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📝 Key Takeaways from "Pivot"
📝 Key Takeaways from "Pivot":
Life School will now be an audio-first company
Current incarnation of Life School is not working; ~1000 views per lesson and they are grueling to produce; frustrating to produce flops; almost 100 lessons so far and nothing has gone viral
Complication: has been unclear what was not working; thought it might be Substack (we have been developing a website to replace it), but many other substacks quite successful; open rate strong (35-40%), but only 1,500 subscribers; we have some super fans but most people are lukewarm; in the vitamin/painkiller/drug paradigm we seem like a vitamin; received feedback that lessons are boring (one person even said they are tortuous); little credibility in cooking & cleaning; can’t get up to speed fast enough on topics; “research as a service” approach does not lead to “wow” content; it’s also slow & expensive to create lessons (e.g., five hours even for something simple like how to bake a potato); most of our hypotheses were wrong → clear “no” on current approach; feeling grateful we had financing and time to work on this and learn
Complication Part II: Is anything working? Anything worth saving? YES. Vision & mission for Life School resonates; many people like the idea of having a place to go to learn about things that make life complex; desire for there to be a place to go to improve quality of living; seeing a desire to learn about things that people don’t want to read a book about, or pay/afford to pay a consultant to teach; people do want to learn how to do things - many things!; “can you do a lesson on X” -- so many requests! (e.g., buying a car/house, sleep, nutrition, fitness, social skills, dating, meditation, mental health, how to make friends, how to host a dinner party); the dominating thought the past year -- “how are we going to produce all this content? Will people actually pay for this? Should we have a niche? What niche?” --> no clear niche.
Resolution: want to stay broad, but can’t do written research content; want to experiment instead with audio; our audience loves audio (and has newsletter fatigue); people like to listen while doing other things (e.g., cooking, cleaning, in the car, working out); audio aligns with mission; we can create short lessons/talks that teach about different topics so people can plug in for 15-20 min and learn something new, develop a new skillset, get inspired, be entertained on an interesting topic; but current format doesn’t work well for audio (people say audio bullet points are boring); so what works best for this? New hypothesis: interview; Seeing a clear path; continue in mission & vision to create a school to learn basic life skills, but want to engage via audio and bring in experts so that we don’t need to do all the research; need strong interviewers who can guide the experts (maybe a level 1 with a level 3 or a level 3 with a level 5) - basically a beginner to make it relatable and ask the right questions, but have the expert share their expertise; our job is to find those people and help them tell their stories, and make it exciting and fun and interesting; many ways to grow this (e.g., level 1 could be free and level 2 behind paywall, “book this expert” and take a commission); but what we need to do first is build an audience; need to create content that people love; need to answer the questions people didn’t know they had
Conclusion: there’s a poem my mom reads aloud at shabbat every week that starts with the line “may all the gifts inside of you find their way into the world”; our vision is to help these experts get their gifts into the world; millennial generation doesn’t want to read self improvement books, and many experts don’t have patience or time to write a book; how can we create a marketplace or platform that connects amazing experts around the world on range of topics (e.g., sleep training a toddler, developing a meditation practice) - how do we connect the experts on those topics to an audience that wants to learn; can start with a simple podcast; need to figure out where to start; from there can build an app that has many different categories & topics; where we see things hit (e.g., certain speaker or topic) we can bring in more related speakers or bring that person back and create more content; create an amazing audio-first school for life skills/lessons → snackable wisdom? Snackable advice for a modern generation?
Next steps: creating a list of potential speakers, halting website development; go experiment with audio and see if we can create some hits; figure out a unifying theme for the content; come up with a name for the podcast; figure out podcast operations; learn about audio
Have ideas? Feedback? Feel free to post below!