Talking Growth #18: 1 Billion Valuation

February 12, 2021

This week was a rollercoaster. If you're on Twitter or if you've been following the RobinHood, GameStop, and wallstreetbets fiasco, you know what I'm talking about.

Today's newsletter doesn't dive into the nitty-gritty of what occurred; however, Twitter legend Sahil Bloom wrote one of the best threads recapping everything thus far. In short, DeFi is the future.

Here's a quick highlight of what we dive into today:

  • Li Jin's report on studying 50+ startups on TikTok.
  • Creators are leaving Substack to build their own platforms with the biggest being the revamped "Every" publication.
  • How creators need to approach product launches.
  • Clubhouse is now at a $1b valuation and begins rolling out their creator grant program.

📰Talking Creators

Every Leaves Substack & Launches Own Platform

This is the third week in a row I've spoken about paid newsletters, and the first time I'm not going to bring up the difficulty to scale them. The creative minds at Every, which originally started on Substack, have now gone solo and built their own platform. Unlike solo newsletter operators, Every aggregates the individual distribution networks of popular writers. For example, lead writers Li Jin (Means of Creation), Nathan Baschez (Divinations), Tiago Forte (Praxis), Sherrell Dorsey (Free Radicals), and many more have a collective audience well into the 200k+ range. They're a distribution powerhouse that grants creative freedom, discovery, and financial support into a bundled experience. Ultimately, Every is a reimaging of magazines by aligning access to a portfolio of diverse content packaged into subscription offerings.
Source: Every

Clubhouse Reaches $1b Valuation and Begins Creator Monetization Efforts

With 2 million users, Clubhouse is the talk of the town as the latest social media platform with an exponential rise in popularity. Fueled primarily by creators, Clubhouse has pushed Twitter and Instagram on their heels as they work to release similar features. Unlike other apps where you curate your feed, Clubhouse is a platform with a non-existent social graph that turns into a landgrab. A landgrab that allows you to rub elbows with influencers and CEO's of some of your favorite companies. While the app has its problems, it's clear that it's here to stay as CH begins the rollout of its creator grant program.
Source: TechCrunch

🤳Talking Social & Platforms

Instagram Professional Dashboard

Instagram Launches New Dashboard for Creators

It seems like every week Instagram is rolling out a new feature for creators. This time around, they launch a new dashboard for creators to get insight into key trends, data, and tools to help grow their business. As mentioned in previous newsletters, the two biggest pain points for creators are discoverability and monetization. With the new dashboard, Instagram hopes to solve both pain points for creators.
Source: Social Media Today

Quizlet & TikTok Partner for New Integration Enabling Creators to Build Informative Videos

TikTok is bullish on their #learnontiktok efforts and they prove that with their latest partnership with Quizlet. With longer videos, the testing of a separate Learn on TikTok tab, and their partnership with Quizlet, TikTok is looking to level the playing field with YouTube. Similar to YouTube, TikTok is creating the perfect storm of educational content, search platform, and commerce powerhouse. Longer form content means more opportunities for storytelling and more opportunities to monetize.
Source: PR Newswire

☂️Talking Drops From Creators

Li Jin, who coined the term "Passion Economy", managed to grow her TikTok account from 0-14k followers and send enough traffic to crash her website for Side Hustle Stack in just two weeks. After interviewing countless creators and startups on TikTok, Li Jin released her findings on what she discovered and how brands can tap into Gen Z.

Source: Li Jin

🧨Talking Marketing & Monetization for Creators

The Art of the Presale

The downfall many creators experience (I've seen first-hand), is that they fail to validate or launch pre-sales for new product launches. Much how IndieHackers and entrepreneurs validate ideas before going all in, the pitfall of many creators is thinking that they can just launch a product. Before you launch anything, you need to validate your product and launch pre-sale campaigns to gauge interests. Here's my go-to-approach for validation, pre-selling, and launching.


The benefit of being an audience first creator is that once you decided you want to monetize your audience; you can simply ask your audience what they want. It's an incredibly simple approach; however, few take the time to do this. It's as simple as going live and asking your audience for input on your product idea, building an email list and sending out a quick survey, or DM'ing your top followers and asking them for input. When you're audience first, you remove the guesswork on what your audience wants.

Pre-Sale Before The Pre-Sale

Before you start building or designing your product, it's time to pre-sale. Yes, even before you start building, your product, you need to pre-sale. Create mockups, wireframes, and quality landing pages before the product is built. Reach out to your top followers and let them know they'll get free or heavily discounted early access to your product in exchange for helping to promote your product. After getting their buy-in, begin rolling out your pre-sale to the rest of your audience. Run this campaign until your happy with the number of pre-orders and signups you obtain. You can maximize the number of your pre-orders and signups by getting creative with your referral campaigns.


While you're running your pre-sale, you need to be building. This is where you let your audience and content strategy drive more pre-orders so all that's left is to launch. Now launching your product isn't just an announcement that your product or service is available. The more personalized you get and the more engaged your audience, the more sales you can drive. It's the little things such as individually thanking your customers on social or asking your customers to share a video and tag you with a custom hashtag. The goal of a successful launch is to generate more awareness of your product by engineering user-generated content and positive reviews. The more you can do this, the more you're guaranteed to sell.

🏄Things you want to know

  • I'm working on an SMS thread/newsletter that I plan to roll out soon. It'll mostly be creator economy-related, so signup here if you're interested.
  • Robinhood restricts crypto trading as Dogecoin soars.
  • Sundance goes experiential with COVID restrictions still in place.

Until Next Time

I hope you enjoyed this week's newsletter. If you enjoyed what you read, forward this email to a friend. Just tell them to subscribe. Lastly, I tend to post more short-form content across social, so if you don't already, follow me and say hi.

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