Notes on The Pseudonymous Economy – Balaji Srinivasan

  • Overview: [[Balaji Srinivasan]] looks at [[pseudonymity]], why have a pseudonymous economy, how might it work, and how could we build it.
  • [[pseudonymity]] is not [[anonymity]]. pseudonymity is not giving your real name, but you maintain it over time and develop a reputation on it. It provides [[accountability]], but it’s also a shield against character assassination. #[[To Ankify]]
  • [[pseudonymity]] is a continuum, not binary. They are widely used today, including by people high up in government.
  • 4:00 The big next step is not just pseudononymous communication, but pseudonomyous transaction.
    • Drivers of increased use of pseudonyms: technological support, employment law (don’t want to be discriminated against), social media mobs.
  • 5:30 Pseudonymity provides not just freedom of speech, but freedom after speech. Opponents have to attack your idea, they can’t attack you.
    • Negative press is an attack on your social network.
    • Your bank account is your stored wealth, your real name is your stored reputation. Only you can debit your bank account, but anyone can debit your reputation.
  • 9:20 A possibility is separating your earning, speaking, and real names. Use your real name on official forums like social security numbers. When speaking use a pseudonym. To earn (this is the new part) – earn under a pseudonym, with a professional identity and you speak about things relevant to that identity.
    • You might have many different speaking names, many different earning names.
  • 10:20 **We can already move wealth to a pseudonym, can we move reputation too? **Right now, you can only have 100% of followers and write under your existing name, or 0% of followers starting completely fresh with a new pseudonym. #Ideas #[[startup ideas]]
    • What if we transfer attestations rather than everything (i.e. the entire list of followers)? For example, build a new pseudonym platform that confirms that you’re verified (blue check) but nothing else. You can have multiple attestations (e.g. followed by @jack).
    • 17:00 But how do you ensure people will follow? [[Balaji Srinivasan]] calls this “[[autofollow]]”. People would be on a network like this to follow pseudonymous accounts – they will autofollow anyone with over 100k followers, anyone followed by @jack, etc. You then automatically get followers.
    • An application like this would essentially allow you to move along a reputation-anonymity continuum, trading off a small amount of anonymity for higher reputation.

Notes on Why You Should Become Internet Famous, by Patrick McKenzie and David Perell

  • Overview: [[David Perrell]] and [[Patrick MacKenzie]] discuss various topics related to writing and promoting yourself online.
  • 4:45 You should think about how your writing is framed online if you are looking for it to be used to promote your commercial work. “Blogging” has a poor brand within many high status employers, whereas “memos” and “essays” do not. Try to categorize your writing as these things rather than a blog post. These small changes can make a big difference. Don’t call it a “blog”, don’t put a date on it if it’s not stuff that will decay in importance in 48 hours, choose to write about things that will stay relevant, etc. #blogging #promotion #Portfolio
  • 9:00 Try to create a tighter brand for your writing. Find a niche and try to focus on that, although experimenting isn’t that bad an idea, at least at first. Good to also think about your interests that happen to be booming in the economy (for example, [[Patrick MacKenzie]] focused on the intersection of [[marketing]] and [[engineering]]). #branding #niche
  • 13:00 Even if absolutely no-one reads your essay, it’s still worth writing it because it produces an asset you can use. For example, you could use it as a proof of work to a future employer and that would make it a tremendous ROI. Don’t feel like you have to have a big audience before [[writing]].
  • 15:00 find where people you are writing for hang out. Hang out there, and gradually inject your stuff in there. Gradually, and in an authentic way, introduce your thoughts into people’s with large following’s posts. Some people don’t get annoyed by this – some people with large followings actively signal boost.
  • 23:40 Benefits of long-form [[writing]]. A lot of the common advice about writing short-form on the internet comes from people with certain incentives for following that model (e.g. [[BuzzFeed]]). You really need to understand your personal [[goals]] and what the incentive structure are for achieving that goal.
  • 28:30 As soon as you put something on a dashboard, people start to change their behaviour based on what’s on that dashboard. So – be careful of what you put on [[dashboards]]. #KPIs #metrics
  • 30:00 Discusses the so-called “death of blogs”. [[Patrick MacKenzie]] points out that people that wrote blogs back in 2010 are still around, but now they have moved on to incredible titles, like CEO or Senior Staff Engineer at Google. As a result, they no longer blog or call themselves bloggers. #blogging
  • 37:20 [[Patrick MacKenzie]] is a fan of [[Ramit Sethi]], he is one of his favourite marketers and knows how to do the internet well.
  • 38:00 Discussion of recommendations for email lists. Email is something you can own – it’s difficult to take that away from you. There’s also something powerful that someone put up their hand and said “yes, I want to hear, in my inbox, what you are talking about”. It’s also less “risky”, since no-one forwards a newsletter for someone else to dunk on it (unlike what happens on Twitter). #[[Email Lists]] #Independence #control
  • 43:00 What makes an idea worth publishing?
  • 47:00 What do the best marketers miss?
  • 49:00 Culture of [[Stripe]] and how they maintain a high level of craft. Are [[craft]] and [[metrics]] somehow opposed or a different language? Incentives matter – if you incentivize shipping the best version of something, that’s what you get. If you incentivize always meeting deadlines, that’s what you get. #incentives
  • 54:35 What does making writing at [[Stripe]] do for the company? 99% of their word count is internal. Some companies in hyper [[Growth]] mode are doubling their number of employees each year. As long as that continues, over half of your staff have less than 1 year experience with the company. Big problem is spinning people up to speed and getting them into the culture – “[[democracy of the dead]]” – people who were there before can have tremendous impact by producing highly leveraged artifacts, like written documents. Writing helps transfer knowledge #[[Corporate Knowledge]] #[[Organizational Memory]] #leverage
  • 1:00:00 When should you go to market after building an audience? [[Writing]] and developing an audience first before developing software is valuable because you build a list of people ready to buy. You also learn more about how to build a great product by writing deeply about it. The MVP for sellable word products is much lower bar than [[MVP]] for software. #[[Audience Building]]
  • 1:07:30 What is a small software business that you admire? How do they use online writing and content to grow and validate the business? There are tens of thousands of profitable, successful software / SAS business that you’ve never heard of. It will be boring, very successful, and will be sold, and hardly anyone that isn’t a customer or an employee will be aware of it. E.g. Moraware which provides software for kitchen counter installation companies.
  • 1:14:00 What is the 1 thing you think the [[US]] should import from Japanese [[culture]]? [[Earnestness]] and [[optimism]] of ones [[work]]. A non-ironic embrace of loving what you do. There’s a lot of [[cynicism]] in the US. “Choose to do what you love” is bad advice. Better advice is “Learn to love what you do”. #Japan #happiness
  • 1:18:30 How did you go from being a kid with “I want to be a baseball player” type interests to who you are now – an expert in niche SAS? People underestimate the ability they have to change, particularly the way they think. [[Stripe]] hires for people that are ambitious and optimist. Hanging around people like that makes you more ambitious and optimistic! #Ambition #optimism
  • 1:23:00 The amount of luck you have in life is how much value you create times how many people you tell about it. Explain what you mean by that. It’s a mistake to think that if you just do great work, you’ll be recognized for that. It’s a key professional skill and you should probably get good at it. #luck #marketing

Notes on Anthony Pompliano & David Perell: Growing Your Audience

  • Overview: [[Anthony Pompliano]] and [[David Perrell]] discuss [[Anthony Pompliano]]’s strategy for how he built his following online.
  • 1:34 presentation starts, [[Anthony Pompliano]] introduces himself.
  • 2:18 shows his results from building his online presence – 3 people built it, 60 million impressions per month.
  • 3:00 Main components of his stack: [[The Pomp Podcast]], [[The Pomp Letter]] (letter every weekday), [[Lunch Money]] (YouTube daily show). All of this is driven by [[Twitter]]. “Everything starts and ends with Twitter” – it’s a traffic engine for every other product and platform.
  • 6:42 “Audience is the new currency”. “Those who build the audience have the power.”
  • 8:30 It’s hard to build an audience. You want to ask yourself what the value you want to create, what does the end result look like, and do you have the time / energy / dedication to attempt this? Comes down to man hours and time.
  • 6 Principles for growing your audience
    • Persistence is the most important thing (9:40). It takes time, and audience building starts slow. True for everyone, even those with huge followings. #persistence
    • Productize yourself (11:25). Every hour is something you can dedicate to a different product. Break up your day and optimize every hour – “how am I dedicating time to production of an asset that can be monetized later on?” What is your “[[Return on Attention]]”? #production #Productivity
    • Focus on one platform at a time (17:00). Benefits: 1) [[focus]] (how can I win on this platform and how can I be successful?) 2) if you grow the first platform it helps you build the second one, because you push people from your first platform to your new platforms. The big [[social media]] managers and influencers will often advise to do a whole bunch of platforms at once. When you don’t have the resources of [[Gary Vanyrchuk]] (had 15 people working for him on a holiday!) then it’s way better to focus on one platform and get good at that.
    • More content is better than less (22:25). [[Anthony Pompliano]] started out just Tweeting articles and pulling out the most relevant tidbit and just tweeting that, because he was unconfident and didn’t know what to Tweet about. People don’t listen to all your stuff. It’s like Netflix, give as much as possible and give the audience choice. More content means more people being interested in your content which means more followers. #[[idea generation]] #[[growth hacking]] #Twitter
    • Create once, publish 5 times (26:00). E.g. podcasts – publish as audio, publish as video, take cuts out of it and publish interviews, tweet out links to videos. That is a mechanism that should always exist try to do this as much as possible. Streamline thought creation process and expand how you can use that content to a bunch of platforms. It helps to have a set process and organization – “when we record a podcast, then we do x, y, z”. #marketing #leverage #Strategy
    • You owe the audience everything (29:15). [[Anthony Pompliano]] spends a ton of time going through comments and responding. Often fairly safe, canned responses and emojis. Occasionally, you give a detailed thoughtful response. This gets the audience to become emotionally involved, and feel like they are involved and important. Not scalable, so he’s now at the point where he can’t respond to everything. The audience is why you can monetize, it’s the reason why you’re here. #engagement
  • Actionable Ideas: [[Twitter]] (37:21) #Growth #[[Audience Building]]
    • Create 10+ tweets per day
    • Use spacing and punctuation – make it easier to read
    • Lists increase [[virality]] – super clear, digestible.
    • Links hurt [[virality]] – links are the exact opposite, you have to click the link to get the information. Also, Twitter doesn’t want users to leave their platform. Put the content first and then the link later. Rather than sharing, actually talk about the top things you took away from the article and summarize things.
    • Hijack viral tweets / large accounts. [[Anthony Pompliano]] would put up alerts for big accounts like [[Donald Trump]] and he would race to respond as fast as possible. He would do something to get a lot of engagement, audience looks and checks out his profile. The big accounts are doing your marketing for you.
    • Reply to everyone
    • DMs are the real [[Linkedin]]. People are responsive, and there’s very few people on Twitter that have someone else running their account for them.
    • Set up your profile up for success. Where do you want people to go? Put the link in your profile. Write it out so people know the kind of content they’ll get. You can get tons of traffic on your profile if your tweeting gets lots of impressions.
    • A good gif is worth 1,000 favourites.
  • Actionable Ideas: [[Email Lists]] (43:25)
    • Set a consistent schedule & don’t miss. People subscribe expecting something, so don’t miss. If you do a paid list like [[Substack]], focus on getting free people then converting them to paid, don’t focus on getting people immediately to paying. Most people want to window shop. You have to ease them in.
    • Build your free list – give more than you extract. You are in their inbox, so you better be sure you’re providing value.
    • Don’t be afraid to ask people to subscribe, whether it’s other social platforms or to your paid list. Know what you’re worth.
    • Find like-minded audiences & do link swaps. Figure out how to work with the people in those audiences. “If you like X, you’ll definitely like this thing Y I’m doing”
    • Identify “inflection points” and promote them in advance. Sometimes you know you’re going to be putting out something good. Rather than waiting until you publish, promote in advance: “on Monday, I’m writing something about X, if you want to read it, subscribe”. After you publish it, say “I wrote something about X, if you want to read it, subscribe so you get more like this”.
    • Use email as a distribution point for all content. In the bottom of the email, put links to all your other things – podcast episode of the day, sponsors. Just use a template and fill it in. Passive links pay off
    • Upsell, Upsell, Upsell.
  • Actionable Ideas: [[YouTube]] (48:13)
    • Use the banner to explain what you cover and how often.
    • Don’t be afraid to ask people to subscribe.
    • Create more videos.
    • Optimize the video title, description, and thumbnail for SEO. [[YouTube]] is the second biggest search engine in the world. Look in [[Google Trends]] to see what people are searching for.
    • Use the description for passive links (link to all your other social platforms). Use that distribution you already have.
    • Pin the comment to top of comments with top link. Single best thing to do on YouTube if you want to promote other things. E.g. “pomp writes a daily letter to these kinds of people, here’s the link”. Whatever you’re optimizing for, pin it at the top of the comment.
    • Create an outro with each video. That 15-20 second outtro can just be a pre-recorded clip and you just drop it in.
    • Use search trends to your advantage
    • Leverage guests with large audiences
  • Actionable Ideas: [[Podcasts]] (55:05)
    • Set a frequency and don’t miss an episode
    • Target guests with large audiences
    • Authors with new books are always looking to promote their work
    • Record via Zoom to get audio and video
    • Good microphone and good lighting is important
    • Use micro content to promote individual episodes
    • Transcripts and show notes for SEO
  • “If you’re going to try this, make sure you are ready to dedicate hours a day for a decade”. Just trying it sometimes or just doing one day a week – you will get frustrated, won’t build an audience. #persistence
  • Businesses of the future will build the customer base first and then build the product. When you write and build an audience you get feedback about what they want. As a result when you launch a product, you don’t have to pay for any advertising. #Strategy