BR#29: Created By And For [...]

In his book, Skin in the Game, Nassim Taleb highlights the link between having skin in the game and making good decisions about risk, ethics, and resilience.

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In his book, Skin in the Game, Nassim Taleb highlights the link between having skin in the game and making good decisions about risk, ethics, and resilience.

The same can be said about making good product-related decisions. You will always understand your customer’s needs and wants better if you are, or at least used to be, one of them.

Just look at the following success stories. They were all founded by people who built their companies based on their own experience:

  • Patreon, a globally recognized platform that helps creators monetize their passion. Patreon was co-founded by Jack Conte. He was a musician and YouTube creator before starting his foray in the world of tech.

  • Procreate, the award-winning iPad app loved by illustrators and artists from around the world. Procreate was co-founded by James Cuda, who was a freelance web designer in his youth. According to an interview with Apple, he was “an artist ever since he could hold a pencil”.

  • Beehiiv, the very software that I am writing this newsletter from now. Beehiv was founded by employees at the Morning Brew - one of the most popular newsletters on the internet. I’ve used all kinds of email software over the years, but I was blown away when I first tried beehiv. I could tell right away that it was tailor-made for my precise needs and filled gaps that even the most popular email tools don’t.

You can learn more about beehiiv below, as they are also this edition’s sponsor.

Why are all your favorite newsletters switching to beehiiv?

It’s because the founding beehiiv team were all early Morning Brew employees who helped scale that newsletter to over 4 million daily subscribers.

Years of trial and error went into building the precise tools, dashboards, and analytics needed to accomplish that. And now every newsletter on beehiiv has access to the same winning formula.

So what exactly does beehiiv offer?

  • World-class growth tools like the referral program and recommendation network

  • Monetization via the beehiiv Ad Network and premium subscriptions (i.e. beehiiv helps you get paid)

  • Seamless content creation with a sleek collaborative editor

  • Best-in-class inbox deliverability of 99%

  • Oh and it’s the most affordable by a mile…

Take your newsletter to the next level — get started for free.

…but what if you aren’t your target customer?

Then it’s critical to take ample time to understand them. Not just in theory, not just by doing research on the internet, but by interviewing individuals you think match your target customer profile to really understand them and their needs.

This process may seem daunting and not scale well. But, the insights you’ll gather are invaluable. In some cases, they could even make the difference between a successful and failed product.

Choosing your partners

Over the past 10 years, I’ve had to make many choices about who to work with and who to avoid.

Having worked with tens of clients and managed projects for tens of freelancers and agencies, I’ve found that the following simple questions always help me choose the right partners and avoid bad outcomes.

They both stem from the same principle, or what I consider to be a healthy dose of skepticism: always weigh what people tell you with their record.

  • Do they appear to be promising a lot more than their record shows they’ve been able to deliver in the past?

  • What are their values and do their stated values align with past decisions?

Values and past decisions are a far better indicator of someone’s true intentions than their words are.

People will say and promise all kinds of things out of self-interest. So it’s quite important to look beyond their words and really zoom in on their previous actions and beliefs to make the best decisions for the future.

Personal Recommendations

ChatGPT app: I’ve noticed last week that ChatGPT finally has a native app for iOS. Not sure when it launched, but I just now discovered it. This means that I can now use it more easily on the go. This is great, as ChatGPT has largely become my preferred way to research, slowly replacing Google in that regard. If you haven’t yet, give it a go!

Lifestyle: I’m a longtime Apple fan and I’ve been using the new iPad Pro since it launched in May. I’ve been considering writing a review of what it can do well and how I even prefer it in some respects to my MacBook Air. But I’d like to check if anyone’s interested in this before I put in the time, hence the poll below:

Would you be interested in a review of the new iPad Pro?

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Until next week,



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