58 min read

How this indie creator built a $1M brand in 18 months w/ Jack Butcher of Visualize Value (#082)

How an indie creator built a $1M brand in 18 months w/ Jack Butcher of Visualize Value (#082)
How this indie creator built a $1M brand in 18 months w/ Jack Butcher of Visualize Value (#082)

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Jack Butcher is the mind behind Visualize Value.

Visualize Value has become a must-follow account for creators who build online. This interview is a masterclass in how to build on the internet. In it, we talk about Jack's journey of making $1m in his first 18 months of Visualize Value, the power of constraints, the myth of 'passive-income', and web3/NFT opportunities for independent creators. You can follow Visualize Value on Instagram or Twitter.

If you enjoy the podcast, please leave a short review on Apple Podcasts! It takes less than 60 seconds, and it makes a huge difference for the show! Leave a review here.

This episode was edited and produced by Josh Perez. If you're looking for help with your podcast, Josh is your guy. Connect with him at www.justjoshperez.com.

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(Note: This transcript is automated by software and will not reflect 100% accuracy. If it reads weird, it’s probably not actually said. For full context, refer to the audio episode above.)

Alex: This is Make Something Cool. I'm Alex Sugg, and today I am super excited to be sitting down with Jack Butcher. Jack is the mind behind Visualize Value and is also a co-host of the "Not Investment Advice" podcast. Jack, thanks so much for being on, man.

Jack: Mate, thanks for having me. I appreciate it.  

Alex: Yeah, I'm stoked to talk to you. I think people who follow me have definitely seen your work, even if they don't know the person behind it, cause I've shared a bunch of your stuff through the past, and I know you're really popular amongst my circle of friends for what you do. But maybe for people listening who don't know what Visualize Value is, maybe just give the brief overview of what it is you do, and maybe how it started to where it is today.

Jack: Sure. So my background is in graphic design. Studied graphic design in Cardiff in the UK, graduated in 2010, and then got into my agency career. Interned in London at a couple of little boutique design agencies, moved to New York shortly after--maybe six months after I started working in London. Was fortunate enough to...I pinged about 150 emails to Craigslist: "Classified ads, graphic design interns," and I got one response. Turned that into my first real job, so got sponsored and came out to the States. Spent about 18 months there, [which are] tiny little boutique design agency working on small little branding projects. They had a couple big clients like Ralph Lauren, but all very traditional graphic design stuff. Then I bounced around New York for eight years. Just different agency jobs--design, art direction--working...just slowly getting more and more digital as the industry did, like building apps, designing websites, and then digital marketing and all its various forms.

Alex: Sure.

Jack: And in 2017, I was like, "Okay, I've got enough lay of the land now. I've experienced all these different agency environments," definitely with a tinge of like mid twenties arrogance, or late twenties arrogance. I was like, "I'll just go and do this by myself."

Alex: Yeah.

Jack: So I set up an agency, managed to get a client from one of my old agencies that was essentially unable to pay the rates of a massive 11,000 person agency. So I had a friend who intro-ed me, got the LLC set up and kind of managed to leverage that first introduction into the agency itself. So I didn't just start it and then go looking for business; it kind of came off the back of having this introduction. And did that for about nine months. It was a huge automotive brand, so obviously massive expectations in what you have to produce, and how many times you'd answer the phone, and how many emails you need to respond to, and in certain compressed periods of time. The expectation they have of working with big agencies, you have to sort of fill that vacuum immediately.

Alex: Right.

Jack: So the choice becomes, "Okay, do I try and scale this business up in a more efficient way than all of these massive agencies that I've worked at before? Do I really think that's my skill set? Am I good at building companies of scale," and obviously I had no experience doing that, "or am I more interested in doing the creative work?" And so I just iterated on the agency model, essentially. So that first iteration was me hiring out freelancers for every job and managing people--essentially just an administrator, I wasn't doing much of the creative work myself. And then Visualize Value came about as kind of a response to how fast that model burned me out. It was just too much admin and nonsense and things of that nature. So Visualize Value actually began as a... I suppose you could describe it as a really focused design studio with a very slim set of deliverables. So we would be helping businesses that had something intangible to articulate tell their story visually--whether that's a pitch deck, whether that's a bunch of visuals that they on their sales team [went] with, whether it's a story they want to tell on social, whether it's something they want to animate...But essentially all the deliverables came out looking similar. And if you've seen Visualized Value, it's just vector shapes, typography, black color. And then as a lead [generator] for that business, I just started posting ideas or visualizing ideas that are more broadly useful than a supply chain or a hedge fund algorithm that I was doing for client work as the the demonstration of the type of work that I could do for someone. And that brought in enough consulting and one-on-one design work that eventually it hit a ceiling of time. Again, you have that same decision to make, "Do I hire people? Do I train people to do this, or do I figure out a different model to deliver this idea to the world?" And then that's when I started experimenting with product. So canvases originally--you know, selling art of the design pieces themselves--and then a book, and then a couple education products, and we have the merch now. And it's just kind of grown different branches and tentacles over time, and it does a little bit of everything now, but the main thesis of it is to try and distill complex ideas visually and help people get a better grasp on ideas that ...for the most part, you're focused on the small business or the entrepreneur. That's the perspective that I was looking at it from. And that's where I asked basically, "How is evaluating this advice..is this something that I've used or have I found useful? I'm just going to kind of consume that, wrap it up in a different way and put it back out into the world in a way that helped me remember it." And then momentum built up from there.  

Alex: Yeah. Yeah, I think there's a lot there that's really cool. I think for me, it just, initially... it really struck the chord of what...if you're scrolling on Twitter, if you're scrolling on Instagram, and if you are a person who thinks this way of wanting to build business or wanting to improve yourself or improve your life, it was just so digestible in a way. And I think a lot of that is because of how simplified it really made it --so like these quotes or these big ideas, I love that there is this very simplified visual aspect that kind of tells of [an] even clearer picture of the full story of something. But I think a lot of the power in what you've built is that simplicity, like what you had mentioned briefly is it's basically a black background with white lines and white text, basically. It's very simplified. I'm curious, I know that boundaries in creative work are one of the most powerful things and constraints. How did you decide on those constraints and why do you think that they're so powerful and useful in this context?  

Jack: Yeah, so I've tried to retroactively figure this out. I think a lot of it has to do with agency experience and being forced into the constraint that a brand would give you. So if you're working on American Express for 12 months, it's like, here's a typeface you have, here's a color palette you have, and here's the guidelines for how far text needs to be away from the edge of the, whatever it is you're working on. And I think that that's a subconscious muscle you develop, which is building assets or building a series or doing a series of work that is... you can tell a different story or you can make a different point, but they're all visually related. They have a relationship to one another, and the obvious reason for that in the world of big brands is because you want to conjure that association between the message and the brand. So every time someone encounters it, it's just sort of like...I imagine it as filling in a...like a map of misunderstanding, right? It's like you get that point, and then you see another message, but because it has this visual anchor that was the same, it's like, "Okay, I'm filling in another gap in my understanding." That's one very philosophical way to look at it.  

Alex: Yeah.

Jack: And then the more practical way to look at it is, you don't waste a ton of time staring at a blank canvas, like "what typeface am I going to use here? What color goes with this? What style choices should I make?" And some of the early iterations of... it, wasn't called Visualize Value at the time, but I ran a business with a friend of mine before Visualize Value called Trust Accelerator, which was a productized podcast service, basically. So if you're a small business and you don't have time to hire, or you don't have the budget to hire a full-on production team for a podcast, you just record an hour of audio, drop it into Google Drive, and then we'll turn it into...produce podcasts and article three clips and five visuals a week. And I was basically designing a brand for every single one of those podcasts and then using those brand constraints to drive the assets on a weekly basis. And seeing people's response to that was another... it clicked in my mind that "Okay, I don't need to reinvent the wheel visually here every time." It's more about what I'm doing with these elements that I've decided to use, and that actually becomes the creative constraints. So you're forcing the creativity back on yourself. So you're not spending 80% of your energy making stylistic decisions. You're actually spending your energy making logical decisions or conceptual decisions. So that, I think, creates a really interesting ...I think you could apply it to any craft, right? If you're cooking a meal and you only have X in the kitchen, then you have to get incredibly creative to make that good or interesting or whatever else. And I think it's been a happy accident to some degree, but once you see it working, you're like "Okay, I'm going to stick with the happy accident."  

Alex: Right.

Jack: And the more I think about introducing new elements, the more I'm like, "Well, why am I actually...Is that something I'm doing to satiate myself? Or am I actually running out of ideas here? Or am I just wandering off the proven path?" So it's worked so far. We'll see.  

Alex: Yeah. Yeah, I think that it does really...I think visually it's very clear, because we're such visual species that it really clicks for people. But I do think it applies for any sort of creative endeavor or any project that you're working on. And I think in a way too, it really builds this long-term relationship to something, because like you said, if you don't set those boundaries or make up those rules from the beginning, you're going to be reinventing the wheel every time.

If you don't set your color palette in the beginning, or if you don't set what you're going to be talking about...for me personally, I spent the first half of this year not working on this show, and I was working on a podcast that was about a bunch of different topics, and it wasn't really geared toward any one audience. And literally I ran into this problem, where it's like every week I'm hitting this same wall of "Cool. I need to restructure who this is for. I need to think about the audience in a new way," and all these things. And it ended up totally breaking down and failing. And then meanwhile, I have this show that's very much geared toward creators.

My whole purpose is to serve creators and to help creators do better. And having that theme to what you're doing--even if it's not visually or color palette or whatever--but having that anchor, it's just such a game-changer and it really does clarify so much of what you're actually trying to build. Because like you said, you're not so concerned with all these outer details. You can really focus on the core problem you're trying to solve that time.

I'm curious too, do you still find yourself wanting to get off track? Are you ever like, "Maybe I should throw some color in." (Laughter) Or have you pretty much landed on "No, this works, and I'm gonna to stick to it."

Jack: It's interesting, yeah. Cause I used to tell myself in the agency environment--and this was a line I would always say in interviews: "I love the variation of working on different industries or on different problems and telling different stories and meeting new people." And I don't think I was lying, I think that was interesting and fun, but it's also...once you get so far into something that you're seeing the...the flywheel gets easier to push, if that makes sense. Like once you're a thousand images in, and you have this feedback loop where people are enjoying what you're doing and giving you good feedback, unless there's a good reason personally to deviate from it...and I haven't ran into one right now. Like I think musicians probably...they want to record a new album. They don't want to use the exact same set of--I'm not a musician, so excuse my lack of knowledge--they don't want to use the same set of instruments or sounds or X...  

Alex: Sure.

Jack: ...when they're producing that next thing, and they want to evolve as an artist. And I think... I'm not saying that won't happen, but while this medium feels like there's still room to run, or there's still things to explore, and there's still work to do, it feels like switching away from it is a decision that's not really based on anything that I'm particularly passionate about. But if that changed, then yeah, I would try something new. There's plenty of things I want to learn. And there is this tension between abandoning something that's working for something that is...something I'm kind of interested in, but who knows whether it becomes the main focus after you've gone through those learning reps. And age and energy plays a part in this stuff, too. When I was, like, early twenties in an agency environment, I could work 20 hours a day and switch focus between three or four different projects. That was just the way...that was the culture of it all and the way those environments functioned, and there's external pressure to get stuff done. But when you're... I'm just at a different stage in my life now where I don't want to be doing that anymore.

Alex: (Laughs) Right.

Jack: Or having these external pressures or inventing pressure. So I've kind of ended up here unintentionally in a lot of ways, but... not against changing things up, but it would never be a massive pivot, but you're just introducing something and iterating slightly on it. "Oh, that's working. Let's keep going in that direction." It's fun to work that way--at least if it aligns with the way you like working, I think it's a great little loop to get into.

Alex: Yeah, for sure. You just mentioned iteration, and that was kind of the next place I wanted to go. I feel like...we haven't really mentioned it yet, but one really powerful part of what was cool about Visualize Value--especially when it got started, but even still--was your level of transparency in what you were building. It was pretty unorthodox at the time. You would just be posting straight up how many sales you got that day. You were showing dollar amounts of what you're making. You're showing total transparency. And the inverse, which was really cool, of that is you were iterating on the things that were working and not working very publicly. And I guess it's kind of a two-fold question... well, not really a question, I guess, what is iteration...what have you learned about iteration and the power of iteration now? Because quite frankly, I feel like there's--especially me, I think a lot of people listening--there's a lot of fear in quitting things that aren't working. I think that there's this mindset of feeling afraid to fail. And once you stop doing something, it's hard to pick back up almost. You almost feel like, "Well, maybe I should just stop completely or entirely."

But what I've really learned from your journey and watching you build Visualize Value is that iteration is the key, not quitting necessarily. So tell me about that process of iteration.  

Jack: Yeah, so I think you can sort of study it at every different layer. Iteration as it applies to the business model of Visualized Value, that's changed. So it's gone from one service that we would offer, to the only service we offer, to a service we have figured out how to put into products that can span time and space and teach people asynchronously. So I think one of the things that's difficult to grasp, but one of the things that... the way you phrased, "Should I quit or should I keep going, or should I iterate," there's like Stage Zero of something where you need to feel some level of... some feedback, some positive feedback. Whether that's your own learning--like for example, you have a podcast, and it makes it possible for you to have conversations with people that you otherwise wouldn't have conversations with. That in itself is a positive feedback loop that is worth leaning into.

I think we're too quick to judge these loops as like, "Did I make X amount of dollars on this day?" And that's obviously not the thing that happens on Day Zero. Visualize Value was...the publishing of the content... beyond the agency clients I had at the beginning, there was like a three, four, five month lag there before that became a vehicle for new business entirely. I was working off of the networks that I'd built manually by working in agency environments and just meeting people out and about. And your ability to iterate...this is the exponential function, right? The iterations you are making when you're small and there's only a few eyeballs on your work, it's very hard to understand how much of a difference it's making, because the sample size is so incredibly small. And I've talked about this idea before of...the beginning part of it has to be selfish in some way. So if you're doing a...a podcast's a good example, or if you're...the design thing for Visualize Value. If it's making you a better designer, it's just this process that...if you practice for an hour or two hours a day, like five years ago, you wouldn't publish that work. The only difference is you're publishing it now. And even if that doesn't position you to build a million dollar leveraged business that's paying you while you sleep, it makes you a better designer. And in the next interview you go to, or the next freelance job you pitch, you have a bigger body of work...  

Alex: Right.

Jack: ...to demonstrate your skillset. So I think it's like having the end result in mind, but also understanding that there's tiers of iteration that need to happen in between. And the thing you're working on...can it be beneficial to the work you're doing, without scale? Even the podcast example is like, if you do a certain type of work-- meeting people one-on-one is...I would make the comparison to cold calling, but it's network building for somebody who is at the start of their career, or just starting to build skills. And if you're later into your career, then it's kind of two-fold. You're building a network and you're exposing your skillset and the way you think and the way you... where you interact with people at scale. So I think there's... I also talk about...my advantage, I feel like I had, was I was way less... I don't know if this is... I can't quite empathize with somebody growing up at this point in time, because when I started my career, there was no TikTok, Instagram, Facebook...I think Twitter and Facebook existed, but I had like 60 friends on Facebook, and two of them I would speak to once a week.

Alex: Right, yeah. (Laughter)  

Jack: So I would go to work, and I would just work for 10, 12 hours a day. I had an amazing mentor who taught me the craft of design and copywriting and strategy and all of those things that are... undoubted. Like there's no doubt that those form the base for this thing that you can iterate on in a new environment. So that's also something to recognize is either getting into an environment or finding a thing that is so enrapturing that you just want to get better at it by any means necessary. You could definitely do that in the physical world and the digital world still, but I think finding a... it's this double-edged sword, right? The internet exposes you to so many things, and that's why it's great, but it's also the downside of the internet, is it exposes you to so many things, when going... The opportunity cost of focusing on the wrong thing, I think, is high or perceived as really high, right? And you just end up...I see this constantly with people who... I've spoken to a few people, tried to help them find a thing or their thing, and there's this tendency to do something for a month and then, "Oh, this new thing's coming out; I'm going to switch to that."  

Alex: Right.

Jack: And I think there are underlying skills that transcend all of these, whether it's technologies or trends or industries--where it's like if you're a great writer, if you're a great interviewer, if you're a great designer, if you're a great illustrator, if you're a great screenwriter, like all of those creative skillsets--those are the things that are not going to be automated, or at least the last to be automated. These are things that are very difficult to write software to replace you.  

Alex: Right.  

Jack: So although it feels like the world is passing you by while you're getting better at this stuff, it's more noisy trends that you can plug your skill set into when you reach a level of mastery or excellence or whatever you want to call it,  

Alex: Right.

Jack: Where you feel confident to go and participate in that world. So I think creatives and creators, we do have this weird mix going on, where everybody is so focused on the network-building side of things that the craft suffers a little bit.

Alex: Yeah.

Jack: And balancing those two things is super important. And I think just switching off the...or pulling yourself out of the feedback loop that is preventing you from just working on the craft is... I think if you have a 10 minute attention span, you're in the 1% in 2021.  

Alex: Right, yeah.  

Jack: And that should be an encouraging thing for anyone listening that's getting started. If you could pay attention to something for 10 minutes, then...  

Alex: You're going to be all right.  (Laughter)

Jack: You're in an incredible place, yeah.

Alex: Right yeah, for sure. I think that brings up such a good point. It's like this level of...I had Tom Osman on, which I think he's a mutual friend.

Jack: Yeah.

Alex: He's been on the show twice. I want to have him back on, too, soon. But one thing we talked a lot about was... (laughter) he just doesn't give a sh*t what people think about his posting, and that's proven to be so beneficial for him, this level of online resiliency. Where I think a lot of my peers--and even myself, I feel this crazy insecurity to post things that would piss people off, or make me seem a certain way or whatever. But Tom's this awesome example of...he just has this level of resiliency to just say what he thinks and let it go into the internet sphere. And I think that there's a level of, that's what iterating on the internet has to look like. You have to build this level--maybe not to an extreme level, obviously, use your brain about what you're posting--but there's this level of resiliency-building of like, "Cool, I'm going to start posting, and I'm going to push through"--even months of not getting that feedback that you're describing. And there's a level of that that you kind of have to--and this is kind of the stage I feel like I'm in now is like signing up for that, of like, "Cool, even for lower engagement," or whatever the metric is you're looking at...you just kind of have to sign up for the long haul and a little bit of resiliency for maybe a quieter feedback loop, at least in the beginning. Did you experience that at all with Visualize Value?

Jack: Yeah, for sure. I gave a presentation to, I don't know, eight people early on in the Visualize Value journey about... I posted for 18 months on Facebook. The only person writing on my stuff was my mum. I have the receipts to prove this. So it was...that was a long time shouting into the void.

Alex: (Laughing) Except Mom! Mom's cool!

Jack: She's not the void, yeah. But anyway, the idea that you'll grow in your professional network--like you turn up and you want this thing, and it just happens for you--it's wild. And there's also the transition from the network you've built just by being...you know, going to school, going to university, doing whatever, before you found your thing. And there's this really painful phase where you have to separate from there, where the thing that you're doing professionally--like the chances that that aligns with the people that you play football with on the weekend or you go to the pub with on Saturday night, is slim. And a lot of people don't make it past that phase because they get like, "Hey, what the hell is Alex talking about?" I read this thing...and a lot of people are just like, "Ah, man, I can't break out of that. That's the ceiling." But what the internet really is-- or what expressing yourself on the internet over time does--is it just becomes a search function for people that think you see the world the same way you see it.  

Alex: Right.  

Jack: That's how people build community on the internet is...and this is the trap in not being yourself, is that you attract people who think what you're saying is what you believe or how you are or whatever else. And you've essentially built a prison for yourself, right? You've basically projected this image that isn't you. And there's....even if you win, you lose in that instance, right?

Alex: Right.  

Jack: Because you have to uphold this thing that you've "promised," in inverted commas. You've basically manufactured an image of yourself that you don't want to continue being. And then you just feel trapped. And I've done that in the past, where I've like, in different types of businesses... but yeah, that's...To Tom's point as well, when you just forget all that stuff and start being yourself, that's when the real freeing thing happens. Because you may get bad feedback in the interim, or the price of the bad feedback is meeting people that you really get on with and you can really build things with. And that by far outweighs the cons.  

Alex: Sure.  

Jack: And this is...there's a human desire to mimic and...you see what works and you see what someone else is doing and you just copy that, but it really...you may get some short-term momentum off of that, but if you don't have access to the source material, then you're going to run out of steam at a certain point.

Alex: Yeah.  

Jack: Or you're just going to build something that you can't fulfill on because it wasn't born of your experience, your ideas.

Alex: Right.  

Jack: And everybody has had unique experience, unique perspective. The difference in people is just meteorically massive. And you have to essentially ship your way to finding that difference. It's quite a process. But the other piece I would say is having some creative insurance policy along the way. So if people have a skill where meeting one person or meeting five people a year would be economic resilience, then you really don't have a ton to lose, right? If Visualize Value could reach three of the right people per year, and I could get a couple design retainers off that... if you compare that to trying to do that in the physical world, where meeting even 50 people a day would be almost impossible...

Alex: Right, yeah.  

Jack: You could get 50 people's eyeballs on your stuff on the internet, almost, without... I would challenge anybody to not be able to do that.  

Alex: Right.  

Jack: It's pretty difficult not to, but... there are all these different gaps and bridges in the journey, and doesn't matter how far along you are. You hit new ones and they just present different challenges.

Alex: Right. Man, I've never heard it articulated that way before, but that is so true. I think that there is that level of... uh for people, and it takes a level of courage and bravery. I feel like this is kind of a stage where I'm in. And I've been in and out of it a few times. And right now I'm really committed at trying to break out of it. But is that separation from your--just the people who you've interacted with, the people in your life, your family, your friends...I don't know if I've ever heard anyone describe it the way you just had of this painful period of separating your digital identity from the people who you're just hanging out with on the weekends.

But that is one of the most crucial things you have to do in order to build any sort of meaningful online platform. Because otherwise, just to your point, you're not  going to be your most authentic self online. And if you're not that, then you're not going to connect really with anyone, and you're especially not going to connect with yourself. You're going to quit before it gets...before the good stuff starts happening. But I don't think people talk often about that--that, period of time when you're trying to separate those two worlds a little bit, and it is pretty excruciating.  

Jack: Right.  

Alex: And it's weird how psychologically tough it can be on a person to do that separating work.

Jack: Yeah. It's incredibly hard. And it's ...I would say I'm either on the other side of it, or I just don't give a sh*t at this point. So I just look back at it differently. And the people who were like, "What is going on? What is all this about?" On the other side of the thing--the other side of the transition--you have the same relationship you have with them before.

Alex: Totally.  

Jack: It's like, "Oh, it's just the thing you do for work that I didn't understand when you weren't doing"--you know, they don't sit in a conference room with you all day, so why would they understand it any other way? It's just an interesting societal shift. And in the last couple of years, I think it's actually...people are getting more empathetic to it, because everybody understands that 80% of the workforce is working from behind a screen. And I really think... imagine getting hired remotely, not meeting any of your coworkers and working from a like behind a screen. Your ability to express yourself digitally is now a legitimate lever on your career. And whatever you think of that, that's true. And I think people at large...and I'm now starting to see people that I would have bet my life savings on never going the route of broadcasting their opinions on the internet and now doing it because it's a function of how the world works now. So that's good and bad news for people that are trying to do it, because your competition, it gets more normalized, but also more people do it. Generally speaking, the more painful it is, like the more the closer to the edge you are.  

Alex: Right, yeah. That's a great way to put it.

You mentioned a little bit earlier about having some sort of skill. And I think there are these...right now...I talk to a lot of my friends and peers about it a lot of the time, and I think right now there's a real tension around being a generalist and being a specialist. Because I think the internet makes it feel possible to do everything and to do all the things: "I want to be a writer and a podcaster and a video maker and I want to design t-shirts and I want to do everything," you know what I mean? And it feels like the possibilities are endless, which is true. Some people do manage to do all those things.

But for me in my personal career, you know, my background's in podcasting. That's where I cut my teeth for years and years and years. That's what I got really good at. That's what I became...kind of similar to you and design. My career could have never...I could have never gotten very far had I not gone super deep into one thing--had I not become a specialist in this one very specific area. And so for me, I have a lot of friends who are more on the generalist side, "Try a bunch of stuff." And for me, it was this arc of, "Be a generalist, find what you want to do, go all-in on that, become a specialist, and then kind of become a generalist again after."

I'm curious, what do you think about that relationship between specialization and generalization for the modern creator?  

Jack: Yeah. I think your observation is correct that it just becomes an energy equation at a certain point--like "What is the most efficient way to maximize?" And maybe this word doesn't encapsulate all of it but maximize reach...

(Note: About 5mins is missing from this transcript. Please refer to the audio episode above.)

Alex: (00:38:31) Right.

Well, and I think what's also encouraging about it too, is it's not like, your story. Yeah, sure. Maybe not. Everybody will go from zero to where Visualize Value is in 18 months or what have you, maybe the growth trajectory won't be like that fast, but it doesn't take that long either. I think that there's this real misconception again for me and my...I worked I went from having my own little podcasting studio, freelancing to running podcasts for a big media company. I was there for a couple years, and it just like the moment I did that, it was like two years time, two or two and a half years time. And suddenly it's like, cool. I'm set as an expert in this field. Now it wasn't like this 10-year, 20-year investment or something. And for you, it was like you kind of, and I don't know the exact timeline, but it seemed like you really committed to this for, I don't know, a few months, or even maybe less to when you started seeing real returns. But I feel like it, it feels a lot scarier than it actually is to commit to something for even a short period of time before you start seeing returns on whether or not it's gonna work. But it feels scary. It feels like, "oh my gosh, I'm signing my life away to go this direction or to do this thing." But it actually isn't that...it won't take as long as you might be afraid it will.

Jack: Yeah. And I think for people who've worked in creative industries, there's a frame that I used for. It is like you build a portfolio of work as a designer or writer or whatever, anybody that can create something by themselves, just building a portfolio if you do this thing for three months and it doesn't get you a million followers doesn't mean it didn't work. It's like this project that you undertook. I used to go to interviews with projects that never even went out into the world, like stuff that I would do, just because I thought [it] was interesting. I redesign this platform or there's an album cover that I love this music. So I'm going to redesign this thing. And I put it in my portfolio and show a creative director at an agency. Hey, I did this. What you're doing by doing those same things on the internet is just increasing the surface area of luck by doing that. And maybe you stumble into something that has enough legs, that you can build a company, a platform, a brand, or whatever off of, and maybe it's just a two month thing that turns into something that you put on one page of your website and then try something else. There really... Think the expectation that everything is going to turn into this like blockbuster amazing thing is where we're like falling short and even educating other creators. Right. That, and I think it also forces people down the generalist route too. It's like they don't want us be seen to make a project that doesn't resonate at that scale. So they just go like, I'm going to be my I'm going to be my personality. And I'm going to just write generic stuff that I know is going to get...I I know it's going to resonate on Twitter or YouTube or wherever you're doing it. And then you can get eyes and ears on that. But at the same time, it's like for what? For what? Because the platform for platform sake, I think gives you this false sense of security. And we've heard all of these stories of people that have a million followers that can't sell for t-shirts right. There's why you're doing it and why you're getting better at something. And then there's like exhibiting a very specific skill while you're building that thing is again, just, I think increasing your chances of success on, a bunch of different levels, like your ability to work with people, one-on-one your ability to now build products or depending entirely on what you do. Of course. And one other thing we haven't talked about in this is. Like the way the internet is changing and, web three communities, how that light gets into the mix of being a creator on the internet. And yeah, it's an exciting time. I think the, this stuff all got introduced actually at the moment where I was losing faith in a lot of, in a lot of ways in like the general narrative like this... it feels to me, like there is more focus on just reach for reaches sake versus being very particular and very very specific in what it is you do and what it is you care about. I think we're... you can get quick, like quick vanity returns going wide, but you can build something really economically resilient by having a point of view and. It's hard because it takes a longer, and it's like, you think of it as a really advanced search versus like a a broad search. Like yes, you can, get a lot of people to follow you on TikTok. If you're doing dance X to the most popular song in the world, but guess what? There's another 20,000 people that are doing that exact same thing. And that flavor of the month thing is just either keeps you chasing what's current or it's just, you're a commodity. So the idea of picking something specific and doing projects, that's another idea of think about this as projects that you're testing out rather than this entire identity that you're committing to. It doesn't need to be that the internet is. It's like a game that you can just keep pressing the reset button on. And that's a powerful way to think about it too.  

Alex: It really is. Yeah. That separation of I think it's because so much of our lives are lived digitally now that identity trap of...it like, it feels like it is a big piece of your identity or whatever, but in reality...no, no, it's not. (Laughter) It's this...you're an icon on a screen. You get to hit refresh anytime you want there. Meanwhile, you have your friends and family and loved ones. Everything's like fine. You know what I mean? But we've built these...

Jack: Put your screen down, put the phone down. It's like you're out of it. Not to say like your reputation, isn't an asset, but the transparency of you saying, "Hey, I'm working on this thing; it didn't work," you'll be so surprised at how much connection people are missing out on because they don't... We're not prepared to be transparent about what didn't work. And that I think has been huge in the Visualize Value journey too, is I tried this thing, it failed, I messed up this thing, it went wrong. I upset this person. I didn't mean to those things had just brought like huge influxes of, huge influxes of support and new connections. And that I think is underrated too the idea that you're trying to constantly curate perfection or curate the best version of everything. And the irony of it is, if your stuff isn't performing, literally no one sees it by design. Every single one of these platforms: you are not a profitable asset to them.

Alex: They'll squash you (Laughter)

Jack: They show it to five people and then it's like, that's gone. That doesn't exist anymore. So there's also that to consider in like the cost of iterating and sharing is they have incentives, too. They're not putting your, stuff that isn't resonating in front of people over and over and over again. So and if you don't believe me on this stuff, like some of the accounts you follow on Twitter, just go to their timelines and look at tweets that you like tweets that are on there versus tweets that you read as fascinating, because you're like, "Ah, I definitely would have seen every tweet from person X." And you go on the thing, and it's like, "Oh, I remember that one," keep scrolling a little bit longer, "I remember that one." And that is a function of... it's a very difficult to understand the scale and like the how the internet works and you're so consumed by if you try and invert the like the insecurity, a lot of people feel when they put something out in the world and it's not received well, the if you actually think about how much attention you pay to something on your Twitter feed, that doesn't like, doesn't resonate with you. It's just you just, you literally ignore it.  

Alex: Right.  

Jack: And I think the feeling that we have personally is like, oh my God, all these people that are reading my stuff, like this is crap. And I I think just try, like trying to, and again, it's a game of wraps where you realize. Over time. Like, yeah, I've written some absolute clangers over the years, but posted some stuff that didn't resonate. And iI had to letet that be the stopping point, then none of this stuff would have happened. It's a fascinating ...and it would never go away entirely. And I'm not trying to say that like anybody is immune to it, at least from my perspective, but sure. Yeah. It just it's a muscle like anything else?  

Alex: Yeah. That's a great way to put it. I want to get to Web Three stuff, but maybe we can push that after this question. Cause I know you're doing a lot of work in the web three space. but I think my last question I've actually, I saw it on your feed, but I wanted to talk about it here too. You had mentioned on another podcast. one thing that's a really popular term, especially amongst creative creators is this idea of passive income. we all want passive income. We want money to just magically. We want to build some sort of system that generates cash that goes straight into our bank account. It's where we don't have to worry about running a business or doing hard things or all that stuff, but you had an excellent response to that idea of passive income. and maybe we could talk about that here just for a second.  

What do you think about passive income?  

Jack: Yeah, I mean, it's what seduced me into entrepreneurship to begin with, right? It's like, "Oh yeah, I can..." exactly how you described it, "I can stop worrying about money." And the reality is, you never worry about money more than you do as an entrepreneur because you like...that is not something that is...at least in the early stages, that's not like the definition of it is that nothing is guaranteed on the financial side.  

So passive income, You hear all these stories of people who are just sitting in Barbados and they're the wire just keeps it in months and months. And those stories are true in some cases, but those aren't people that quit their job a week ago. The idea of passive income, I think...unless you have access to just ungodly amounts of capital and you have an appetite for an insane amount of risk, get the idea of passive income out of your head, or at least get the idea of an amount of passive income that's possible to live on in the short term, out of your head like that is if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. There's plenty of plenty of anecdotes. And there will be exceptions to the rule, but these markets are fairly efficient and as soon as an opportunity like that exists, it will get arbitraged away pretty fast.  

So the difference that I've...to make the distinction between passive income and leveraged income, Like where you're...what you're really aiming for is a variable outcome on your effort. So in a service business, in a client business, your time and money have a relationship where you can get you can do your value based pricing. You know, you go from hourly pricing to value based pricing, which is essentially just increasing your hourly rate, right? And there's only so many hours in a day. And every person you hire to fulfill on the service business is making your business less efficient. However, you want to look at it. It's like you cannot add more people and get more efficient. I mean, there's, we could debate that for a little bit of time, but it's, an additional cost.

So leveraged income is about these variable outcomes of on the upside. So if you create a product, if you create a piece of media, a piece of code, whatever it is that is that runs independently of you, then your leverage becomes, "how many people can I get to use this thing? How much more efficiently can I generate and direct attention?" And the outcome on the other side of that is dependent on your judgment.

So for example, you launch a product and you write an email and you have a hundred people on your email list and they convert at 1%. The quality of that copy determines your leverage, right? If the product has no...if you have no responsibility or no time commitment to delivering the product on the other side of that email...let's say, for example, Visualize Value. We have a design course called "How to Visualize." I send an email to a hundred people explaining what's in that course. And 1% of them convert, let's say it's $300. I make $300 on that day. Then I'm like, "okay, I'm gonna write some tweets, and I'm going to explain what's in this course, and I'm going to get people to sign up this email list." I write one tweet storm. I copy over to LinkedIn. I do a YouTube breakdown on it, blah, blah, blah. They're all directed to the same URL. I eventually get a thousand people on that email list and I send to there's 900 more people that haven't read it. So I send this, new introduction and say that converts at 1%, that's 10 people. So that's, $3,000, right? If I write back a copy, I maybe get that from 1% to 2%. That's $6,000.

So this, these are like leveraged outcomes and there's definitely entropy involved here, right? This is not a perfect formula because. The longer you go, the more people have heard about the course, the more like the older is the less intensity and the less the less enthusiasm there is for this thing. It's been on the market longer. So all to say like leverage is about just tweaking these levers of judgment and getting, slightly better outcomes along the way. There's all sorts of different mechanisms for this that would take hours and hours to explain. But affiliate marketing is another example, right? If you have people that believe in your product that you'll say, Hey, I will give you 50% of the revenue of all this product. I've zero cost of replication. For me, you've been through all these courses, you've done a great job of explaining them. You can go out and explain to people that this is helped you develop Skill X, you get 10 people doing that. There's another 10,000 emails going out a day and so on and so forth. So the internet is like this leverage machine that, helps you amplify the outcome of good judgment.

And yeah, that's, I think what we should be, that's the model we should have in our mind that we're developing versus the passive income idea, because passive income is especially in a tiny business is, a, the two ideas on as compatible as people think, because these things just have another great example. I didn't use SEO. So outside of social, and I'm not an SEO expert by any means, but I have a couple friends that have built little SAS tools. Good example is a guy I know built a tool called closet tools, which is a Poshmark plugin. Do you know Poshmark? It's like a secondhand thing, like eBay for clothes. So he built this little plugin that helps people list more efficiently on Poshmark. And he wrote, I think, five blog posts, like insanely detailed blog posts about how to better use Poshmark in this context or how to list your items. For whatever...I don't know anything about the specifics of it, but I know how his business works and those articles are so well-written and people read through all of them and they stay on the page for 10 minutes that they rank almost at the top of Google when anyone types in posh, like how to use Poshmark.

Alex: Right.  

Jack: And he has a free trial to his software attached to the bottom of that. And he literally does. He has, he doesn't have to go on Twitter. He doesn't have to go on YouTube. Doesn't have to write new organic posts every day. He has assets out there that Google is forcing traffic towards every day that are converting into his platform. He has to manage some customer support emails when sure. people have a question and things of that nature, but he has leveraged income to the point where he one feature or tweakstweaks one feature on that product sends out an email another batch of people come through. I was going to butcher a Naval quote. The the future of work is not like white collar versus blue collar. It's leverage versus unleveraged. So you either have leverage or you don't. And that just installing that little model of leverage in your mind is...again, again, it's an iterative process. And if you try and add it too soon, or you try and add like the wrong type too soon, then a lot of it builds over time. So reputation as a device for leverage is not something that happens one, right? It's something thatng that someone looks back on as like, I'm considering buying this Visualize Value course. Let me look at Visualize Value and Jack Butcher's account. Oh, there's 400,000 people following this. And there's a thousand visuals that have been posted over the course of the last two years.

Alex: Right.  

Jack: That to me is like, if I was on the other side of that transaction, that's a signal that okay this is a real thing. This is not some email that just popped up in my inbox and I'm making a decision on a whim. that's one. And then other things that you're doing in real time that might not deliver leverage today. But over the course of six months, 12 months, 18 months, two years, they start to compound like recording something, put it on YouTube. Instead of having a individual call with every one of your clients. Even if you work in a service business, there are things you can do that can add leverage to the way you work. Right? Even stuff like how to manage...our accountant has an amazing system. They run a service business, but like they do one 10 minute onboarding call and then they've got, here's a video to do this. Here's where you put, this is how you upload this, here's how you automate your emails to send receipts to our drop box. And then they get categorized this way these, tools, and like the ability to automate tasks and even like automate things that you say over and over and over again are. Underused by a lot of people, especially in the creative world, because it's a ...I guess the pop culture narrative is that's the antithesis of creativity, right? It's I need to be at my blank page and show up every morning. And that's if you want to pitch that through a different angle, that's that's what allows you to be creative. You alternate the stuff that you don't want to be doing on the admin side every single day. And you get to just sand do your thing. Thing.

Alex: Yeah. Yeah, I feel like I got it's divorcing your time from your income and you say that a lot. And I've heard Naval say that... A lot of these...and and I think for me, like I got my first taste of that. I was like 19, I think. And my background's originally in music and I was getting music licensed for like commercials and things like that. And I remember it just instantly, like I became addicted on the spot because I made one song tcould get licensed a millionlion times and it's like one time and it just keeps going. And I think that's, what's so powerful about the internet. Now, if used correctly is if you can find those ways to, to your point leverage, leverage it.  And I think Naval-- I can link to, he's done a bunch of podcasts and stuff about it--but like the age of infinite leverage is something he talks a lot about. It's just it doesn't really cost you much of anything to make to like what you've done. You made an online course or a few online courses. You build that once and you can just keep selling it forever. that's leverage. And the leverage comes from building an audience by giving a lot of good stuff away for free, too. I think that's one undervalued. Part of the process too, is you have to give a lot away in order to build that trust and for people to want to give you money for a product over time.

Jack: Agreed. Yeah, no that's, completely, completely accurate. And you can reverse engineer this stuff before you have, audiences of thousands of people too, is... This is one of the models that I used is like, you take one [pine] engagement and you say, how do I, how would I like take myself out of this process?

And you can sort of reverse engineer product in a lot of, in a lot of cases from one-on-one experiences you're having. It's like, I think the chick, the weird chicken and egg thing is people think about, I'm going to try and get 20,000 people to listen to me, then I'm going to build something versus I'm going to build something. So 20,000 people will listen to me and that's that, I think. The fundamental shift worth making that it might...this might not be the thing that gets you the 20,000 people, but that shift in mentality is going to be the thing that makes you try over and over again, to get something going. There's a few people on Twitter that I follow, that I admire a lot, that they seem to be just doing too many things at once when they have like product market fit in one area. And I think it's also, if you want to talk about like psychological barriers, we have a lot of people have a real hard time promoting their own work and right to, really like smash through, you have to be relentless. Like you have to relentlessly promote yourself. And I'm not saying stand outside with a sign and be doing this all day long, but you're, if you aren't able to leverage something like that, closet tools, example that I mentioned where you have. Like organic search traffic, bringing you, customers every day. The initial period is rough, it's brutal. If you want to stay small and work for yourself, I think there are some ways around it. Like you can run ads or you can pay somebody to market your work, but make no mistake. There is no way around not doing that because the world is incredibly noisy.

And I think we also have this false model of like, "Oh, if my work is good, it'll just spread, right?" Even the most incredible artists in the world. And the most, like they have the most ingenious PR marketing distribution teams behind what they do. And I think that's I don't know where that myth comes from. That. The best ideas spread organically. No, the best ideas are ingeniously distributed and they have incredible strategists working on them. And I just, I think for anybody struggling with this, it's like, it's often not a function of how good your idea is either. It's like your ability to distribute it and your confidence in promoting it is a huge part of the equation and getting people results is what gives you the confidence to go out and shout about what you're doing and working with people one-on-one was a great basis for that. For me, it's like, I know this works and I know I've made a material difference to a bunch of people with this stuff. Now I'm just, it's just a search function to find more people that need this thing.  

Alex: Yeah.

And I think too, one thing. I even think it's shown in your work, but a lot of the best creators who are making it independently, I even think like relentless promotion...I don't even know if it's like relentless promotion as--and maybe this is a mindset shift I'm trying to wrap my head around--but relentless value for lack of a better term, but just giving stuff away. And even if it feels like you're a lot or you're giving too much or whatever it is, but if you make it fun to watch what you're doing, or if you make it valuable, if you can actually give things away that people enjoy and feel like they're getting something out of it over and over and over again, that just builds this level of trust. And I feel like that is kind of the shameless self-promotion that actually works is like helping people or or--and maybe that sounds more benevolent than it actually is--but I feel like there's this level. It doesn't have to be like, Hey, check out my thing, check out my thing, buy my thing, buy my product.

Jack: Oh yeah, it's not gonna work.  

Alex: Exactly, yeah.  

Jack: The question is maybe the wrong...yeah. Maybe the wrong word, but that's what it that's what it ends up doing. What your continued effort to share does is makes more people consider right. What you have. For sure. For sure. Cool. I want to move... I guess just to wrap it up, I did want to talk about web three stuff, with you. And basically, I don't know the level. I don't want to assume the level of knowledge. My listenership has a web three. I have a very elementary understanding what it is.

Alex: Maybe go... let's talk about what is Web Three and what excites you about it? Because you've really. Jumped in like head first and you're really deep into it. I'm curious thinking about from the perspective of this show, like how, what excites you about it for creators and what is it exactly.

Jack:Yeah. So I will also admit early to this documenting my discovery of it and my like in the same way that Visualized Value began as me sort of churning back out ideas that I was consuming. That's, the same process I'm undergoing now with Web Three. And there's a lot of incredibly smart people that have been in this space longer than I have that--I put together a thread a few weeks ago, if anyone's interested in it, I'll pin it after this, so you can go find it. But Web Three-- again, a buzzword that is used to sort of encapsulate so many different things. And it means a lot different things to a lot of different people. I would say my interpretation of it is... a shift in incentive structures on the internet. So if Web Two was about...distributing on platforms that are owned by these giga corporations, right? Where Twitter you are, basically, you're basically making a deal with a Twitter or a Facebook in that you will generate attention for them and basically increase their market cap by getting eyeballs on their platform so they can sell ads or whatever else it is that they're selling. And you're kind of okay with that deal, because you can use those eyeballs to build relationships and grow your business or whatever else.

So Web Three, what the fundamental difference is in my mind is that there's this way less friction to owning certain pieces of certain networks and how that changes the behavior and the upside for creators is incredibly interesting. So it's all nascent right now, and there's a lot of noise and crazy...you'll you'll see Silver Lion Club, whatever the hell avatar project is going on. But fundamentally what's interesting about Web Three is the idea of shared ownership and upside. Yes. And the idea that you, as a creator now don't have to go and start from zero and be like, "Hey, I'm a, I'm an animator. Can somebody please pay me to animate something?" I will painstakingly put out 900 pieces of animation in the hope that I'm going to catch the eye of somebody, right? What Web Three enables now...and the way internet culture is shifting is that these companies or these collectives, or these groups, these membership groups are open to anyone. You may not own a piece of them, but you can go into the Discord of any of these owned communities--whether it's a platform that's building on crypto or an avatar project, or a decentralized movie studio game company, whatever it is--you can go in and watch and see what they're talking about.

And there's obviously a lot of top-down capital coming into the space because there's people that have been invested in Ethereum since 2014, or whenever the Ethereum pre mine was just like giga millionaires. And this is like my new marketing expense for them to fund. And obviously there's some people do it because they love doing it, but it also makes a ton of sense to grow the ecosystem. So as a creator, you can plug into these things and it's...you have almost instant product market, a feedback loop that you can plug into instantly. So if you're an animator and you go into board, a yacht club, you're like, "Hey, I just animated this short of these five characters interacting," whatever. There are people that have a vested interest in growing the market cap of that community grow in the... increase in the quality of the relationships between that community. So instead of you trying to break the narrative, you'll see it's like, " Web Three gets rid of gatekeepers," and "crypto gets rid of gatekeepers," right? This is the grand vision for crypto, is like the middleman slowly loses power over time. Right? And the idea that as a creator, you can start to identify and contribute to networks without permission. You could do that in web three, but you wouldn't be able to. Buy a piece of it, like just without permission, just be like, "I'm buying into this project. I think it's cool. And then I'm going to start contributing to growing the value of this thing. If I think Mirror is an amazing platform, I can start publishing on Mirror." And actually, maybe this is not the best example, but you can...a lot of these protocols are offering state, like you can buy pieces of those platforms on, in public markets.

So the idea that everyone becomes like an investor and everyone's portfolio, like everyone's creative portfolio is actually aligned with their financial portfolio in a lot of ways. That to me is extremely exciting. I don't think it's, I don't think it's this promise that everybody's going to make a ton of money by any means, but I think it's the, it's a definite shortcut and network effect. Like I've seen so many obscenely talented people that are just not great marketers. And if they wasted 30 hours a week marketing, they wouldn't be as good at what they did. Right? 3d artists, people that come to mind are just like insanely dedicated to their craft. And this is like these positive some networks where you can bring people in and everyone can contribute, grow the value of the network together. And it just shifts the incentives in a way where you're not competing against another designer in a web to company. Like even in my advertising days, it's which art director and copywriter is going to come up with the best campaign. And these guys that didn't come up with it, they're not going to get the next pitch. Versus a Web Three thing, where maybe you own a piece of the protocol. You're like, "I want the best thing to...I'm desperate for the best thing to win because it'sgoing to have a material effect on my ownership of the overall protocol." So yes, I just a slight shift and-- well, I say a slight shift, it's a huge shift, but from the outside it looks like a slight shift.

And I think there's a lot of people, especially creative people that have been reading narratives about in particular that are like, you know, this is a complete Ponzi scheme nonsensical thing. But what it really is, like we talked about internet identity and you being a native citizen of the internet, it's you being rewarded for one your contribution, but two, just your taste. If you can predict the virality of something or if you can understand that this asset is. ..it's going to generate X amount of attention over X amount of time. And you basically place a bet on that. That's another critique of it, that it's just a massive casino.

But what is any market, really? It's abstracted it as a gamble. But this is just going to be way more volatile, obviously, because people can participate completely anonymously and there's a lot more due diligence that you should be doing as a participant of these markets. But it's also...I think a once in a generation technology shift where you can position yourself in a really compelling way as a creative, I think there's all these arbitrage opportunities in that world because it's so technical and the people that have been in that world and have excelled in that world today have been the bill, like the back end builders of the. If you go on a lot of these I don't know how, if you ever mess about with defy or anything like that, but some of these protocols, you go on the website, like this is like the Starship enterprise man stop. And that arbitrage opportunity for a UI designer, UX designer, a writer an illustrator to explain this stuff is there's just this big shift in yeah, this transition, I think presents a massive opportunity for creative people to own upside and their contribution. I'm actually going to try and put together something on this.

That's just I, again, I don't claim to be a technical genius around any of this stuff, but trying to just point people in the direction of maybe philosophically, if you shift your perspective slightly, then you can position yourself differently. The idea of permissionless work now doesn't need to be this complete...you're you're not completely winging it, right? You're not investing your time doing something that might be ignored. It's like you, you have a captive audience where you make something, you literally drop it in the discord channel of the company that is developing the technology. The right people are going to see it. Right. It's different than spamming Twitter, like spamming in the Twitter replies. So yeah, I just think it's a big shift. I think there's, a lot of promise for people who jump on it.  

Alex: I agree. Like my, the guests before, before he, his name's Jeremy he's like this amazing photographer. He does portrait photography. And right at the end of the episode, I was like, so what's your what's what should people look out for? And he's like, I'm dropping a whole series of NFTs. I've never gotten into the space, but that's the next big step for me? And it just is like becoming abundantly clear, there's something real going on here. I do feel like the accessibility part. like I even think a lot of what you just said. I think a lot of people won't know what a lot of, even me, I don't even know what a lot of it is. I think like that Twitter thread, you had mentioned that you've been putting together about what you've learned and where to learn things. That's for sure a cool place for people to start, but I'm curious about what are, what do you feel like some misconceptions are that you feel like you had mentioned, like people calling NFTs a Ponzi scheme? What are, some misconceptions around it that you feel like you, you disagree with or you feel like are incorrect that you what are your convictions around it?

Jack: Sure. I think one thing is. Did you alone, a ship is not valuable, right? I think this idea of there can't be, you can't own property that's on the internet. And I think that misconception comes from it's always been this way or you don't actually have a understanding of how the internet currently works because you are contributing to a network that somebody else owns right now. There's a really interesting disconnect where you can make it where you can make a violent criticism of something, but you don't actually understand that other side of the argument, or you haven't thought about how that changes what you're saying. So by saying artist shouldn't sell their creative work, you actually saying, ah, it should grow the market cap of Twitter and Facebook and sell prints for $7 and 50 cents. Versus have electors invest in their work and build a valuable network. There's definitely there's definitely a lot of misconceptions around the, like the Ponzi scheme or the like being around collectors in the space.

Like I said, there's people that have been invested in Ethereum for an incredibly long time. And this is like a really exciting cultural moment that they view as as significant as the Renaissance period, digital art and ownership of these just incredibly significant cultural objects and people compare that to beanie babies. For example, if there's some good. That's some good precedence for that. Like a lot of these like collectibles and collections that are just being spun up in 15, I don't know, 10 hours or whatever people are doing, hiring someone on Fiverr and dropping the thing. And then just running off, like any market that's going to be nonsense. This is just a, their response is just way more crazy because there's so much money involved and it's moves so fast and it's this big liquid network all over the world. but some of the things I think will continue to shock us in just outrageous way. The I don't think people really understand the size of you know, if you look at a financial market, like how much volume is being traded on any given financial market on any given day. It's hard to even wrap your head around conceptually what's going on a million-dollar NFT sale is nothing, right. It's just like in the grand scheme of how much money removes around the world on a daily basis, it's nothing. And to a middle-class person in any country in the world is it's ludicrous. But in terms like if you actually contextualize it around what it is, which is like a global market for this thing with finite supply and 10% of the active participants in that market have a nine figure net worth. It's like, okay, it makes total sense. If you zoom out enough, you start to understand why it's happening.

And then I think, again, people misunderstand or undervalue attention and how attention is like the most powerful. Force in the world. Some of the most value apple is the most valuable private company on the planet. Yes. They make nice phones, but why does everybody want an iPhone? So they have this like little portal that they can stare into every day at what their friends are doing, what their friends think of them. Like they communicate with their colleagues, what all the things you use, an iPhone four, it's like the critique, that digital things aren't real. It's like, okay. So every interaction, every time you touch your iPhone, nothing real is happening. Or you can extrapolate that logic insurance yet that way. And I just don't believe that to be true. And that's another, great contextual point is Fortnite. the skins that they sell them fortnight, I think that's a $2 billion a year marketplace. And Fortnite takes a hundred percent of that. You don't own any of those items as a player or Fortnite. You just literally are emptying probably your parents' credit card in most cases into fortnight LLCs bank account versus, Hey, I was here on this day and I got this I got this digital asset and now I can trade that. I don't know if you've ever played Rune Scape, but a lot of these people that are like massively into these Ethereum in particular and all of these like market protocols, they played games like it's like magic internet money is not a it's not an exaggeration because a lot of people would just learn coordination and like place value on items along like 10 years ago. And these like transactions that happening digitally. And you could make the argument like, yeah, that's in game currency. But again, going back to the start of the conversation, it's like, we're almost playing like a remote job or remote work is a video game. Totally. And for people that ever reached a certain point in the Maslow's hierarchy, I'm not saying that you need to have your bases covered, right. Your food or shallow your air, your, and then for people that aren't worried about any of those things, is there any surprise that they're like messing about buying pictures of monkeys off each other on the internet buying round? Surprise me. and that's like I said, I think we're just at the beginning of it and crazy stuff, but there are people that are way more articulate than I am at describing this stuff. I think I can I can gather that information and I actually had this idea this morning. I might set up another, like a. Yeah, make it free or donation-based so someone can maintain it, but set up just a little course that goes through some of these principles and get some resources for people to follow. The thought leaders are actually building in this space.  

Alex: Cool. One thing that I, like to think about, and you could tell me this might be totally off and it might be like not completely aligned with what, like NFTs and web three is all about one example.

I think of a lot when I talk to people about this or when I've heard skepticism, is that the first thing that comes to my mind are domain names. Like I own alexsugg.com. No one else owns that. and that's like digital real estate that actually really counts. Like I remember when they made the the extension app. I just went in...I went into hover and I bought Harry Potter app, Nike app. And I bought like all these things. And of course I got flagged and I wasn't allowed to do it. But, in my mind, it's like, there's this level of digital ownership. That's really valuable, even in a domain name. And that's been going on for decades where people are buying and selling domains across to each other. And it's like letters on a screen like that. Like it's not quote-unquote real at all. This is all just a big story we're telling ourselves.

And that's a huge part about like real money too. Like I think especially over the last year and a half, like I do feel like at the end of the day, the crypto world NFT worlds is just, it's a, narrative. That's a response to another narrative that people think a hundred percent. It's just all about I think it becomes very complicated-sounding because it is technically more complicated than what we're used to. But I think at the end of the day, it just comes down to are we telling a newer, better story of this digital currency online versus what has been in the past?

Jack: Yeah, I think that's a great, I think that's a great perspective, especially like the domain thing for digital ownership and the complexity of the money story. Also [buying] in a traditional sense is incredibly complicated. Just nobody has a clue how it works. And if you start to, I think what crypto does is you start to ask questions about why you need hard cap money, what do you mean? And then you start to you really start to get into the world of, oh, okay. Somebody came up with this, everything is a human invention. Like nothing is absolute.

And then guess the crypto argument and especially the case of Bitcoin, it's like, you know, pick it out absolute money, and this is what we believe is gonna eventually, Trump, every other form of money. And I have no prediction or opinion there, but, I do think all of these technologies and all of these stories just lead people to basically finding out that things don't have as rigorous of a yeah. You, especially when you're like an entrepreneur you're operating your own business, or you break out of this world where you just certain things you accept and you don't dig into deeper because it's just, I have no reason to, right. You have no reason to like, get any more intimate with the details or in my case, I'm talking about that. and then when you do, it's like a rabbit hole, it's just a complete rabbit hole and you realize, okay. And the emperor has got no clothes in a lot of cases. So we're just gonna, See what happens by getting... just follow the stuff that interests you. And it's just...honestly getting crazy out there. Then there's a video of David Bowie ever seen the David Bowie's prediction of well, the internet did. Yeah. It was crazy. Yeah. Yeah. And I think he's he's spot on. He's like you haven't even began to, you have not even began to understand the implications of the internet. And I think these are like, the cracks are starting to show where it's like the things that everybody accepted as like absolute truths are now like, oh no, there's a dude. I invented new money, but like rice guy in San Francisco wow, right. Like 10 years ago you would say that's impossible. And 10 years from now, we'll look back at this and be like, we were just talking nonsense. We didn't know what the whole...  

Alex: Right, for sure. For sure. No, that's cool, that's cool.

I'm curious, maybe just to wrap up, I think that's talking about web three and NFTs. I think there's a lot there. And I will link in the show notes for everyone listening to Jack's Twitter thread about what you've been learning and resources and stuff. And I think if you made a course of some sort, that'd be really cool too. I think maybe to wrap up I'm kind of picturing somebody listening who maybe hasn't, maybe they haven't started yet on this creative idea that they're, wanting to pursue what maybe as to wrap up, if you were sitting with this person and they said, what do you think my first step should be towards starting, creating things online for the internet? What would you, say to them?  

Jack: I think my, one of the things that I've seen work is basically iterate in service of finding a format that you can really own. The visualizer, I think is one example of that. Another example I loved that was maybe a year ago, someone was doing interviews with people on Twitter, just in DMS.

Alex: I saw that too. That was cool.  

Jack: It was cool. Right? Yeah. And that was one of the examples I actually, was referencing when I said, why didn't you carry that on or turn it into a low media brand or something? I thought it was bad-ass Stuart SIM. I think the guy's name is who did that.

Alex: I thought that was such a cool, get it back up. What two or three messages back and forth. That was like a three-minute interview with these awesome creators just through DM. Really cool. I like that.  

Jack: Yeah. Yeah. So I think if content specifically as your interest, then the format piece is, really a powerful thing to iterate on think about how you can add creative constraints to the format and then yeah. You're basically putting your perspective into through that filter every time, which I think is a, just a powerful way to get constrained enough to go might be like a five minute podcast, or for me it was whiteboard drawings on YouTube. It's I want to do five minutes or less. I really want to get critical mass of content on YouTube. Like I don't produce a ton of stuff there anymore, but I was like, I got the channel. I'm not just gonna leave it empty. I go to WeWork for a day. I just recorded 20 videos, five minutes each. Right. and just sprint into those little into those little like sequences of projects that are have some kind of creative constraint. And then the other piece, I think go back to the part of the conversation we had, where the feedback you get from. People who just happened to be connected with, based on where you're born or where you work or wherever else, stick it out through that because it's it's kind of a journey to discover people that see the world the same way you do. And producing content is almost always like a by-product of consuming other people's ideas. So even just acknowledging them in the process is going to build your network, has all of these platforms they fit together that way and you can acknowledge people without there's a subtle way to do it. There's the right way to do it. But I think that is also, an underrated tool that had a big impact on, getting visualized value side is just saying, huge admirer of this person's ideas. I spent a bunch of time. Adding context to this and, hopefully they like it or they're interested in it and if not, oh, well, but that I think is whether it's the web three idea we talked about or permissionless publishing, yeah there's just start, putting stuff out, getting feedback and it right from that.

Alex: That's good. Yeah, I think it's Kevin Kelly, the thousand true fans idea, and like that the internet is this gigantic, pool of people where you can almost, I can almost guarantee you, there are a thousand people out there who are into the same stuff you are into, and it's a matter of going out there and finding them. Jack, thank you so much for being on the podcast. This was awesome. Is there anything you want to plug before, before signing off?  

Jack: No, just if I end up doing this Web Three thing I'll tweet about it. So, let's connect on Twitter and if I can answer any questions, DMs, my DMS are open.

Alex: Everyone go follow Jack. It's the best he creates. Awesome content. And thanks everybody for listening again. Thanks Jack for being on. If you enjoyed this episode and if you want to get more of these conversations sent directly to your inbox, just head over to my website, alexsugg.com and sign up for the newsletter. And as always, if you enjoyed this interview, please go five star rating and review on apple podcasts. And last but not least, this episode was edited and produced by Josh Perez. And if you are looking for your, if you're looking for help for your podcast, Josh is the dude to do it. He's a great producer and an even better dude, get in touch with him at justjoshperez.com. I'll be back soon with another new episode. So until then let's go make something cool.