.

Yeah, it's like a reasonable thing, then I have to edit this. Oh man.

I guess that's that's work I will do. Yeah, cool. Do you have a shout out for this week for anybody.

Yeah, it's always hard because I want to shout out everybody on Twitter. Feels like there's so many cool people in my community that I want to give a big old shout out to.

I think, yeah, let me just give one to to be like, like, you know, was inviting me, I was on a little work, or was it like little little zoom chat with him last week and I was there with a couple people from his community or from the people that are he is

involved with on Twitter and entrepreneurship and stuff and we talked about a project that he's working on and kind of, I did some ad hoc consulting which was a lot of fun.

And I think just inviting me onto a zoom call and just like asking me questions about business that is always enjoyable. And I want to give him a big shout out for doing this and recording it and then posting it to Twitter.

I think that's the important part like that's that's the part of the sharing part that I'm that I'm super grateful for. So yeah, that's that's be all that's I be I l a l k a y y be lalcon or e be lal k.

That's, that's his name, just want to give him a big shout out because that was nice.


Come in. Well, see you next week.

I think we shall talk to talk to each other next week. Looking forward to getting this moving into yet another interesting direction. And yeah, next week is going to be a lot of fun. So talk to you then.


Don't forget to subscribe to our channel, and I will see you all on the next one.

Creators and Guests

Arvid Kahl
Arvid Kahl
Calmly building in public. Helping founders and creators to find their own way.I write, podcast, and make videos at https://t.co/HD06q3UsKnBe kind.
Tyler Tringas
Tyler Tringas
Investing in and supporting calm companies at https://t.co/ldlavAFtLO. Bringing them together at https://t.co/F56HaafBRh
Diversifying Your SaaS When Money Dries Up
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