We hit 1000 subscribers today on the heels of my latest interview with the exceptionally well-versed in #DeFi Rex Hygate of DeFiSafety.
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A few things I've found to be helpful in this journey:
- Regularity - Life sometimes gets in the way, but readers appreciate some level of consistently.
I was always told that 1/2 of success is just showing up and being resilient. So many content creators try to get an audience and throw-up their hands when they are really on the cusp of getting things going. The most well-regarded influencers I follow say that it took them 2 years to get the type of traction they were hoping to get in the first month. The YouTube and Google algorithms reward creators that are in it for the long-haul with a regular stream of video watchers or site visitors before they'll award them valuable keyword rankings.
- Transparency - So many newsletters have ads and craftily woven in marketing messages. Hitting the core points home swiftly in an imperative that readers demand with an inbox exploding with emails to read and fires to extinguish.
The time right about 11:00 am on Tuesdays and Thursdays are well-known in the marketing industry for having the highest open rates, but the problem with conventional wisdom is that it's already in the ether and what was a useful insight at one time becomes negated by the crowd all collectively acting to follow this advice. The effects are, at least for me, nearly 100 emails between 10 am and noon everyday during this "peak" window.
- Tone - I was told by a Toastmasters International speaker I sought to emulate that the best speeches are toned how one might in a discussion with a "well-informed friend" or a conference happy hour (Don't forget the LA Blockchain Summit happening now through Thursday). Waxing poetic or pontificating is largely not practical and often results in a swift window close or snoozing students.
I enjoy Lex Freeman's interviews because he's largely skillful at making the guest the star and hitting them with thoughtful questions that are tightly packaged. There are many who enjoy opining on the topics at hand and, embarrassingly, end up with a question that turns out to be longer than the actual answer. It's a basic courtesy to make the time tilt 80/20 in terms of the questioner versus the answerer. It's an alluring temptation to think that the audience may be interested in you, as the interviewer, but, in the vast majority of cases, people found an interview to listen to what the interview subject has to say. I, as the interviewer, am a commodity and keeping my eye firmly affixed on my dispensability is humbling, necessary, and useful to keep the focus where it needs to be: the guest.
- Talent - There's always a push for notable people to interview, largely because they may blast the interview to their own following, resulting in a host of new followers to one's channel or newsletter. Rather than looking at social media metrics (which are often manufactured, let's say) like follower count or likes, I like to dig into someone's LinkedIn or GitHub to see what they're up to. These are the interviewees who really deliver and are a largely untapped resource.
I did an interview with Liliana Reasor of SupraFin earlier in the week trying out the asynchronous interview format, which I've had other guests specifically request. Liliana's a wonderful communicator and opted for either a live interview or asynchronous, but I was surprised to see in many circumstances how many talented engineers would turn down an interview due to the live nature of the event, not wanting to be put on the spot.
I told a friend the story of sitting in the main stage area of a conference and having a speaker on stage that was selling his public relations services in a pay-for-placement type of format. I wasn't interested in this as much so I went to the junior stage and sat with about 25 other people and heard individuals that were, to my ears, incredible speakers with a deep résumé of awe-inspiring experiences.
They, however, were less comfortable with the main stage and preferred to sit on a chair in front of two dozen with a more casual, matter-of-fact presentation, devoid of any fan-faire or glitz. Engineers are exceptionally proficient at what they do and often skimp on the communication aspect of their experience and, in the process, often sell themselves short and limit their ability to be an advocate for themselves or their company.
I'm working with an exciting EdTech project for Altcoin Accelerator in the weeks ahead that leverages the expansive opportunities for education specific to blockchain platforms. There are a great many incredibly well-capitalized companies, including unicorns, who hire heavy hitters on the technical side, but are often light on their content creating talent. They may have sales people who can construct copy, but requiring salespeople to pivot into educational presentations requires more a deft touch than you might imagine to properly impart an understanding about the technology at the core of a project.
When it comes to developer evangelization, a hugely important aspect of a project's ability to scale and differentiate their project from many others--which likely will have the same technical architecture as they do, you really do need someone with an educator's pen or soft tough that hits home salient presentation points. This is particularly true for exchanges, sidechains, tokenization, or NFT marketplace projects who, very often, lack an English-speaking representative of any degree of competency and perilously rely upon Google Translate for often unintentionally humorous marketing literature. A penny saved, but a pound lost.
Sam Bankman-Fried started his important exchange, FTX, with two engineers designing and ultimately deploying a bespoke exchange to his specifications. After this launch, it was a process of introducing it to the world as the most robust, nimble exchange out there. I was trading on it for an Irish family office the month they started in 2019. It was good then, and it's even better today with sophisticated financial derivative instruments found almost nowhere else.
Sam's an excellent example of someone who is smartly using profits to reinvest into the brand. On the promotional side, he owns the naming rights to Miami's FTX Arena, lead sponsor to many Barstool podcasts, and can be seen on MLB jerseys among hundreds of other strategic placements.
He also has hired a former CFTC commission to head their lobbying efforts and donated $5,000,000 to President Biden's campaign for, hopefully, favorable regulatory clarity. The result of these strategic moves has been incredible traction and, well, success.
Much of crypto is a chess match with the technical foundation open-source, equipping savvy tech leaders to be able to go into full marketing mode and trumpet their project at every opportunity afforded.
FTX, Gemini, and others are blue-chip blockchain projects, but for every handful of companies that are titans of tech there are quite literally thousands of smaller companies aggressively seeking your investment.
Before you invest in a crypto project I would encourage you to ask yourself if they have:
✅ A visible, prominent, and experienced team who regularly do speeches and speak with authority on the space and their project's chosen use cases.
✅. Legal entities that support the project in jurisdictions that permit all such activities being explored and executed or, if they're going Western world facing, exhaustive AML/KYC measures to vet investors as accredited investors, coupled with having relationships with top--ideally white shoe--law firms that have opinion letters on all of their activities
✅ Blockchain volume or TVL that is demonstrative of the quality of the project lead team, clearly demonstrating that wallet activity is legitimate and sustainable.
✅ Daily Github commits, social media posts, and support response time under 24 hours.
There are so many different and compelling uses cases being attempted in a million different ways by these vastly different projects that it's in your best interest to have an crypto asset allocation model that sprinkles capital across projects that are promising, such as SupraFin, or do an exhaustive due diligence on the platform's verified code.
Reach out to me for a virtual coffee if you're doing anything in EdTech or are seeking blockchain coverage for your fund or family office: Calendly.com/altcoin