Clubhouse transcript from February 25, 2021
Note from Dave: Please excuse the typos and other errors in this imperfect transcript. I hope you can at least get the gist of the conversation, and bear with me as I work on improving these transcripts. This transcript starts about five minutes into the conversation.
This is a transcript of the first installment of "Audience Builders" on Clubhouse. This conversation took place originally on February 25, 2021.
The co-hosts are:
Web Smith: And we're doing great. But we're still very much in that Build Mode. So it's sort of like what you're talking about right now. I'm in the process of trying to hire the right people. Look for the right mechanics, things that I can do to really take the company from you know low seven figure to potentially eight or nine. We are completely bootstrapped. A dozen of people employed.
Sam Parr: Wait a minute, am I a legacy media guy? That sure happened fast.
Dave Nemetz: Old legacy Sam.
Sam Parr: Yeah, that change quickly.
Brandon Wenerd: I have a question. Like one of the things for us just kind of thinking on this topic. Like, one of the things when we really, when everything started to really feel real, was when we were able to leverage an online audience offline. And in 2010, you know, was when we realized, you know, the kind of internet advertising economy for a website called BroBible, in 2010, just like, wasn't really there yet. So, you know, in order for us to start, you know, getting revenue, we really identified events, as one of our main avenues, especially in the tri state area in New York. And so 2010 we struck a deal with Bowery Presents at the time where we had some exclusivity and you know, kind of cosplay arrangement to bring in talent and do concerts at the time, and then sell out the event to a brand and everything like that. But that ability for us to throw events in those kind of venues around New York City, at the [02:05 inaudible] was one of the major major catalysts for us to really start, you know, realizing who our audience was, and identifying that and also seeing it, you know, quantified and, you know, be able to be transactable in real time as well. Our first show was with pretty lights in 2010. Right at the kind of advent of you know, that EDM take off at the time.
Sam Parr: Yeah, we started with events too. It definitely is awesome. It's a hard ass business, but it's a really great way to get people interested early on.
Brandon : I think events are great because they create power evangelists, really for even for, you know, for media brands.
Sam: Yeah, I think they're good. When we started, that was our only revenue we made. We did pretty good early on, like when it was just me, I think the first year, we made a quarter of a million dollars, and I only spent like 30 grand on hosting the event. And
Not one of those, I don't think any of those, maybe 20,000 from sponsors. So like we didn't do any of the sponsor stuff, because I didn't know how to do it. But events was really cool because it created a buzz early on. But it's not like a huge, like, our biggest event, maybe 2500 people, which is kind of big, but like 2500 people coming to your website is not really that big of a deal. So it's kind of big, but also not big, but it's highly engaged. So I think events are great. I hope they come back soon, they will. But when we started, and I actually think everyone can do this right now, I tried to copy Dave's model of Bleacher Report where we just got tons of writers to create tons of stuff. And that didn't work for us. And I would actually think that I don't think that would work if you're starting from scratch right now. Or at least you definitely can make it work. I don't think it would be the best way to do it. When we started, me and one other guy, John, were only writers and we just wrote a ton of blog posts. And we got popular on Reddit in our first 30 or 60 days, we had something like half a million a million people coming to the website.
Dave: Was that just organic Reddit or were you guys seeding it there, was it just people were posting and finding it?
Sam: 100% I mean, like, I don't know what organic in this context means like we didn't game the system. I know that. You and I like to joke around, I mean, we don't joke, we scheme. I'm like, man, I wonder if you could game the system on Reddit doing this. Like we just talk but no, we didn't. Like I was a Reddit community member, and I would like, I just kind of thought about it like, Alright, I want like, mostly men, a lot of people who are interested in entrepreneurship, a lot of people who are interested in technology. I want them to come to my website and like what I created, because we have this email, what can I write that gets there attention and where can I post it and there was like a Reddit called Soylent where there was like 100,000 people, and I was like, Alright, we can get number one on there by doing, by living on Soylent for a month and blogging about it. Or a lot of people who publish books and who read books are in our target demographic. So we like did this crazy thing where we wrote about this guy who was plagiarizing other authors. And he was writing books on basically how to sleep with women, and making a lot of money. And I thought, that's really not that like, that's pretty unethical. I don't like that. But it's crazy interesting. Let's write about it. And then the next week, we plagiarized someone on Kindle and became a bestselling author of this romance book that we wrote. And we explained exactly how we did it. And that got like millions of views. And that was like, our first [05:46 inaudible] at Google. It was like our first week of business. And it was almost all from Reddit.
Dave: Awesome. Yeah. And I think there's always like some kind of, like, early inflection point where, you know, like, Brandon and I know back in our early days, it wasn't so much Reddit, it was Digg, the old old Digg, that was a great source of do users and firewall hits. And there's always kind of some new platform, Yeah, the growth hack comes about, and you figure it out, you pick up a lot of users off of it, and then either it loses momentum, or everyone else swarms and dilutes the power of it. And I think there's kind of a balance between you want to have your eye out for those growth hacks, those new opportunities, while also really focused on building your core business, how do you get people in? How do you get them to subscribe, get them to become regular users now, don't become hooked on just that, that distribution source. It's kind of a balance you got to strike. Just to bring people up to speed, we're about halfway through. We've had some new people join, we're talking building audiences, talking the early days of BroBible, Bleacher Report, the hustle, 2pm and we're going to open things up to questions soon. Dave's going to start. If you got questions, get ready Dave will bring people up, we'll start talking about it. And also, you know, if you're joining, feel free to ping some other friends and invite them into the room, more the merrier here. We're building a little crew, little community around this. So appreciate everyone being here. So I do want to talk about that, and we will get the questions in a sec. But last piece about high converting people and bringing them into the fold, you know, once you find that distribution source and find that channel for reaching new audience, and full [08:01 inaudible], you've got kind of a core email product, that is pretty that both of them, you know, feature some advertising on it. And then you have subscription products, you have paid subscription products, where you've got your premium products, your executive memberships. And Sam, your trends. I'm sure you have other things you're cooking up with HubSpot. So kind of how do you think about that, that duality between building an audience for a free product? And how you reach people for a paid product? Are you bringing people into free and then trying to convert into paid? Do you think about them as completely different audiences? How do you balance those two approaches?
Sam: [08:48 inaudible] you want to go?
Web: Yeah, sure. So, again, look, I think that I'm pretty early on in this. The way that I, you know, 2 PM is just now getting into advertising. We've never really sort of advertised and we have advertising as a product. But over the next 8 to 12 weeks we are I think 60% full for our, for the ad spots that we designed. And as you know, we design those ads spots no differently than we designing the other art on any of our properties. So it's pretty exciting proposition for those brands. As relates to like the free versus premium model. I really just focus on doing the best I can with that Monday letter. I think that the conversion rate from Monday letters to executive membership is like right around 13 to 14%. So as the list itself continues to grow, the executive membership grows with it. Obviously, I would love that number to be higher than 14% but I don't really push that either. So again, like I'm actually learning a lot from being around you guys because frankly one of the flaws that I had so far is that, not that I don't care about money, I really do. And trust me, I really, really do. It is just, I'm such a retail guy in the context of like building physical products. [10:12 inaudible] until I have everything perfectly right before, before then I really push the burn in scale.
Sam: We launched, I mean, I think 2 PM what Web does is pretty badass. And we were inspired by that, we don't have a what did he say 11% or 12% conversion rate from free to pay. Ours is not [10:37 inaudible] that high. So that's pretty amazing. I learned how to do this, what we call it front end and back end stuff. And
There's two companies in particular in this space, that are really, really good and [10:54 inaudible] good in terms of business, not in terms of content, I hate all their, most of these people's content. But Agora and Motley Fool. There's this company called Motley Fool that I actually do like, and their newsletter, business, you guys probably all known Fool.com, no one really talks about them because they've been around for 25 years, maybe longer. They are not like that new or hip anymore, but they have like a business that probably makes $500 million a year revenue with probably 35% profit. And then the other one, which I don't endorse at all, I think they're mostly unethical and promote bad stuff, but it's called Agora. And Agora is a probably a billion dollar a year business. And almost all their revenue is from email. And what both Agora and Motley Fool do is they sell financial advice like how to invest in stocks and stuff like that. And what I learned early on just by like reverse engineering them is they do, it is called a front end and a back end. And a front end is usually something either free or low cost. And then your back end is something that's relatively high cost. So like $1000, $2,000, and your front end is free all the way up to about $100 bucks. And you get people in the funnel by providing value early on, getting them to buy something, and then you upsell them by getting them to buy something else. And that funnel is a very classic funnel that many many people do. In Agoras case, I think they like I said, I think they're pretty unethical about it. So I'm not saying that I agree with them. But I agree with the business model. And I think that business model works super, super well. And we just stole that from them. And it's been very, very effective. So we have a lot of people who come in directly to Trend, which is our paid product. But it's all about building one big funnel of getting people to like you whether you get them through free or paid, sheets up something affordable or and then you upsell by creating something more expensive.
Dave: Cool. So do we have questions? Anyone in the audience?
Anyone in the room, would love to bring you guys up. Talk to the panel. We're talking, you know, anything building audiences would love to hear and talk about it.
Sam: Dave, What's your partner's name here?
Sam: Nates. What's going on? Do you have you have like a [13:24 inaudible] Clubhouse, that is awesome. That's pretty cool.
Dave: Yeah. My European partner pulling a late night. All right. Looks like we got our first question here.
Nejc: Yeah. I'm just bringing people up here. Just seeing if they want to speak. But yeah, coming from Europe, from Slovenia.
Dave: Yo, Quinn what's up, man?
Quinn: What's up, guys? My name is Quinn. I know, Dave
Fairly well at this point. He's been a pretty great mentor to me as I try to build our startup media company [14:06 inaudible]. And I appreciate everybody's thoughts and transparency in this conversation, it's so helpful to see and it's so interesting. I was at ESPN, when Dave launched Bleacher Report. So it was really interesting to be sitting there in my you know, Windows 95 computer to watch that explode from Midtown Manhattan. To see where everything is now. I have a question for, if there is [14:36 inaudible] you were saying how, I love how focused you are and I mean, I'd love 2 PM. You do such an incredible job with it. How focused you are on the product and how much of it's been organic growth and these guys are joking about like, Oh, can you [14:53 inaudible] this and this and I'm curious, you know where you find most of your organic growth from these days? Is it a lot of word of mouth? I mean, I get stuff, people send me 2 PM stuff all the time because you do such a great job. But I'm just curious if there's certain avenues you chase that you find work pretty well.
Web: That's a really good question. And listen, some of that is just me not being a savvy enough media operator yet, I'm sort of learning on the fly. So a lot of the "growth hacks" that I'm listening to. I mean, those are brilliant methods. I just, I'm trying to do something different. And I guess it's somewhat of an experiment because I'm really trying to see if I can do, what I want to do with 2 PM without trying to do that. And so a lot of it's just word of mouth growth. You know, we just got back to hosting in person events. And I'm being really careful about that. And we don't, it's a little bit different. Like we're not, we're not asking people to pay for these events, we're sort of hosting them to show appreciation for the members themselves. And show that you can meet in real life and have like productive and serendipitous meetings with people that are also members of 2 PM. Every single time that seems to be the case. Well, whenever we host one of these events, you see, like a huge uptick in subscribers, both in paid and unpaid because, you know, people are realizing that it's a pretty strong group of people. And the problem with, getting [16:32 inaudible] that is, if you start to "growth hack" that type of audience, then you start to diminish the quality of the people that show up at these types of events. And like, that's my personal KPI. It's like, what cool things can we build within the 2 PM audience? And how can I facilitate conversations between these people, whether it's through polymathic, you know, virtually, or through our dinners in real life. And so I don't know, maybe it's going to work, maybe it's not, but I'm banking on a long term success if I can continue to execute this strategy. Hopefully, that wasn't too convoluted.
Quinn: No, man, it makes a lot of sense. And I love that you're trying to do it differently. And that it's working. And, you know, obviously, you know, there's growth for growth's sake, but I feel similarly to you. And that, you know, my KPI is, its impact, like, can my community help move the needle, and we talked to Dave about this a little bit, but we're kind of a strange community. And that it's qualitatively, like, really off the charts, it's policymakers and politicians on both sides of the pond, it's no longer the world's top scientists and investors and biotech people and climate educators and journalists and stuff like that. It's not the biggest audience, but you know, when it comes down to it, they can make change happen. And that's really my goal. So as much as I would like to be 100 times bigger, 1000 times bigger, you know, if it doesn't retain the same level of quality, then that's kind of defeats the point. And I love that you're so focused on that you can use the dinner as both a literal and metaphorical example for like you said, coming up with great shift from bringing these sort of interdisciplinary group of people together, whether it's, you know, at a table outside Miami, like you did this week, or somewhere else, you know, you just never know what's going to come to that. So I think it's awesome. So thank you for sharing that.
Web: No problem man.
Dave: Right, Ben. Welcome. Good to have you here, man.
Ben: Hey, great to see Dave. Hope that retreat you went on last week was good.
Dave: It is, I am very refreshed.
Ben: Love it. Well, yeah, I did have a question. I want to say, first of all, you know, thanks so much for making this room. It's been really helpful me as a new media content creator. And Quinn, you just came up. We look forward to having you on the podcast, I think in about two weeks’ time.
Quinn: Yeah, really pumped, man.
Ben: So a lot of this conversation has been around sort of building an audience organically. And I have a question around acquiring an audience. Both on the kind of dynamics around that maybe it's buying Instagram accounts. Maybe it's buying small media property and rolling it up or buying a power user on subreddit. What do you have to kind of consider when you're thinking about doing something like that?
Sam: I can [19:28 inaudible] a little bit about that. Dave and I are actually, one of my very best friends. We can say same thing for Ramon, that someone Dave wasn't, I don't know have you heard about David [19:39 inaudible] shareholder some way somehow and we actually bought a small business, a small content business for like 10s of 1000s of dollars, and then he ultimately sold it for close to $10 million. And so I think that like, I think that like there's guys like me, and Webb and Braden, whoever's up here. I think that like, we definitely can be write cool stuff and pretty cool content that means stuff to us. But I think that there's like, it's actually not incredibly challenging to do this for an audience that you don't even identify with. So, in the case that I'm referring to this guy who barely spoke English bought a soap opera blog. Very weird, very weird. And it was one of the most, yeah, it was the world's largest soap opera blog. It was like TMZ for soap operas. And, like, there's a pretty systematic way that you can go about doing this, but I definitely think it can be done. And you just, if you can look at what like the engagement is, it is not terribly challenging to do. I mean, it's not always the most fun, but it's not terribly challenging. I don't know, what do you think Dave?
Dave: Yeah, I mean, [21:00 inaudible] is probably one of the most incredible ways that you can do that. I've been involved in those types of transactions in a bunch of different ways we would, both with bleacher and with Inverse early on, we kind of built out some of our social kind of presences through acquisitions. So super, super early days of Twitter, Bleacher Report didn't have, didn't have really much of a presence on the platform. And there was this group of accounts called sporty tweets, that was basically just aggregating sports news on Twitter and built up a bunch of accounts kind of bot style accounts that would share like ESPN articles, bleacher articles, you know, for all the different teams. I tweeted on it. It was run by some guy who built it up on his own and we bought it off of him, and we made a deal. And at the time, we were like, what is like, I should be paying money for a Twitter account? Like is that like, something you can actually do. We just throw money down the toilet, but we spend that much. And it basically overnight gave Bleacher a huge presence on Twitter. And we very slowly kind of migrated those audience over to Bleacher Report and [22:25 inaudible] and really, they weren't like, super, they didn't have super strong brand affinity, it was just aggregated content. But their people who kind of knew what to expect from them. So slowly, we changed the branding, and then continue to keep it like curated amongst all sources, but started to really use them as bleacher branded accounts. And I mean, I think bleachers now one of the biggest sports brands on Twitter, if not one of the just the biggest media brands in general. So I think that's a huge opportunity. There are a lot of people that, you know, frankly, build audiences on, especially on new platforms, Tik Tok now, some people do that, who don't either don't understand the value of what they're building, or just kind of like, looking to make a quick buck off of it or are bored kids who build something and are ready to move on to the next thing. So there are definitely opportunities out there to do things like that. Or we're buying other kind of smaller medium businesses that need a new owner that you can kind of, you know, basically infuse new life into. There's also this guy in England, named Steven, and he started this company called Social Chains. So it's social and a space, and a chain like a ball and chain. And I think he took his company public, I'm pretty sure they do like 100 million in sales. And pretty much all they do is buy and own, like hundreds of different Twitter and Instagram handles. It's pretty fascinating. So check that out, too.
Brandon: Well, yeah, we did basically we did more or less the same thing back in 2012, where Katie Nolan before, you know, she was the incredible star that she's had in sports media. She was a youtuber for a site called [24:17 inaudible] at the time that had a lot of, you know, enterprise kind of SEO value. We, you know, bought it, folded it up about a year later and grow [24:26 inaudible] running it by itself. And that paid dividends in just the SEO of redirects over time and kept modifying that and then also did it with another company which was like early early days being company called pro tips. That actually Mark Cuban invested in. It was in, so we ended up doing the deal with him to buy it and then you know, it doesn't even exist anymore. It was folded into like a traffic funnel over the course of, I think it was probably 2014, 2015-ish. And, you know, has been a very valuable extension for just distribution. And look, it made a ton of sense for us from a branding perspective, just because there's a lot of audience overlap of who we wanted to reach.
Dave: Web, we got to find you another media company to acquire, fold into 2 PM.
Web: Yeah, that is what I'm hearing and it's really interesting strategy. And, frankly, it's one that I would probably consider, I’ve just been heads down, we have a small team, and I spend so much time creating content that, frankly, you know, it's I'm just having conversations with people like, Hey, I'm a revenue guy, or, you know, I'm in the process or I’ve had experience, you know, stealing things, let me do that with you, and 2 PM. And I'm having those conversations, but it's literally been like the last 2, to 3 months that those have started.
Quinn: So if you don't mind, like, that's actually really interesting to me, though, because kind of like Web and I'm like, if Web is in the early part of this journey, I'm kind of a really early part of mine. And at the same time, I focus so much on the product. And Dave, you've been such a big help with that, I really appreciate it. Same thing, I'm recognizing the limitations of the time space continuum, and how much product I can put out and put out well, and it seems, you know, where we also take a bit of a generalist take on, we're not just climate, it's COVID, and antibiotics and medicine and public health and equitable outcomes and things like that, that there's a lot to cover. But there's also, you know, we're so focused on action. There are other creators out there that are early in doing such an excellent job and things like climate tech, for instance, that it seems like, boy, it would be interesting for me to consider just bringing them into the fold in some way. And I'm curious, and if any of you guys that have done that, have any thoughts on maybe the best way to approach folks like that. I mean, when I was at Disney and ESPN, we bought companies all the time, but that was different, because I worked [27:16 inaudible].
Sam: It's probably way easier to buy these things. You just DM them.
Dave: Yeah. Slide into the DMs.
Sam: Like I’ve been, like working with somebody, and you just message them and be like, Hey, I give you five grand for this Facebook page. [27:35 inaudible] it doesn't have to be nearly as sophisticated as you think probably.
Quinn: I'm curious, though, like, what is sort of the considering, you know, again, we're pretty early, and we're not huge yet. But what would be you know, advantageous value props, besides just straight up offering the money considering, you know, the cost of entry for these people is so low, it's not as if I'm like, Oh, you I can build new servers, they don't need that.
Sam: Yeah, but I think that most people would probably take far less than you think.
Brandon: Yeah, there's a lot of value in just give me, we've always found there's always been a lot of value in just giving someone a job, stability around what that looks like, you know, even if it means using whatever it is that they're creating, as you know, a funnel for audience. And, you know, I think that kind of comes down to a tried and true practice just across media.
You know, look, there are freelancers that, you know, we've paid incredibly handsomely, just because we know we want their audience for a certain thing. And I think that, you know, I guess sometimes that if you're not in that media game, it doesn't make sense. Like giving that opportunity to people outside of it usually is very well received.
Dave: Yeah, no, I would agree with that. But also counterpoint, there's sometimes value of giving people not a job. Because Yeah, as we all know, as operators, building a media company is a slog, it's a lot, especially as an individual, kind of sole practitioner, it's a lot of work to your point where you got to be heads down, focus on the content, getting a product out every day, you don't have the time to really think about growing the business. It's just there's so much and so for I think for some of these people out there that you might approach for these types of kind of very, like micro acquisition deals. Like they kind of build something as a hobby, they got an audience, it was a fun thing. And then all of a sudden, their audience expects them to pump out new stuff all the time, and it's just become work that they no longer want to do. So for some of those people, it's really, you're just acquiring their audience and their presence and kind of giving them the ability to take some cash and go on and do something else. So that's definitely a value prop, you can approach. You know, depending on what you're looking at, if you want that voice, if you want that content creator in under your fold. That's one thing. But if it's just getting an audience on a social platform or something like that, sometimes it's as easy as just writing them a cheque. So they don't have to manage that account anymore.
Dave: Danny Miranda, see you're up here, I want to get to you. Good to see you, bud.
Danny: What's going on Dave. I really appreciate you guys doing this. Very helpful for someone who is just in year one, at the end of year one of their journey. The difference between me and what you guys have done is you guys have all built a media company around a brand or something that's not your name. And what I'm trying to do is, I'm trying to build the brand and the media company around myself, think of like James Clear, I guess, 10 years ago, right when he was just starting. So with that being said, what type of advice would you give to someone who's starting that personal brand media company, as opposed to someone who's in your position?
Sam: You don't want to sell it?
Danny: I don't want to sell my name. I'm willing to do this for the rest of my life.
Sam: I think it's hard to sell when you do it that way.
Web: Do you ever talk to James?
Danny: He's a dream guest for the podcast. But no, I haven't spoken to him other than one question on Clubhouse.
Web: Well, first and foremost, I’ll see what I can do. I've actually had him on my podcast before on 2 PMs podcasts. And we're both Ohio boys. So we've, you know, obviously, I’ve long admired his methodical growth, he actually one thing I would say is the way that I’ve learned from James, he actually sees things very similarly to how I see them. But he has not done anything other than be prolific in his creation. And like, he's tried to do everything, like the slow and boring way. And individually over time, he's had step function after step function, which frankly, has provided me like a lot of not hope, but like promise that I can do the same thing for my company versus, you know, for instance, I know that in 2016, Morning Brew, really dominated Facebook acquisition, that's what their inflection point wise. And like I don't, I think it's amazing, I just don't want to do that. And so the one thing I'd say for you is be prepared for
The long slog, but always sort of keep your head up and be ready for those step functions and growth.
Danny: I appreciate that.
Dave: I would agree, it's consistency, you know, just showing up every day, whether you're doing it on your own as one person or whether you're trying to build out a big kind of larger publication. I mean, people always point towards those inflection points, those kind of viral moments or whatever. And 99.9% of the time, those are the results of months, and months and years and years of consistency of showing up of just honing your voice, sometimes, basically doing the same thing over and over again, and just doing it a little bit better each time, and building out your audience along the way, you know, there is a quote that I’ve seen a variety of ways. But, you know, it's really just that the way that I’ll put it is quality is subjective. Consistency is for certain, you know, everyone, there's always going to be haters out there that are going to knock you down, and say you're not good enough. Don't listen to that, you'll find your audience who thinks that you're quality. And the way you do that is just by getting into reps and doing it day in, day out.
Brandon: I think one of the things that like is important in that is,
You know, kind of like the editorial feedback loop that comes with consistent content creation, and how you know, when you strike down a path and then see you know, analyze data on how something is working, and then you kind of change course on what that looks like, based on reception as things start to snowball. You know, what, even if it's something that you know, you loved creating, but your ability to kind of look in and change and be malleable about what, you know, you really want your product to be. I think it's so key to it. And oftentimes that comes from data and, you know, feedback from your audience.
Danny: Yeah, that's really good advice. And actually, what happened to me was I started writing, and I started writing for three or four months, got zero traction on that. Then I started a podcast and all of a sudden, I get hit up for every single day. Like, wow, this is incredible. And this helped me with this. This helped me with that. And from that you realize, okay, that's the avenue I'm going to lean into. So thank you, Brandon. I really appreciate that.
Dave: Totally. Guys, so we just hit the hour mark, appreciate everyone who's hanging out here talking. We'll keep it going for you know, for a while longer if people want to stay. And Sam had to jump. He's going on with Josh Constine and some other people talking about the hustle. Josh has 2 million followers here on Clubhouse. So you know, I guess he got precedence over us. But on that note, everyone who's here, make sure to follow the Co-hosts here, Paul Brandon, Paul Webb, follow all the other speakers and follow me at Dave Nimitz. And we'll make this thing as big as Josh Constines'. So Sam won't bail on us the next time. But for now, yeah, I mean, Brandon, Webb, appreciate you guys hanging here. Feel free to jump. You know, whenever if you got to go. But we'll hang out, answer some questions if people want to talk for a little bit longer.
Web: I can answer a question. And frankly, I have to get back to preparing tomorrow's 2 PM.
Dave: Never ends.
Web: Never ends.
Speaker: That [37:16 inaudible] Jack went out the door at four o'clock. So I [37:22 inaudible]. Feels pretty good.
Speaker: Time to just pour a nice drink, [37:29 inaudible] and join on Thursday night. All right, we got a, let's see who is, what's next up here. Bryan, we get to you yet. What do you got for us?
Bryan: Just saying, I’ve been talking about a friend of mine who runs also the daily upside newsletter if any of you guys know that. But we're trying to kind of walk through how you balance creating something that is super tied, not so much to your brand, but just to the way that you can do it, versus hiring somebody who's never going to do it the same way as you. At this way, he's struggling with a lot of annoying stuff. He's further in his audience building than I am. But he's trying to hire somebody, and he's having a really hard time letting go of that writing. And as I talk to him about what I'm building, which for anyone who doesn't know, it is a network of local newsletters, trying to create something that's not so tied to the way that one person does it, that it can't be, not replicated, but like, it's really hard to put someone in there other than the person who started writing it. How do you kind of tackle that, as you build an audience, you know, is that a fallacy that you can't get big and then put someone else in there? Or is this just not even a concern?
Dave: I think you have to find ways to you know, they always say is, as the CEO of a company, a startup, which you are, if you're building your media brand as solo, you have to be continually firing yourself and doing a job well. And then finding someone else who can come in and do it better. And letting go. And that's tough. But I mean, running a content business, whether it's newsletter, whether it's blog, website, it's a grind, you got to be constantly producing. And the way that you fight back against that is by creating systems to make it a little bit easier, a little bit more efficient. And you build those systems, you can bring someone in who can kind of pick up where you left off. And, of course, take some training, takes reps like everything else, but it's all about building up the systems and then basically extending your leverage by bringing those people in.
Bryan: This is like a really good question shoot at Webb. Because I think when you do pretty much everything with creating the 2 PM, do you think that you can find someone to replace yourself and do half as good a job in like the next two or three months if you had to?
Web: I mean, I think that I had the most talented team out there. They're just not working full time. And so yeah, there is a large chunk of it that to me, but I couldn't do it without the editorial abilities, [40:37 inaudible] or, like the design work that I have, or the [40:40 inaudible] of Andrew Jonathan, things like that. I think that we do like the work at four times the size of our team to be frank. I'm working on that question, to be honest, I'm trying to see if I can help someone take some of the writing off of my plate. But at the end of the day, I like to do it. It's not fun for me, but I like the effort, and the outcome of publishing. And so it's something that I see myself doing for quite some time,
At least part time, until you know, the company continues to operationalize it. If that makes sense. But the next two to three months, that's a stretch, maybe in the next 6 to 12. Of that note, I do need to get back to writing.
Dave: Thanks Webb.
Web: Yeah, no problem.
Dave: No, really appreciate you being here between everything you got going on, a huge fan of everything you're doing. And thank you so much for joining us.
Web: Talk to you all soon.
Dave: Cheers. All right.
Brandon: I think that's a really interesting thing, Dave, like, you know, I think we both kind of have different perspective, or we both probably have the same perspective, because we've done a media company thing. But where we're comfortable with putting a lot of different voices together in the gumbo, to create the final products. But I think that's the thing that I think is very fascinating about, you know, kind of solo entrepreneurship creator culture right now, is that, you know, the gumbo is your own gumbo, and your own gumbo itself. And I'm really curious to see how that evolves. Just kind of watching these conversations, you know, over the past year or so, two years, really, but like, you know, I think that's fascinating, because it's very different way than how we have gone.
Dave: Yeah, it definitely is. And, I mean, I’ve noticed it myself, you know, I started, I’ve been in this for 15 years now between bleacher and inverse and building the bigger media company approach. And then about six months ago, I launched my own blog, Davenimitz.com and started doing the individual creator thing on the side with my blog, and my newsletter, and like, it's a lot harder for sure. It's a very different mentality. And it's also I find myself breaking the rules all the time of what I’ve always told, the way I’ve always thought about building audiences and kind of managed editorial teams, it's just very different when you're doing it as a solo person. And also much harder to kind of like go and to get kind of that help and support. Definitely a big opportunity for all of the many, many people building platforms and tools around the creative economy. But it's a very different piece for sure.
Nejc: Just want to jump in real fast, and kind of ask everyone that's still in the room. If anyone wants to speak. Feel free to raise your hand, and we'll bring you up.
Samo: Yes, I have a question. Obviously, awesome hearing from you. I've been following a lot of your platforms for quite a long time. So my question my question for you is about monetization. So what is the breaking point? Or let' me rephrase my question. Why did you really start your media empire? Was that something that you said, Okay, I'm going to do it as a side hustle or is that something that you're planning on growing and building [45:04 inaudible] that's we're going to leave from that, at some point right then just like kind of a follow up is when you started monetizing it, so that it wasn't too disruptive to the content.
Dave: Yeah, great question. So for me, bleachers started purely as a side hustle. It was kind of a passion project amongst friends. We had, early on, we had big aspirations. But just being honest, we were kind of feeling our way through and just having fun with it. We didn't really monetize early on, it was all bootstrapped, doing it on the side. And I even remember, back then we started, we did some projections of how big we needed to get in order to really make real revenue. And we were way way off. But luckily, we stuck to it. And it worked out. I would say for us, and it's this is so different for every type of media brand. You know for a guy like Webb whose or Quinn You know, you're building a very specific audience, in a very kind of focused niche, you can monetize off a few 1000 users. When you're talking advertising, you typically have to go more scale. For a web platform like bleacher, we really didn't start monetizing in a real way until we probably hit one to 2 million monthly users. And like, the point where we started to build out a sales team and really do more than just network, ad network type ads was like 5 million users. But very different in email, obviously, like Sam building out the hustle, they were, I think at 100,000 email subs, they were doing pretty well, with advertising and email advertising is a different type of game that you can sell directly. and do pretty well with. It's more performance based, more direct response based. So all over the place, but yeah, Brandon, if you have some new thoughts on that.
Brandon: No, I mean basically, we like, again, I am very similar trajectory. So the one thing about BroBibe, that is kind of unique, like we weren't a side hustle. When we went all in, we went all in, but we were also you know, young and able to kind of do that, at that point in our lives. Which you know, that basically putting a lot of effort in for not a lot of money. The thing that for us, that's why we actually got into events. And that's why I always am such an evangelist, of you know, whatever the ability is to bring an online audience off, because getting into events was like, basically our ability to you know, our ability to start, be profitable, more, or less, kind of using the audience that we had as a billboard for that. And, you know, basically the same economics to add around 2 million unique visitors for, was when we started to really feel the tilt of you know, display advertising, and around 5 million unique visitors was around when we were acquired by the company that is now Oproxx. And now we're on BroBible 3.0 after we kind of bought it out to to run it ourselves.
Audience person: How is it going! Wonderful to hear everybody's stories. Actually I’ve been Listening for a while and wanted to give a shout out to Webb for fellow Ohio dude, but he's gone now. But Brandon just got to say, BroBible [49:15 inaudible] informative part of my college experience. So awesome. Thank you for that. And that one like total [49:19 inaudible] towards my college experience. But the question I have is that everybody in this room is kind of followed a path that's, I wouldn't say like conventional media or traditional media, like you guys decide to go work at a newspaper or a TV station. And I wanted to ask the question about what are some maybe unconventional opinions you have about the media industry. And that could be maybe like tactical or high level. So I would take when we had you on podcast, I was asking you that like I hadn't spinny when it comes to tactics that like quantity over quality might be something that I believe that maybe not everybody agrees with me on, maybe like a high level opinion about the media industry is 90% of sub stats are going to fail or stop. I don't know. But just like to know if you guys have any opinions about media, whether it's at a smaller scale, the tactic or growth, maybe it's not the industry as a whole that you think you believe that not too many people agree with you on. It's kind of a [50:17 inaudible] question.
Dave: I mean, I’ll tell you first, I think like, I love all of the different talk going on right now and all the stuff happening with subscriptions, with different ways for creators and writers and people like that to monetize directly courses, tips, all that stuff, I think it's great that both people are experimenting, and that do business models are happening are really just diversified business models. But advertising gets way too much hate. And, you know, like we were talking about earlier, Brandon it is tough, it never stops. It's a grind once you get into it. And it's always, you're always kind of like chasing that end of the rainbow and it never quite comes. But advertising is such a great business model to, it's not going away. I think I was talking with a friend of mine the other day, he is a media operator and he showed this stat that advertising is basically been fixed as right around 1%, advertising spend around 1% of GDP, basically for the last 100 plus years with some small variations. And of course, different methods come up, you've got you know, print was huge. Now it's tiny. You've got the duopoly or the bank companies or whatever, who are eating up a bunch of it. But advertising is always going to be a big player in how you can build and support media companies. And I think it's not going to work for everyone for sure. But ignore it at your own peril and say that about substack, I think what they're doing is very interesting. And we'll see what happens with all the stuff that Twitter is coming out with, and they just kind of pushed Substack off to the side, I don't think that'll happen. I think substack will still kind of have its own place. But the idea that for whatever reason, substack is like, totally doesn't want anything to do with advertising. Even though people are already putting ads into their Substacks. I think that's just a huge, missed opportunity for them.
Brandon: Yeah, I actually kind of piggybacking on that, you know, I mean, look 11 years, basically under the BroBible umbrella. One of the things that I’ve really appreciated the last like three or four years, to your point about advertising, is how there's a lot of value in longevity when it comes to that business, because, you know, even though advertising always wants to chase hot,
They also want to chase you know, people that they're comfortable with working with. You know, these kind of other things that go into a business, you know, the ability to reach exactly who they want, you know, and things like that. That was one of those things that, you know, 10 years ago, like 2011 and 2012, like kind of drove me crazy. You know, but the longer that, you know, I’ve kind of have been in BroBible, the easier it's been for people to just totally get it, totally understand exactly on the advertising side, totally understand exactly what they're getting. And also understand, you know, what scalable capabilities look like in a business environment to reach that audience. And to answer your question, Tony, I think that's something that, you know, people don't really on the consumer side understand about, you know, legacy media, is that's a lot of the pipeline of business. It's just that, you know, when a brand advertises when, you know, Tommy Hilfiger advertises with, you know, GQ, they know exactly what it is that they're going to get. And that's, you know, great for them spending their marketing money.
Audience member: Totally. Thank you. And just comment on that too. I spent five years working in Facebook basically selling Facebook ads to big brands like PNG and stuff. It's funny to me when I talk to people like particularly in tech [54:47 inaudible] it was interesting with things like substack, you're having all these like tech product engineering, people that are embracing media in ways that they didn't five years ago. And as someone that worked in pretty much ad sales for five years. I think it's gets a much worse name than it deserves, particularly in like tech circles.
Dave: Totally. All right. Well, we're coming up, we are about 20 minutes over I think unless we got any other questions, I mean we kind of wrap up people, you know, feel free to hang if they want in chat.