More on Entrepreneurship/Creators
2 months ago
One of the biggest publishers in the world offered me a book deal, but I don't feel deserving of it.
My ego is so huge it won't fit through the door.
I don't know how I feel about it. I should be excited. Many of you have this exact dream to publish a book with a well-known book publisher and get a juicy advance.
Let me dissect how I'm thinking about it to help you.
How it happened
An email comes in. A generic "can we put a backlink on your website and get a freebie" email.
Almost deleted it.
Then I noticed the logo. It seemed shady. I found the URL. Check. I searched the employee's LinkedIn. Legit. I avoided middlemen. Check.
Mixed feelings. LinkedIn hasn't valued my writing for years. I'm just a guy in an unironed t-shirt whose content they sell advertising against.
They get big dollars. I get $0 and a few likes, plus some email subscribers.
Still, I felt adrenaline for hours.
I texted a few friends to see how they felt. I wrapped them.
Messages like "No shocker. You're entertaining online." I didn't like praises, so I blushed.
The thrill faded after hours. Who knows?
Most authors desire this chance.
"You entitled piece of crap, Denning!"
You may think so. Okay. My job is to stand on the internet and get bananas thrown at me.
I approached writing backwards. More important than a book deal was a social media audience converted to an email list.
Romantic authors think backward. They hope a fantastic book will land them a deal and an audience.
Rarely occurs. So I never pursued it. It's like permission-seeking or the lottery.
Not being a professional writer, I've never written a good book. I post online for fun and to express my opinions.
Writing is therapeutic. I overcome mental illness and rebuilt my life this way. Without blogging, I'd be dead.
I've always dreamed of staying alive and doing something I love, not getting a book contract. Writing is my passion. I'm a winner without a book deal.
Why I was given a book deal
You may assume I received a book contract because of my views or follows. Nope.
They gave me a deal because they like my writing style. I've heard this for eight years.
Several authors agree. One asked me to improve their writer's voice.
Takeaway: highlight your writer's voice.
What if they discover I'm writing incompetently?
An edited book is published. It's edited.
I need to master writing mechanics, thus this concerns me. I need help with commas and sentence construction.
I must learn verb, noun, and adjective. Seriously.
Writing a book may reveal my imposter status to a famous publisher. Imagine the email
"It happened again. He doesn't even know how to spell. He thinks 'less' is the correct word, not 'fewer.' Are you sure we should publish his book?"
I'm capable of blogging. Even listicles. So what?
Writing for a major publisher feels advanced.
I only blog. I'm good at listicles. Digital media executives have criticized me for this.
It is allegedly clickbait.
Or it is following trends.
Alternately, growth hacking.
Never. I learned copywriting to improve my writing.
Apple, Amazon, and Tesla utilize copywriting to woo customers. Whoever thinks otherwise is the wisest person in the room.
Old-schoolers loathe copywriters.
Their novels sell nothing.
They assume their elitist version of writing is better and that the TikTok generation will invest time in random writing with no subheadings and massive walls of text they can't read on their phones.
I'm terrified of book proposals.
My friend's book proposal suggestion was contradictory and made no sense.
They told him to compose another genre. This book got three Amazon reviews. Is that a good model?
The process disappointed him. I've heard other book proposal horror stories. Tim Ferriss' book "The 4-Hour Workweek" was criticized.
Because he has thick skin, his book came out. He wouldn't be known without that.
I hate book proposals.
An ongoing commitment
Writing a book is time-consuming.
I appreciate time most. I want to focus on my daughter for the next few years. I can't recreate her childhood because of a book.
No idea how parents balance kids' goals.
My silly face in a bookstore. Really?
I don't want my face in bookstores. I fear fame. I prefer anonymity.
I want to purchase a property in a bad Australian area, then piss off and play drums. Is bookselling worth it?
Are there even bookstores anymore?
(Except for Ryan Holiday's legendary Painted Porch Bookshop in Texas.)
What's most important about books
Many were duped.
Tweets and TikTok hopscotch vids are their future. Short-form content creates devoted audiences that buy newsletter subscriptions.
Depth wins (if you can get people to buy your book). Creating a book will strengthen my reader relationships.
It's cheaper than my classes, so more people can benefit from my life lessons.
A deeper justification for writing a book
If I write this book, my daughter will follow it. "Look what you can do, love, when you ignore critics."
That's my favorite.
I'll be her best leader and teacher. If her dad can accomplish this, she can too.
My kid can read my book when I'm gone to remember her loving father.
Last paragraph made me cry.
This book thing might make me sound like Karen.
The upside is... Building in public, like I have with online writing, attracts the right people.
Proof-of-work over proposals, beautiful words, or huge aspirations. If you want a book deal, try writing online instead of the old manner.
I'm a rural Aussie. Writing a book in the big city is intimidating. Will I do it? Lots to think about. Right now, some level of reflection and gratitude feels most appropriate.
Sometimes when you don't feel worthy, it gives you the greatest lessons. That's how I feel about getting offered this book deal.
Perhaps you can relate.
22 years ago
400 articles later, nobody bothered to read them.
Writing for readers:
14 years of daily writing.
I post practically everything on social media. I authored hundreds of articles, thousands of tweets, and numerous volumes to almost no one.
Tens of thousands of readers regularly praise me.
I despised writing. I'm stuck now.
I've learned what readers like and what doesn't.
Here are some essential guidelines for writing with impact:
Readers won't understand your work if you can't.
Though obvious, this slipped me up. Share your truths.
Stories engage human brains.
Showing the journey of a person from worm to butterfly inspires the human spirit.
Overthinking hinders powerful writing.
The best ideas come from inner understanding in between thoughts.
Avoid writing to find it. Write.
Writing a masterpiece isn't motivating.
Write for five minutes to simplify. Step-by-step, entertaining, easy steps.
Good writing requires a willingness to make mistakes.
So write loads of garbage that you can edit into a good piece.
A courageous story will move readers. Personal experience is best.
Go where few dare.
Templates, outlines, and boundaries help.
Limitations enhance writing.
Excellent writing is straightforward and readable, removing all the unnecessary fat.
Use five words instead of nine.
Use ordinary words instead of uncommon ones.
Readers desire relatability.
Too much perfection will turn it off.
Write to solve an issue if you can't think of anything to write.
Instead, read to inspire. Best authors read.
Every tweet, thread, and novel must have a central idea.
What's its point?
This can make writing confusing.
️ Don't direct your reader.
Readers quit reading. Demonstrate, describe, and relate.
Even if no one responds, have fun. If you hate writing it, the reader will too.
6 months ago
How to Make $1,037,100 in 4 Months with This Weird Website
One great idea might make you rich.
Imagine having a million-dollar concept in college that made a million.
Alex Tew, 21, from Wiltshire, England, created The Million Dollar Homepage in August 2005. The idea is basic but beyond the ordinary, which is why it worked.
Alex built a 1,000,000-pixel webpage.
Each website pixel would cost $1. Since pixels are hard to discern, he sold 10x10 squares for $100.
He'd make a million if all the spots sold.
He may have thought about NFTs and the Metaverse decades ago.
MillionDollarHomepage.com launched in 2005.
Businesses and individuals could buy a website spot and add their logo, website link, and tagline. You bought an ad, but nobody visited the website.
If a few thousand people visited the website, it could drive traffic to your business's site.
Alex promised buyers the website would be up for 5 years, so it was a safe bet.
Alex's friend with a music website was the first to buy real estate on the site. Within two weeks, 4,700 pixels sold, and a tracker showed how many were sold and available.
Word-of-mouth marketing got the press's attention quickly. Everyone loves reading about new ways to make money, so it was a good news story.
By September, over 250,000 pixels had been sold, according to a BBC press release.
Alex and the website gained more media and public attention, so traffic skyrocketed. Two months after the site launched, 1,400 customers bought more than 500,000 pixels.
Businesses bought online real estate. They heard thousands visited the site, so they could get attention cheaply.
Unless you bought a few squares, I'm not sure how many people would notice your ad or click your link.
A sponge website owner emailed Alex:
“We tried Million Dollar Homepage because we were impressed at the level of ingenuity and the sheer simplicity of it. If we’re honest, we didn’t expect too much from it. Now, as a direct result, we are pitching for £18,000 GBP worth of new clients and have seen our site traffic increase over a hundred-fold. We’re even going to have to upgrade our hosting facility! It’s been exceptional.”
Web.archive.org screenshots show how the website changed.
“The idea is to create something of an internet time capsule: a homepage that is unique and permanent. Everything on the internet keeps changing so fast, it will be nice to have something that stays solid and permanent for many years. You can be a part of that!” Alex Tew, 2005
The last 1,000 pixels were sold on January 1, 2006.
By then, the homepage had hundreds of thousands of monthly visitors. Alex put the last space on eBay due to high demand.
MillionDollarWeightLoss.com won the last pixels for $38,100, bringing revenue to $1,037,100 in 4 months.
Many have tried to replicate this website's success. They've all failed.
This idea only worked because no one had seen this website before.
This winner won't be repeated, but it should inspire you to try something new and creative.
Still popular, you could buy one of the linked domains. You can't buy pixels, but you can buy an expired domain.
One link I clicked costs $59,888.
You'd own a piece of internet history if you spent that much on a domain.
Someone bought stablesgallery.co.uk after the domain expired and restored it.
Many of the linked websites have expired or been redirected, but some still link to the original. I couldn't find sponge's website. Can you?
This is a great example of how a simple creative idea can go viral.
Comment on this amazing success story.
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4 months ago
Apples Top 100 Meeting: Steve Jobs's Secret Agenda's Lessons
Jobs' secret emails became public due to a litigation with Samsung.
Steve Jobs sent Phil Schiller an email at the end of 2010. Top 100 A was the codename for Apple's annual Top 100 executive meetings. The 2011 one was scheduled.
Everything about this gathering is secret, even attendance. The location is hidden, and attendees can't even drive themselves. Instead, buses transport them to a 2-3 day retreat.
Due to a litigation with Samsung, this Top 100 meeting's agenda was made public in 2014. This was a critical milestone in Apple's history, not a Top 100 meeting. Apple had many obstacles in the 2010s to remain a technological leader. Apple made more money with non-PC goods than with its best-selling Macintosh series. This was the last Top 100 gathering Steve Jobs would attend before passing, and he wanted to make sure his messages carried on before handing over his firm to Tim Cook.
In this post, we'll discuss lessons from Jobs' meeting agenda. Two sorts of entrepreneurs can use these tips:
Those who manage a team in a business and must ensure that everyone is working toward the same goals, upholding the same principles, and being inspired by the same future.
Those who are sole proprietors or independent contractors and who must maintain strict self-discipline in order to stay innovative in their industry and adhere to their own growth strategy.
Here's Steve Jobs's email outlining the annual meeting agenda. It's an 11-part summary of the company's shape and strategy.
Steve Jobs outlines Apple's 2011 strategy, 10/24/10
1. Correct your data
Business leaders must comprehend their company's metrics. Jobs either mentions critical information he already knows or demands slides showing the numbers he wants. These numbers fall under 2 categories:
Metrics for growth and strategy
As we will see, this was a crucial statistic for Apple since it signaled the beginning of the Post PC era and required them to make significant strategic changes in order to stay ahead of the curve. Post PC products now account for 66% of our revenues.
Within six months, iPad outsold Mac, another sign of the Post-PC age. As we will see, Jobs thought the iPad would be the next big thing, and item number four on the agenda is one of the most thorough references to the iPad.
Geographical analysis: Here, Jobs emphasizes China, where the corporation has a slower start than anticipated. China was dominating Apple's sales growth with 16% of revenue one year after this meeting.
Metrics for people & culture
The individuals that make up a firm are more significant to its success than its headcount or average age. That holds true regardless of size, from a 5-person startup to a Fortune 500 firm. Jobs was aware of this, which is why his suggested agenda begins by emphasizing demographic data.
Along with the senior advancements in the previous year's requested statistic, it's crucial to demonstrate that if the business is growing, the employees who make it successful must also grow.
2. Recognize the vulnerabilities and strengths of your rivals
Steve Jobs was known for attacking his competition in interviews and in his strategies and roadmaps. This agenda mentions 18 competitors, including:
Google 7 times
Android 3 times
Samsung 2 times
Jobs' agenda email was issued 6 days after Apple's Q4 results call (2010). On the call, Jobs trashed Google and Android. His 5-minute intervention included:
Google has acknowledged that the present iteration of Android is not tablet-optimized.
Future Android tablets will not work (Dead On Arrival)
While Google Play only has 90,000 apps, the Apple App Store has 300,000.
Android is extremely fragmented and is continuing to do so.
The App Store for iPad contains over 35,000 applications. The market share of the latest generation of tablets (which debuted in 2011) will be close to nil.
Jobs' aim in blasting the competition on that call was to reassure investors about the upcoming flood of new tablets. Jobs often criticized Google, Samsung, and Microsoft, but he also acknowledged when they did a better job. He was great at detecting his competitors' advantages and devising ways to catch up.
Jobs doesn't hold back when he says in bullet 1 of his agenda: "We further lock customers into our ecosystem while Google and Microsoft are further along on the technology, but haven't quite figured it out yet tie all of our goods together."
The plan outlined in bullet point 5 is immediately clear: catch up to Android where we are falling behind (notifications, tethering, and speech), and surpass them (Siri,). It's important to note that Siri frequently let users down and never quite lived up to expectations.
Regarding MobileMe, see Bullet 6 Jobs admits that when it comes to cloud services like contacts, calendars, and mail, Google is far ahead of Apple.
3. Adapt or perish
Steve Jobs was a visionary businessman. He knew personal computers were the future when he worked on the first Macintosh in the 1980s.
Jobs acknowledged the Post-PC age in his 2010 D8 interview.
Will the tablet replace the laptop, Walt Mossberg questioned Jobs? Jobs' response:
“You know, when we were an agrarian nation, all cars were trucks, because that’s what you needed on the farm. As vehicles started to be used in the urban centers and America started to move into those urban and suburban centers, cars got more popular and innovations like automatic transmission and things that you didn’t care about in a truck as much started to become paramount in cars. And now, maybe 1 out of every 25 vehicles is a truck, where it used to be 100%. PCs are going to be like trucks. They’re still going to be around, still going to have a lot of value, but they’re going to be used by one out of X people.”
Imagine how forward-thinking that was in 2010, especially for the Macintosh creator. You have to be willing to recognize that things were changing and that it was time to start over and focus on the next big thing.
Post-PC is priority number 8 in his 2010 agenda's 2011 Strategy section. Jobs says Apple is the first firm to get here and that Post PC items account about 66% of our income. The iPad outsold the Mac in 6 months, and the Post-PC age means increased mobility (smaller, thinner, lighter). Samsung had just introduced its first tablet, while Apple was working on the iPad 3. (as mentioned in bullet 4).
4. Plan ahead (and different)
Jobs' agenda warns that Apple risks clinging to outmoded paradigms. Clayton Christensen explains in The Innovators Dilemma that huge firms neglect disruptive technologies until they become profitable. Samsung's Galaxy tab, released too late, never caught up to Apple.
Apple faces a similar dilemma with the iPhone, its cash cow for over a decade. It doesn't sell as much because consumers aren't as excited about new iPhone launches and because technology is developing and cell phones may need to be upgraded.
Large companies' established consumer base typically hinders innovation. Clayton Christensen emphasizes that loyal customers from established brands anticipate better versions of current products rather than something altogether fresh and new technologies.
Apple's marketing is smart. Apple's ecosystem is trusted by customers, and its products integrate smoothly. So much so that Apple can afford to be a disruptor by doing something no one has ever done before, something the world's largest corporation shouldn't be the first to try. Apple can test the waters and produce a tremendous innovation tsunami, something few corporations can do.
In March 2011, Jobs appeared at an Apple event. During his address, Steve reminded us about Apple's brand:
“It’s in Apple’s DNA, that technology alone is not enough. That it’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities that yields us the results that make our hearts sink. And nowhere is that more true that in these Post-PC devices.“
More than a decade later, Apple remains one of the most innovative and trailblazing companies in the Post-PC world (industry-disrupting products like Airpods or the Apple Watch came out after that 2011 strategy meeting), and it has reinvented how we use laptops with its M1-powered line of laptops offering unprecedented performance.
A decade after Jobs' death, Apple remains the world's largest firm, and its former CEO had a crucial part in its expansion. If you can do 1% of what Jobs did, you may be 1% as successful.
6 months ago
Why Google's Hiring Process is Brilliant for Top Tech Talent
Without a degree and experience, you can get a high-paying tech job.
Most organizations follow this hiring rule: you chat with HR, interview with your future boss and other senior managers, and they make the final hiring choice.
If you've ever applied for a job, you know how arduous it can be. A newly snapped photo and a glossy resume template can wear you out. Applying to Google can change this experience.
According to an Universum report, Google is one of the world's most coveted employers. It's not simply the search giant's name and reputation that attract candidates, but its role requirements or lack thereof.
Candidates no longer need a beautiful resume, cover letter, Ivy League laurels, or years of direct experience. The company requires no degree or experience.
Elon Musk started it. He employed the two-hands test to uncover talented non-graduates. The billionaire eliminated the requirement for experience.
Google is deconstructing traditional employment with programs like the Google Project Management Degree, a free online and self-paced professional credential course.
Google's hiring is interesting. After its certification course, applicants can work in project management. Instead of academic degrees and experience, the company analyzes coursework.
Google finds the best project managers and technical staff in exchange. Google uses three strategies to find top talent.
Chase down the innovators
Google eliminates restrictions like education, experience, and others to find the polar bear amid the snowfall. Google's free project management education makes project manager responsibilities accessible to everyone.
Many jobs don't require a degree. Overlooking individuals without a degree can make it difficult to locate a candidate who can provide value to a firm.
Firsthand knowledge follows the same rule. A lack of past information might be an employer's benefit. This is true for creative teams or businesses that prefer to innovate.
Or when corporations conduct differently from the competition. No-experience candidates can offer fresh perspectives. Fast Company reports that people with no sales experience beat those with 10 to 15 years of experience.
Give the aptitude test first priority.
Google wants the best candidates. Google wouldn't be able to receive more applications if it couldn't screen them for fit. Its well-organized online training program can be utilized as a portfolio.
Google learns a lot about an applicant through completed assignments. It reveals their ability, leadership style, communication capability, etc. The course mimics the job to assess candidates' suitability.
Basic screening questions might provide information to compare candidates. Any size small business can use screening questions and test projects to evaluate prospective employees.
Effective training for employees
Businesses must train employees regardless of their hiring purpose. Formal education and prior experience don't guarantee success. Maintaining your employees' professional knowledge gaps is key to their productivity and happiness. Top-notch training can do that. Learning and development are key to employee engagement, says Bob Nelson, author of 1,001 Ways to Engage Employees.
Google's online certification program isn't available everywhere. Improving the recruiting process means emphasizing aptitude over experience and a degree. Instead of employing new personnel and having them work the way their former firm trained them, train them how you want them to function.
If you want to know more about Google’s recruiting process, we recommend you watch the movie “Internship.”
6 months ago
How to Produce a Month's Worth of Content for Social Media in a Day
New social media producers' biggest error
The Treadmill of Social Media Content
New creators focus on the wrong platforms.
They post to Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, etc.
They create daily material, but it's never enough for social media algorithms.
Creators recognize they're on a content creation treadmill.
They have to keep publishing content daily just to stay on the algorithm’s good side and avoid losing the audience they’ve built on the platform.
This is exhausting and unsustainable, causing creator burnout.
They focus on short-lived platforms, which is an issue.
Comparing low- and high-return social media platforms
Social media networks are great for reaching new audiences.
Their algorithm is meant to viralize material.
Social media can use you for their aims if you're not careful.
To master social media, focus on the right platforms.
To do this, we must differentiate low-ROI and high-ROI platforms:
Low ROI platforms are ones where content has a short lifespan. High ROI platforms are ones where content has a longer lifespan.
A tweet may be shown for 12 days. If you write an article or blog post, it could get visitors for 23 years.
ROI is drastically different.
New creators have limited time and high learning curves.
Nothing is possible.
First create content for high-return platforms.
ROI for social media platforms
Here are high-return platforms:
Your Blog - A single blog article can rank and attract a ton of targeted traffic for a very long time thanks to the power of SEO.
YouTube - YouTube has a reputation for showing search results or sidebar recommendations for videos uploaded 23 years ago. A superb video you make may receive views for a number of years.
Medium - A platform dedicated to excellent writing is called Medium. When you write an article about a subject that never goes out of style, you're building a digital asset that can drive visitors indefinitely.
These high ROI platforms let you generate content once and get visitors for years.
This contrasts with low ROI platforms:
The posts you publish on these networks have a 23-day lifetime. Instagram Reels and TikToks are exceptions since viral content can last months.
If you want to make content creation sustainable and enjoyable, you must focus the majority of your efforts on creating high ROI content first. You can then use the magic of repurposing content to publish content to the lower ROI platforms to increase your reach and exposure.
How To Use Your Content Again
So, you’ve decided to focus on the high ROI platforms.
You've published an article or a YouTube video.
You worked hard on it.
Now you have fresh stuff.
If you are not repurposing each piece of content for multiple platforms, you are throwing away your time and efforts.
You've created fantastic material, so why not distribute it across platforms?
Repurposing Content Step-by-Step
For me, it's writing a blog article, but you might start with a video or podcast.
The premise is the same regardless of the medium.
Start by creating content for a high ROI platform (YouTube, Blog Post, Medium). Then, repurpose, edit, and repost it to the lower ROI platforms.
Here's how to repurpose pillar material for other platforms:
Post the article on your blog.
Put your piece on Medium (use the canonical link to point to your blog as the source for SEO)
Create a video and upload it to YouTube using the talking points from the article.
Rewrite the piece a little, then post it to LinkedIn.
Change the article's format to a Thread and share it on Twitter.
Find a few quick quotes throughout the article, then use them in tweets or Instagram quote posts.
Create a carousel for Instagram and LinkedIn using screenshots from the Twitter Thread.
Go through your film and select a few valuable 30-second segments. Share them on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube Shorts, and Instagram Reels.
Your video's audio can be taken out and uploaded as a podcast episode.
If you (or your team) achieve all this, you'll have 20-30 pieces of social media content.
If you're just starting, I wouldn't advocate doing all of this at once.
Instead, focus on a few platforms with this method.
You can outsource this as your company expands. (If you'd want to learn more about content repurposing, contact me.)
You may focus on relevant work while someone else grows your social media on autopilot.
You develop high-ROI pillar content, and it's automatically chopped up and posted on social media.
This lets you use social media algorithms without getting sucked in.
Thanks for reading!