In this episode we’re joined by Nathan Baschez, cofounder of Every. We discuss business strategy, how win with content, and the art of writing well.
Will Jarvis 0:05
Hey folks, welcome to narratives. narratives is a podcast exploring the ways in which the world is better than in the past, the ways it is worse in the past, where it’s a better, more definite vision of the future. I’m your host, William Jarvis. And I want to thank you for taking the time out of your day to listen to this episode. I hope you enjoy it. You can find show notes, transcripts and videos at narratives podcast.com.
Well, Nathan, how are you doing this afternoon?
Nathan B 0:40
I’m doing good. How are you?
I’m doing great. Thanks so much for taking the time to come on the show. Do you mind giving a brief bio and some of the big ideas you’re interested in?
Nathan B 0:50
Oh, that’s a good? That’s a good opener question. I like the big idea aspect of it. The bio is I am kind of like in the intersection of writing and Technology building. And like business building, basically, internet business building, I’ve kind of worked on a bunch of different stuff all circling around that. So right now, I’m the co founder of a company called every that is a writer collective focused on business specifically, we published writing that like explores the nature of businesses and humans that that, you know, work in and operate these businesses. So everything from, like, you know, exploring your inner demons that may lead you to make certain mistakes when building a team, to how our Spotify is earnings looking, you know, a lot of a pretty wide range. And that’s a lot of fun. I spend a lot of my time writing and editing and like, you know, recruiting writers and just thinking about, you know, where we want to take the company. Before this, I was the first employee at substack, which ended up being a thing that I don’t have to explain as often what it is I used to, which is really cool. Because when I was there, it was like, what’s that, you know, and so it’s really, really amazing to see what the founders have done with that. I was only there for about like, a year and a half. It was kind of like a short ish stint because I really do like a broad variety of things. And they just needed someone who’s like an amazing programmer. And that’s one of the things I do but I’m definitely not amazing at it. So it was kind of like we did it for a little while and we all liked each other but it was like the skill dropped to be done need thing was not exactly a fit. Before that I was head of product at gimlet media podcasting company that got acquired by Spotify started a company called hardbound that was like a mobile tappable storytelling format as like very visual and kind of just a different kind of pacing and feel from kind of like a slide deck almost. Kind of kind of a feel. So yeah, just done a bunch of stuff, sort of like that to varying degrees of success. And hopefully I can keep doing it for a while because it’s it’s fun facts and ideas, ideas and think about so mostly these days, I’m the ideas and thinking about are kind of like what I said every is thinking about, like the nature of businesses and humans. Specifically, I’m really interested in strategy. Like, I feel like there’s this whole genre of like, pseudo or semi academic literature around how to company like, what kind of decisions should companies make that would like lead to success? I think of it as like, like economic patterns, you know, it’s like applied micro economics or something like that. And, you know, it’s like the kind of stuff you learn in strategy class at business school, or whatever, but I haven’t gone to business school. And so I want to learn it. And I’m just exploring the literature on my own and writing about it and trying to trying to apply it so that with like, a strong dosing of like, kind of personal reflection stuff, I would say, in definitely all that kind of like startup in media oriented.
Will Jarvis 3:39
That’s cool. Let’s go, I want to ask a question that kind of ties all these things together. You know, you’re studying strategy, you work in media, you’ve worked in a lot of media companies. How do you think about positioning every in a way that it can, in some sense, avoid competition? That seems like the big problem with media companies, is it’s very difficult to avoid competition, because you know, there’s like, you’re not just competing with, you know, newspapers, you’re competing with, you know, Wikipedia and YouTube and like, yeah, you know, maybe I do a podcast and you know, like the transcript and then if someone wants to read the transcript, and you’re competing with that, how do you think about, like avoiding competition as a media company?
Nathan B 4:15
Yeah, I think I think it’s a really, really important question. And it’s a hard one. And I don’t think that we are amazing at it yet. There’s like a theory we have of a flywheel that we’re trying to build. And I think if there’s a sort of meta reflection about startups that I’ve learned, it’s that kind of startups, like, it’s good to have a good strategy. And it should be basically simple. And then like, 99.9% of your time, and energy is focused on all the complex difficult, like execution stuff to get that thing going. And so you have to know about strategy because the like thing you’re building needs to actually be in the kind of form of a defensible thing, but like, very early on, you can kind of nail down some really simple basic And then probably you’re basically sticking with that. And like maybe there’s some weird pivots or and you’re totally wrong, or there’s some inflection points or whatever. But like, for the most part that the kind of strategy part should be simple, but the execution part is just really, really hard. So But to answer your question at the more like object level, or I can get more specific about, like, what is our defensibility. So like, our goal is to be a place where if you want to reach a certain type of audience, you definitely want to go as a writer, because let’s say you want to write about, you know, anything related to like the nature of businesses or humans, like basically the topics we cover, which I think a decent amount of people do, our left hand is like business section of the bookstore free, you know, we’re gonna be able to cover a wide variety of sub genres and stuff within that. And to be able to personalize content to users over time, but like to start, we’re very like, kind of like Silicon Valley, like tech twittery oriented. And so if you want to, if you want to do that kind of writing, or do that kind of thinking, what are your options, you can start your own sub stack, and you it’s entirely on you to get anyone to pay attention to it. Okay, so then you have a Twitter account, and you do some tweets, and it’s entirely on you to get anyone to pay attention to it. At some step, every single bit of audience is decided by a human or an algorithm being like, actually, other people should also see this and you don’t really have direct control over that you can submit the content, a lot of places, that’s what’s in your control. But the exposure that that content then receives is up to other control of other structures, like people who see it and decide to hit the retweet button, or algorithms that say we think this thing is good or editors that say we think this thing is good. And so um, you know, substack, unlike YouTube, or Tik Tok, or a lot of platforms is not doing algorithmic recommendation of content, you can’t just post something to substack and then get automatic audience. And email is a great medium for retention, it’s not a great medium for virality. Sometimes people forget things a little bit, but it’s not really like a place. Usually your the vast majority people grow on substack from other places like Twitter, there’s like this sort of symbiotic relationship there. So every we want to be a place where as a writer, maybe you just want to do one guest posts, where we sort of syndicate something for you or you write something original for us, and we can send it to 50,000 people, which is our current size. And that’s pretty great. There’s not a lot of places where you can go and someone just decides they think your thing would be good for their audience. And 50,000 people will see it in the future. Hopefully, that’s 100,000 people, a million people. And maybe actually it’s you know, we have a million people on our list. But we know the 100,000 that would be into your thing, you know, and or we can send it to a small subset, measure the reaction and then start gradually sending it to bigger and bigger waves of audience. And so it’s just all about audience aggregation, basically. And we have a philosophy of sort of hybrid human judgment and algorithmic, sort of automated judgment. But the algorithms are very opinionated, we think about them, like automated editors, rather than like some neutral platform, you type thing, like we only put stuff into the algorithm that we already basically think is good. And then from there on out, it’s just a question of making decision, human decision making more efficient, basically, and giving the human superpowers and sort of like X ray vision of like, how is this actually performing based on our best ways of detecting that? So anyway, kind of long winded answer to your question. But audience, it’s all about audience aggregation for us. Yeah.
Will Jarvis 8:26
So it’s something like a distribution monopoly at the end of the day is what it? Yeah, really is. Yeah. And it’s
Nathan B 8:31
like, it’s hard to say monopoly in this context, because it’s like, you know, there’s other people who are gonna also have audiences, and we really liked them. But we think we’re more focused on trying to find people that, like, if you have a really, really popular newsletter, and you have, like, you know, 100,000 subscribers or more, but you’ve built that on the premise of, it’s only your work, right? Right. It’s hard to all of a sudden go from that to like, the next day being like, and actually five days a week, I’ve got other people’s writing, and you’re like, that’s a whole complicated, completely different system. And that’s the path we’re on and figuring out and the 50,000 people we have on our list are like, expecting different people all the time. So that’s the it monopolies maybe a little bit strong, but it’s definitely there’s something sticky about the way that you’ve got your audience and their expectations, allowing you to do certain things.
Will Jarvis 9:22
Definitely, definitely, that makes sense. And how do you go about choosing, you know, writers or content creators? Do you look for a certain spark is there like, you’d look for just somebody with a large effect size, like just like something like really grabs people’s attention? It’s really interesting. Like, is it just kind of all qualitative? Like, how do you you mentioned, like, you also use, like, algorithmic, you know, algorithms to help make decisions, but there is a human element. And what does that human element look like?
Nathan B 9:48
Yeah, I mean, it’s just purely like, do I like this? And that’s for me, like, and I’m not the only person right? So it’s like Dan, my co founder, does he like this Katie, our editor does she like this like Evan, when are you He writes a newsletter called napkin math does he like anybody who’s kind of like in can use their power to bring other people in. And it’s great because we kind of consider ourselves to be very pluralistic, where it’s like every doesn’t have to have a real uniform tone or vibe SP uniform enough to like have the audience have us be able to connect the dots right between writer and reader to have the writing that we choose, be pleasing to the readers. But it doesn’t have to be so uniform that it’s like one singular taste. But definitely, if there’s one main thing that we’ve learned so far, it’s like, if there’s something that we really like, and it’s on the topics that we cover, for, you know, the same type of you, all the people who are on our list are gonna like it, too. It’s usually not a huge surprise, when something does really well or not, well, there’s surprises for sure. It’s not like we can predict every time how something’s going to do, but it’s to the point where it’s like, okay, like, we kind of have a feel, you know,
Will Jarvis 10:50
gotta got an eye for it, at the end of the day,
Nathan B 10:52
at least for serving our current audience. Now, the big question is, how do we get to 10x? The size of audience like, maybe what got us here won’t get us there. And there’s like, a whole other problem there. But like, it’s very, like, I can tell you like the, the things that go into what I like, but it’s very much just like, you know, the feeling when you’re reading something like, Oh, this is interesting. Like, it’s just like this, this little thing where you’re like, I am actually interested in this. There’s some spark here. And if you feel it, then it’s there. And you don’t have to overanalyze what made the thing happen, you know, because other people will like it, too. So you don’t have to know why.
Will Jarvis 11:27
That’s right. It’s kind of like obscenity, you kind of know it when you say it like you like all that. But that’s interesting.
Nathan B 11:31
And it might help to know why it’s fun to theorize about why, but all you have to do is just detect if you’re feeling it or not, and then pass it along, if you are basically.
Will Jarvis 11:40
That’s right. That’s right. I have do you think about expanding your audience to yourself, you know, is it you know, like every audience, is it just trying to attack like, in concentric circles, like things that are closely related to your core subject matter? And kind of expanding out like that, that strategy piece? Or is it kind of just a different approach is that adds or something else?
Nathan B 12:00
Yeah, um, you know, I wish that we had this, like, more figured out. So what we’ve done is just took to start, like my co founder and I, we were like, it would be cool to create some sort of, you know, collective type newsletter organization, instead of everybody doing completely their own thing, because it’s so hard to do it on your own. And so we’ll start by just writing our own newsletters, and then we’ll see if other people want to write newsletters with us. And we just sort of like gradually added people from there. So it’s like a whole bunch of Venn diagrams with different levels of overlap, depending depending on the topic, and the vibe, and whatever else. And it’s all vaguely costed around, you know, tech ish stuff. And we went through a time early on when we were like, maybe we should like, let’s be really deliberate about this. Let’s think about it like risk, like, what’s the map of the world? What are all the topics? What topics are connected to what other topics? And how do we like, go from here to there and be like, let’s cover every industry. And we just found that that’s really artificial, like, there are people interested in a very specific industry. But you know, there’s, there’s more, I think, important ways of slicing and dicing interests that are less obvious. And almost in some ways, the more obvious it is, the less powerful it is. Because it’s like, you can just ask me like, Nathan, are you interested in startups? I’m like, I mean, I guess like, basically, yes, but it depends, there’s 90% of startup content is terrible. I have zero interest in it, you know? And so it’s like, how do you then apply that it’s like a form of whatever, like gentleman amnesia, or whatever, where, you know, the idea is, when they’re talking about something related to you, you’re like, that’s all wrong. And then when they talk about something else, you think that it makes perfect sense. So it’s like, there’s this sort of form of showman amnesia with, like, figuring out how to segment audience interests, where it’s like, well, you’re talking about me, and like, startups, I don’t know, like, it has to be good. 90% If it’s bad, whatever, but then I’m like, oh, for other people, I can just cover like, you know, health care, and we’ll just find a health care person, and it’ll be fine. And it’s like, that’s really not how, like people’s passions or interests, or feelings, like work, and you have to go on something more organic than that. And I really wish that it was more like we could be more deliberate like Uber, you know, we’re going to start in San Francisco and go to New York and LA or whatever, or like Facebook, we’re going to start at Harvard and go to jail, but we just don’t have anything like that. And I think I’ve pretty much given up on it. So could be foolish, but it’s
Will Jarvis 14:19
something more like you should chase the vibes or like in your particular context, it’s better to chase the vibes and then try and like, you know, be very like, you know, maniacal, methodical, and segment these things out and go from there.
Nathan B 14:32
Yeah, we’ve started to become more opportunistic about just people basically. And it’s like, who are the people who we know who know us who value our audience who are wanting to write or you know, create content of some sort? Yeah, who we let’s try and make sure we’re in the conversation with all those people. And let’s try and understand what their goals are. And let’s make sure as we keep going that our system is basically coherent, and our offer to writers is one that gets a decent portion of those people to like, say yes basis. declined. And I think we can kind of keep expanding that way, the bigger rate limit on us right now is like, basically support structures for those writers. Because a key part of the trade, like the value prop to writers is basically like the defensible thing, I think is like audience, but then there’s also like you want, you know, editorial support a lot of people do, if you just wanted the audience, maybe you’re willing to do one pose with us, but are you really gonna, like, want to do a post every week with us like in entail some sacrifices of having a little bit less pure independence, it helps if you’re like, you know, I would love an editor. And a lot of people do, like a lot of the best writers really love the relationship they have with their editors. And so but that’s tough, because as an editor, you have a very limited bandwidth for writers. So you know, we recently hired an editor and like, we’re figuring that whole thing out. But that just takes a lot of time. And we don’t have a lot of experience with it. So we’re trying to those are kind of the rate limiters on us more so than like topic identification, or something like that.
Will Jarvis 15:58
Gotcha. So it’s really like, its support for the, it’s not so much the audit, you need to consult the audience problem. But it’s like, how do you scale up things like editors, when you know, that just takes it just takes takes a lot of time? Yeah. And you get that manpower to kind of do that. That makes sense. I want to keep talking about strategy a little bit, I want to talk about venture capital, you wrote a piece, which I really enjoyed. And I have this general question about it is, in general, should people be more kind of skeptical, or less willing to go out and try and raise venture capital, it’s kind of the, the high status thing to do in tech, you know, you have an idea, you go out, you raise capital from one of these top quartile firms. And that’s kind of like a badge of honor. Right. And there’s some sense in which it’s like a Keynesian beauty contest. And if you get one of the top firms to get your mark, it’s easier to hire, it’s easier to, you know, raise money in the future. There’s all these positive signals that go along with it. But there are some downsides, students dilution, there’s, you know, incentive alignment can be a problem. So can you talk generally about just just venture capital? And how founders or people trying to start companies should approach it?
Nathan B 17:04
Yeah, I mean, I’ll preface it with, I really can’t tell anyone what’s good for them, right? Like, in most of the posts is, like, here’s how my perspective has changed over time. In case like me, you kind of feel lost, right? Which, like I did for a while. So I, you know, there’s like debates that breakout in Silicon Valley all the time over, like, you know, how hard you really need to work. And like, if you’re not working weekends, you’re gonna fail, and someone else is like, this is toxic, never join their company. And it’s like that, you know, I’m not really interested in like, right, right, parking, the next iteration of that debate, like, you’re gonna work weekends, amazing. If you don’t also amazing, I’m glad that there are options for different, you know, people to do different things. So for me, the way my thinking has evolved is, I kind of had this realization that I had this whole set of like aspirations, and this whole framework, this whole kind of like consciousness almost, that is, you know, the saying, like, the medium is the message. Like the the medium is like spreadsheet math, about risk reward return profiles for like giant PE funds, and funds of funds, and LPs and stuff like that. And the message is venture capitalists and 20 Somethings who want to like make a dent in the universe, in this oddly really specific way of like, the kinds of things that can like, create a really great 10 year risk adjusted return profile, when you batch them in lumps, where you know, nine out of 10 will fail and will not succeed. And it’s like, How funny is it that there’s like an entire generation of people who like the thing they wants to do, just so happens to line up with like, the spreadsheet math, it’s like wild, you know, and it’s so like, for me, it’s less like, it’s a bad path. And it’s more like, did I consciously choose the path? Or did I get caught up? And what I didn’t even realize was content marketing, to create, like that main organizing principle of aspiration in my life, you know, it’s crazy. And so, I think the more that I thought about what kind of company I actually want to build, I realized, I think there’s a lot of ways in which is not that aligns with venture capital. And we raised some money, and we told our investors this before we raised it, but basically, we’re like, look, you know, odds are, we won’t do it. But our goal is that this is the last company that we ever worked for, and that we keep compounding it for, like a really long time. And the key reasons why something would become not the kind of thing that the founder wants to work for anymore, is usually when really stops like being fun. And they feel like the, you know, it’s sort of like, Frankenstein has grown up and left the house and you like, can’t stand to see him anymore, kind of right. Because there’s like, all these people and you even know what they do. It’s like, founders, like the relationship with our companies is like really weird. It’s like, when you have a child and like they become a teenager and like, they hate you, and you kind of are annoyed by them, and then they go to college and that relief, but then there’s the thing in real life where like, you know, you sort of like grow close together, like again, at some point after you’ve gotten some more distance and you can have like an adult relationship with your kid, but like founders don’t usually get that with their with their companies. They just kind of end up being weird. Didn’t like fading into the background and there’s like, bitter feelings and like, I don’t want to feel that about this company, especially because I think is easier to think about every this way because it’s like most like, okay, basically, we’re a magazine at some level. And we’re like, trying to be a fancy technology enabled internet magazine, like, you know, basically a magazine and like, look at magazines, like they’re like lifespan of them as long when they work, right. And there’s like this very Lindy thing about them. That’s like, The New Yorker and the Atlantic. It’s like weird that it just so happens that the like, really interesting magazines today were created, like over 100 years ago. I think that it’s like there’s something about looking at the DNA of similar types of things and looking at the lifespans when they succeed and being like, okay, like, why is that? You know, I think it’s just because editorial institutions, like there’s something about the way that they function that makes it have longevity when it works. And
so anyway, I just yeah, like, is that a fit with venture capital? Like not really, like, I actually do think it could be pretty big. Like, if you think of our tam as the business section of the bookstore. Like, that’s a pretty big ambition. We were we charged $200 a year. I don’t know like what the top 1% 5% most ambitious like workers like vaguely kind of like, in technology, like it’s, I don’t know, it just feels like it could be big, we can move beyond technology potentially, like we could also like sell more product type things or course type things. We can build technology, we build our own platform, like there’s a lot that we could do. And it’s like, cool to me to imagine this sort of like Empire that could keep compounding and can be weird. And we can spin off weird apps and like, we just own it all. It’s like, cool to me like Berkshire Hathaway, it was like this textile thing, but now it’s like, well look at what it is. It’s like, I think there’s something really underrated about building for, like, kind of like long term compounding empires type thing, rather than building for, like a 10 year risk adjusted return to make a portfolio math thing work. And it’s just like, Yeah, I just don’t actually really want to do that. I want to like be like, I like working with Dan, I think this is a good structure. Let’s just like see how far we can make it ride? And if that’s the time horizon, and that’s the goal, then it’s, yeah, it’s just different from from the VC model. And it’s like, the weirdest thing is it’s like, for a long time, I was like, Is this just less ambitious? Am I doing a lifestyle business? Because I’m not actually ambitious? Like, I think in some ways, it’s more ambitious, like, you know, like, I still think it could be big. And I also want control. So how about that, you know, and I want to keep doing it for a long time. It’s like, I don’t know, it’s weird that it’s like gets brainwashed into being like, less ambitious. So but you know, I don’t, I’m still working through it. That’s like, why I wrote the thing is, because I don’t fully, it doesn’t feel right to me to like, totally reject VC either. Like, I have a lot of respect for VC still. And I think there’s a lot of really long term oriented VCs and a lot of ways, they’re just as much a function of like, it’s not like VCs conspire to brainwash founders or whatever, like the VCs themselves aren’t part of the system that it’s like, these are just like, you know, economic models that work tend to proliferate narratives and stories around them. And then people get attracted to them. And it’s not, you know, whatever, like, it’s fine, but Right. Yeah, I don’t know. It’s just cool to also try different things, I guess.
Will Jarvis 23:03
Man, I really love that. So, so many ways, I want to go with this. So I’m going to try to try to keep them on track in my brain. here
Nathan B 23:11
first, that means a lot.
Will Jarvis 23:12
Yeah, no, no, I really do. Um, first off, I love that idea of trying to build a big institution that last a really long time, because one of my favorite things to do is actually I’ve been working back through the Atlantic catalog from the beginning. It starts in like, 1848, and they have it all mine. And so you can just read like, you know, Henry David Thoreau in the Atlantic, you know, just like, it’s just because I’ve got, you know, the Atlantic right here, you know, and so, you know, I’ve got the most recent one. And so I had this context of like, wow, like, this institution has been around for a while, I get to see how people were actually talking about historical events in the period instead of trying to read like, what people think about it now. But I so I really, I really enjoy that just that approach. It reminds me of an interesting conundrum. I’ve seen in a lot of places, a lot of startups and you know, I won’t name any names or anything, but I’ve just seen this when I’ve, when I’ve talked to people, and it’s very common, I think most places work like this. It’s like, you kind of start something and then you put the story on top of it. That makes sense. So you try it, you seem kind of backwards, justify, like, why you exist. Instead of like for you, it’s like, well, like we want to go do this thing. We can’t really think of anything else will be better, this will be awesome. That’d be the coolest thing to do. So we’re gonna go do it. And it’s gonna be difficult. It’s gonna take a really long time. But you know, it’s gonna be awesome. Instead of like, well, you know, we want to go make a bunch of money. So we’re gonna go raise VC, and then we’re gonna figure out some story that fits on top of it. Does that make sense at all? And does that track onto like your vision of like reality at all? Or things you have experienced?
Nathan B 24:48
Yeah, I mean, have you? Have you heard of the book elephant in the brain?
Will Jarvis 24:53
Oh, yes. Yes. I love Robert Hansen’s and similar
Nathan B 24:56
Yeah, the idea is like consciousness is like the PR department of Have the brain and like behavior is actually the board of directors and and you think that consciousness is the board of directors, but like, really, you your concept of what you are is just the PR department. And so the Board of Directors passes down all sorts of pro social justifications for actions, but actually there’s like, a lot of other stuff that drives it that’s like more just like cold hard, like survival, reproduction type instinct stuff. And so I don’t think that I am any different from any VC backed founder in this way. Like, maybe we just, you could tell a different story, right? That’s like, they weren’t good enough for VC. So they went for something easier. And then they told a grandiose story about it to make themselves feel better, like that also, in a way is or could be true. And like, I don’t know, like, it’s, I think that, but I basically believe that, like, I basically believe that. Just reflecting and like, sort of like trying trying to get to like a neutral meditative state about like behavior, it’s sort of like, we just sort of do things. And then when we have to talk about them, we just sort of say things, and it just kind of comes out, you know, and it’s like, we want it, we struggle to become premeditated about things and to be intentional and thoughtful, but it’s like, you know, swimming upstream kinda like, mostly just behavior flows and words flow, and it just kind of like, Yeah, I think things come out. So I definitely believe that, but I also believe it applies to me.
Will Jarvis 26:19
That’s great. Well, I do think I think we can parse that out. And I think there are good reasons to do things. And they’re, they’re bad reasons to do things. You know, a lot of like, tech is driven by this, like mimetic desire to, you know, the Steve Jobs or something like that. And it’s, it’s quite interesting. You know, we had Delian on the pod recently from Founders Fund, and he had this idea that you should only start, you know, a company, because it can be very difficult. If you can’t think of anything else like, like, you just have to do it. You’re sitting in the shower. You’re like, man, like, this is a great idea. I have to go execute this. This needs to exist in the world. Is that your Do you think that’s a good framing for thinking about, like, when to start a startup? And And did you have a similar path to starting every?
Nathan B 27:04
Yeah, I think so. I don’t know how, like, useful that as is advice, but I think it’s basically true, if that makes sense. Because I remember not actionable, yeah. Like, when I was in college, I thought I wanted to, like be a philosophy professor or something. Yeah. And I had a professor who I really liked, and I did like, you know, like, special classes with or whatever. And I was like, I think I want to do this. And he’s like, so he said, the same thing. only do it if you have to, because it sucks. And it’s weird, because it’s like, does did him change saying that change? The fact that I didn’t do it? Or like was I really never gonna do it, you know, like, and then like, was starting companies, maybe a lot of people need to start a company to figure out that they don’t have to, you know, and like, I do think it’s basically right, though, but I think kind of like, people are going to do what they’re going to do, you know, and like, if you sort of feel inclined to but you’re not sure. Like, I mean, sure, make sure that it’s not like gonna be ruinous for you economically, or socially, or whatever. But like, within the parameters of that, like, give it a shot. Like, you know, take it lightly, like, don’t, don’t get over your skis, like ever, for any reason, including with crypto investments, or whatever else. Like, just general good life advice is don’t get over your skis. But like, try things. Absolutely. Even if you’re not, you know, I feel like that advice could make people kind of, like, freak out a little bit. Like, do I really have to? I don’t know, like, I’m also liking other things. Because like, yeah, I also like other things, too. Everybody likes multiple things. So, um, and then yeah, in terms of how I did it, though, definitely. It’s like, kind of, there’s something that I, I need to like, be doing something creative. I think there’s a lot of different forms that could take you know, but I always, I like to just like, I kind of have like an ADHD, like, when I’m in the zone, I’m really in the zone type system thing going of like how my brain works? And yeah, so I think entrepreneurship is one good outlet for it. And there probably could have been others. But I’m glad that I landed on this one. And I think that like, you know, if you roll the dice of like, my upbringing in DNA, or whatever, a bunch of times, like most of the time, it would probably land on something related to like, entrepreneurship.
Will Jarvis 29:17
That makes a lot of sense. That another question I had from the, you know, when we were talking about building this kind of long term institution, do you think it’s the strategy questions strategy question, I had a call recently with someone, you know, and they were talking to me about, you know, this podcast, and, you know, they’re asking me about the growth rate, you know, how big is the audience, etc. And, you know, they’re pretty smart person, they’re pretty talented person. And, you know, they start doing some calculations in their head, they’re like, wow, you know, man, well, it’s gonna take you like 15 years to get to the size of Joe Rogan at your current rate. And I was like, Man, that would be awesome. Only 15 years, you know, like, that’s really cool, man, like, and he’s like, No, this is like, very bad, you know? And so I do wonder If there’s this weird thing
Nathan B 30:01
we’re living in is like you have cancer or something like that. I really hate to tell you, but I did the math, and it’s gonna take 15 years for you to become like, one of the most popular influential thinkers on the planet, 15 years,
Will Jarvis 30:14
15 years, you know, and I was like, wow, only 15 years, like, I would have guessed, like 50, you know, but there is this weird thing about growth rates in Silicon Valley, where people, you know, if it’s not doubling every, you know, couple of months, people are kind of, you know, they kind of start freaking out. And like, it’s not a hype, you know, it’s not hyper growth. And that’s a bad thing. Do you think there is alpha and just being more patient, like, over a longer period of time and being consistent?
Nathan B 30:39
1,000%? Absolutely. If anything, I think that’s like, one of the main, general themes of alpha in the world right now, it’s just probably always is like, if you’re willing to be long term. And I do definitely think that there’s a lot of types of things were based on the type of thing it is, if it’s not growing super fast, like you might want to make a change. But that even exists within the framework of a long term thinking of like, okay, I’m going to do like, several bets. And I’m going to actually give each bet a solid try, and I have confidence that I’m gonna, you know, what I mean, like, even with that, as it only works within the context of long term thinking, I think, um, but yeah, like, if you have a social app, and you like launch it, and you seed it with a bunch of users. And there’s like, some cool people using it, and you kind of like it, and then it like, grows a little bit, but not a lot. And like, people aren’t really posting on it that much. Based on the type of thing it is like, yeah, like, you’re not, that’s a problem. That could be a problem. But, I mean, yeah, things like, the flywheel of trying to build, like an audience and an intellectual, like, you know, catalog of stuff is like, really long, like, I don’t know how long I’ve been writing stuff on the internet, but like, I was writing a lot on, you know, substack, before we launched our own platform before substack, I was reading a lot on medium. You know, before medium, even I like had blogs on that kind of stuff. Like it’s been sort of, like habitual. And, you know, I’ve been tweeting like, the whole time, basically. And it’s like, you know, that yeah, I’m still just like, kind of chipping away at the thing. And it kind of keeps compounding a little bit. And sometimes you can find unlocks that are like, you know, new like levels within the overall long gotcha thing. And I think the far bigger risk to focus on is not to take a linear growth rate from the past, like, you know, six months and extrapolate it 15 years. To me, that makes no sense. Because there’s two things that happen. One is plateaus happen, which is, maybe you get bored, maybe the whole thing you’re talking about is not interesting to the world anymore, because like the world has moved on to like, whatever, because it takes not cool anymore. Or like maybe the whole, you know, there’s like all sorts of reasons over a 15 year time horizon for plateaus. But the most important is that, like you get bored one. And then besides Patos, there’s all sorts of spurts that are that create nonlinearities maybe, you know, the like Joe Rogan invites you on. Maybe like people, people go from zero to like, you know, like, who had heard of Lex Friedman, like four years ago? You know, like, so it’s just it’s a kind of empty way of thinking both ways. If you’re applying it out that far. But that being said, it’s a it’s a useful impulse in certain contexts. I just think this context is not the not the move.
Will Jarvis 33:22
Right? Right. Not the move. That makes a lot of sense. I want to talk about, you know, growth kind of compounding over time in writing. You’ve written a lot over a long period of time, how have you thought about improving yourself as a writer? Or have you done that consciously? Or has it not been conscious?
Nathan B 33:38
I think a lot ends up not being conscious that is most valuable. But there are some things that are conscious. And the biggest thing is my subjective experience of the process, like the feeling of when I’m actually doing the writing, like when I’m sitting down and typing, how does that feel? And my subjective experience of I hit publish? And then like, how do I feel about that, based on the data I’m seeing and the reactions I’m seeing, I basically was good enough to have some stuff be like a little bit of a hit, but not good enough to do that every time. And so it created this slot machine thing, where I was just like, chasing the reaction from audience and writing itself was absolutely miserable. Because I’m like, it’s like the process of pulling the slot machine lever, except it’s really hard and complicated. You have to think a whole bunch, you know, and so that sucks, because you’re just waiting for the payoff the entire time. That’s like, the only reason you’re really doing it is like our people is this gonna go viral and people are gonna love it. And, and then it’s really miserable. Because a lot of times it doesn’t like more often than not, it does, but sometimes it does. So you keep doing it, you know? And it’s like, it’s like that just suck and so I got really burnt out and had to kind of re architect my whole, like, emotional system almost for writing. And I think putting that on a different foundation has been the most important thing and And it’s enabled me to learn all the other types of lessons with like storytelling, or how to write a good title or whatever else that you know, are the things that make the thing more likely to succeed. But there, it’s like this meta thing, or this foundational thing that is like kind of the conscious effort. And for me, the big thing was trying to figure out how to actually enjoy writing. Like, it’s the goal, like when I’m typing people have, there’s this book, Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, that was really, really good and really changed my perspective on this. She was basically like, there’s this whole famous genre of like, artists complaining basically about, like, how, how devastating it is, and how difficult it is, and all this stuff. And it’s like, what use is that actually, like subjected to the question? Is it useful enough to feel that way? It’s not fucking useful. And so And why does it exist? Because like, Yeah, I mean, it can be hard. And when it does feel hard, maybe it feels good to complain or something. But like, what’s actually useful to doing good work, it’s actually to be able to do good work, it has to be sustainable, in order for it to be sustainable has to be probably enjoyable or pleasant to some degree, otherwise, you’re going to, like, want to run for the hills. And maybe it’ll be prolific for like, a span of a couple of years, but you’re not gonna be able to do it for a long time. So yeah, it’s, it’s hard to say even even just realizing that the whole like, you know, suffering artists, prototype is kind of a bullshit thing that’s like, not very useful. That honestly just helped some just looking for like how, like, I should have fun, like, I can have fun, makes me loosen up a little bit and have more fun. So that helps. And then I think, approaching it kind of like approaching writing with a sense of spaciousness, and like, any one piece is, I’m curious to see how it’ll go. And when it goes, well, I can do that with a little bit of bemused detachment and some pride for sure. But a little bit of kind of, like, interesting that that one did. Well, you know, and when it doesn’t go well, but like, oh, people didn’t like that, did they? You know, kind of like, the Back to the Future, like, your kids didn’t like that. But like, your parents or whatever, like that thing, you know, screw that one up your parents, your kids will like it or whatever, anyway. Yeah, you can, you know, just being a little bit like, Oh, that’s interesting, you know, and like, it doesn’t really like deeply reflect on me, it like reflects very shallowly on me, and because I’m going to keep going for a while, probably, and so any one thing is like, not a huge deal. That, to me, is the most important lesson. And then that creates the platform for all of the specific skills, like what kind of topic is good, how to read a headline, all that kind of stuff, which makes the actual writing do better.
Will Jarvis 37:29
Gotcha, gotcha. So it’s another lesson about you, if you want to do this type of thing. Like it like creating, it seems like you need to be patient, and you need to find a way to make it interesting. So you can stay in the game long enough so that you can have some some upside they’ve done. These are great studies with artists. And it turns out, one of the biggest predictors of long run success is you know, how widely your work gets distributed, because it’s very difficult to tell which gallery actually feeds up to larger galleries. So it’s like, if you’re more prolific, you have a much better shot at it. And so that’s very, very, it’s a very interesting kind of insight there.
Nathan B 38:01
Oh, interesting. I need to see that. So that’s cool. I think about that kind of stuff all the time. I like sort of, like the politics of art or whatever. Because I’m, I like have this theory basically, that a lot of people who become really big, like creators or whatever, like they kind of they get a break, right, like, and it’s not necessarily just one maybe it’s a lot a little breaks, but like, it’s really hard for something to be 100% like, you know, just driven by the people right? Usually what happens is like Ben Thompson, for instance, Daring Fireball, John Gruber, a huge part of Ben Thompson success and help tell tell anybody that and it doesn’t it doesn’t take anything away from Ben Thompson because he wrote stuff that was so great that John Gruber wrote like, a glowing review of it, like, you know, how many people just John Gruber write a glowing review of Not that many, but also, it drove a huge amount of readers to Ben Thompson that then kind of like, you know, help Snowball or whatever, and kicked it off. And I mean, kind of, to tie it back to every that’s what we hope to be able to do at some level for people. And then, for myself, I think about like, you know, it kind of sucks, but it’s yeah, it’s like how do I get my writing in front of like, specific people not just like make it go quote unquote, go viral? Because if you have like 10,000 retweets by like, you know, but not one from like, a kind of tastemaker II type person, like, what’s it worth, you know, right. And it feels a little icky to me in some ways, because I don’t want to be like pandering or whatever, you know, but like, it does sort of feel like I don’t know, maybe people who are really good at this kind of stuff, like find a way to like make the right kind of friends. Right. And like I think I should like, do that better or something? I don’t know. It’s unformed, thought.
Will Jarvis 39:40
Right? It’s, it’s a very interesting game, bouncing these things. I’m curious. When you’re trying to pick a topic. You mentioned you’ve gotten better that over time, Do you can you you know, put it into words what it is or is it just kind of a taste where you’ve gotten like enough exposure to really good things over a long period of time. It’s kind of this crystallized Intelligence thing where you can kind of pattern match what’s good? Or is there? Are there any heuristic heuristics you’ve kind of developed?
Nathan B 40:06
I definitely, I definitely have a heuristic. And I even made an acronym out of it. Which is kind of lame, but it really helps me. Um, but I will say, knowing the name of the thing does not equal knowing the thing. And like you can, like so I literally just earlier was talking to a friend of mine who’s like, amazing at Twitter. And she was telling me like a principle of like, making a tweet good. And I was like, oh, yeah, that makes perfect sense to me. And then we decided to workshop a tweet. And I started to like, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. And then she fixed all the stuff wrong with it. And I’m like, Oh, I knew everything. But I did not know the thing. Right? Right. So the acronym helps. But it’s like, the whole like, whatever, like being able to actually apply it is extremely, extremely hard. And I still have a really long way to go. And I don’t think necessarily that the acronym that I have come up with is the end all be all. But basically, it’s I call it stir as Te IR. And I want to have to see, but I don’t know how to make it into a word. I haven’t actually heard that yet. sterk. Yeah, so surprising, true, important, relevant, and bless the see that I’m kind of adding recently as cool, so surprising, it has to violate an expectation you have. And there’s an interesting theory about like, how the brain works. That’s basically like, we’re on autopilot. Our brains are hallucinating predictions all the time. And every so often, something is like violates our neural net prediction of like, what things should probably be based on what things recently were. And that is like, there’s like these, like, you know, dopamine markers of like, holy shit, what’s that something different, like pay attention, because like, could be risky, could be reward, whatever. So the important is, the magnitude of the riskiness or the reward, like something really bad or really good could happen to me because of this surprising new thing. The true part is it has to actually true because I can tell you like some fact, that would be surprising if it were true, but you just might not believe it. You know, like, I could tell you like, dowels are going to replace corporations. There’ll be no more corporations ever. It’s the new evolution of human consciousness. And I would be surprised that it’s like big if true, but like, you know, a lot of people are just going to see that and be like, bullshit, I don’t care. Right, you know? And then irrelevant is like, you know, if I’m like, you know, the high school version of me like corporations Dows. What, I don’t care about any of that. I don’t think it really affects me. Whereas if you could tell me, I don’t know, it was cool to me, like debate club in high school in 2006. But then that would feel more more relevant to me so as to be actually relevant to your interests. And then the see the cool part is, I think there are some things this is specifically for virality that are like, all of the above, but they don’t get shared very much, because it doesn’t really make me look that great to share it. So Gotcha. The, the Twitter friend who I was talking to earlier, said that she had a tweet that was like, here’s like, how to pitch yourself as a guest on podcast to to pitch people who have podcasts that you want to be a guest on their show. And it was really useful, practical information. There are some counterintuitive stuff in there. It’s important for a lot of people, they want to be guest on podcasts, but who wants to share about themselves that they’re like, thirsty, trying to be guests on podcasts reaching out pitching themselves, you want to be invited, you know, like, that’s the cool thing. Exactly. And so like, no one, no one was really retweeting that for that reason. And so it’s not really cool. It’s not, it’s not cool to do that. And so I think there’s some social perception factor that is an additional lens to look at it through. And I do think that that actually shapes a lot of like, it’s, it ends up being very practical, like we’re working right now on a thing, basically teaching people the basics of finance and accounting. And it’s like, is that cool? You know what I mean? Like, it’s like, it’s, it feels more cool to be like, here’s, like, the surprising implications of Dali to have how it changes art, you know, what I mean? It’s like, yeah, some new cutting edge thing or whatever. But like, actually, it’s probably a lot more important for a lot of people to just understand how to read a balance sheet, you know, and like, like, but you know, it’s not cool. So these things affect there, it’s like different things have to live in different parts of the funnel and like fit in different functions in the business. So that thing is not gonna go viral, but we can charge for it and maybe have cool viral pieces that like St. Also, we can teach you a county or something, if you want. We’ll see how that works
Will Jarvis 44:13
at the utilitarian stuff there too. So that’s super interesting. So it’s something like you have to consider how the other players in the game are going to think about like every player is thinking of what every player other player will think about them when they like, you know, promote some other piece of content and a lot of them kind of miss that that that thought would but it’s really important.
Nathan B 44:31
Yeah, I just always the acronym could be sticker. But S T I see. There we go. Sticker. There
Will Jarvis 44:37
we go. We got it. We saw it’s often called a sticker with a sticker. I love that. I love that. Oh, man. With kind of our last period of time here, I like to move on to some other pretty interesting topics that you’ve written on. Talking about tech, you know, what do you think is driving kind of the contraction in tech right now? Oh, do you think this will be kind of a persistent thing going forward? But just kind of lower valuations? You know, I think the the P for coin base right now is for, you know, it’s like this is like this is this is, I couldn’t have thought of that, you know, probably five months ago. So it’s quite Yeah, totally.
Nathan B 45:15
It’s so funny because like back in like, February, March, I was kind of like, ooh, like this great, like buying the dip. And I’m like, oh, you know, just illustrating that I don’t really know what I’m talking about. And it’s funny, because I think around that time, Bill Gurley was tweeting, like, forget those prices ever happened, like, don’t anchor on stuff from last year that has no relevance to this year. And it’s, like, intuitively, psychologically, we all think we should, like you look at a graph, and you know, like, it goes down a little, and then it tends to go up. So I want to buy it, when it goes down a little bit. Like, it’s sometimes it goes down a lot and stays down. And like, if you look at a graph from like, you know, if you had invested in a company, and like, you know, 2001, even if it’s a great company, like I don’t know how long it took for Amazon to like, lock it back to their all time highs, right, that they that they reached in the.com, bubble or, you know, whatever, like, how long was Microsoft underwater, how long, like, there’s a lot of great companies that could be underwater for years. You know, it’s not a bad opportunity necessarily, to make some good, like long term bets, or whatever. But you know, it’s just like, be be willing to like, it could be a long time. So I don’t know, what’s driving it is I can tell you what smart people say. But it’s a really abstract complex thing that’s very different from me, and like the supply chain of knowledge. So like to summarize what I hear all the smart people saying, it’s that, you know, basically, a combination of there are genuinely a lot of great tech businesses. And when that happens, people see it happening and think I want to do something like that. And so they want to invest in fun to those types of companies, and they want to start those types of companies. And usually what happens is, they keep doing that until it stops working. And you know, usually it stops working way far after the point where it’s kind of like, like, people realize it stops working Wayfair after after the point where it kind of like actually got over over the skis. And so there is basically like a valuation bubble of technology companies generally, because there’s so many great technology companies, but like, not all of the technology companies are great companies. And the market wasn’t very selective for a while, and it feeds on itself. Because as the thing keeps going up, then it looks like you’re making money, you have more money to invest, you can raise big funds. And so it really can perpetuate itself for quite a while. So that is kind of like one thing going on, then, you know, the backdrop of overall like the credit conditions of like the zero interest rates and the like huge stimulus to the economy after COVID, and all this kind of stuff. And like I’m definitely no expert on, on all the macro issues there. But basically, I wanted to learn about it. So I wrote kind of like a summary explainer of like, how does something go from like the Fed changing their rate? And like, what is even that rate? And like, how does it affect rates, because there’s not just like one interest rate, like everybody can set, I can lend to you at whatever rate you would agreed to borrow from me at, you know, like I can, it’s like prices, you know. So it’s not like the Fed controls all prices, they just control a price that then other prices take their cue from how does that work? So I wrote a bunch of stuff about that. But it Yeah, but basically, it looks like for a while, inflation has been rising, and it continues to rise. And now we’re at the point where it looks like consumer spending is decreasing, which means business revenue is decreasing. So it’s kind of like the thing we all feared of like, okay, when inflation gets high, we have to raise rates, people borrow less, they spend less, they spend less businesses earn more, businesses spend less so people get laid off and other companies that sell or buy things to and from businesses. They have less revenue and just kind of like this, this spiral, basically. And so I don’t know what will change it. The at some point, the Federal stop raising interest rates, but like, not yet. So it seems like a really different story from 2028, where there’s this like non economic cause of like the pandemic that just caused a lot of physical activity to stop, which had economic ramifications. This is like internal to the economy, basically. And so I think it’s going to be I mean, if it’s similar to previous times this has happened, it’s going to be slow. Like years, probably I think we’re looking at like, the rest of this year will probably be gloomy. And then next year, we’ll probably start the year in the doldrums and maybe by the end of the year, next year 2023 It’ll start feel better, but also maybe not. And also maybe a lot sooner, like I really don’t know, but I think if I had to really guess I would say the bottom will This is so dumb. I’m I have no idea. But I’m just gonna go ahead and guess early 2023 Gotcha. H one. H 120 23. That’s my guess. I really have no idea. Don’t hold me to it. All right.
Will Jarvis 49:55
That’s fair. That’s fair. It’s wise to self reflect. I And I’m curious, how do you think about building a business that can like last for a long time, I guess these these kinds of forces? Is it kind of just like trying to keep headcount, you know, low, everything manageable kind of positive cash flow? What does that look like? Yeah, I
Nathan B 50:15
mean, it’s pretty much just that. The problem is basically, there’s a lot of like, seemingly good reasons to not do that, you know. So it’s like, if you are really, if you’re really confident in your plan, and you want to go out and raise more money, and you want to go and start spending that money, and you’re kind of ahead of revenue, but it’s fine, cuz you’d probably be able to raise more, you know, I think now, it’s really easy to have the mindset of, you know, we should stay sustainable, but it felt really dumb, you know, when everyone was raising all these huge rounds, now, it feels a little smarter, but it’s still a little bit like, you know, people are still raising money, like, you can go out and raise, yeah, you can go out and raise money if you’re like, kind of our stage. But, I mean, it’s also easy for us, because we’re like, like, you can raise money if you’re on stage, but it’s hard to raise money. If you’re our type of company, like we believe long term, it’s a big opportunity, and that we do more than just writing basically and including potentially software. But that, yeah, it’s not like we’re building a notion competitor, which is like the kind of thing that a lot of people would probably want to fund right now.
Will Jarvis 51:17
Very logical, very logical plan, you know, like execution.
Nathan B 51:20
Exactly, exactly. Um, so. So yeah, I think it’s, it’s pretty simple. It’s just, you know, be be conservative, and how conservative you should be, is hard to say. But basically, the more that you understand about your business, the more risk you can take on. So like, if you have no idea, and you just see the bank account balance, and you vaguely can look at like how money is being spent, we have no real model of what’s going on, then it’s like, it can be really scary, right? Especially if it kind of fluctuates, or whatever. But if you have a model that describes like everything that’s happening, and you’re pretty good at predicting within like 10 percentage points, like revenue next month, then it’s easier to like, cut it a little closer to the line, you know, you’re trying to operate like sustainably through cash. So it’s been a really fun part of this for me is to just get a lot better at financial modeling. And like, we’ve gotten to the point where like, we can decently if you think about next month’s revenue, it’s a function of, Okay, how many monthly people tend to renew? How many annual people are up for renewal? And relative to what we know about that cohort? What percent of them do we think will renew? And how many new customers do we think we can acquire? And how much ad revenue do we think we’ll bring in? And, you know, at the end of one month, I already you know, bookings for next month are like done. So the cash component of it is like, you know, a little bit easier. So anyway, yeah, it’s like, you just have to keep track of ship basically. And you can push it to the edge a little bit closer, but like, Yeah, we don’t push it that close. And we try. And always, we’ve tried to be really conservative the whole time about cash and never, never did too, too low.
Will Jarvis 52:54
So you don’t ever have to worry about it. That’s, that’s super wise. Well, Nathan, I’ve got one, one last question here. And I apologize and all the outline, but but I do want to ask it. Do you have any advice for me on this journey? You know, podcasting? It’s somewhat adjacent, it’s not writing, but it’s close. I’ve been at it, you know, I guess this is right, coming up right upon your to spend a ton of fun. Do you have any general advice and anything that you would you would impart?
Nathan B 53:19
I mean, the most important thing is like, keep doing what you’re doing, right. And like, I can say, more specific versions of that. Like, it’s fun to talk to you. I feel like that’s so underrated. Like, there’s so many podcasts where people are just like, oh, like you like smile, and it’s fun, you know, and so like, that’s important, like, just keep keep having fun. Basically, I feel self conscious, like being like, you know, giving, giving you advice, or whatever. I’m just saying, stuff that I like about what you do. Right, basically. I mean, I’m curious like, well, actually, first of all, like, what are you struggling with? Because advice for you is kind of like, I can tell you things that might be random mechanisms that can achieve random things, but like, I don’t know, relative to what problems or goals, you know, like, does this anyone else? Are you full time on this?
Will Jarvis 54:05
No, no, this is just a it’s just a, it’s a fun, I worked full time at on deck. I’m just, this is a fun thing I do. I do it because I actually just just really enjoy it. And I get to be like, cool people like you just all these really interesting people, I would never have any chance to interact with otherwise. And yeah, I just have so much fun with it. I just, it’s just kind of snowballed from there.
Nathan B 54:28
I would keep just doing that then. And to the extent I mean, like, you know, you’re full time on deck. So you’re not going to say I want to quit my job to do this full time, I guess. But let’s just imagining someone. I’m imagining someone like you might. And if they did, not you they if they did, I would say you know, I think the number one thing for podcasting that’s tough is I don’t know and you probably know way better than me. How to sort of like, grow a podcast systematically for whatever Isn’t we have had so much trouble growing podcasts, I have so much fun doing them. So we keep doing them. Yeah. Like every keeps creating podcasts and like keeping podcasts going on this kind of stuff. But for whatever reason, I find it much easier with writing for to grow. I don’t know if that’s because of how Twitter works or whatever, like something that’s something about that. So I would say maybe be on the lookout for Twitter ask opportunities and audio, like maybe Spotify, like maybe there’s some thing that they do that’s like, right actually reach new audiences more easily. Or maybe it’s like, there’s like a momentum thing about getting on the charts or whatever. But like basically finding some way to like get the audience to the critical mass where you can get the advertiser thing. Right, right. Well, that works. And then yeah, in terms of like paid subscriptions, which I know a lot better than advertising, that is a whole nother thing with audio that I’m like, I don’t really know. So I don’t have a lot of confidence. But I will say, just the main thing is like, keep having fun, because you’ll do it if it’s fun, even if it’s not like, you know, paying your bills or whatever else. And that’s exactly what you’re already doing. And so just like you’re doing it because it’s it’s working, as far as I’m concerned. Like episode by episode feeling you have while you’re doing it, and after you do it is like the thing that you’ll remember more so than what the numbers are at any given point. Exactly. Exactly. And and if you feel good about it, you keep doing it. And the numbers probably will get good at some Yes. Yes, I’m sure they already are because you have like amazing guests. I don’t know your download numbers. But
Will Jarvis 56:25
there it’s one thing I will say about growth is I try I really try not to look at it, but when I do look at it is hilariously linear. So I don’t know what it is about the podcast in general, but it is hilariously linear. So I don’t know. It’s cool. It’s cool. It’s cool platform.
Nathan B 56:44
Amazing. Yeah, a lot of newsletters, I mean newsletters have, they have stepped functions or whatever. But they’re linear to like a lot of media is just linear. I think I think that’s just kind of like, I need to write about that. Like, why is media linear? Why is technology exponential?
Will Jarvis 57:00
Right? I do have a thought that it is something weird to do with like, SEO? Like, like, maybe it’s just something like as your footprint just gets larger. Right. You know, we have transcripts with the podcasts like you know, it is like writing in some sense. So it is just like you’re at some level, you know, it is like speeding up but but very slowly. And that’s because you’re just footprint on the internet’s getting better. But who does pay less?
Nathan B 57:25
Yeah. Dad? Oh, no, this will be fun to think through.
Will Jarvis 57:29
Definitely. Definitely. Well,
Nathan, thank you so much for coming on the show. I really enjoyed this. Getting to talk to you. Where can people find your work? Where should we send them
Nathan B 57:38
every.to is where you can find all the writing including mine in every and then I’m NBA sh aw on Twitter. So you can find that’s just kind of like my little whatever. It’s our chat room. It’s the global chat room where we all hang out during the days. So yeah, thank you so much for having me. This has been a ton of fun, and I’m excited for this and rooting for you and definitely excited to continue following along as you surpass Joe Rogan. Well.
Will Jarvis 58:08
Yeah, exactly. It’s great. Well, thank you, Nathan, I really appreciate you taking the time.
Well. Special thanks to our sponsor, Bismarck analysis for the support. Bismarck analysis creates the Bismarck brief, a newsletter about intelligence grade analysis of key industries, organizations, and live players. You can subscribe to Bismarck free at brief dot biz market analysis.com Thanks for listening. We’ll be back next week with a new episode of narratives. Special thanks to Donovan Dorrance, our audio editor. You can check out documents work in music at Donovan dorrance.com
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