Content Creation

#38: Building in Public & Making Twitter Friends with Kevon Cheung

Hosted by Josh Gonsalves
3.22.2021
1 HR 37 MIN
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Episode Description

Josh and Kevon Cheung to talk in depth about the building in public movement happening in the indie creator community. They explore the opportunities that creators have to build in public and make friends on Twitter to accelerate growth and make a bigger impact.

Whether you're building a company or your personal brand, this episode is PACKED with actionable tools and strategies to help accelerate your brand awareness in an authentic way.

About Kevon Cheung

Kevon Cheung (@MeetKevon) is a venture-backed startup founder turned indie builder. He got sick of chasing after money and growth for the wrong reasons, and now uses his voice and writing to influence people with transparency. He's the author of the Building In Public Definitive Guide and the creator of Making Twitter Friends mini course.

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Stalk Josh on the Internet:

  • 00:30 — Intro
  • 02:43 — Conversation begins
  • 02:57 — Josh is in Toronto, Canada and Kevon is in Hong Kong while recording this podcast.
  • 03:52 — Kevon's story
  • 06:09 — Kevon recently left his startup toasty.ai
  • 06:47 — How COVID impacted Kevon's business
  • 07:18 — Kevon: "I realize money is actually a bad thing to have because when you don't have money, you are forced to figure it out."
  • 09:05 — How Josh's business was impacted by COVID
  • 10:55 — Bootstrapping a sustainable business
  • 10:56 — Kevon: "the big mistake I made running that venture startup is we were forced into our space and I had the team, I had the product, without a good understanding of the problem, but now I want to flip it around."
  • 12:40 — Kevon: "I think that's a really like a big advantage of bootstrapping. You're more conscious."
  • 13:04 — There's like two modes as a creative: you're either like in explore mode or exploit mode.
  • 13:10 — Book: Optionality by Richard Meadows
  • 13:31 — Indie Hackers community
  • 14:32 — Giving yourself some space to think about what's next before jumping into the next thing
  • 16:24 — Kevon used to post vlogs on YouTube, but now he thinks his best medium is writing.
  • 17:50 — Video is a powerful medium because because there's something about the human connection when you see someone right in front of you.
  • 18:36 — Finding your preferred medium as a content creator
  • 18:49 — Podcasting, Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces. There's all these mediums for voice.
  • 18:53 — voice and writing is a great way to start easing into content creation
  • 19:12 — Josh did an English minor at University, which helped him develop a useful skill that he uses as a content creator.
  • 19:29 — Kevon's nine chapter blog series on building in public.
  • 22:01 — What is building and in public?
  • 22:43 — building in public is really just being transparent and share your work, share that behind the scenes, share your learning process, share your struggles, share your lesson, learn all of that and use these elements to kind of connect with other people.
  • 23:32 — There are open startups, where they have a whole page with all of their analytics. You can see how much money they're making and their user growth.
  • 24:59 — Who are you doing this building in public for? There are two groups. one is support group and the other group is your target audience, your target customers.
  • 26:49 — figure out whether you're trying to build an audience or you're trying to build a business
  • 28:28 — How Kevon has been able to do this financially
  • 29:14 — Freelancing as a way to financially support yourself
  • 29:49 — "If you want to create stuff, you need to give yourself time."
  • 30:37 — Having a supportive partner on your journey to help you financially.
  • 31:00 — Kevon "In the beginning of every new chapter, there was a period of time that you make no money. You're figuring things out, but you need that period of time because if you cannot stand that period of time, You basically go back to finding a job and nothing happens."
  • 31:37 — Josh talks about his experience building multiple businesses with his partner Marisa.
  • 32:48 — Juggling multiple projects
  • 33:39 — Working synchronously vs. asynchronously
  • 36:01 — Kevon: "it's much better to figure out who you are and what fits your style and just do that and stop listening to people because everyone is different. And if you just force yourself to follow someone's shoes, you're going to give up."
  • 36:34 — one-off type of products vs. recurring software services
  • 37:24 — Kevon is picking up a tool called Bubble for creating software without code.
  • 38:31 — you have to find your own voice and your own kind of path to really make a dent in the world.
  • 39:05 — Josh talks about his internal conflict of wanting to both create something of utility, but also something entertaining.
  • 41:40 — Creating a Flywheel
  • 43:29 — Mind Meld with Nat Eliason
  • 44:28 — Compounding effect of content creation
  • 45:19 — Nat's blog post on how to start a life-changing blog
  • 45:49 — Mind Meld with Arvid Kahl / Zero to Sold book / The Embedded Entrepreneur book
  • 46:55 — David Perell
  • 47:27 — How people can best utilize Twitter
  • 52:23 — Oculus Quest 2 VR Headset
  • 52:41 — Facebook Horizons and the future of social media
  • 54:16 — Making friends online has a huge compound
  • 57:16 — How do you help people with a solution to a problem you yourself don't have?
  • 58:34 — The MVP approach to a new product or service
  • 59:04 — When people say what you do is "cool" or "interesting", they're not interested.
  • 01:00:58 — Kevon: "what I learned is just people are, most people are nice. Most people are not going to give you honest feedback."
  • 01:01:27 — take away to this element of like listening to people's words, we don't care about what they say, just look at the data. Are they, are they reading your article? Are they using your product?
  • 01:02:31 — We're recording this podcast with Riverside.fm
  • 01:05:23 — Popular No-code tools: Bubble, Webflow, Airtable
  • 01:07:18 — The MVP approach to content creation: rather than spending a week creating a YouTube video, what if I just tweet? What if it's just like a small Twitter thread?
  • 01:09:10 — Jeff Bezos is interested in building slow. Because when you built slow, you will get destroyed slow because your Empire is so big.
  • 01:09:44 — So that's the beauty of building in public is when you put in the effort, you're not going to go away. You're going to stay relevant for a long time. So I really want people to understand this.
  • 01:09:59 — How do you consistently create content sustainably?
  • 01:12:45 — How Kevon structures his schedule
  • 01:13:00 — Kevon subscribes to 50 newsletters, so what he does is he creates a filter in Gmail to automatically tag them and skip the inbox. Then he schedules two 30 minute blocks to go through all of the newsletters each week.
  • 01:14:27 — Kevon: "My simple tips on writing is to split up the writing into ideation outlining writing and finalizing four steps. And I spread them out throughout the week."
  • 01:16:14 — Roam Research
  • 01:17:20 — Josh's blog post talking about the intersection between creativity and productivity.
  • 01:17:29 — Productive Creativity
  • 01:18:39 — the way Kevon forces himself to be consistent is he has a weekly newsletter. His blog posts must go out by Sunday.
  • 01:19:08 — Setting up a way to have a little bit of pressure to yourself is super helpful.
  • 01:20:35 — Kevon uses Convert Kit for his newsletter. But he first writes it in Notion.
  • 01:21:11 — Kevon's website is on Webflow.
  • 01:22:27 — When it comes to blog topics don't let analytics get in your way too much.
  • 01:23:12 — Tiago Forte / Forte Labs / Building a Second Brain
  • 01:24:03 — Arvid's newsletter: The Bootstrapped Founder.
  • 01:24:39 — Indie Hackers newsletter is great because it basically create the top posts from the forums.
  • 01:26:39 — Kevon's biggest challenges has been with monetizing his content and delegating work.
  • 01:29:36 — Gumroad, the platform that creators can sell their products, opened up a crowdfunding round for all kinds of angel investors to invest online.
  • 01:29:53 — "I think it's amazing when, not just you have some fans and customers and audience, but you can turn them to become owners of your company. I think that's super smart and powerful, because think about it when they become owners, they're going to do more word of mouth. They're gonna stick around. They're not going to leave."
  • 01:31:00 — crowdfunding with equity
  • 01:31:29 — Reflecting on My Failure to Build a Billion-Dollar Company article by Gumroad founder Sahil Lavingia
  • 01:32:52 — It's so important to work on [your personal brand] step-by-step and not rush yourself into taking a big leap because building credibility is accumulative.
  • 01:33:05 — the takeaway from this whole conversation is it's a long journey. It takes a really long time to build a personal brand on the internet.
  • 01:33:18 — Josh: "You gotta just stay in the game. The number one rule is just don't quit, stay in the game as long as you possibly can."
  • 01:36:11 — Kevon: "one last lesson is if you put effort into something, people can see it. If you spend half an hour writing an article versus two, three hours, or even a week to produce that article, people can see it. Same with podcasts."

Main Composition (Full Audio Episode)

[00:00:00] Kevon: Building in public is really just being transparent and share your work. Share that behind the scenes, share your learning process, share your struggles, share your lesson learned, and use these elements to connect with other people, so people would follow your journey.

[00:00:30] Josh: I'm Josh Gonsalves, and welcome to Mind Meld. This is a podcast where I have in-depth conversations with some of the brightest people in the known universe. My aim is to spark deep conversations around interesting topics to find the tools, tactics, strategies, and philosophies that we can all use in our daily and creative lives.

[00:00:50] In this episode, I sat down with Kevon Cheung. Kevon is a venture backed startup founder turned indie builder who got sick of chasing money and growth for all the wrong reasons and left his VC funded company. He now uses his voice and writing to influence people with transparency. And he's the author of the building and public definitive guide and the creator of the making Twitter friends course.

[00:01:13] Kevon and I talk in depth about the building and public movement that's happening right now in the indie creator community. And we explore all the opportunities that creators have to use building in public and making friends on Twitter to accelerate growth and make a bigger impact. All while being authentic and transparent.

[00:01:29] whether you're building a company or building your personal brand. This episode is packed with actionable tools and strategies to help you accelerate your brand awareness in an authentic way.

[00:01:39] And as always, if you found this episode helpful or interesting, please share it with your friends post on social media and share it with anyone that you think could benefit from this.

[00:01:48] And if you haven't already please subscribe to the podcast. You can subscribe on literally whatever podcast app you're listening to this on your favorite one or even one that you were forced to listen to for some reason. and that way you'll get notified when I publish new episodes every Monday with awesome new guests each week.

[00:02:03] And if you want to dive deeper and get direct links to any of the tools, people, or resources that we mentioned this podcast, you can find everything in the show notes for this episode. You can find the show notes in the description of this podcast on whatever podcast app you're listening to the song, or you can go directly to joshgonsalves.com/podcast. That's J O S H G O N S A L V E S .com/ P O D C A S T.

[00:02:30] I hope you enjoy this episode, so let's get right into it. I'm Josh Gonsalves and this is Mind Meld with Kevon Cheung.. Okay, so Kevon, thanks so much for joining me on Mind Meld, man. It's an honor to have you here. This is a lot of fun.

[00:02:47] Kevon: so good to be here. This is the first thing I do today, but this is the only thing I want to do today.

[00:02:53] Josh: No, that's a good point. You bring that up because we're on opposite ends of the world right now. I'm in Canada and you're in my favorite city in the world so far, which is Hong Kong. So it's hilarious how you're just starting your day and I'm literally ending my day. So I'm glad that we can meet in the middle here before I drift off to bed and you start your work day.

[00:03:11] So I'm excited, man. I'm excited to have you here on the podcast.

[00:03:13] Kevon: Looking forward to what we talk about.

[00:03:15] Josh: Yeah, man. And I'm thinking we have a lot to talk about. I'm really glad that we got connected over Twitter. You know, I think a lot of my connections over the last little while have been over Twitter, amazing place to connect with people. And you've just like, had this amazing, like growth spurt from a bunch of different stuff, right?

[00:03:29] From like posting on Twitter a lot, you made this awesome building in public guide. So I think we can really dive deep on this idea of like building in public because you've clearly dove right into the subject. So I'm really excited to get into that.

[00:03:42] But I think before we get into all that stuff, I really want you to kind of introduce yourself to the people listening so they can kind of get to know who you are, what you've been doing and what you're doing now.

[00:03:52]Kevon: Yeah, sure. So my name is Kevon. Uh, some people call me, Kevon, some people thought is a typo, but it's Kevon. I'm based in Hong Kong, but I used to study in the States. So I guess my, my story really started when I was about 13 years old, because back then, you know, some people after school, they would go play sports.

[00:04:12] I'm the person who come back home to sit in front of my laptop, trying to figure out what's what's going on online. So that was kind of my first taste of the internet, but I gave it all up when I went to boarding school and college in the States. So, um, I ended up going to business school. So at that point I still haven't gone back into like doing stuff online.

[00:04:37] But right after graduation, no, actually right before graduation, I was thinking to myself, oh, my God, I don't want to go into finance. What should I be doing? So I kind of reflected back where I spend my time as a teenager. That must be something that I'm passionate about. And I remember, Oh my God, the internet, all the tech stuff, I really enjoyed it. So I end up kind of joining a coding bootcamp in New York for three months and becoming a software engineer and hop on a plane to move to Singapore.

[00:05:11]so I was a software engineer, um, as my first job. And I guess I was slowly paving my path towards building technology. So software engineer, and then next I joined a startup. Uh, non-tech though. Is kind of like a kids coding school startup. So I work on everything to grow it. And then my last venture was finally the software company that I have always dreamed of. So that was kind of my roadmap throughout the last eight, nine years.

[00:05:41] Josh: That's awesome. So tell me a little bit about that startup cause you recently exited from it. Right? And I think like we can kind of shift gears into that because you've had an epiphany, right. From last time we spoke just about sort of the way that software businesses are kind of formulated and started.

[00:05:56] So I know that was a venture back startup. Right. So tell me a little bit about the startup and sort of why you kind of decided what your, your ideas and philosophies around it really were at the time.

[00:06:09] Kevon: Yeah, I think when you say exited, some people might think, Oh, you sell your startup. No, I basically stopped working on it. So, I worked on it for about two years, uh, on, uh, in total. I was lucky enough to get an angel investor who was really supportive. So he brought in some capital so that we can start a company and build a product.

[00:06:35]But after about, I think it was 18 months or a little bit more, I found out that we lack the growth trajectory because there are a few things that was kind of very hard for us to handle. One is COVID moved us to a space that we had no idea about. We were building interactive technology for physical events and like, uh, gatherings.

[00:06:59] When COVID happened, it means we had to take our technology to, to be in the video meeting space, but we had no experience. Our engineering team had no idea how to build it. I know no one in this space. So that was really tough. that brought us to the second thing, which is we had money, you know, we raised some capital. And I realize money is actually a bad thing to have because when you don't have money, you are forced to figure it out.

[00:07:27] What is the next step that can move the needle and get some revenue. But when you have money, you're not really thinking about the revenue you're thinking about, Oh, let's bring in a team, let's hire people. Less, uh, do some marketing. You're spending a lot of money, but you're not really thinking about return as like, as clear.

[00:07:46] So what ended up happened was I was busy hiring, managing, like handling all the people matters and then just blindly driving growth, but I didn't really spend more time to understand a space, which is the point number one I talked about. So money in a way. Uh, moved us further away from the truth. That would be how I put it.

[00:08:10] And lastly, you know, after running it for like 18 months, 20 months, I just realize running venture startup it's not myself. Like I I'm, I'm sure there are people out there who enjoy this, like being the CEO, talking to investor, going on like a media to talk. But it's not me. Like everyday, I'm just like, Oh, I would much rather spend time on the product and my customer.

[00:08:39] So that was my biggest realization that, okay. All of these three things are so important to growing this thought out. Maybe it's time to stop. So, so in October, 2020, I stopped

[00:08:51] Josh: Wow. So it must've been a difficult decision, right? Because like you have all the pressures. Of the investors, I'm assuming. Cause you're the one kind of at the helm of this thing, you have the team you're hiring people. So I'm sure it wasn't like an easy decision.

[00:09:05] I had like a similar experience last year with COVID where my virtual reality startup, Contraverse, we focusing on live events like conferences and festivals, and then this thing happens COVID and it forces everyone to pivot and forces you to really think about how you can deliver these experiences at home.

[00:09:22] So it's interesting that you guys pivoted to, video conferencing, the exact same year that, companies like zoom just hit all time highs and they were just flying high. Right. And there again, a public company. So they have other things to deal with. And then for you now you're kind of dealing with like venture startups.

[00:09:37] So I think it's interesting to me that, It is kind of true that you have to like figure out what your customer pain points are and what are that solution rather than just the busy work around the work. Right. It kind of seems like once you reached a certain point, you're doing the work around the work.

[00:09:53] You're like managing people, you're managing like tasks, you're doing investor relations rather than just the task of like, let's find a solution that will help our customer or client achieve X. And how can we make sure that they're actually giving us money in return, so this is a sustainable business.

[00:10:11] With venture businesses, you have money in the bank and, or you're getting more money, so you don't really have to worry about that. So I think that's a really good point where, when it comes to bootstrapping a business, it's very much like, Hey, I need to like find customers to pay me right away.

[00:10:24] And you know, that you're building sustainable business right away. So are you thinking about that now? Are you starting that next venture right now? Are you focusing on content we're going to get into the build and public stuff. Cause that's kind of what you're doing right now, but when you're thinking about businesses, are you really thinking about this bootstrap model and what was it that sort of, if venture startup is further from the truth, how were you able to find the truth? How did you find bootstrapping as sort of this whole new way of doing business?

[00:10:50]Kevon: right now I'm in a transition where, uh, I'm definitely interested in doing bootstrapping because, the big mistake I made running that venture startup is we were forced into our space and I had the team, I had the product, without a good understanding of the problem, but now I want to flip it around.

[00:11:11] Like, I'm just taking my time. I still don't have like a clear problem that I want to solve at this moment. So when you say, Oh,  are you focused on creating content? Yes, I am right now because in the last four months, I am trying to go this approach where, okay. I don't know what I want to solve, but I have a lot of knowledge from the past couple of years.

[00:11:35] So let me just share them first. So I keep writing content. I forced myself to write one article a week, one newsletter a week, and then a bunch of like Twitter, LinkedIn posts. the idea I had was, Hey, let's just keep something going and talk to a lot of people and discovered that dying problem that I might be the person to solve.

[00:11:57] It might take six months, 12 months. I might never find it. I don't know. But I think, when you keep an open mind and you talk to a lot of people, you must, you must find something and then you can slowly work from there. So I'm more interested in this way. So it's very different from the venture path.

[00:12:15] And I think bootstrapping is nice because I think I'm more conscious right now. Like every day I sit down, I'm like, okay, what can move the needle? I'm not going to spend time on things that are not moving the needle. and with a newborn, like a baby, I have a baby girl who's like 10 weeks old. I'm super, super careful where I spend time. So, yeah, that's a good thing. I think that's a really like a big advantage of bootstrapping. You're more conscious.

[00:12:45] Josh: Yeah, your, your backs against the wall, right? You're like, Hey, I really need to make this thing happen, especially early days. Right. Finding your product market fit. So it's interesting. I think, you're in a really good position right now. Like the transitionary period, like they don't come that often in life. Right.

[00:13:00] You don't get these sort of sabbaticals where you can kind of do your exploration there's like two modes, right? You're either like in explore mode or like exploit mode. And that comes from a book, optionality, by, uh, Richard Meadows. It really opened my eyes to that. You know, you want to keep your options open. It seems like you're kind of taking that approach right now. Um, while you're in this explore phase of like, let's just keep my options open. Let's talk to a lot of people.

[00:13:24] Like, it's great that we can get on this podcast. I know you do a lot of. Uh, connecting on Twitter and elsewhere. And you're part of the Indie Hackers community as well, I believe. Right? there's so many op opportunities out there. There's an abundance of opportunities of projects of products you could do.

[00:13:39] So I think it's great that you're taking that conscious approach to it where you're like, Hey, like I want to make sure that first I'm solving the right problem, finding the right people, and then kind of, you're kind of going to go from there. You'll, you'll let things evolve from there, which is, I think that's the way to go, right? Because I people do the opposite. They're like, Hey, I have this great product idea. Now let's try to find the people who would, who would want to use it. It's like the opposite way that I think it should be

[00:14:03] Kevon: that was me last year.

[00:14:05] Josh: Yeah. Right. Okay. I'm going to build this product. Let's see. Who could use this? Could you use this? Could you use this? Like, no, you want to do the other way around.

[00:14:10] So where did you start learning about that? The other model that the model that flips on his head with, with the bootstrapping model. Yes. But also like the problem solving mentality.

[00:14:20] Was it from Indie Hackers? Like how did you get into this world? Like what sort of was your entry point into this whole place?

[00:14:28] Kevon: I actually want to add on to what you talked about. Like me giving myself some space to think about what's next, because I think this is super important. Like a lot of people, they hop from one job to another, they never give themselves a break. I understand it from like an economic standpoint, like, Oh, it's scary when you don't have a job or something.

[00:14:51] But for me, actually, this is not rare. Like, uh, between my last two experience, I had a gap time as well, because I always think about. If you don't give yourself some space to step back and look at the whole picture, you can move in like baby steps. But when you step back, you can make a big leap. You can go into a new space and you will fall in love because you, you really know that you're going to enjoy doing that.

[00:15:21] So an example I can think of is like, you know, we, we date people, right. I ma I'm married now, but we used to date people. Some people, you know, they cannot stand being alone, being single. So they have like boyfriend and girlfriends back to back. And you know what? I don't think they understand relationships that well, but people who are like brick brick off, or if their partner and then, you know, spent a year on themselves, they really know what they want in the next partner. So it's the same concept. Yeah.

[00:15:52] Josh: Oh, I love that analogy. That is such a good point. Yeah.

[00:15:55]I love that, but yeah, man, I think that's really cool. I think that's a good point because you need to take that step back, especially during COVID like this last year, people had the time to really step back and kind of do some introspection at a time where I think no one else would have before, because it would have been way easier to get another job or go do another thing.

[00:16:14] But you were kind of forced, you know, in most places, quarantine full on quarantine for awhile and you have this time to reflect and start building. So I know at the time you were doing some vlogging for a while, and then you switched now into more writing. Right. So what does the type of content that you're mainly putting out now that you've been enjoying to do and your preferred medium of sorts to, to create content on now?

[00:16:38]Kevon: so that's kind of my self-discovery as well. So about two, three years ago, I was taking a break. That was my kind of first career break. I've been managing people for like four years. So I wanted to do something creative. I enjoy like working on stuff, so I decided, Hey, why not make some YouTube videos?

[00:17:00] So I started with videos, but it was hectic. I spend one full week just to make one video. So I did all the scripting filming, editing all by myself. it was hard, you know, spending one week on one video and then you get like 200 views. That's hard. So I decided to like, you know, stop and then get back into the startup world.

[00:17:23]but now. I think my medium is writing. I never knew that I enjoy just sitting down, outlining and then writing so much. I didn't know that. And because English is my second or third language, so on video, I'm like, you know, not that smooth, but in writing, who cares, you know, you know, you just produce that piece and push it out there.

[00:17:48] So for now it's writing. but I wouldn't be surprised if I get back to video because there's something like human connection when you see someone right in front of you. But right now I'm just too busy. So maybe I'll come back later and that's, again, a very conscious process of, is video gonna help, what help move the needle for what I do, if not, then I don't even want to spend time on.

[00:18:15] So I'll see. I'll see how that

[00:18:16] Josh: Yeah. Well, I have to say, man, you're doing a great job considering this is not your first language. So man, I think you're doing great. I would not worry about that at all. if we had to speak any other language, I would not be doing well at all. So the fact that you can at least speak multiple languages is pretty fricking amazing.

[00:18:34] But honestly, that is a good point though. Um, finding your preferred medium, like there are people who like, they don't want to show their face. Well, here's the thing you don't. Like right now. We're doing video for podcast. I'll do a video version for people listening, but you could also just listen to it.

[00:18:48] Like a lot of people just talk and now there's a clubhouse and Twitter spaces. There's all these mediums for voice. And I think voice is a great way to start easing into that. But before. For all that there's even writing. Right. You can kind of not really hide behind it, but people who are not as outgoing or they feel like they can't do video, I think writing is a great medium.

[00:19:06] And it's funny you said that. Cause I was never really into writing either. I was sort of like forced to do an English minor at University. So I was forced to do a lot of writing and writing a lot of essays. And at the time I didn't love it, but now going back into the content creation world now, I'm like, wow, I'm so glad I have the skill. You know, it's really helped me to develop this, the skill.

[00:19:27] So let's get into that. I want to get into your writing because you just put out a really awesome, Nine chapters on building in public. So I want to know why you decided to write about that. Like, what was the thing that made you feel compelled to write about it?

[00:19:42]Kevon: if I have to give you like an official answer, it would be like something like, Oh, I want to help people out, help the world, you know, be a better place. But I'll give you the honest answer. It because I'm all about transparency. You know, I'm an open book. So I like to share. When I kind of transit into this creator, you know, in the space, I was a, nobody, you know, all my effort in the last eight years of my career was put into their company.

[00:20:11] So when I stopped working on that company, you couldn't find anything about me online. Not that much, I mean, just a little bit. So I knew that, okay. I wanted to put things under my name, start creating, and I had no idea where to start. Um, because my website has like five visitor in a month at that point.

[00:20:33] So you don't, my honest answer is I was doing a bit of exploring around and I found different topics that people really enjoy, like building in public, micro SaaS, no code, all of these like buzz word and trends. And I'm like, well, I didn't know about all of this, so maybe I should explore around this areas.

[00:20:55] And I did some research and comparison. So I look at Google volumes, Google search volume, like, competition, keyword, you know, difficulty, all that. building in public has really bad yeah. Stats for all of those research.

[00:21:09] But I ended up just jumping into it because I felt like this, this is me, you know, transparency, honesty. This is my personality. This is the value that I hold strongly about in my whole life. And I think if I write about it, I can produce a good piece because it's really me. So I didn't care about the numbers. I just jumped into it. And then I didn't know, it would become so popular. So it's kind of like a discovery process for myself as well.

[00:21:41]in that process, I discovered that actually building in public is getting bigger and bigger and I can really use transparency to influence more people to, to do better things. So, it, it was never like, like I first day I knew what I was doing, no.

[00:21:58] Josh: So, if you had to first explain what building and in public is, how would you explain it for people who have no idea what it is? They might think it sounds completely weird. Like, what do you mean building in public? Like, like what does this even mean? How would you explain that?

[00:22:12]Kevon: well, you know, in the old ways, we built products, we build companies and we do marketing. Right. We only show the good stuff. Uh, Oh, well we get some awards. Wow. We get like testimonials. Is all book cover. And I think 2021, we all know that that's kind of like artificial. Like it's kind of fakes kind of made up.

[00:22:35] So I think at this point we all crave authenticity. Like we want to be trustworthy. So building in public is really just being transparent and share your work, share that behind the scenes, share your learning process, share your struggles, share your lesson learned, all of that and use these elements to connect with other people, so people would follow your journey. So simple as that.

[00:23:03]But I guess a lot of people are confused about the term. Sometimes they are like building in public. Does that mean I have to share a hundred percent what I'm doing? What if my idea gets stolen and all that, but not really. It's kind of like a mindset, like how far you want to go is still up to you.

[00:23:21] So you don't really have to share like your revenue numbers, your business model. No, you don't just share the learnings and struggles. That's that's good enough.

[00:23:30] Josh: Right, but you could go further and there are people with like open startups, right. Where they have like a whole page with all of their analytics. You can see how much money they're making per month, per year. and how many users they have their user growth. And I've seen that. And I think that's cool.

[00:23:44] And I think that is good marketing, especially if they ever want to sell it, right. Like I'm sure those people who post that, and it's a really good business. They're going to get people, messaging them to want to acquire the business or want to invest

[00:23:56] or

[00:23:57] Kevon: of finding, is it a finding a broker to sell a business, I bet they can just tweet once and people would flood into their door trying to negotiate.

[00:24:07] Josh: Yeah, exactly. And so there's kind of two parts of this, cause I know you talked about it in the guide as well, but I think it's really good because it is marketing at the end of the day. Right? You kind of, you kind of touch on it. It's like basically really transparent and authentic marketing if you had to put into a bucket of like, this is for the business, whether that's for your personal brand or for a company, what you're essentially doing is marketing. But your marketing without making it seem like marketing, like you said, it's not the good stuff.

[00:24:34] It's not just like, you know, it's not a webinar. It's not like an ad. It's not like something like that. It's just like it's marketing in the most authentic way possible. If just like, here's what I'm doing. Here's my latest updates. Here's like the newest stuff I'm working on. And, I'm just letting you know what it is. I'm putting it into the market.

[00:24:52] It could be like Twitter, right. It could be a vlog on YouTube. It could be on Tik TOK. It'd be whatever. but then there's kind of two parts to it. It's like, who are you doing this building in public for?

[00:25:01] I think you brought up kind of two groups of people, right? You have like supporters and then your actual target market.

[00:25:07] So I want you to kind of expand on that because that's a really interesting thing. I think we can dive deeper on because a lot of people might kind of get caught up and market to the wrong people.

[00:25:16]Kevon: the two groups are one is support group and the other group is your target audience, your target customers. Right? I do see people who go after two different paths. If you're like more builders, uh, hackers, you tend to go after the support groups because you look at building in public as a way to keep yourself accountable.

[00:25:37] You know, you are just sitting at home by yourself and you won some buddies, you know, to share and learn from each other. So that's great. And then I see another group of people who are more founder mindset, marketing mindset, and they use it to get to their target audience. Not everyone listening to them will be target audience, but it doesn't matter.

[00:26:00] You know, as long as they are like 30%, that's still pretty good. But for me, if you ask me, I guess, because I'm also coming from a founder perspective, I really want to influence people to be more marketing oriented, because at the end of the day, I think accountability is nice. But at some point you will be like, Oh, I'm so busy. Um, I might drop this, then you drop the ball.

[00:26:24] But if you look at it from a marketing perspective, you are doing all this, just to get more customers in a, in an indirect way, you're going to keep going, you know, two, three years, you're still going to do it and you will never give up because the return is a lot more there.

[00:26:41] So this is what I'm trying to do, trying to like educate people that there's another way to do it.

[00:26:47] Josh: Yeah, I think it was awesome because you have to figure out whether you're trying to build an audience or you're trying to build a business because it seems like those are two different things.

[00:26:55] Like for me right now with this podcast, Uh, I'm not explicitly trying to build an audience, but I definitely want to influence more people. I don't want to put all this effort into creating this podcast, talking to you, you know, you're on the opposite end of the world here. Like this is, this is tough stuff. People come on. I don't want to just do this out of the goodness of my heart and put it out to the ether. I want people to consume this content, right.

[00:27:15] So for me, I mean, I don't have any agenda here, like trying to sell something w I don't have any sponsors or anything. so I'm not really in that second group of going to the marketing side of things, right? it's more so like building an audience.

[00:27:27] Is it, maybe it is the support group. People will want to listen to these stories, but then also it's like consumers of the content they become an audience. Right. So I want to, bring these conversations to light and then there's other ways to market it.

[00:27:38] That's, that's the only reason why I would then maybe chop this up and put it onto like TikTok and like Instagram and Twitter, like these little social networks and drive people back into maybe the full YouTube video of this, if they're listening to this or maybe listening to on the podcast app or hopefully on my own website, because once they get to your on website, you should have other content there, right? You'll have your blogs.

[00:28:01] Then you can see your projects, and then maybe if you're a consultant or a freelancer you can make, Hey, I also do great work. Check out my work. Oh. And if you want to work with me here, you can work with me. So this could be a way for me as my freelancing side of things to be like, Hey, I do content production. I do design work. Come here, come with some, I have to say, Oh, and check out this other stuff. So do you think that as well? Cause I know you've been doing some freelancing on the side as well.

[00:28:28] Cause I think we can maybe dig into some of the financial stuff because you're in one of like the most expensive cities in the world. So am I, it's tough times guys. It's crazy cities here. how have you been able to kind of make that work for you? Like have you been doing stuff like that? Like freelancing, have you been doing other work on the side or have you been just using your savings? I kind of want to know how you've been able to make that work and maybe you can shed some light for other people who want to maybe take that leap to become a creative themself.

[00:28:55]Kevon: so I definitely saved up some money in the past. Uh, when I was working for like eight years, you look at me, I'm wearing like Uniqlo. I wear just plain t-shirt every single day. I don't like to shop, you know, the only thing I like to buy, it's like a little bit of electronics. So I, I did save up some money,

[00:29:12] But, uh, you touch up on freelancing. I think this is a whole lesson that I learned in the past as well, like two years ago remember how I told you I was making videos. So I was full-time on that, full-time creator.

[00:29:26] And I was under so much pressure to drive like, Oh, I need, I need more views for my videos. I need more subscribers for my YouTube channel. Every day I woke up, I'm like paranoid because I didn't have any income. And then I didn't know how to drive it, but I had to drive it. You know, it, it was miserable.

[00:29:46] But now I think about it, I knew that if you want to create stuff, it takes time. It's not like you put in more hours and things will accelerate. It's not like that. You need time to build relationships with people have conversations like this. You need time for SEO to work. Everything takes time. So it's much better if I can slow down myself and gave myself a longer horizon, a longer timeline to figure this out. So the way I used to kind of offset this is freelancing.

[00:30:17] You know, I have some skill sets that people. might find valuable or helpful. So I just pick up some projects, help them out, deliver the results and pick up some money so I can keep going with all this like content creation stuff. So yeah, that could, that could go a lot further.

[00:30:37] But the other thing that was really helpful, it was my wife, you know, my wife just gave birth, but she's already working now. So, so she is super supportive in this journey because she actually had a big career transition, I think about a year ago, because we were planning for the baby.

[00:30:57] And you you know. In every new chapter. In the beginning of every new chapter, there was a period of time that you make no money. You're figuring things out, but you need that period of time because if you cannot stand that period of time, You basically go back to finding a job and nothing happens. So I think if anyone can give them that flexibility for like three, six months, then you can do amazing things because that is kind of like a prerequisite.

[00:31:27] So my wife helped me a lot in that sense. She's super supportive.

[00:31:31] Josh: That's awesome. I mean, yeah. Having any kind of partnership like that is as the biggest support, right. It's tough when both, partners want to be entrepreneurs and they're both starting at the same, that's kind of. for, uh, myself and my partner Marissa are at, and you know, we're both building businesses together as well as separately.

[00:31:48]That's tough too, but doing multiple things makes it even harder. So like, I'm trying to pursue, I would call this podcast like a hobby more than anything. Right. I'm not trying to make money off it. You even just said it before, like when it comes to YouTube and subscribers, like if I'm trying to think about this as like my job and like bringing income right away, then it puts so much pressure on you.

[00:32:06] You're like, Oh, like, uh, I need to make money from it. And then you start stressing out. So I'm like, okay, this is sort of like a hobby. Um, instead of, you know, watching Netflix, I can have this awesome conversation with you. And then later on, instead of playing video games, I edit this conversation and put it out on the internet.

[00:32:20] So you're using that extra free time to do that. Everything else is, being done on the business. All of my time is being worked on the business. So that's Marissa and myself are doing that too. So it's kind of tough to make that work, but we were, we were in a good position where we had savings and get we're freelancing. We have other projects, um, on the go. So that's been helping us a lot, but then, like I mentioned, like juggling multiple things is, is tough. Right.

[00:32:44] Is that anything, is that like something you've ever had to deal with? Have you been trying to juggle multiple things? right now, are you, laser-focused on one thing, are you in that exploratory phase where you're kind of trying out different things have ever had to deal with that?

[00:32:57] Kevon: I'm not very good at multitasking. You know, some people can run three, four projects at the same time. I just know that I can not. So I'm, I'm usually very laser focused. Like if I'm, doing writing content, I'm all focused on that. If I'm like growing my email list, I'm all focused on that.

[00:33:14] Right now, the only multitasking thing is the baby and you know, my, my work and I plan for it. That's why, uh, I have some product ideas about like, for example, creating a community where I, uh, actively help them build in public. But when I think about my baby, you know, she needs me at random times of the day and I need to wake up at night as well.

[00:33:39] So then I stay away from this kind of product that needs my attention, uh, like synchronously. So I was testing the water with my, with my. Uh, Twitter, friends and people want to do it. And I can see, I can make some money off of, out of that, but I intentionally stay away because I know I wouldn't be able to deliver high quality stuff, so I don't want to disappoint people.

[00:34:05] So now I'm going back to like writing, which is like, uh, or email course. I just built an email course. So this is the stuff that I can do it asynchronously and still keep things going.

[00:34:17] Josh: Yeah, totally. I think that's a really good point. It's like figuring out whether the project is synchronous or asynchronous. So that's a big term. I don't know anyone listening, who aren't really familiar with that. I mean, you can Google it if you want,

[00:34:28] but you know, for thinking about a conversation, this is a synchronous conversation. It's real time. If you're having like a chat on like direct messages or like texting that's synchronous, asynchronous is like, I send you a video or a voice note. You listened to that later, and then you send me a voice note and I listened to that a couple of hours later.

[00:34:47] So, and with products, that's a really good point. The synchronous synchronicity of it, or asynchronicity of it of do you need to be there? Do you need to actively be working on there? Do you, is there a community? Is it like if you're consulting, do you need to get on like calls all the time? Do you need to do these things or can you make it asynchronous?

[00:35:05] Can you record videos when you have the time? Can you write stuff that will do the work for you when you're doing something else? So I think that's the beauty of the internet, right? That's what everyone wants these recurring revenue.

[00:35:17] That's why everyone wants these SaaS products because they can build it once and then they can just like sell it multiple times. And the ideal situation is, you know, you're asleep and it's selling itself, you know, you're using SEO and ads and word of mouth and it's selling itself. So I think that's an interesting point. So are you only thinking about these asynchronous solutions?

[00:35:38] Cause I mean, when it comes to the internet and scalability, it kind of makes sense. Right. Um, that's kind of where everyone's trying to move towards, is that where you're kind of thinking about now?

[00:35:45]Kevon: Yeah. I think, uh, first I want to say like a lot of people, when they look at other successful people, what they're doing, and then they just want to follow that same path. But from this conversation, you can tell that it's much better to figure out who you are and what fits your style and just do that and stop listening to people because everyone is different. And if you just force yourself to follow someone's shoes, you're going to give up. So, For all the listeners out there, I really encourage you to figure it out yourself.

[00:36:20]For me currently, I definitely wanted to work on asynchronous stuff. My ultimate goal is to built tech product, you know, SaaS product, because the way I think about it is, well, it's nice to build info products.

[00:36:34] It's nice to create a course to teach people, but these are very one-off type of product. And it's not that it's not about money. Like you make money one off, but it's more about my contribution to the world. Like, I can only help them once and that's it. And then they, they, they don't like from that course, they don't get anything else from Kevon.

[00:36:56] But if you built like a tech product that they can use every single day that improves their work or personal life, every single day, I am constantly involved in their lives.

[00:37:06] And I think that fuse a lot tangible and substantial and like rewarding in my life. So I want to get there. but after so many years of being like founders and like the marketing growth person,  I couldn't code now. So I kind of yeah, I stopped that, but now I'm picking up a tool called Bubble.

[00:37:26] I heard that is great for building no code solutions. once I finished my current email course, I'm going to jump into learning that so that I could build some mini tech products to do you just put it out there and see what people say.

[00:37:40] Josh: And just test it. Right. Kind of learn the process of this tool. But man, that's a really good point. I mean, I think that's such a great message of like, you just have to know yourself first rather than following other people's path because you know, the first thing was people were following the path of okay, go to school and then get a job. That didn't work out.

[00:37:59] So why do you think, you know, following other people's recommendations of like, do this course or build a course or like become a vlogger or whatever, why would you think that would also work? Right. I think that it's like, again, we talked about like these levels of like awareness almost, right?

[00:38:13] It's like, you know, you think you're aware because you're becoming an entrepreneur, but if you're just like following the same path that was programmed into us, that like the Silicon Valley myth of like, you need to have investors and like raise your seed and then series A, and then you do your series B, then eventually go public or something like that. Also doesn't work. Or you have to find your own voice and your own kind of path to really make a dent in the world.

[00:38:36] Right. That's one way, I'm not saying, Hey, if you're, if you're going to raise money, that's one way. And it's almost like the easy route, right? Like you could easily make money by just raising it all at once from, from an investor, but it's a lot better and it's more meaningful to raise that money from your customers because you know, you're making a contribution, right? They're paying you money because you're solving this problem for them.

[00:38:57] And it kind of leads me to this next thing is like, cause you doing content creation and you also want to do these tech products. I've always had this, like Dichotomy in myself of like on one hand, I want to build something that's like very useful.

[00:39:11] You know, it's like a utility. Like if you said like an app or something that someone uses every day, look at like Google calendar and stuff like that. It's so simple, but it's a calendar that we use every day and it, like, it enriches my life. It's like, almost like a superpower.

[00:39:22]On the other hand, I just want to make entertaining work. like the highest version of that is just making a movie. It has like no real, utility, but it's purely entertainment. Like, Oh, there was a great movie.

[00:39:34] So I have like these two things, and I know you were just talking about, you know, not multitasking, but I think it's possible to take like 10 years or even 20 years do one of these things build something that's scalable, it's a big product.

[00:39:47] And then take a break, do something very entertaining or something. So, obviously right now I'm in this like entertaining phase of like doing this podcast, but I found this healthy middle where it's like, it's entertainment content. But it also has utility. Cause we're talking about stuff that hopefully people are going to use. These are tools and strategies and ideas that someone's going to use.

[00:40:07] So I've always been thinking about that in my mind. Like these two things I always thought were at odds, but maybe they're not at odds. Maybe there's ways to fuse these things. And I think that's where new things will happen.

[00:40:19] That's I think where people will find their new path, it's like, I'm going to take the best parts of this and this that I love. Oh, and maybe a little thing from this other thing that I love combine them. And now you have this one mega thing that you can go and pursue without having to worry about all the other things. It's like, there's a one thing don't have to worry about it.

[00:40:38] I personally haven't found it, but that's how I am on I'm on this quest as well, man, to find that, that thing.

[00:40:45]Kevon: I have, I have a lot of sharing to do in here because you talked about like how you might work on one thing and then stop and then work on that movie. I, I guess, I guess I wouldn't look at it this way because when I look at it, I look at, okay, we have like, how many hours a week? Like productive hours, maybe 60, let's say 60.

[00:41:07]in a way you can, like, for example, after building in public guide, and then now I have an email course. These are stuff that once I build it, I can kind of put it on the side. And so it's really about how you slice up your time. if coming up I have this tech product that require my attention for like 30 hours a week, then I can still have space for that, and then the other products are still running.

[00:41:30] So instead of looking at, as like on and off on and off and focusing on one thing, it's more, I don't know if have you heard of the concept called flywheel?

[00:41:42] It's like you have all this little stuff in your wheel and turning one gear will kind of move the other gear as well.

[00:41:50] So it's like a whole, whole engine working for you. And you don't every week you might spend different allocation of time here and there, but essentially you're moving to whole wheel. So I think this concept is super important.

[00:42:06] That means like, for me, when I think about what that want to produce, I don't produce random stuff. I make sure that they're kind of, um, fit into my wheel. They are all connected to each other. They're talking about the same thing. For example, building in public it's about transparency. And then while you're building in public, you need to make friends on Twitter. So I built a course about making Twitter friends is an email course running in the background.

[00:42:33] So like when you can kind of scope everything like this, I think the after effect is going to be, you know, enlarged. You're going to be more powerful, how you influence people.

[00:42:47] Josh: I absolutely love that.  And, um, do you know, Nat Eliason, do you follow him on Twitter?

[00:42:53] Kevon: Oh, Oh, I'm his biggest fan.

[00:42:55] Josh: That guy, he's built such a great following and he, I think he was one of the biggest inspiration for me, for sure. To kind of do this too. Right. And like after COVID and all this has happened, it makes you realize, I think you went through the same realization, which is like, You can have this business and everything, but you need to have like yourself, you know, you need to have like yourself productized in a way, you know, you have to have your own brand, have your own platform that's with you.

[00:43:21] And it goes with you no matter what, no matter what happens in the world, no matter what happens with certain industries or products or trends you have like yourself, right.

[00:43:29] And then I spoke with him. I don't know if you've heard him on this podcast as well. He's been on your earlier and he talked about this.

[00:43:35] Yeah. Yeah. I'll send you the link after it. Anyone listening, I'll put the link in the description too. He talked about this idea. I said, Hey, can you do multiple things? Just like we're talking about now.

[00:43:44] He's like, you can, but make sure that they're all related and you literally just brought it up. It's like, if you're going to be related, that means when you put out something new, it should also help grow the other one, and that flywheel effect. Right? So if you're doing something, make sure that it's, once you've done it with your course, with your guide, these are all things that still live online. They're still in your ecosystem. So when you do something new, there's a node that connects to that stuff.

[00:44:09] So people can find a way, whether it's through your website, Google, somehow it connects to these other things that's already been built. They can go see that them and they can still get full access to it. They can have, you know, the same amount of influence as someone who read it 10 years ago, if you've had alum online that long, and what you get is like this compounding effect, right? So every new thing you build. The older stuff gets even better. You're building this body of work. It's a notion that I've been thinking of quite a bit lately, right? This compounding effect.

[00:44:41] Like with this podcast, man, like maybe when it first comes out, gets a few hundred listens, but what happens over 10 years? Right? Like it lives on the internet. There's stuff we're talking about. There's going to be a transcript of this. There's going to be show notes. There's going to be like texts for SEO. Like who knows how people will find this in the future. It's like a little time capsule. Right. So I love that notion for sure.

[00:45:04]Kevon: so I'm not going to take credit for this. So probably what is in here is coming from Nate because I, I, because I read a lot of his stuff is so inspiring, you know, four months ago when I stopped working on my startup, I was trying to do a blog. And then I read his blog posts about like, how do you start a blog?

[00:45:23] And don't worry about what you write, just write what you're interested in. And I follow that advice and discover myself over time. So yeah, Nate has been a huge influencer.

[00:45:34]Josh: yeah. Huge inspiration. I'm glad that you found them. And I think there was another, somehow we're all in the same sort of like bubble almost within, uh, Twitter and all this stuff. between Indie Hackers. I think we also are mutual friends of Arvid uh, Arvid Kahl. Have you read his book, have you read the zero to sold or a Hank? He has a new one coming out, the embedded entrepreneur.

[00:45:55]They're all like saying the same sort of thing. It's a really great community. How did you get into that community? How did you hear about Nat? Like I know you studied the U S but like you're, you've been in Hong Kong. So it's interesting that people who have written stuff on opposite opposite ends of the world can still have a huge effect on you, which is really cool.

[00:46:12]Kevon: how did I find him? Hmm. That's a really good question. I, I don't remember. It's I cannot recall. It's probably random Google search or whatever.

[00:46:23]It's, it's interesting. Like, I think COVID put a lot of people into a different mindset that, Oh, I don't want to work for someone anymore. Like we can all provide, we can all create value and maybe we can get direct reward for the value that we put out is so much more effective than like just getting a job, and like, some people tell you what to do and you just do it. And so probably in that process, I just figure out the, the people who are kind of the huge influencers in that space, like David Perell, and Nat Eliason and all that. So I just like keep drilling in that circle. and then know more and more.

[00:47:04]Josh: Maybe you can like expand on that for people who are maybe not really using Twitter that much. Cause I it's been huge for me and I'd never was really big on Twitter until last year. It makes sense. Cause of COVID you're going to go to some source social network, but I found myself on Twitter more than Facebook, Instagram TikTok even. So it's interesting. Um, yeah, maybe, maybe you can shed some light on that and how people can best utilize Twitter.

[00:47:29] And maybe you can give a little sneak peek of what's to come on your newsletter.

[00:47:34]Kevon: You know, I started Twitter in October, 2020. So right when I decided to stop that I jumped onto it before then I look at Twitter as a place of the precedent, you know, just broadcast his message. So that was my impression of Twitter. But then, I started exploring because I heard some good stuff about it.

[00:47:58]I was active on LinkedIn before, but Twitter is a place where there's a lot of casual conversations going on. You know, how on LinkedIn, you're going to post maybe once a day. And that posts quite structured. It's like an article. But on Twitter, oh my God, you can just keep talking, talking.

[00:48:18] You can make friends, you can help people out. You can joke around. I think joking and having a sense of humor is huge on Twitter, and basically that's my email course coming out is called making Twitter friends. When you make so many friends on Twitter, you kind of cheer for each other, you kind of support each other.

[00:48:37] Somehow your audience just keep growing. I think the biggest driver is like, when you, when you tweet something good and you're friends on Twitter, which you haven't met, they retweet and they reply to you. Wow. That post can go viral and then you suddenly get a lot more followers. So it's just a nice place.

[00:48:58] Like, I, I same as you, I spend more time on Twitter than ever than other platforms. And I'm actually looking forward to interacting with all these like Twitter friends, because, in one way is helping what I do. In another way, so it's just a joy to talk to these people.

[00:49:15] Josh: It is right. This is a lot of fun. I think you're right. Just the casualness of it is so awesome. But at the same time, you're making friends, you're building an audience and you have a chance to go viral and do that marketing, right. So. I love the fact you call it Twitter friends, because that's exactly what it is, right?

[00:49:33] Like, no, these aren't really followers, it's like your Twitter friends. Which is funny. Cause now with Facebook, you don't really call them Facebook friends. It's it's weird. You don't really call people Instagram friends, right? Like, no, they're my followers. But with Twitter there definitely is more of that networking side of things where like, they're your friends.

[00:49:49] So is that what you're going to be kind of drilling down in this course, it's going to be like making friends, right. Not building it audience. Cause those are two things. So those are two, definitely two different things. How do you kind of think about those differently?

[00:50:03]Kevon: I think there's a huge misconception where like we talk about building an audience. And when you think about audiences, like you standing in a stadium and then you have a microphone and then you have like 30,000 people listening to you. And people take that concept and they just really focus on that online.

[00:50:20] Like, Oh, I'm going to get a lot of followers, but I'm just going to tweet about my own stuff. And they're going to listen to me. That's not how it works. Um, I think a lot of people forget that online, we're still human online. We're still just normal people. So what is so important is ticking the way you interact with people offline and do the same thing online.

[00:50:45] Don't be lazy online just because you cannot see the other person. So I think it's basically that I'm preaching people to take what they have offline to online and help them make friends. And there's a lot of, you know, common sense, but also great reminders that you need when you, when you're online, because this is so easy to be forgotten.

[00:51:09] Um, but yeah. I'll I'll remind them. I wouldn't say teach them because it, everyone knows it. Um, but I'll remind them, uh, to, to kind of bring it back.

[00:51:22] Josh: That's true, good point. I love those like articles or videos. You're like, these are things you already know, but someone puts it into words and they remind you, right? Like, Oh yeah. Like that's, that's obvious. Like this is a social networking platform. And the way I always think about it is like, you know, Twitter, the main timeline, that's a house party, right?

[00:51:40] It's like a big party happening. 24 seven, people are chatting it up, they're sharing what they're doing. Hey, I did this. This is funny. Hey, did you hear about the news? Whatever. It's a party. Right? So then what you want to do is invite people back to your house. You know, whether that's they click on your profile and then they go to your house, which is your literal profile.

[00:51:58] They'll see what you do. What you're all about. You have a link in bio that should go to your website and that's literally like your home, right? Like your, your home on the internet.

[00:52:06] And I've been thinking about this a lot more because you actually have this right here on my desk all the time.

[00:52:17]is this suspense killing you just yet for anyone listening, it's a Oculus Quest So, remember I mentioned that, uh, I run a VR startup, so I obviously love virtual reality. I think it's a great platform. And I started to use, um, a new platform by Facebook for the headset called Facebook Horizons. And what the future of social media truly is, is spatialized, right?

[00:52:47] Whether it's in VR, it's going to be AR and hopefully once things were back to normal out in person, we go get to go back to conferences and events, but it's three dimensional, right? It's no longer are we just scrolling on this timeline feed of just people texting. With this Facebook horizon app, it's like, you're in an actual room with people, right?

[00:53:07] So you're you talked about speaking to a stadium. Yeah. There might be an event like that where you speak in a stadium, but really you're at like a house party or something you're at someone's house. More people jump into that room and you start talking, right. We're seeing that with Clubhouse, kind of with the audio, it's like a little room that people come and talk to.

[00:53:25] So what you really want to think about is like, you know, you're talking to people like you're at a party. Like you shouldn't try to be like broadcasting stuff. Like even for this, like I'm not broadcast anything. This is, this is an offline chat, really. We're not really on social media. It's just the, this just you and I just having this nice conversation and this would be the same as if we were at a coffee shop, right.

[00:53:45] Like if we were to like, Hey, let's meet up for coffee, we get off Twitter. We go onto this kind of conversation. And it's something that we can just have this moment together where we don't have to worry about, what else is going on? We could just have this great conversation. It's online and the fact that you're in Hong Kong and I'm in Toronto, but other than that, yeah, it's an offline conversation and I really, really liked that.

[00:54:06] And I'm really excited to get back to real offline conversations. Once everything opens back up.

[00:54:11]Kevon: And you talk, you talked about compound effect just now. I think making friends has a huge compound effect as well. Like when you make one Twitter friend, you actually, you know, reach out in direct message to help them out, or you get on a call with them. This friend is going to stay around for a long time.

[00:54:32] They're not going to, you know, six months later, unfollow you, right? Because you have been that good person. And that means, let's say every week you make two Twitter friends. In a year, you make like a hundred plus, and then you just keep making, making more friends and they're all around you. So if you have been around Twitter for like five years, you have tons of friends

[00:54:56] Josh: Yeah, that's a good point. And so these friends can then become your supporters. Like they're this, they were your support group first and foremost, but your, we can kind of bring this back to earlier. When we're talking about the support group for like your customers, they could also be a customers, right?

[00:55:09] Your customers could be your friends. And I think that's like, that's the best. If your customers see you as their friend, I think that's like a, win-win like, there's nothing better than that.

[00:55:18]Kevon: Yeah. So that, that is the, that is how Indie Hackers, the community works like oftentimes they're working on products that are super relevant to each other. So it's very easy to be in that space, but a lot of people come to me and say, Kevon, your advisor's great, but I build a product for human resources, people then how to go, I do that. So that that's a different story. So it might not be applicable, but I think we can kind of take pieces here and there and try to do it in other audience space as

[00:55:51] Josh: Yeah. And I think at that point you would then take Arvid's approach right, of the embedded entrepreneur. this book should be coming out soon. If not, I think you should be able to also be part of his, like building in public space. And you can actually read the book before it's out. You can read early drafts, which is really cool. That's another great example of building in public.

[00:56:11] But you take his approach, right? You just go like, if it's for human resources, people, it's you figure out where, where are they? Where do they live online? Right. Where are their house parties they're at? Is it like, is it Facebook groups? Is it, it's probably LinkedIn. HR, that makes sense. They're probably on LinkedIn, go find their groups on LinkedIn, go connect with them. Now you're going to make LinkedIn friends. So no longer your Twitter friends, right. You're going to use the same principles and find some LinkedIn friends, but always thinking it at the heart of making friends. Right.

[00:56:41] Not trying to sell to them make, Hey, I want to be your friend. I do have the solution, but I want to see what your problems are. Let's see. What, what do you talk about on the day to day? when you're building something for someone that you don't really know, you get to know them. Right. You're going to spend that time.

[00:56:54] But how do you think about that? Like before you're just saying you were kind of forced to create, product for a group of people that you weren't really sure of. You weren't, you weren't really aware of that much. So does this come back to what you're saying earlier of like know yourself and then get to know these people first and then try to try to build a a solution for their problems.

[00:57:16] How do you go about doing that when, okay, I want to help human resources people, but you're not a human resources person yourself. How would you go about doing that? Or would you even think about doing that at this point?

[00:57:26]Kevon: about three months ago, I learned something pretty important from an indie builder called Zoe. So her approach was so good. So basically she had some ideas about, Oh, I can help people in this way. So she wrote an article about it and put it out there. And the article got a lot of views. People love it, reshare it.

[00:57:50] That's when you get a signal. Oh, what you share has some sort of value. You don't, you might not know exactly what it is, but that the topic has value. Then she went on to build a mini product. I think it's a Notion package about that topic and then put it out there. And then a lot of people like it as well as a free product.

[00:58:11] That's when she know, wow. Notion package, it has a lot of value. Then, you know what she did afterwards, she built a whole suite of Notion products. And she's pretty much guaranteed to have some sort of success because from the articles and the free product, she knows people like it.

[00:58:30] So I, I, I learned that from her and I'm doing it the same way. Like whenever I have a new idea and I know who it is for, like human resources, let's say. I'm going to think about the smallest thing ever so that I can lower my risk, but get some data points back. So if, if as human resources, I think I would just like, I don't know, maybe post on LinkedIn, reach out to a few people just to get their ideas on this article and see what they say.

[00:58:59] You know, if people are excited about what you're talking about, you can sense it. You know, when people say what you do is cool, what you do is interesting, they're not interested.

[00:59:09] So as an

[00:59:11] entrepreneur, you need to pay attention to that

[00:59:13] Josh: I've heard that. Yeah. It's so funny. People think the opposite. I've heard that funny enough. entrepreneurship classes at a University before any of this, if someone says your idea is like, cool, it's like, that's not the right thing. Like if it's cool. No, it

[00:59:26] Kevon: Yeah.

[00:59:27] Josh: going to be the right thing. That's so funny.

[00:59:32] Yeah. That's cool. Yeah, no, it's gotta be like, take my money. I need this. That's what you want to hear.

[00:59:40] Yeah. Yeah. Your podcast is pretty cool. I guess you could say it for like for content, right? Content can be cool. What else would you say? I don't know about content. I mean, it was helpful. It was really entertaining or like, wow, I would learn so much. I mean, that's kind of what you want, right. If it's a podcast,

[00:59:57]Kevon: Or something like, uh, I'm gonna come back to this next week. I'm definitely going to check it out. I mean, if they love it so much, they're not going to come back. They're going to check it out today. So,

[01:00:11] Josh: Oh, yeah. Are there any ones like that that you think of? Um, cause this is great. I mean, this is a great little topic, a little tangent. Are there other, like, sort of like danger words that you would, um, advise on, on anything like that stuff that maybe you've heard, or maybe you've read online that, you know, um, are things maybe to avoid like getting like negative feedback because people don't like to give negative feedback. So there are other, other danger words like that.

[01:00:35]Kevon: definitely. I learned a lot. I learned a lot about this when I was running my startup. I think one is like, people are, they seem so excited about your product and they keep saying, you're doing great, you're on the right track. But when you look at their login data, they never logged in for like months.

[01:00:55] And you're like, what's going on there? So what I learned is just people are, most people are nice. Most people are not going to give you honest feedback, even like, I'm pretty upfront. Like, I want honest feedback. If you want to bash my idea, bash my product, just do it. But people still won't. So I think that is the hardest part about being an entrepreneur.

[01:01:16] Like you need to analyze people's words and it is so hard, you know, everyone is different. So that's why when I talked about Zoe's, approach. We take away to this element of like listening to people's words, we don't care about what they say, just look at the data. Are they, are they reading your article? Are they using your product, then you know whether you have the truth. So take away the emotions and the niceness of people.

[01:01:43]Josh: That makes total sense, right. Because we're social creatures. Right. We don't want to burn any bridges, we want to be nice to everyone. So I think maybe the takeaway of that is like, don't listen to their words, look at their actions. Right. So login data was as a really good point to see, okay. They're saying they love it. When was the last time you actually logged in? Go, go check that out. I love that.

[01:02:03] Kevon: It seems like our, it seems like our conversation is around today is around

[01:02:10] Josh: Yeah. Listen to this podcast. Um, maybe watch it maybe. Yeah, maybe you shouldn't be listening if you're listening on Apple podcasts or Spotify or something like that, maybe this is your cue to go check it out on YouTube for once and see what we're doing.

[01:02:25] You can see our faces. Um, it's funny cause I didn't even post video until recently. So the recent event, because Riverside. I'm not sponsored at all. I'd really wish that this would be a great time to like plug a sponsorship from someone like Riverside. I actually just love the product. Uh, again, another example of a great product where like, it just speaks for itself. I tried it once. I'm like, Hey, take my money. I need this thing.

[01:02:48]you know, it kind of brings me back to this whole thing of like, you know, your support group versus your customers, this whole Indie Hackers community.

[01:02:55] You know, I love the community so much. So now I can see why people want to sell back into this community. It's almost like this virtuous cycle of here's more tools and stuff that you can use to be more successful for yourself. Maybe that'll help you build something that I'll then want to buy.

[01:03:10] And it's just like, I don't know, sounds pyramid schemey people. I promise it's not like a pyramid scheme, but it's such a great community. Right? The people doing great stuff and it's such a great group of people. So I can see why people would want to sell solutions to them, to us really. I mean, that's not really them.

[01:03:28]Kevon: I guess, because this group is getting bigger and bigger every single day. Like, as I said last year, COVID definitely make a lot of people realize that there, there are many, many paths out of than just working in a job. So when this group is growing, then yeah,

[01:03:48] Josh: Yeah. No, the creator economy, no code and entrepreneurs, like it's, there's only going to be more of this. Right. So do you think, like, I know I've asked people this before. I just, I want to hear your opinion on this. Do you think we'll reach a point of where it's like oversaturated or is it it's becoming more diverse, right?

[01:04:04] Cause I'm like, Oh, there's everyone wants to be an entrepreneur. It's never been easier to build something, you know, with no code. And some of these other tools. Do you think we'll reach like a saturation phase or is it just like, it'll just expand more opportunities will come

[01:04:18]Kevon: I honestly think, the way we work will change because we were all trained to get a job and then that's the way of living. But my own realization is that you will live a much more productive life if you just figure out what you can. What skills or experience we can translate into money and get rewarded for that.

[01:04:40]I just want to go out and ask everyone, do you enjoy your job? And I'm, I guarantee you that a hundred percent will say, if I have a choice, I wouldn't be working on this job. Everyone wants that freedom and flexibility. So if I look at it from this angle, I don't think it's saturated.

[01:04:58] I think he's just the beginning. It's like electric vehicle. Is just the beginning of a, of a huge revolution. So I'm pretty optimistic. Not because I'm in it, but

[01:05:11] Josh: Yeah, no, I think, I think that's definitely on the right path right there. I think it's you're right. It's just the beginning, especially with no code tools, right? Because now people who are not developers can pick up something like a Bubble Webflow, Airtable. There's so many things. Well, you can build your solution, right?

[01:05:28] Or you build a course, you build a product. I think there's like, it's more than just building a tool. It could be a product could be info-product could be a podcast as well. Right. It's just you creating stuff, which I think is awesome. But yeah, I don't know. It's yeah. Seems like it's, um, we're definitely at a tipping point right now, right.

[01:05:46] It seems like there's a lot of companies, very well positioned, for this kind of revolution to come. So I don't know. What are you kind of most excited about? Um, out of all these tools, all of these no-code stuff, what are the things that are sort of exciting you most?

[01:06:00] Kevon: personally I'm excited about the fact that I'm able to build something small and get feedback right away. As I said, like, I look at this for long horizon, you know, and I'm working on small stuff and then I put it out there and then like yesterday, I said, I built an email course. I'm looking for early learners.

[01:06:21] You know, I'm just looking for people. And then a hundred people respond to me and say, I want to, I want to be your first one to take the course. I'm just really excited about this fast iteration of like getting data points to, to build better products. I think with, with all this like transparency building in public, it's just going to get faster.

[01:06:44] So I'm excited about everything.

[01:06:46] Josh: Yeah. Yeah. I think it is a big point, right? It's being able to build quicker, faster and smaller versions of whatever it is that you want to build to get the data points. So maybe that's the biggest takeaway, right? When you're building something or you're thinking of building something, it's like, you know, I'm sure a lot of people have heard of this MVP, you know, the smallest, minimal viable product, but maybe there's something even smaller than that.

[01:07:08] You just mentioned, like writing a, an article, you know, maybe it's a tweet. And again, Nat brought this up in this podcast before where he was just like, yeah, like even when it comes to creating content, rather than spending a week creating a YouTube video, what if I just tweet? What if it's just like a small Twitter thread?

[01:07:27] You know, it takes very little effort to think of that idea after you've done that, do people care? Are people, you know, messaging you, are, they re tweeting it, are they commenting. Then from there, maybe you can turn that into a whole fleshed out article. Then from that article, then it can be a video. Right? Cause it's like varying levels of, how much effort you need to put into stuff. Right.

[01:07:46] So obviously it's becoming more effortless to create stuff. It seems like the hardest part now is the marketing side. Right. That's where this whole building in public thing starts. So it's like, as you're learning, as you're growing, you're doing the marketing.

[01:07:59]Like I said, even with this podcast, like I'm learning from you, you're helping, not just myself because we're exchanging here information, but then listeners, whoever's listening to this right now can also like get something out of this. And it becomes like, almost like marketing, right? It's content that I'm putting out every week before I'm doing the next thing.

[01:08:17]The easiest thing, but it's also not difficult. I'm not making a feature film or documentary here. You know, this is like, this is like the interview stage and I know you follow David Perell, what happens is, you know, you get that compound interest again, where here's the conversations from past years or like the blog posts or all these things that you've written and you've done years ago, you can then reference them or put them all together into something a little bit bigger. Right.

[01:08:41] So I think that's, that's the way to go is turning that flywheel, as you said, with these little tiny pieces of content and letting it all connect into your network of, of ideas and products.

[01:08:53]Kevon: Yeah. And one thing I want to share is I think it's Chamath. Chamath was a big name in the finance field and he talked about how Amazon was built. You know, Jeff Bezos was not interested in building like Clubhouse, you know, built fast and then get popular fast.

[01:09:10] Jeff Bezos is interested in building slow. Because when you built slow, you will get destroyed slow because your Empire is so big.

[01:09:21] So I can relate that to building in public. You know, when you are constantly being transparent and you're building that credibility and trust with people, and if you look at Nate Ellison, he has been himself for like years, and you're just like, huh? How can you not trust a person like this was so open.

[01:09:41] And how can you destroy his reputation? It's really hard. So that's the beauty of building in public is when you put in the effort, you're not going to go away. You're going to stay relevant for a long time. So I really want people to understand this

[01:09:56] Josh: Yeah. And so I want to get into this then. How do you do that sustainably? Like, you know, it's, it's, it's a long grind. Like it. You know, like you're saying, you're putting out YouTube videos and not getting the hits that you want, or you're putting out your podcast and you're not getting the listings that you want, or you're writing out to the ether on the internet and you're not getting any, any people sharing it.

[01:10:19] So the first little bit is hard. Very, very hard because it's like, you know, if you're looking at that compound grow has like zero zero, zero, zero, zero. Oh, okay. And then you just see this hockey stick growth curve going up. Exactly. Exactly.

[01:10:35] So how do you hang on? How do you make it sustainable? How do you get through that slog of just like getting it done and how do you, do you just think about the longterm? How would you do that sustainably? Cause you gotta do it for a long period of time too. Right? How do you think about that sustainability aspect of it?

[01:10:52]Kevon: I think a lot of people who read my guide, come to me and say, or I saw their post on forums. They say, But I don't have time. Like, it seems old. It's all overwhelming to building in public every single day or week.

[01:11:07]That's another misconception is you don't really need to be like the, active Twitter person who talk about lesson and struggles every single day. I think it's a perception that you want to share with people, right? So if you want, if you don't have time, one blog posts a month summarizing what you learn, what you, what you struggle with in that one month is enough to help you build that transparent reputation. And it's just one blog post a month.

[01:11:38] So it really depends how, how active you want to be. And it's okay to not be so active, but some people seem to think that you have to be like  

[01:11:50] Josh: Yeah. I think that is a good point, right? Because when you're thinking of this, you're thinking of the people who are on Twitter every single day. do you even get any work done? Like how do you have time to do this? Hopefully they're using some kind of scheduling app. I don't know. Like you can't possibly getting meaningful work done while you're doing that. Right.

[01:12:07] Because it's hard. You're like at one point, like this is like work, cause you're like, Oh, I'm marketing kind of, I'm doing, you know, I'm building my reputation, I'm building up my, my audience. But at the same point, it's like, you kind of feel like you should be doing something else. Okay. Could your time be spent better actually writing that blog post, actually building that product, actually doing some customer research.

[01:12:30] And, you know, maybe it comes down to like planning out your week. So is there a way that you plan out your schedule? Is it like Monday I'm going to go ham on Twitter, maybe I'll draft a bunch of tweets. So I'll have to do is just hit a button at tweets out. You could do that, right? We could schedule all your tweets for like the week.

[01:12:45] Do you have a certain schedule that you kind of build for yourself? I want to hear how you kind of think about your time and the way that you structure your days.

[01:12:53]Kevon: yeah, I'm a big fan of blocking time for specific tasks. Uh, for example, a newsletter, uh, I subscribe to maybe like 40 or 50 newsletters. And, you know, if you just let that fly into your inbox, you're going to be super distracted because I'm the inbox zero kind of person. I need to read every single thing.

[01:13:16] So what I do is like I filter them into different folders and skip the inbox. And what I do is, uh, out of my week, I schedule two 30 minute block just to read newsletters and I'll go through it really, really fast.

[01:13:31] So, and then I also schedule a time to go on Indie Hacker forums to help people in the building in public, uh, group. And then I'll also schedule time to do some deep Twitter interactions.

[01:13:42] You know, why do I mean deep? Because when you understand the value of making Twitter friends, what I would be doing is when I have my baby on my chest, she sleeping, then I would go on Twitter when I'm in the bathroom, I'll go on Twitter. When I have, when I'm just chilling, I'll go on Twitter, but that's not deep. So I would like have 30 minutes a week just go on there and kind of, you know, figure something that I couldn't do in five minutes. Like maybe reach out to a few people like that. That's why I reached out to you, you know, because I found your profile to be so enticing. I want to be friends with you.

[01:14:17]yeah. So that's the Twitter blog, but the bigger block would be my writing. So a lot of people, you know, there are so many writing boot camps out there. My simple tips on that is split up the writing into ideation outlining writing and finalizing four steps. And I spread them out throughout the week. So at each time I'm just doing one thing and then I can get my brain refreshed and then I can jump into writing.

[01:14:48] A lot of people. I think they seem to just jump into writing the blog post right away. It's, it's, it's so hard, like, ticking bullet points and writing is two different parts of your brain. I read that somewhere. So that's what I do.

[01:15:02]Uh, schedule my run as well, you know, every day in the morning, 7:00 AM running. But I couldn't couldn't do it with the newborn. I basically just do HIIT at home now.

[01:15:14] Josh: Nice. Yeah. And, and do you use, like, are there tools that you use to help you kind of schedule all that other than like calendar? Is there a certain calendar app that you like, um, do you certain like productivity tools to help you kind of manage all this stuff? And where do you do all your writing mainly?

[01:15:31]Kevon: I just use Google calendar, you know,  I just blocked my time there. I try not to use too many tools because again, it's distractions and it slows you down. So I'm a big fan of like using minimum tools. So I'm using Notion right now to kind of do my to-do lists, do my daily journal, like when I plan a new project, like the email course, I have a folder in there to, to do that.

[01:15:59] Josh: Oh, cool. So you found that kind of one tool to be able to put everything into the one thing, cause it's great for that. You can do your, do, do you draft your, uh, your blog posts in there as well? Is that what you do writing.

[01:16:12]Kevon: Yeah, so there's another tool called Roam Research. I tried it out. It's it's really good for writing, um, because you can have some hashtag to connect your thoughts. That's kind of like your second brain. Back in my mind, I know that's a better tool for writing, but for me, I just want to get things done.

[01:16:31] You know, I'm not too worried about using the best tool out there. I think a lot of people are finding the best tool. There's no best tool. The best tool it's the tool that makes you most efficient. So I can do it in Notion and it's free.

[01:16:49] Josh: Yeah, no Notion that I think has taken the world by storm. Right. I think Roam as well, um, for different use cases, I still haven't found. I actually, I have found recently a use case for Roam because I know there's some people who like are all in on it. They do their daily journal in there, any notes that all goes into Roam and it just. It's everything. I just kind of splattered out there, but you know, with the name like Roam research, I really wanted to find a specific research project for that. So

[01:17:16] Maybe this'll be the first time I kind of talk about that sort of research project. It might be my first blog post and a couple of years when I'm talking about this intersection between creativity and productivity. And I'm kind of thinking about coining this term, which is like productive creativity, You can be creative and just think about ideas all the time, whether it's a new product idea or a blog post, but to be productive means to have good outputs. So it's productive creativity where you can actually find tools and strategies to output your creativity into a certain medium and then be very consistent with it. Right.

[01:17:52] So for you is with the writing, have you found a system for yourself? I guess it's do Notion, right? You, you talked about those stages of creation, right? Your pipeline for writing because that's part of your productive creativity.

[01:18:04]Kevon: So we start with ideation. So, you know, ideas fly in at any time. So when I, whenever I thought of something, I just throw it on my notebook. So ideation, which is any time.

[01:18:17] And then every week I start off with outlining. and then, um, middle of the week I do writing. So I just expand on the bullet points. And I don't worry too much about the grammar. fixing grammar is a different brain.

[01:18:31] And then lastly is finalizing the writing, fixing the grammar, making things like cutting, cutting words and all that, which is the end of the week.

[01:18:39] And the way I force myself to be consistent about this is I have a newsletter. So it has to go out on Sunday. I personally don't like the newsletter that is just curating links on the internet and share it with your audience. I write every single one of my new last newsletter with my thoughts. So, and I want to put my article in there. So it forces me to finish everything on Saturday. Like I have to get something out.

[01:19:06] So I guess yeah, setting up a way to have a little bit of pressure to yourself is super helpful.

[01:19:12] Josh: Absolutely. I'm in the same boat with the podcast, right? It's like, you know, every Monday  it goes out. So if I don't have it ready by Sunday, I'm screwed. it's just all about not missing that day. Right? Giving yourself that pressure, um, being your own boss, right. You kind of have to put that pressure on and that's where the productivity comes in. Right?

[01:19:30] It's like outputting these ideas. So giving yourself, you know, Sundays, you're putting out your, your newsletter. You got to get done by then.

[01:19:38] So then when you go through these processes though, are you writing multiple blog posts or is it just one blog post in the steps or do you batch a couple and you're doing them all in the same kind of way.

[01:19:49] Kevon: Yeah. I thought about this. Like, I would really want to produce like three articles at once, so that is more efficient, but I realized it doesn't work because if I'm working on three at a time, it means it's a, it's a long writing process and I just couldn't do it. And also the other thing is my thoughts change every single week.

[01:20:11] So if I write three at a time, I don't think I can produce the best content. So that's why I stay with one per week.

[01:20:20] Josh: That's a good point. And that way you're just focus on one. And if there are longer pieces, especially right. If you have to really dig deep into them, then that makes sense. and then for your newsletter too, are there certain tools that you use for a newsletter? Do you write it all in the newsletter? How do you structure all that?

[01:20:35]Kevon: I use Convert Kit for my newsletter. Um, but I write it on notion first and then I would copy over to convert kit to finalize because I think I'm a visual person. th the last step has to be the way it looks when he goes out and I can put in some emojis and all that

[01:21:00] Josh: Oh, true. Yeah. That makes sense. I noticed that you have like your newsletter archive on the site, on your website as well. Do you then copy it onto the website or how does that all work? What is your website like built on?

[01:21:11]Kevon: Website is on Webflow. So it's, it's amazing. Like originally my block is like kind of built from scratch. I would have to type the code. I have to push it online in the terminal, but I realize I don't want to spend time on that. My time is better spent on like content creation. So I moved to Webflow and I loved it.

[01:21:33] So basically I just copy from convert kit and paste it on Webflow. Change a few formatting, which is very quick and then publish it.

[01:21:40] Josh: So that way you have it in the archive. That's cool. That's really awesome, man. Are there any other tools online that you use to kind of, like for your website, for analytics and stuff like that, are there other tools that you use? I know you said you're a minimal tool guy. Are there any little tools or things like that you found really helpful on your journey in the last little while that you can share.

[01:22:00]Kevon: in terms of the website, like just Google analytics, Google Search Console. Because I, I set out my journey with a strong focus on SEO, because I think it's also from Nate. You know, I want to be relevant for a long time and I want organic traffic. So I looked at Google search console and what, like how people discover my website.

[01:22:24] Um, but one thing I keep in mind is I don't let analytics get into my way too much because if I look into analytics, I might be like, skewing my content to some certain topics. Then I'm just doing it for, you know, for, for, for metrics. I much preferred the Nate way, which is just write whatever I feel like to, to share at the moment.

[01:22:50] So I use analytics in a way just to see, Oh, what we talked about, like collect data points. Oh,

[01:23:03] Josh: That's really cool. And there's one little part that I definitely want to hear about this is. One of the part that really kind of, uh, intrigues me the most. I don't know if do you follow up, Tiago Forte and like building a second brain and all that stuff.

[01:23:16] Oh, you, you got it.

[01:23:19] Follow him, follow him on Twitter and check out some of his blog posts. I think it's forte labs. Um, cause I know you mentioned, David Perell and I think, uh, Tiago forte really pioneered this notion of like the second brain. Right. Um, but it's all about saving the stuff and taking an articles.

[01:23:36] Cause obviously to have a good ideas, you have to have good inputs, right. Inputs into the brain will equal the output. So I want to know what are some of the blogs and some of the things that you are constantly reading, what are the, some of the newsletters that you're subscribed to and then how do you save good ideas online and how do you make that useful, so you can then write about it or add it to your newsletter or expand upon it yourself.

[01:24:01]Kevon: I personally really like Arvid's newsletter, the bootstrapped, um, entrepreneur. Because he he's newsletter is very different from other people in a way that it is kind of reading his thought process. You know, it, there's no headings. It's just one big essay. And I love that because how he thinks. So I really appreciate that.

[01:24:27] And then, um, Nate, david corral, um, what else? I have some SEO newsletter, I have some investing newsletter, I mean, Indie Hackers newsletter is great because it basically create the top posts from the forums. So I get to know what people are talking about.

[01:24:47] Josh: So, so if you have any ideas from there or like any articles you find online, is there a certain way that you save that kind of stuff?

[01:24:54]Kevon: Not any fancy way, honestly, I just have two Notion. Uh, what's the word for notes? So one is topics I want to write and one is newsletter idea. So I have to, and whenever I'm consuming content, I would have like different ideas coming up or I would save the link so that I can refer to that link. I would just put in the right place. At that moment. And in that notebook, I, for example, newsletter, I chop it up into like building in public examples, uh, parenting things, inspirations.

[01:25:30] So I just put it in the right place. So when I need to write the newsletter, I have all this content to grab from and it makes it so easy and I never exhaust my resources that way.

[01:25:46] Josh: I love the simplicity of that. Right. It's just a simple list of all these ideas, and then you can pick from it, right? It's like, you've planted a tree, which is like this Notion. and then like, you know, you get the fruit set of it, right. And eventually you can just pluck that fruit out, like, okay, I want to use this and you can start writing about it or you can reference it and just be like, Hey, this is just one part of the article.

[01:26:05] So I think that's the way to go, man. And I think the simpler, you can make it the better. Right? There's so many people, myself included probably with like way too complex systems that I will probably be getting rid of very soon to make it very simple. Right. Just take all of the roadblocks out of the way so you can get to your destination quicker.

[01:26:27]I have a few last final questions before we head off here. first one is, you know, obviously this is a big transitionary phase for you and, becoming a new parent and things. What are some challenges that you're facing right now? What are some of the things that you're actively facing that you're trying to overcome or roadblocks you're trying to get through?

[01:26:46]Kevon: the biggest one is definitely monetization because I I've, I've been on this journey for four months and I haven't create any pay products. So in a way that's quite scary. Uh, but in a different way, I convinced myself, Hey, it takes time.

[01:27:03] I know some people who jump into this creator journey and the first thing they push out is a pay product. And to me, it's not the best way because no one knows you, you might, you might get like 500 us dollar revenue, but that doesn't, that doesn't contribute to the whole picture. So I keep convinced myself is fine. It's fine. You're, you're on track those subscribers, the Twitter followers, they all your friendships, they're all growing. So this is kind of like a mental challenge I have to go through, plus convince people around me to continue to be supportive.

[01:27:41]The other thing is, so I, I really enjoy doing everything myself. that's, that's why I'm much better as a bootstrap founder, like indie hacker than like running a huge startup because I love doing it.

[01:27:56] So I'm kind of like a Jack of all trades. I, I can, I can do design. I can do copywriting everything myself, but that's also my limitation because, I can imagine one day when I can expand, I wouldn't know how I can scale things up because I enjoy doing everything so much myself. But the best, the best entrepreneurs out there when they get to a certain point, they would, you don't hire people to maximize that productivity.

[01:28:25] So

[01:28:31] Josh: Right. Yeah. You can't know until you get there. And even then, like, I feel like you don't even know until afterwards, right. You don't know until the ship has sailed in this behind you. Um, but at least you have a lot of experience in the past from managing people. It's more so on like, I think you hit a point there it's like enjoying these things.

[01:28:49] It's like, yeah, but I want to do all these things. You have to just figure out, I guess, what do you want more growth or to do these things, right. It's, it's an interesting thing. I think a lot of early founders, especially like indie hackers will, will, uh, resonate with that. I, I certainly do.

[01:29:04]it's very tough to like, see someone do the part of the business that you really want to do, but it's like, you can either be an employee and do that one thing. Right. Or, you know, you just let people do their thing. It's, it's tough, but I guess you'll, you'll kind of know how to get there once you, once you do.

[01:29:21] But I guess on the, on the flip side of that, what are some things that you're really excited about? Some of the things that are coming up, something that's really exciting you right now, throughout the journey that you're on right now?

[01:29:31]Kevon: I think it is the change of landscape in the, in the market. So have you seen the post that gum road, that the platform that creator can sell their product? They open up around for all kinds of angel investors. So I actually did it. And so this is my second kind of angel investing on, on, on those public platform.

[01:29:53] I think it's amazing when, not just you have some fans and customers and audience, but you can turn them to become owners of your company. I think that's super smart and powerful, because think about it when they become owners, they're going to do more word of mouth. They're gonna stick around. They're not going to leave.

[01:30:14] That is just so smart. So I think more and more of this will happen and it kind of tells us how important people, audience and community is and where it would go. So I'm super excited about this, but of course, like this company who can raise a lot of money from, from like, uh, the community, they have some sort of reputation already.

[01:30:37] If you're, we're coming back to the credibility thing, if you're just starting out, built in public to create that audience, and then one day you can do the same.

[01:30:50] Josh: That's interesting. Yeah. You can kind of adopt that in this bootstrapping, um, sort of world, right. Where it's like, it's closer to crowdfunding than it is anything else, but you're crowdfunding with equity, which is so cool. And you're so right. These are people who are going to be on your side, so instead of just one investor, you have like thousands of people who are going to spread it, you know, word of mouth and then other people go what's this Gumroad thing. What's this Gumroad thing. I heard this from like a couple of hundred people. Like, what is this? I think that's a really good, good way to do it.

[01:31:20]But you talked about reputation and building in public. Funny enough, I first heard about Gumroad by reading one of Sahil's articles, right? I'm sure you've read it too.

[01:31:28] It's like how I've failed to build a billion dollar company or something like that.

[01:31:32] Kevon: Exactly. I featured that posts in my, in my guide.

[01:31:35] Josh: Oh yeah. Yeah. So that's where I also saw it recently then. Yeah, that's perfect. So it totally makes sense. And then, you know, that was years ago, so it takes time to build reputation. Right.

[01:31:45] It's like, there's no shortcuts. But have you found ways to kind of accelerate it, like sustainably, like not shortcuts, but maybe accelerate that is it really hasn't really been Twitter for you or, has there been other things that you're looking into now based on some of your research, are there other sort of strategies out there.

[01:32:03]Kevon: I just wrote an article last week about this, uh, the way I think about building credibility. getting back to that example of like a new creator, no one knows you. And then you just jump into building like a paid video course. Um, I basically map out different things that you can do, and you should do the easiest thing first to build up some credibility.

[01:32:25] For example, the easiest way is to get your Twitter account, to be active, you know, write a lot of good content when you get there. Then maybe the next step is write an article because people know that you write good tweets. You have the credibility for that. They would read your article. Then the next step is the course. Then the next step is like a product. Then the next step is, I don't know, uh, like Gumroad maybe, angel investing for your community.

[01:32:52]It's so important to work on it step-by-step and not rush yourself into taking a big leap because credibility is it's accumulative.  

[01:33:05] Josh: Yeah. And I think that's kind of the takeaway from this whole conversation, right? It's, it's a long journey. It takes a really long time to do this. And you know, even just like you, you and myself, we're both really early on this journey. It's just like, you gotta just hold on.

[01:33:18] You gotta just stay in the game. The number one rule is just don't quit, stay in the game as long as you possibly can. Um, and just do things I guess, you know, as, as they come, right. I don't know anything else to say other than just keep doing, you know, what you're doing, you know, with you, with your writing is awesome. I have yet to subscribe to newsletter, but I will, and I'll put the link in the description of this podcast so I can get all of your writings every Sunday.

[01:33:42] Um, and I'm excited to see you keep writing, man. It's just like, you got to just keep going, keep doing what you're doing and, uh, I'm sure you'll find that success. So it's been awesome to talk with you here, man. I'm glad that we got to connect and I hope we get to do this again. I hope we get to do this maybe in some larger capacity.

[01:34:00]I eventually want to do this as sort of maybe like a round table with a bunch of different founders and creators, but, um, this has been awesome Kevon. I really appreciate you coming on the podcast. maybe before you head out, uh, we can let people know where to find you. So where can people find you online?

[01:34:15]Kevon: the easiest way is definitely Twitter. So my, I recently changed my handle, so my new handle is meet Kevon and then the next best way is my website. I mean, I put everything on my website. Just Kevoncheung.com.

[01:34:30] Josh: Let's go, man. Well, for anyone listening, I highly recommend becoming Twitter friends with Kevon Uh, I will put links to both your website, your newsletter, and also the course send me that link for the, Twitter course. And I will put that in the description for anyone who wants to check that out.

[01:34:47] Um, yeah, man, this was awesome. I really appreciate it. This was an absolute pleasure talking with you, man. And I hope we get to continue the conversation. I'm sure we'll continue the conversation on Twitter. So anyone listening, follow us both on Twitter. I'm sure you'll see us back and forth publicly, but I'm, I'm glad that we can connect, man. This was awesome.

[01:35:04]Kevon: Yeah. Thank you, Josh, for having me. I think your podcast is so well put together, so I'm so glad that I'm able to get on here and speak to your audience and your

[01:35:14] Josh: Yes. Yeah. Twitter friends, podcast, friends, I'm still trying to find a way to, to make a bigger connection. Maybe I'm going to start like, um, discord group or something for people who listen to the podcasts and we can all build a kind of a little community out of this. Cause I definitely want to hear from people.

[01:35:30] I want to hear like back and forth. I don't want to just be me speaking to other people, but I'm glad that we get to have this conversation though. People can kind of be a fly on the wall and virtually be in this conversation with us, whether that's watching it on YouTube, listening to it on their walk with their run.

[01:35:44] So it's been fun, man. That's really good. And I really appreciate the kind words, um, on the quality of the podcast. It definitely put probably more time than most people would on editing this damn thing, but I'm glad that you recognize it. And I hope people listening, you understand how, uh, how good this podcast is.

[01:36:03] Come on. Subscribe, give us a five star on Apple podcasts. Come on guys.

[01:36:10] Kevon: I think one, one last lesson is if you put effort into something, people can see it. If you spend half an hour writing an article versus two, three hours, or even a week to produce that article, people can see it. Same to podcasts. So put in the effort.

[01:36:28] Josh: Put in the effort, people that was the perfect way to seal this one, Kevon. Absolutely love it. Everyone. Thanks so much for listening to the podcast, connect with us on Twitter and we'll see you next time. Thanks so much, kevon.

[01:36:41] Kevon: See you. Bye. Bye.

Thanks for coming this far! if you're reading this, it is no accident. The universe brought you to this corner of the internet for a reason, and you're on the right track. I already know that you're an amazing person and I can't wait to connect with you!

— Josh

Episode Transcript

Josh Gonsalves
Mind Meld Podcast Host

Hi, I'm Josh Gonsalves, the host and producer of Mind Meld. I'm also a Canadian Academy Award-nominated director and Co-founder of Contraverse, an immersive media company. I'm a multi-media experience designer living and working in Toronto, operating at the intersection of design and exponential technologies to develop solutions that change the world for the better.

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