We are in build mode now, so let’s jump straight into this week’s updates.
Things that went well
Two-pronged approach for validating creator pain points
We realized there is still much to learn about the creator’s workflows. The main challenges we face right now are
Finding a wedge that will allow us to have conversations with a broader pool of creators
Validating where in the deal flow we can deliver a viable, feasible and desirable solution that is 10x better than what exists today.
The way we plan to achieve this is by
Improve an existing step in the creator’s workflow - ‘Reduce the time it takes for creators to build a media kit’.
Work with a small cohort of creators and complete the entire partnership deal process for them (mix of manual and scrappy tech)
Takeaway lesson: Before entering build mode, pause to assess what approaches will allow you to overcome your existing blindspots.
The pilot and creating a comically small target audience
Creator Media Kit: We plan to keep this open to all creators as we consistently heard this is a step that all creators engage in. Our new landing page is now live here
Partnership pilot: We decided to make the target audience comically small for two reasons.
To increase the chance of word-of-mouth among users who have had a positive experience.
To reduce the variables that would make us question the results
For our first cohort, we are targeting
Active on YouTube
Have an online and offline presence
Actively engage in outbound deal prospecting
Looking to charge a premium for posting on their channel
The goal of this pilot is to increase revenue by 30% for these creators.
Takeaway lesson: Being intentional about how you approach validating hypotheses can help you create clearer experiments.
Submitting our application to Sequoia
Applications for Sequoia Arc closed last week. Despite being pre-seed, we decided to throw our hat in the ring regardless.
This was a fantastic exercise as it forced us to consider things like
Go to market strategy
Overall there is a lot of room for improvement. If you are interested in seeing the deck, just respond to me by email or in the comments and I’ll happily share it with you.
Takeaway lesson: Go through the pitch/business case process earlier than you feel you need to. The process will highlight gaps in your understanding ahead of time.
Things that didn’t go to plan
Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) Future article
In April, an editor at Future by a16z subscribed to this newsletter; subsequently, they reached out and asked if I would write a paid article about the creator economy.
We worked on the pitch over email for a week or two before I began writing the piece. The title of the piece was ‘How new markets will be created for creator economy through the democratization of tooling’ (Still working on a more succinct title). It was an original piece of work that involved sourcing first-hand pain points from creators, interviewing founders, building for creators, and mapping out companies to watch in the space.
The experience was challenging but fantastic.
Unfortunately, after I submitted my 2,000-word draft, the editor I was working with informed me that they would be leaving the publication. Long story short, the new editor decided they wanted to go in a different direction and will be putting it on the shelf for now.
They are paying a very generous kill fee, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed. I plan to reach out to other publications or potentially even offer it as a paid reading piece here on Substack.
Takeaway lesson: Cast a wide net for opportunities to land but always evaluate trade-offs of decisions, as nothing is certain until it is.
Promoting the solution before you start
Admittingly I was consumed by the article I was writing last month, so I decided to prioritize this above noncritical tasks.
We are very close to having the media kit live for creators to use; however, if I could go back, I probably would have spent more time executing the go-to-market plan sooner. We are going live with campaigns this week to get people signed up to the waitlist, but in hindsight, these landing pages could have been live a few weeks ago.
Takeaway lesson: Don’t wait until your product is almost ready to launch before promoting it.
A Question For You
This section essentially abuses the structure I tried to commit to above.
Cool links to click on
The output of the prompt in the unhighlighted text
This image was generated using the following prompt
“A group of entrepreneurs building the future of the world in the style of a Tex Avery comic book”
Pricing - on the news of Stripe’s new pricing tool, here are 3 pricing articles recommended by a product lead at Stripe.