Hiten Shah is the co-founder of FYI, a company that helps you find your documents in 3 clicks or less. He previously co-founded CrazyEgg and KISSmetrics.
In this episode, Ben and Hiten discuss:Experimentation in business and building digital productsTypes of content that are useful to share today onlineHow content types affect attention and shareability
Hiten Shah - Fyi - Spotlight Podcast
Tue, 9/29 3:46PM • 53:26
people, community, content, tweet, twitter, point, relevant, thinking, companies, podcast, read, folks, build, listening, attention, newsletters, talking, product, listicle, writing
Hiten, Ben Tossell
Hey everybody, it's Ben here, founder of make fat, a platform teaching individuals and companies how to build custom software workflows and tools without writing code. This show explores the people behind the no code tools and the stories of folks using them to automate work and launch companies. Okay, so welcoming. Heaton shows the show via a friend, a mentor of mine for a while now. I'll let him introduce himself. Did you have making the new belts? So I'll let you give a little intro?
Yeah, well, it's always great to talk to you, regardless of what's going on, whether it's in the world or our personal lives. I I'm heating, I build a built software for quite some time now, probably over 15 years. So I feel like grandpa a lot of the times these days is kind of what I'm realizing, because I see things that people say, and I'm like, Oh, I know about that. 10 years ago, 15 years ago. So I am h en Sha h n sh h on Twitter, that's probably the most public place that I exist. Besides that, I've started a couple companies, crazyegg and kissmetrics. They're both SAS analytics companies. And recently I started a company called FYI, helps you find your documents in three clicks or less. It's us FYI, calm. And outside of that I've probably spent time with like 10,000 plus founders, or folks who are considering starting stuff, or even folks who work at tech companies over the last, I don't know, 17 years, maybe even more than 10,000. I don't know. So I enjoy talking to folks. And I've invested in about 150 plus companies now.
Awesome. Yeah, well, I've been very fortunate to be one of those sentinels that normal people and I've had a few slots. I said before we started recording, I each had to do like, once a year or something to go get a coffee walk around the block. And he told me all the things I'm not doing quite right and should be thinking about.
That's only because he asked about it. If you
don't ask me, you're not gonna get the answer. Exactly.
Yeah, I think, yeah, we can do this
over zoom now, which is a strength that we do publicly. You mentioned in your intro about being a grandfather, sometimes you've seen it all before type thing. So we talked about this podcast, but there's, there was like, a talk about how much email or how many newsletters they're on going on right now, which is very apparent. I think Neville just sat home, reading, watching, listening to things. And then something I tweeted quite a while ago, which was, like everything used. If you keep on googling stuff, like how to start a startup, how to do something, you've already read it, like, how much difference is there in what the Oji articles were back? When you were starting stuff, if there were many, versus what comes out? Now with long format, everything just seems to be the game to get clicks and attention. It's just so this is how you really start stuffing person who's a company to yours versus us.
I yeah, I find it I find it really fascinating. I think most of the stuff people ask me is gullible. So I like getting into conversations where things I've always been like this where it's very contextual and relevant to the person I'm talking to. So when I look at most things that are out there that are about starting up, nothing's actually changed in the content zero, like, I like zero, not 1%, not like, Oh, this one thing is different, or the tactics you hear about are different. Everything is literally exactly the same. And the reason for that is, back in the day, there weren't that many people writing about starting things. And so the quality of that content was actually super high. And the folks who I would give a massive shout out to the folks at Basecamp because they were one of the first to really like demonstrate how to launch software businesses, even with like a waitlist or like a Early Access Program or a rolling like number of signups. One of their products, I think had like 100, a day that they were letting in, like for the first X amount of time. And they blogged about all of it, like that whole like in public and transparent. Like they were very close to that outside of actually sharing revenue. But they were always sharing like things. And so I would say that a lot of what's old is new again. So when I see like some of these things come out even with a twist on them. I'm very cynical about it these days because not not just because of what you're saying about, oh, people are just doing it for traffic. But I think when it comes to content, newsletters There's videos, courses, all these things. It's fast. It's fascinating. It's almost like a to me like a double edged sword in life today, where like, on one hand, I love seeing more people creating content, just anytime, like, I think that's great. I think people are getting their ideas on paper, so to speak, and putting them out there is wonderful. Also, at the same time, it's very rare for that content today to hit a bar where I'm like, oh, wow, this is like, educational for me. This is something I haven't heard before read before or it's a twist on it that's like really compelling. That's in short order. You don't find a lot of that kind of stuff out there today, what you find is what you said, like lots of the same stuff, lots of the stuff that you could have googled and found already, but yet someone decided to write it anyway. For whatever reason, maybe they didn't Google it, maybe they thought it was unique. And the double edged sword for me is like, I have to appreciate the fact that there are people that are coming on to the internet and trying to do things that are new, like meaning they're new to it. And they might not have heard that stuff before. You know, I don't want to hate this is not about hate. It's just about like this reality, we're in that there's going to be more repetitive content that existed before that now, if for some reason exists again, and you're kind of adding to that pile. That's what I see a lot of.
Yeah. But I didn't think of it like that. Have you caught like the process or the structure of that content? Whatever it is, like, how to get customers something? It's been around for a while, because anyone who's new within timeframe, because exact same thing. Comes with all the same conclusion half? Oh, that makes sense.
Yeah, it's kind of like a cohort thing, right? Where like new cohorts come in. And then they do the same thing that old cohorts did. And these cohorts are basically people new to starting up. The thing that I love absolutely, is when somebody shares the details of their experience, doing it, you share the tactics, they share the the numbers, and that is actually some of the most beautiful content that I love to share, because it demonstrates it actually does demonstrate how things might have been, might be different than before. Yeah, because it talks about the tactics and and I know you've done that in the past, and a lot of your business has to do with sharing, I mean, your whole thing is about sharing the things that you started doing, and then turning it into this platform, marketplace, whatever you want to call it. And I've just watched you iterate it, it's been fantastic. And it's similar. So I would say that, you know, for anyone listening, if you're going to create content, like sharing your stories, and the gory details of it will never get old. Yeah, it is
one of the things that people seem to mess up every single time. Even even whatever context of like, oh, what what podcast cuz I stopped watching their music, because I started what idea what things I build, when you're looking at those things. And I've definitely gone through this before to talk to you about is if I'm seeing the evolution of me to start selling or start something. And then spend all that time part time learning about community and lots of different entrepreneurs. And then I learned loads of stuff and then put them together. And then I learned these people talking about their businesses publicly. And then some other problems, some other sort of interest group probably came in there. And it's difficult to talk about all of that. And one, one thing, that's when those other people started coming towards the community, this is ordinances like when he talks about that intersection of one or more tests, there's a huge group of people inside will resonate with that piece too. And then you almost become that center of gravity for those interest group and not some some building community. Would you then can continue to iterate long might build a product from be I think, no, just no must be told, like, Oh, it's just from experience and through your interest and through experiences where you will come up with an idea at some point. This is our audience now. People want to hear
exactly, right. Pin pin in. This is why I think there is a lot of fatigue because things take a lot more vulnerability, honesty, transparency, those kind of things to really stand out from the crowd, or they're just deep. Like, they just have depth. And in some ways, depth is like you writing a guide on how to, you know, build whatever it is that someone's trying to build, you know, out of the million things that you've written, and teaching somebody how to build it using no code. Without having to be an engineer. I mean, there are the, the best stuff is the stuff that's relevant in the world right now. And that has like this, almost like, tail wind effect to it, where it's like, you know, you almost like find these patterns. And these patterns or like, in your case, for your business, there's a certain pattern of a type of content type of guide type of experience that you can create. And the funny thing is, that's the same thing that happens across people and companies, too. So you're starting, like, like the the listicle. listicles are still a thing. Yeah, most of the things you see today that are that get a lot of traction as listicles are listicles on steroids. Like literally, it's like a beefed up like, like burly like article where you're just like, Damn, they want to spend a lot of time on this, or the there's like a lot of illustrations to it or something. So it's almost like the bar is so high. And yet there's a lot of content that's just below the bar. You know, and I think that's the reality that we live in. I'm what I'm concerned about is the pattern that I'm seeing now, or the experience I'm seeing now is like, even if something's high quality, that doesn't mean it's going to get the audience. Yeah. And that wasn't the case before, because there was just less content.
Yeah, well, that we'll touch on that in a sec. But the listicles been interesting to me, because that was like that my first ever product was a version of that it was a marketing stack. It's an overview of marketing resources. So I just sifting through what I thought was good as for social media tools, or content marketing, or any of these other things. Actually, it's funny that someone, there's another Twitter thread somewhere. I posted something saying, Well, the reason I asked Twitter for a recommendation for like a box model, or a piece of software that I'm trying to use, is because I trust that I've somehow attracted the right people with different interests as me who will just who have done the work for me at some point in time, and thought, this is a microphone you need or this is the whatever you need. And this is why I recommended this evening is Google showed me six ads for selling to do with like puppy related stuff, because I recently had a puppy and a dog suicide this whole year, it's under consumption and curation part. It's always there as a bigger value piece of people.
And you can you can trust that it's real time, you can trust that it's the latest, and it's up to date, because those people are using these products. And it I think trust is a big factor on content. And as a lot of our trusted sources for that type of content, have sold out, not necessarily in a bad way someone made money. The wire cutter is a good example. You start basically trusting them less. And then you go to Twitter, because you trust Twitter, because a human is going to respond to you. So I think that whole concept you said about asking about things on Twitter, the result is a listicle of some kind. And it's because we like those. And this is a trusted listicle. Because it's not like one editorial viewpoint. It's literally everyone piling on trying to help you out and try to share their favorite x, basically. And so it's funny, I see a lot of things like there used to be now there's less of this, but a lot of things like months ago where it's like, oh, this is an engagement hack or this and that it's like, yeah, it gets engagement. But if I really have a question that I want the answer, or I kind of want to like sort of collectively find solutions. It's one of the best ways to do it, if not the best, fastest way to do it. Even if you have a relatively small audience, you can tweet a question. You can tweet something where people kind of you request a reply. And it's a it's like really robust, and it's really fast, and it's actually very high quality. And it usually hits a really high bar in terms of quality and sort of relevant. So I'm glad you mentioned that I didn't make the connection to those two things until we started talking about it.
Yeah, there's even like, um, people will rule out the things that you will debate If you've got a couple things, three things in your head, if 17 people say that one thing one person says, another, and then four others say this other one is really shitty. You're like, Okay, done. Like, that's all the cognitive
quality is so high and nobody loses. It takes everybody like 30 seconds to give you that response. Not a big deal. Right? That that that form of community. That's instant on Twitter is insane. Yeah.
Yeah. I mean, you don't have to do work, too. Well, I mean, let's do let's get good aliens to do a full year's photos. But it's not like they're gonna bring up 6000 doing research
work. I've seen high quality responses with people with hundreds of followers. Right? Because it just amplifies because other people are curious about the answer to and that's one of the biggest values of Twitter, where you're doing it in public, other people amplify, amplify it because they are curious to, they want the answer. And all it takes is someone with 10,000 followers to amplify it. And, you know, it'll still get your 50 responses or whatever.
Yeah, actually, into the abundance of like emails and things like that content on the internet. with Twitter, for example, I've noticed a certain subset of people who are building a brand to sow a course, or sow a community or sell something, kind of like what I did, but I did it unintentionally, I didn't try and I wasn't doing certain types of tweets, certain cases of it, to try and do that thing. But now I see like, you can see certain people have very similar, the tweet structure is the same. And it's all about like, showing the quotes on the phone, had it been philosophical or something that was just contributing to the just like, abundance of content, that tweet basis oppose. And it's sort of that's the similar thing that we're seeing everywhere else, which is about, okay, I get your point where you're building stuff without code, and you can do without code, you don't need to tell me five times a day, and different like, ways that no code is the best because of this thing. Like, if
you're what you're gonna see, and what you see is, people have a lot of energy for doing that until they get exhausted. And you see this like, this is like continuous. So you essentially have a massive public forum, where everyone can see everything everyone else does, if they want to. The search box on Twitter is extremely powerful. Like, you don't need hashtags. Like I don't understand, like, like, why you would even dream of hashtags at this point on Twitter, Instagram is a whole different story. But Twitter, like it's a, it's text medium, putting the hash, and something just screws up people's brains when they see it. And so you have this public forum, you see people, watch other people and have success, and try to extract the patterns out, and then repeat them. And the thing that I've learned about this, is, it's very psychological. And what I mean by that is, and I've seen like, you know, not gonna call them famous, but like, public company CEOs. Get on Twitter, get a win, like a win meaning like, thousand retweets plus, right? First when, and it might have been like a thread or something. And then they start tweeting about their breakfast and their pizza that they're eating. And, and I think in my head, I know what happened there, you just get a high from tweeting, and getting a response and that dopamine hit, and then you keep doing it. And I feel like what happens in the example you gave is that there are a bunch of patterns, people start seeing, and then they imitate them. And then they keep imitating them because they work. And they work just means some vanity metrics around reach and amplification, etc. And then they get exhausted at some point, because you can't keep doing that. Because that is like a cookie cutter. Like you just keep doing it. And it's not like you're gonna lose followers, you'll gain followers, but what happens is, what your followers came to you for, is that consistent, like repetition of some kind? Because otherwise, why would they follow you if they would unfollow you, if they didn't like it to somebody that they liked it? It's there. And then you get exhausted of that type of content. And the reason is, it's cookie cutter. It's not necessarily easy to do either. It's still hard because you can't like unless you're Jason Calacanis, not to blow up his spot. You're not going to copy Someone else's tweet, you're just not. There are a few people that will shamelessly he's one of them. And he's done it and no judgment that he's like messing with Twitter, just like all of us. But like, there's no end to that. So what I found because I played with every format that I feel comfortable with, there's a bunch I don't, but almost every format I can. And what I realized is like, when you think in formulas and formats on Twitter, you actually lose the value and the beauty of Twitter. And, and so I think like, it takes a lot more thought to do the harder stuff, that's actually better if you want to call it that for your brand. Well, yeah, better for your brand. It's not even if you want to call it that. It's much easier to do the cookie cutter stuff, but you burn out faster if you think of it like that, because then you're on some treadmill. And these days, I think of the treadmill analogy a lot. Partly because a Will Smith who says if you get on a treadmill, and I get on a treadmill, I'm either dying, or you're getting off first, right. And that's awesome. But the treadmill I'm talking about is like the repetition of something, that if you get off it, you fall down, because it's gonna keep going, it's gonna stay on, there's no OFF button. And that's what happens a lot with some of these sort of this style of tweeting. But it's because it's publicly available, and everyone can see other people's success. Like right now, the pattern I see is like, and I don't blame these folks for it. It's just their style for this idea of like, the keeps trying to say 37 signals, but again, that dates Me too. But folks at Basecamp, you know, that they choose, they pick a fight, they, they pick an enemy, and they go after that enemy in as many ways as possible. I'm seeing a lot of folks on Twitter is starting to do a little bit more of that. Yeah, and, and it's okay, it's okay. Like, like, people are gonna do it. But like, I don't know, like, if that's not you don't do it. Yeah, they do it. They do it super well, the odit. They just own it, like and it's not actually out of hate. It's not I had to like I was I misunderstood it until like I started like seeing what they're doing and why they're doing it. They're like, Look, we have a point of view. And we don't care what you think about our point of view, we have a point of view, and we're going to share it. What I'm seeing a lot more of is not that I'm seeing a lot more of like hating for the sake of hating. It's interesting seeing,
there's a couple of differences that I'm seeing too. So one is like, okay, I'll use myself as an example. But But without some glasses for which is no coding is the best thing you can do, which I do. But I don't repackage a tweet in several different ways every single day and just use it as that. And there's a lot of people who do that because like you said they have one when an excellent hits an excellent headsets on tribe of people who think new voting is the best thing to do. So they just keep doing that and keep throwing up your doesn't mean. And then there's another style, which to heal from gumroad does really well, with his tweets. He knows he's setting them up as shareable. But startup tidbits or whatever, what he's doing is he doesn't from the things that he had to go through that day, authentic stores all that data. And then from his experience, it's about this other journey. And just like building digital selling digital products, and fans, his name chaton from benchmark. He He's my favorite followers on Twitter recently, even Yes, for his in the tweet looks the same about these, like big public companies. I just thought about. Okay, so workday had 2017 48% service revenue versus weather product, and then he's like broken down. But that's like new stuff and stuff. It changes all the time. So that's really interesting. So I'd love to see like how I think stuff is creeping into email newsletters stuff, because people start to subscribe because they think, well, I've got an audience, I've got a community, let's like build a brand off of this. And then now my writing continues to be more of the same. I'm just like, extending my point further longer errors in multiple bills. And then it's like you said the needs are the same pool of content, which hasn't changed much learning much. So how does the hits are less or infrequent, and less then individual viewpoints on a relevant topic at the relevant time is instruction that works. I mean, Do you subscribe to
way too many? Way too many? The better question is like, how many Am I reading? Well,
wouldn't wouldn't the same thing? Shouldn't it be that you just unsubscribe from ones? You don't
know, I keep them. Because a lot of them like are interesting sometimes, but not interesting all the time. You know, here's the, here's the messed up thing, right? Like, the relevance of that content to you right now matters more than anything else. And so unstopping is, is like, Well, you know, if I like the writer, and I like the way they write, and I in like, I appreciate it, I might keep it, but only opening when I feel like it. Right. And I think that's what that's where we're headed. That's where we are. But that's also how I mean, it even goes back to that double edged sword I'm talking about, you know, I was talking about earlier, which is like, Who am I to say a piece of content should not exist or shitty? Yeah, like, Who am I to say that because if it's good for someone, and someone's gonna get value from it, by all means, it probably should exist. And that's a double edged sword. It's the same thing with email. It's like, it's just not relevant to me. That's why I go for the grandpa move now cuz I'm like, yo, like, and there's, there's someone, a friend of mine, I used to call grandpa cuz like, he's definitely grandpa compared to me. But like, these days, I'm like, Nah, dude, I've turned into him. Like, I feel cranky about things that I feel like, you know, like, when I talk to a lot of these people, like folks who are kind of newer at attack, starting their first thing, I used to be able to give them context about whatever they're trying to do. That was relevant to them really fast that they understood because of some historical relevance, right? Like, I could talk about 37 signals and give some frameworks or some idea ideas these days, I can't. So so it's kind of interesting, because their frame of reference is literally like, you know, I was reading, I was on Twitter. And Sahil said, x, or navall said, Why? And I'm like, you know, you could even talk to those two. And they would tell you, like, Don't listen to any tweet, like, it doesn't matter. Right. Like, it's like, I'm tweeting, because I want to, I'm tweeting, because that's what I do. I'm not tweeting necessarily, because you should go do what I say. Right? And that that, I think, is lost on people in a lot of ways, especially with Twitter. And so these days, when they say all that, I'm like, Well, have you thought through if what they're saying is actually relevant to you? And how it's relevant to you? And usually the answer is no.
But yes, like this, he'll sing that is that sort of thing to him, his company has, after having the experiences he has the interest, he has all of the other pieces.
I mean, half the things, half the things, if not more, that both of them tweet, I'm like, no, it's got advice. Like, it's just bad advice. But like, if you're taking it as advice, that's the problem. Right? Even me, like reading it as advice. That's the problem. It's not it's, it's a single person's experience. And their thought, it's almost like, like, you know, back in the day, you had like Karl Marx and, and you had like all these other folks, and they've written a bunch of books, and either you believe it, or you don't, right, either resonates or it doesn't, but it's not really advice. And that's the weird thing. advice is like, hey, you're in this situation. Here's like, how you can think about it from my sort of perspective. Right? That's advice. That's not a tweet. A tweet is not advice,
though. People just rule almost condition to go to read that thing right now. It's gonna be bad, rather than not right now. That's the thing for me at this point, and we forget the fact that you should just let things go. And things like your inbox, and there's loads of emails come in, you think, Okay, well, I'll get to those at some point, like this week, and you don't do it. And you know, I'll do it. So at some point when some, some part of your university connects motivated to that. I mean, that is the thing that you've got to happen properly. So just get rid of them is not more obligation to apply. But saying if the tweets and newsletters I find the same, and it's not like I need to put them somewhere. So at some point, when I'm thinking of communities, I'm thinking about communities submiss look up. All the things they're saying. This is why these pockets when people complain about pocket, are not saving bookmarking articles because they're like, I never gets food is it? It's a complete, it's not the point. But is it should be a referencing. So when you're thinking, Oh, yeah, I remember I was trying to figure b2b sales, you know, type some stuff. So along the way,
it's like your personal encyclopedia. Yeah. You don't get through an encyclopedia. That's not the point, right? Yeah.
Yeah, I think. I mean, yeah, I like having all this, you know, he recently I've started having more newsletters, put them in Split inbox, flicking through the net one day, I'm just like, I don't want to read anything today. Just clear them. And they're not there. For me the next day, I haven't read it. Or if I don't want to read it, I guess it's okay. If that idea comes back up, when it's in a schedule must be shared on Twitter from my crowd. I'll see you then as well. So people just yeah,
that anxiety should be pretty low for most people have like missing out on something at this point, you don't show up, you don't need to be first, you don't need to be early and that contextual relevance to what you're concerned about, or thinking about right now. It's also how books work. It's how content generally works, right? It's like, if it's relevant to you right now, and you read it, you're gonna get a lot out of it. If you read it a year ago, it might not mean anything to you, if you read a year from now, it might have a completely different meaning. And I think that's like, that's, that's what it tweets, like, that's what blog posts are about, I mean, it's just about the relevance to the human being who's reading it, right now. And so in a way, it's like, I don't think the fatigue is going to go away. And I don't think the amount of content is going to get, it's not going to reduce, it's going to get more, and the format's are going to get you know, different. And get iterated on even a tweet storm is really a listicle in a lot of ways, if not a blog post in some ways, right. And it's just a different format, same same type of same type of material.
It's gonna happen when, instead of text or writing, it becomes more of a Oh, that was on a podcast, and that was on a video saw. And then all these forwards are actionable across different media phones,
your your level of attention with these different mediums is what really dictates how much they spread. So in podcasting, your level of attention on the podcast is high, your level of attention on everything else is relatively low, except the one thing you're doing while you're listening to the podcast. So if you're cooking, while you're listening to podcast, your attention is mostly on the podcast from just listening standpoint. But your attention on like any, like everything else is consumed by the thing you're doing. Right. And so when you when you when you think of it that way, I can't see a world where you're gonna have lots of content coming out of podcasts, by the listeners, because the listeners job is not to sit there and listen to the podcast and do nothing else. While when you're reading content, your job, like what you're doing is you're sitting there reading the content, you can literally maybe listen to music. At the same time, maybe depending on who you are, but not really, what you're really doing is you're reading that content, you're not really doing anything else, you're consumed by it, it's on your phone, or it's right in front of your computer. And so that is more conducive to you having the attention to abstract something out of it, and share it or take notes or whatever. So I find podcasting, even video has kind of a similar issue in my mind, where if your your attentions on it, it's there. But the ways to extract information from a video and share it is actually not that compelling. Like it's very hard to do. It's like screenshots and crap like that. So I'm not saying there needs to be tools or anything like that. I'm sure there will be tools for everything these days. But I think my point is like, we have to think about the medium and what people are doing, when they're engaging with it and where their attention is. If you think about it that way, then we'll go back to text content. Because that is the content that gets the most attention. When someone's consuming it even more than video even though like people might look at me like thinking I'm crazy. But if the intention is that there's value that comes out of it and get shared video, video, it's easy to be like, yo, watch this video. With content, it's easier to be like Yo, read this article, actually, here's like, my favorite sentence from it. Right? Like, it's much easier to share that and talk in that language than saying, here's the best clip from this hour long talk. How do you get that out? and share it with somebody and make it a thing you don't like? It's like it's almost impossible. And it's not tools tools aren't the problem. It's our cognitive load and how much attention we have on the thing. So it's not that your attention less on a video. It's just that your ability to do something with it to spread It is a lot less while on text. It's like, a couple clicks, right?
Yeah, I mean, I can't do even when I'm working if I'm in the zone of doing something, I forget that there's nothing on in the background at all. Um, so maybe that sounds so as you listen to this podcast, I can't do one or the other on the microphone, I'm just gonna, why don't you try, even like a TV in the background that certainly wouldn't get you to watch the displays all day. And I can work to that that's fine, fixed, more menial tasks, I guess. Or even just like, website stuff. Via podcast, I have to be exercising otherwise. And then listen to it or go for a walk or something. But yeah, I struggle to like feel like I have to fit them in. Because then like, what I want to try and make sure I'm listening to it, and getting out of it. Even if I'm on the bike, and I listen to something, I try and do like a panting voice note to myself saying, say this sentence, we'll do it again off. See what it says? Like, actually fucking nothing What I remembered, and I was like, I don't know why I was. So I'm not gonna go back to this was our long podcast, jump on it. No. So yes, that's how.
And it's funny. Like, I love Audible, because they let you just with a tap bookmark a piece of like, bookmark anytime. And you can write a note on it. And because of the way podcasts are decentralized, it's almost impossible to like, do that. I haven't seen an app that does that. But even that, like, you know, you're not you're doing something else, usually when you're listening to podcast, as you mentioned, and it's nonsensical. So that's why I think the relevant to me right now is really where content like where, where the content that kind of hits somebody really mad, really like works. That's why you'll see. I mean, and this is just how humans are like, that's why humans love news. Because news tends to be eternally relevant in the moment when it shows up for you. Right? If right now, like somehow, you got an apple news, like notification, even on your computer, and it was some crazy thing, you probably would get distracted by it right now, because it's just relevant. Right? So news is an interesting paradigm to study if you're thinking about content, and attention and sort of, you know, what to do about kind of the current situation of abundant?
Yes. What do you think people should, should be doing? Or could be doing? to try? And I mean, I've got my community apps on right now, because I was chatting with Greg. So that sort of Yeah. He's talking about if you, you sort of put out content which is hundred employees, people to process interest groups, which wasn't good enough and conversation with them and said, this, the things you plan, it'll reply to you. But then if there's 15, newsletters someone's tried to, I'm not going to subscribe to another one. Does it get harder every week? Because you're missing? Well, quote, unquote, missing, missing the fact that you didn't get them sooner? Is it more? Is it more to get into product territory, where I'm saying, This is why we do a lifetime model? Because you've got you Shopify, Spotify, Netflix, you've got Disney first, you got What? You got so many monthly subscriptions. And only so much time. At some point, you start thinking, Well, I didn't use that this month or last month. So I turn off, like, does it get into that territory of I've got to make sure that every piece of content is way better? Are we higher quality? And actually, Does that help? The whole situation below?
I think it completely depends on the context of the community. So you know, who's the audience? What do they sign up for? And what is the value delivery mechanism? So the best counter example, which is not paid, but it's close is Seth Godin. He writes short stuff, his stuff is high quality, he's got a style, right? People would probably pay for that style. I mean, they have it his books, right. But they probably pay a subscription to hear more stuff from Seth. That's fascinating. That That, to me, kind of breaks a lot of the mold around worrying about things like quality from the aspect of, of depth, or quantity. It makes you think about kind of, why does Seth Godin content work? And really like, like thinking through what is the type of content that will create, the community you want and then help make sure that the That community and in the way that they treat your content is relevant to them, and relevant to you to keep creating. And so a lot of times communities have been started because, and I see a lot of this, especially with like, investors, for example, almost every investor, that's like a fund somehow thinks they need a slack group, or a slack like team. And they're building a community, it is a community of their founders. But the commonality is the Venture Fund, which is no offense to them, they need to exist, but they're just money. And then it's like, well, if I'm, if I've raised a bunch of money from a bunch of people, am I going to be part of like, 10 different slack groups, from these 10 different investors? And that's a fascinating question. Right? In a category where like, I don't know how the investors can continuously deliver value to that audience. But yet there is a power dynamic, right, and some form of an obligation. So I'm not I'm not ignoring that. But it's a good case study in community because it it's a, it's, it's the type where it's relevant to me, because they invested in my company. But it's also the type where I might not care about the content that much. And yeah, that that that kind of proves a point of like, if you're a community, if you're creating community, like the best communities are when the content feels relevant to the audience, every single time. And it has to feel relevant to enough of the audience, and enough of the time. So that's like the bar and into the best communities that I've seen, are just like the best products that have a strong affinity with the audience, and a deep understanding of that audience and their needs, in the context of why they're there. So if so, like, you find a lot of these founder communities that are created by investors.
usually whatever content investor wants to promote, or, or whatever webinar they want to do, because they want to provide an add value. And there's some form of discussion, but the thing is the alternative to getting the information you can get from those from that community. There's many alternatives.
Yeah. Yeah. And, yeah, I discussed this with Greg, about, we'll talk talking about people, you can sign up for a product that gives you the form out of the box you see here, you know, build a community? Well, it's very, very difficult to do that. And people would always ask me after product and they said, can you build the community for my product? Be heartless, I was always just like, No, probably not. That's not the point. And doesn't matter that you just have like a slack group or telegram group or whatever it is. And I found it interesting recently, because make Patty's learning community. But we come together around no code building. And then it was kind of like what a similar sites that have a really strong community, but don't do like just a slap in the world forum. So we looked at GitHub, which has a huge community. There's the GitHub Slack, not the rugby in it. But there is that. So then I looked in webflow, and of the figma, none of these have official, like, slack groups, whether they've got a forum, which is discourse, so you have like a separate sign in for that. And I was always like, no, it's gonna have single sign on with this, and this, everything's gonna be connected. And then you look at companies that are loved by their community, who just don't do that. And it's like, this is why it's not just about oh, this but the community, right. But forum. Yes. Have you got customers? Yes, they was a community that because that's not the point. The point is the shared commonality, how much like, love and affiliation there is there with what you put as a company rather than just a YouTube chat if you use the same tool?
Yeah, community doesn't work without brand affinity. And, and all those brands have affinity because of the utility they provide in people's lives. It's very basic. Right? And so they can almost do anything and get away with it. Because they they didn't. I mean, these people didn't start from scratch. thigma didn't start with a community. They started with a tool. And then the community kind of got around the tool and one of the best places to look his twitter and see if there's a community forming on Twitter around what you're doing, or what your business is. And it's there is whether it's because of you or not, there's probably a massive opportunity to consolidate, you know, all those people in one place in the right ways. And yeah, then it's on. So in a way, like, I think your whole site is your community, just like GitHub. And that's probably the way I would play it out. If it were me.
Yeah, no, that makes sense. For sure. Um, yeah, I mean, like, Reddit, there's a subreddit for everything. Right. And then miniature communities within community.
Yeah, as much as I like talking about communities. I'm by no means any expert. I actually really rely on David Spinks, hefty keys, a community expert at this point. You know, I know he's helped a lot of organizations at the same time, like, I do think about brand a lot. And I think community and brand go together in extreme ways. And it can go both ways. You can mess up a good brand, by messing up the community. Pretty Yeah. I think Digg is a good example of that. Yeah, yeah. I
think just, it becomes one of the first things people think about thinking, Okay, well, I can write blog posts, build a community that can sell them something. So that's like, posting works. And then people talking about community being about this. Like, there's real ways to actually build the tools or set things like them, I gonna get things done kiss. Yeah. This stuff? Sure. I just wanted to mention briefly before we wrap up about the reinventions product studio, so bag, has launched this product studio, which has like they invest in some companies to do with internet communities, they build some companies to do these, and then they work with other companies, other insect communities. I've always loved the studio model. In theory, this always seems to be like backed by event by a venture capitalist or venture firm or something fair, it never really comes out cool. In the end always seems to be like some sort of failure, it didn't quite work out the way that it should. But all ingredients seem to be there. Maybe it's just not venture, doing and more people would are going to start having this, oh, you're going to use that. Also building a few products that are to do with no code, for example. And I also work with some companies, I know kind of stuff on my own little studio. And this is how I, there's a vibrant community around me. Beautiful, increase.
Oh, this is a heck of a topic. It's just a heck of a topic. And the reason for that is like, I don't, I think we're giving a name to something that has a different name, and the different name, it's called experimentation. And it's how businesses are built. And so to me, when I hear studio, I hear a lab, and I hear that you're going to do a bunch of experiments. And there's a format for these experiments. So Greg's format is, there's a playbook he's probably got or thinking of, and he wants to see more communities, and people who want to create them and wants to sort of influence them. Right, I'm not gonna say fun, I think it's really influenced at that point, and have, you know, a say in how they're built. That's he, his lab. And we've had that construct forever. We've had it in schools, we've had it in pharma, we've had it everywhere into the lab, and these are experiments, and some of them will work, some of them will fail. That's it. And I think like the way that folks have historically thought of this is where it was where the problem lies, and the folks have historically thought of it, like, I'm going to build a bunch of these and this is just one model, but it is what I've seen is kind of the where the name comes from, in a way, where it's like, if we're gonna build a bunch of these, we're gonna we're gonna get them funded. And, and they're gonna, like, spin out of the studio. What ends up happening with that model usually is that one thing gets spun out of the studio. One thing because out of all those experiment, they realized that like, there's one thing that got all the attention and was driving it, or they just fail, because it wasn't a good model, like like the incentives are not aligned with the people that are working on it. And something just breaks. So I'm not at all not like into this. I think it's a great thing, but we should call it a set it It's a method for experimentation. And it was called that and realize that like, it's not, it's not a viable way to come up with lots and lots of ideas. And I mean, lots of like lots of successful businesses, it's not necessarily the way that lots of successful businesses get kind of popped out. That being said, like, if you're doing one where the intention is, we're going to help build a number of different communities, that's a little bit different in my mind, because it's experimentation, using a methodology with the specific like, construct of communities. That's like almost saying, we're gonna build as many like we're gonna run in a studio and build productivity tools. Right, that
cost in a certain format around a certain topic and spit out?
Yeah. In the in the productivities tools, I kind of say a lot on purpose, because it's like, well, should it just be one tool? And you just keep adding features to it? It's probably most likely Well, with the community. It can't. I mean, the big debate, and this is I know, you had the call with them. And I don't know what what the content was, but like, is it Reddit? Just it like? And the answer is no, the answer is actually, every community has special needs. And if you can deliver on those special needs, your version of that community will be better than the subreddit. And I think your business is a good example of that. I'm sure there's a no code subreddit.
Yeah, it's just no variant. So it didn't start there. Which is great. Because that's obviously.
So you know, in your case, I think it makes sense. It's just the way to run experiments, give it a fancy date. But at the end of the day, it's like it's one person running experiments or a team running experiments, and bringing on other people to run experiments with them. That's the studio. Yeah.
Awesome. Well, I appreciate you coming on. Always fun. See, we've filled the time, but well, without having any agenda whatsoever. You're gonna be here. Final thoughts from anywhere? attend community chat? We just,
I don't know, I think I think we're in a brave new world in many different ways. And it's just really interesting to see how what kind of conversations are coming up now that like, you know, this is the reality we live in with, like, so much online, and so much abundance of content. It's an abundance of content. And I mean, it's no surprise, like, there's always been an abundance of content in different areas. I think there's just an abundance of content right now in many different topics, many different personalities, many, many, many different personalities, many different mediums, lots of options. And, you know, the fatigue always sets in, when there's when there's abundance, like, just think about constipation, and all the things that happen when you overeat. Same.
Awesome. Well, yeah, I appreciate you coming on. That you've already told the folks where to find you on Twitter. Yep. Sounds good. Thanks so much for listening. You can find us online at maker pad.co or on Twitter at make bad we'd love to hear if you enjoyed this episode, and what we should do next.