Death of Longform, Working Backwards, and X as Me.

Hey,

Welcome to another edition of the Founder Flywheel newsletter.

Each week I'm sharing one trend ๐Ÿ“ˆ, ย one framework ๐ŸŽฏ, one idea ๐Ÿ’ก, and one resource ๐Ÿ“š that will help you accelerate your personal flywheel.

๐Ÿ“ˆ Death of Longform

  • Longform.org, one of the go-to places for longform content, recently shut down its article recommendations service.
  • The declining interest in longform content is only a symptom of a much larger trend: rapidly shrinking attention spans.
  • This is hardly surprising with everyone doomscrolling on either Twitter or TikTok.
  • But more and more people start to recognize that this is a huge problem.
  • Being able to focus is definitely becoming a superpower.
  • Here's an interesting recent discussion on Hacker News.
  • I'm personally trying to keep my attention span at an acceptable level by reading for 30 minutes every morning and after lunch.

๐ŸŽฏ Working Backwards

  • One of the universal entrepreneurial problems that affects billion-dollar companies, startups and indie makers alike is deciding what products to focus on.
  • While doing things "lean" somewhat helps, it doesn't solve the issue as even building an MVP can cost a lot of time, energy, and money.
  • โ€˜Working Backwardsโ€™ is a solution to this problem used by Amazon.
  • The key idea is to start by writing a press release that "literally announces the product as if it were ready to launch and an FAQ anticipating the tough questions."
  • The FAQ should include answers to questions like the total addressable market, per-unit economics, bill of materials, P&L, key dependencies, and technical feasibility.
  • The total document (press release and FAQ) should not exceed six pages in length.
  • Once submitted, the PR/FAQ document is reviewed in a one-hour meeting with the relevant stakeholders present.
  • This process helps to think things through before rushing into action and to prevent wasting resources on projects that are doomed to fail.
  • A variation of this process that I personally use is to start by drafting a landing page.
  • If I'm not able to create a landing page that articulates the value proposition and makes me excited, I know that the project is most likely not worth pursuing further.
  • Where a big company like Amazon obviously has a huge advantage is the final step in their process (the stakeholders meeting).
  • But possibly something similar could be organized for groups of friendly indie entrepreneurs.
  • Here's a brilliant summary of Amazon's process with more details by my friend Cedric Chin.

๐Ÿ’ก X as Me

  • Ghostwriting has always been a thing but it's slowly trickling down into the mainstream.
  • Even founders of small startups are nowadays paying people to write, for example, tweets for them.
  • One of the main challenges is the gap between a ghostwriter's output and what gets published.
  • Giving someone your credentials so they can publish, say, tweets for you is definitely scary.
  • One solution is using a "wrapper" around services like Twitter.
  • For example, Hypefury has a ghostwriting feature that allows approved writers to put tweets into other people's queue.
  • What Ben describes in the tweet above is a similar workaround but for email.
  • I'm not aware of any dedicated email services that has this kind of feature. (The domain emailasme.com is still available.)
  • And of course there's an opportunity to do something similar for any platform where content gets published that doesn't allow multiple authors per account/publication.

๐Ÿ“š RESOURCE

  • Okay so this week I wasn't sure what resource to include here. So I did the only reasonable thing and asked on Twitter.
  • There are tons of great resources in the replies. A few of my favorites:
  • Heads of Growth is an amazing newsletter that breaks down one specific growth channel every week. Super actionable, not just for startups but also for indie makers.
  • Podup is "Blinkist for podcasts" and currently offers a digest of the most popular business podcasts (MFM, ALL-IN, etc).
  • Syften has several incredible blog posts like this one on how to use Reddit to drive free traffic.

I hope you enjoyed these ideas. If you have a minute, please let me know what you think by replying to this email.

Talk Soon,

Jakob

P.S: I rely on word-of-mouth for growth so if you enjoyed the content, I'd love it if you could share it with someone in your life.

Please do share with your friends. I spent 5+ hours on this so it would be nice if a few people read it.

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