This is been a fun journey to build in public — life happens in public.
Building means showing up every day — it's been a fun journey to learn from
I never really consciously started building in public — it just started and sort of happened. I needed to do something else in a good way — people were now helped by a new company.
"After my company was acquired — it was really a way to learn in public with others." — Arvid Kahl
People have been building on the internet for some period of time — Arvid just started to follow along in their footsteps, people adopted this as the way to follow along and join someone else's journey.
There is so much learning in watching what people were doing.
Arvid wanted to share his journey — and his own writing experience and this became part of his process and his journey. He started with a blog and writing posts and guides about what people were doing.
As he built in public — and eventually became a published author (Zero to Sold + The Embedded Entrepreneur), he did so in public. From sharing the writing structure, the method to what he's learning, and validating his ideas online.
People want to invest in people
" You're building a relationship with other people online — you're not just building a product online, you're building yourself and building your own skills.
Not everyone wants to build a business online, but everyone wants to see someone else succeed — and invest in the journeys and narratives to build into something bigger" — Arvid Kahl
The idea of learning in public
How do we embrace learning in public, share things as we learn, and subsequently do this more? Are there specific strategies that work well on learning in public?
Education isn't necessarily learning — building in public allows you to be both a learner and a teacher in public. You're learning to explore other skills and learning in public, as you do things, you're sharing how to build an audience, but also building an immediate feedback loop as you go.
Building / Learning in Public allows you to have a very tight feedback loop with what you're doing
If you speak about a different feature or idea in public, the feedback is almost immediate — but requires that you treat platforms (like using Twitter as a conversation). This kind of knowledge in a business sense is expensive to learn from. Furthermore, it's probably even more important and even more relevant because you're specifically building with the audience that you're building for.
Building in public requires building trust.
The basis of everything — including organized religion is service.
How has it changed in the last few years
Vulnerability and mental health has really changed. I've really seen a lot of people admitting that they have burnout — especially people in the middle of their journey, sharing that they really need a break or take a moment for failure.
This has really become part of a normal thing in the world. And even Arvid has sort of experienced this and it kicked off his own mental health writing and journey.
A community-driven approach to building in public
It's sort of an infinite game that's created — the more that you put out the more that tends to come back to you. You collect relationships in a sort of positive, gathering, rooting on the world way — one of those people might just pay you back in the future.
You don't ever know what might happen as part of building in public — so might as well just put it out there. Arvid has had a ton of opportunities come towards him because of how he has built-in public and how things have happened for him.
"Help people help themselves, empowering others is something I try to be at the core of my own brand. Retweets are an easy thing to do — giving other people reach into my own personal audience, and it costs me two clicks, that's nothing. I believe that most people have good intentions, and it helps them find their next opportunity" — Arvid Kahl
Giving back to those around you doesn't take much — how can you give back in the smallest ways. Using the spirit of giving to engage my community in the littlest of ways is something easy to understand and read.
To be able to engage and interact with other people, you have to follow other people, and grow your own audience and people that you admire — doing this in front of them in their own audience, is a way to build your own audience.
"its like the little wriggling worm of niceness, thats helping in public — it's like fishing!" — Arvid Kahl
Building in public isn't sharing all of your own secrets and desires
Arvid remains aware that he is working in public — there is a risk that other people may take advantage of what you're working on our building in public. Once you hit a certain point in revenue — it becomes really hard to share in public and give full access to customers, and cohorts of building in public. You can still navigate building in public but retain a sort of secrecy in it all — by sharing action steps or things that you're doing as you build.
Arvid has not yet gotten into a situation where he has felt unsafe building in public but recalls a blog with Tim Ferris where he talks about what happens because of fame. He attributes this to the fact that he approaches this with niceness + being kind and positive and empowering opportunities that are happening.
Entrepreneurship in itself is a risk — building in public is just a different kind of risk. Keeping confrontational topics to the wayside and keeping kindness first and foremost is how he'd recommend approaching this topic.
Building in Public 2022
Arvid's approach to how he'd get started in 2022
Who knows what the world is going to look like in a couple of months, start taking ownership of your own personal brand and your own niche of your own digital community — go to your people and find ways to do, and collaborate for your people is so important. Look for the people who are looking for help — send them a resource or something that will help out.
Keep showing up for your community and the people around you in even the smallest ways that can build up.
A community-driven approach
There's always a benefit to thinking about building in a group — and the more that you contribute or build in a group, you can start to grow as a group. You don't need to build a community as a whole — you can participate and contribute to other groups.
Accountability in building in public
Arvid holds himself accountable for sending a newsletter and a podcast ready — that's how he holds himself accountable in the world. Keeping a regime and a regimented approach is so important and keeping a system that holds him accountable to himself.
It doesn't have to be a newsletter — it can be as simple as just even formulating eight tweets a week. You will see this recurrence and consistency as a sign that you're serious about what you're doing.
If you take yourself seriously, others will take you seriously as well.
Is there an oversaturation of newsletters and blogs these days?
Twitter is a marketing engine, and we have to remember that people who are still offline are unaware of it. At any point, this is just a way of experimenting and exploring new ways of doing content.
All of us right here at this very moment are on the bleeding edge. What a newsletter or blog post does leaves a trace of permanence online — a trail of crumbs to follow for all of your amazing content to go.
Twitter is a stream and an imperfect medium — which is okay, but you should likely build with a permanent medium as well. Creators should have a long-term perspective on creating with some permanence with content. Your old stuff should be just as long-term as it is today.
Newsletters, blogs, websites — these are all ways of building permanent mediums.
"I don't have that many followers on my newsletter — but I ask people to follow me on newsletter just for the safety of platform diversification." — Arvid Kahl
Growth Hacks —> Growth Strategies
It can be a LOT to be on Twitter all the time — 80% is being professional on Twitter, 20% is being personal.
Spending half-hour a day on Twitter and dropping a few things can be really helpful. There's a lot of tools out there that can help you schedule twitter — you need to find the one that works for you. (Personally — I like using Typefully for this).
Arvid has a global audience — and for his own growth he schedules 10 slots over 14 hours in a day — this can be interesting RT's and individual content in the future — then I still show up on Twitter and engage with these conversations.
Being able to tweet when you're not online — and still remaining authentic during this time (you wrote those tweets after all!) can allow you to remain aware and conscious in people's day.
Building Feedback Panda: how do you handle things you didn't know?
Arvid mentioned running into building the business with all the energy he could muster! It took a lot of learning from self — it was a lot of pure chaos and falling on his face, every single day.
He describes himself as a 0.5x engineer — good at most things but not great at all — he didn't really know how to build a mobile app and what Apple threw at you. Embracing a mindset of "everything is figure-out-able" was important. It wasn't about building a perfect system, it was building a system that was better than was existing now.
This continues to help him with his writing too — it doesn't need to be perfect, it needs to be acceptable.
How can you support Arvid?
Be kind online! Help make the internet a better place for us all — and put out that kind, good energy for us to all learn from.
Oh! and he's doing a Build on Twitter course teaching people how to build authentically on Twitter to validate and grow their ideas.
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