Downscoping Deliverables

Tiago Forte’s JiT PM series is perhaps the most paradigm shifting piece I’ve read this year.

I’m sure I’ll write about multiple of the concepts presented, but the one of downscoping deliverables was the most immediately usable for me.

Most of us think of a project in terms of it’s end result.

But what about all the intermediate deliverables? How can you downscope the end result and then expose it to others for feedback?

For example: if you want to write a book, first write a blog post, but even before that, write an outline. Put that outline on Twitter as a tweetstorm and get feedback on it.

In the best case, you’ve done work you needed to anyway and got confirmation that it is something people want.

In the worst case, people don’t want it and you’ve saved yourself time and effort down the line.

And on a psychological level, a smaller deliverable makes it much more likely that you’ll actually get it done.

Writing a book is a big task.

So big that you might just put it off forever.

But a tweetstorm? You can get that done today.

Starting a Podcast Resources

We will be starting off with Cast and Auphonic. If multiple guests need to record from a phone, we’ll switch to Ringr. If Auphonic ends up not producing sufficient audio quality, we’ll find an audio engineer.

Twitter Growth Strategy Notes

  • Engage with other influencers
    • Find influencers with follower counts slightly higher (3k to 25k)
    • Put them into a list view frequently
    • Reply + retweet their stuff
    • DM them providing value once warm
    • Form retweet group once hot
  • “People will do anything for those who encourage their dreams, justify their failures, allay their fears, confirm their suspicions and help them throw rocks at their enemies.”
  • More media: emojis, gifs, images
    • Video previews when promoting youtube videos
    • Images when promoting blog posts
  • Add value, add value, add value
  • Social proof
    • Screenshots of emails, telegram messages, dm’s
    • Retweet replies
  • Use buffer to schedule tweets when audience is online
  • Unabashedly share your personality
    • Be polarizing
    • Call out bad actors + advice
    • Have an enemy
  • Show results and experiences
  • Stories, stories, stories
    • Share the struggle + how you overcame it
  • More polls, questions to audience
  • Use the same language as your audience
  • Ride the waves of current trends
  • Delete tweets that don’t get high engagement
  • First line of tweet should be attention grabbing
  • Put links in middle of tweet
  • Quotes, Jokes, Content, Questions, Declarations, Advice
  • Don’t be afraid to take breaks
  • Retweet old viral tweets
    • can search your own name to find them
  • When you’ve reached a growth plateau, experiment and observe results

On Lead Magnets

You want to give your customer a quick win that chips away at their single most pervasive and intense pain or towards their most burning desire.

It shouldn’t be overwhelming. What you don’t want is for them to view it as “homework”.

Identify their most burning pain or desire. Then identify each customer segment, not in terms of demographics, but mindsets.

For each segment, put yourself in their shoes (ideally you will have talked to many of them and can do it with some degree of accuracy). What is the largest obstacle you face? Keep asking “why” until you get at the root of the issue.

Some additional questions to craft a solution from the list of problems:

  • Which of these segments contains your ideal customer?
  • What is a win for them?
  • What’s the single most valuable, concrete, and immediate fix you can give them?

If you’re having trouble deciding between them, get some feedback. Two ways: direct poll and testing. Direct poll should be straightforward. For testing, provide value to your audience in a small way (tweetstorms for me) for each of the topics and gauge which one receives the best response.

And for crafting messaging:

  • Do they know they have this problem?
  • How sophisticated are they (how many other solutions have they seen)?
  • What do they think you are going to tell them?
  • What will their reaction be to this? Are they skeptical?

When making the lead magnet, KISS. Write it in google docs, export to pdf and you’re done. Only once you know that it is well-received can you make it perfect and send it to a designer.

The “Friend Zone” of Online Business

The idea of “the friend zone” in dating was recently crystallized to me.

In every interaction, there is a “premise”. This could be business, friendship, dating, and probably a few more. The premise is established in the first few moments and is extremely difficult to change later.

In “the friend zone”, you have accidentally set the premise of “friend” and not “lover” or “boyfriend” and you cannot change it without significant resistance.

Similarly, in online business, especially for those that use content marketing as their main strategy, a premise needs to be set early on that you are going to be selling to them, not just giving them things for free.

If you go to a car dealership, you expect to be sold to. You actually may get annoyed if the salesperson DOESN’T sell to you. The inherent premise of a dealership is that of sales.

But if you go to say, a friend for advice, or somewhere else where the premise is that of free flowing information, you would be annoyed if they started selling to you all of a sudden.

Don’t establish the premise of “free” with your customers. They should know that you are operating a business.

Some try to do this by directly selling to everyone who comes across their content. While this certainly establishes the premise, it is the equivalent of asking a girl to marry you as soon as you meet her.

She is not ready to “buy” yet and neither are most of your visitors. 

The trick is to have a premise of selling, but not sell yet.

Have a frame of extreme value. Mention your clients and other customers and how well they are doing after going through your products or services. Offer them something for free, but make sure they know that you could or maybe even should have charged for it.

There are countless ways to do this and they all work as long as they get to the end goal: establishing that you are going to sell to them, but only if they are the right fit for your business and only when they are ready to buy.

The Wrong Horse

I’m currently exploring the Theory of Socionomics, which is quite the mind-bender.

Traditional thinking says that the public’s mood is determined by the actions that have occurred (the horse pulls the cart). Socionomics says that actions are the wrong horse and that mood actually leads actions. 

Most people think that recessions make businesspeople cautious. Socionomics says the opposite: Cautious businesspeople make recessions. So, the mood is the cause, and the event is the result.
– Robert Prechter Jr.

Where else in life do we have the wrong horse?

Life Hacks

Defined as “something that once known dramatically increases the efficiency and effectiveness of a certain process”.

Do they exist for everything?

Certainly there are hacks for getting into college, getting jobs, losing fat, gaining muscle, trading, and dating. These are the ones that I know.

But what about BJJ?

Does “just keep showing up” count?

On Enjoyment and Fulfillment

What makes one thing more enjoyable and fulfilling than another?

Personally, I don’t think I’ve found anything that qualifies as fulfilling. Or perhaps what I’ve felt before (what I would say is “enjoyment”) is what others say is fulfillment.

But video games are enjoyable too. If I had all of my other needs taken care of, would I be able to play video games all the time? I honestly don’t know.

I chose computer science because I saw it as the highest leverage point for helping others. But I’ve never experienced fulfillment while doing that work.

Trading is enjoyable, so is theoretical physics. Will using computer science to help others result in fulfillment at the sacrifice of enjoyment over the other two?

I guess there’s only one way to find out…


Candlesticks are the most widely used method of looking at financial time series data.

So widely used, in fact, that it is sometimes easy to forget that the map is not the territory. Candlesticks are just one transformation of the underlying data that happens to be easy for humans to digest. But a computer can digest the raw tick data even better than the candlestick representation.

We often think that our view of reality is reality itself. But the process of evolution filtered for survival and reproduction. We only see (and hear, touch, smell) a reality that is limited by the evolutionary need for efficiency.