Positive Energy Changes Everything

We’re almost done shutting down Input.com. In a conversation with one of the partners at Expa, he gave me some really good insight about how they build things. Many products that he and the other partners have built required timing and luck (in addition to many other things), but emphasized that their studio builds things differently.

As an example, Uber wouldn’t launch well today (with the current way things are with covid, etc)… but several years ago, it was a brilliant idea. The same thing goes with Twitter—the introduction of the iPhone and mobile devices enable twitter to be a mobile/social platform, and it may not have worked if it was launched a couple years earlier.

Expa builds things differently… it’s closer to making music. For some people, it’s frustrating because it’s hard to tie things to a metric or a process. Sometimes things work, and sometimes things fail. But ultimately, Garrett wants to build certain things and will be so persistent that it will come to life somehow. This is a very different approach—so much that it was the original reason why I was attracted to Expa many years ago.

They had a partners meeting recently, and I can tell you that I felt so much creative and positive energy coming from my conversations with one of the partners. As I shut down one thing, I feel so many other doors open. Not just for opportunity in terms of career, but as a person who wants to build and create things that should exist (because we simply believe they should). There is something special about that process, and there’s a gravity to it.

I’m not sure exactly what my next steps are, but I feel more free than I ever have with my work and life. More on this later. For now, I just wanted to remind you that positive energy is something you can’t fake… and it feels good to be around it.

The “LeBron + Tonal” test worked

The numbers are early (it’s been 24hrs since I’ve published), but the LeBron + Tonal video has gotten more views than any of my other videos in the first round. What’s ironic is that I put in very little work into this video in terms of editing, planning, etc.

Normally, I wouldn’t care to create content like this, but I liked sharing my opinion about it as well—why using LeBron as a endorsement isn’t very relatable for me. So I was able to capture something that performed better than my regular videos because it was timely, and it seems that people are searching for that specific kind of content.

The question is what I can do on my next video, and how can I step it up a little. I’m going to be publishing some more tests soon to see if this is the way to hit the YouTube algo.

“LeBron James”+ “Tonal Home Gym”

I got an email from Tonal this morning that announced LeBron James is endorsing their product. I don’t really watch basketball, but I thought it was interesting. I’m if they’re trying to target more men to use the product.

When Annie and I first bought the Tonal, she was the one that was originally interested in it. I wonder if LeBron James will be relatable for her and other women.

I spent very little time creating this, but I figured it could do well since it hits a couple of search terms that are timely and relevant. I’ll report back on the performance soon.

Check out the YouTube video here.

Still Busy

Yep, that’s a photo of Taro’s new favorite spot in the house. You’ll also notice that we installed some nice new curtains as well. It’s a project that has taken me several months to get to, and I’m finally getting it all done.

Even thought I’m not working on Input or any major projects right now, I find myself extremely busy taking some personal time off. Over the last few days, I’ve worked on YouTube videos (for both myself and Annie), worked out, returned a ton of stuff to Amazon, explored new parks, mowing the lawn, cleaning parts of the house, and I even installed some more curtains. It’s wild to think that I still have to use Asana (or a project management tool) to keep everything under control in my life.

I’m not sure how long this will last until I can really settle down and do absolutely nothing. But then again, I don’t think sitting still is really in me.

There are a couple of things I need to keep moving forward this week like power washing the deck and prepping it for winter. Getting caught up with life seems to be a full time gig. At some point, I’ll need to start making some money again to fund all my crazy interests. Until then, I’m going to just enjoy each day.

I even took a nap in the afternoon today, and that was fantastic.

Getting from 0 to 1 on YouTube

0 to 1 is a term that we use in early stage companies, expressing what it takes not just to get users, but to find an audience that is genuinely engaged with the product (either through retention or a person that pays). This is one of the hardest things to do, and there seems to be some symmetry on YouTube.

As I’ve tested out creating different kinds of content, I believe I need to start with creating content that is tied to my passion—things things that I could talk about indefinitely. The second part is finding trends that are growing and and audiences that are relentlessly searching for more content around those topics.

Over the last videos I’ve published, I’ve covered topics around weight loss, fitness, diet, and some unboxing/product reviews. The ones that have performed the worst are vlog videos, most likely because people are not searching for it… and the things I’m vlogging about are not really viral or trendy. The ones that have performed the best are my reviews around running hats and the Tonal.

👆 This from one of my vlogs recently. Blue line that’s flattening is where it grew from a facebook post I did in a Maryland hiking group. This enabled it to grow above my typical video engagement, but it flattens out after a week since it’s not something that people are actually searching for on YouTube. This is content that I enjoy creating and editing because I feel like it connects with my friends and family (and hopefully new people)… but the reality is that this kind of content (for me) will have a hard time reaching thousands of views. I’ve done vlogs in the past, and the most they’ve ever reached is a few hundred views. I’m grateful for the engagement, but it’s not enough to make YouTube an actual “thing” for me.

👆 This is a video I made two weeks ago that’s a 35 minute workout video about Tonal. It not only has become one of my better performing videos, it has the longest watch time. When I first posted the video I was very discouraged because it didn’t have any viewers… but after a few days, it started to organically gain traction through YouTube searches. The most interesting thing is that people are actually watching the entire work out. Yes, people are actually watching 35 minutes of me using the Tonal.

👆 This an unbox review of Ceile Hats I bought about 2 months ago, and the vews are still growing. I initially published it to Facebook (for my friends to see), but no one really liked or cared about it. As you can see, the audience that’s watching it is certainly there as the line graph continues to grow up and to the right. There aren’t too many people creating content about Ceile or specilized hat gear, which begs the question:

Is YouTube how people shop for expensive things? My hypothesis is that people want to see other people (like themselves) give an unbiased review of a product that they’re considering buying. The videos help them justify the product’s high price, as well as understand the pros/cons of the purchase. All is not to say that YouTube is only for product reviews, but it seems that the search algorithm is pushing my content to new viewers.

The next step for me is to continue testing more content around reviews, products, and potentially different styles of delivery (like comedy, no punctuation, ASMR, etc). As I create more content, I’ll be able to hone in the trends and align them to what I’m passionate about.

More on this soon. To watch these videos, you can go to http://youtube.com/jeffwongdesign

Accidental Trail Run

I was doing a longer hike at Little Bennett State Park on friday, but it started a little on the late side. I ended up getting caught in the woods with 3 miles to go. Fortunately, I brought a head lamp and was able to run back to the car with the remaining light, though it was getting pretty dark. You can’t really see how dark it was in the video because I set the ISO to 12,800 with my f2.8 lens. The results are amazing though, and I’m pleased with each new video I’m able to create.

Here are some screenshots of the video. It’ll be up in a week or two—I’ve gotta throttle the amount of videos I put out so I’ve got a constant stream of content for the peoples.