Fast and Curious

Good Morning. Today is the last day of August which means that tomorrow is the first day of September. Is it fair to substitute “2020” for “September” in this year’s rendition of Green Day’s “Wake Me Up When September Ends?” Agreed? Agreed.

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🚀Life in the Fast Lane

For the last few months, Matthew Kobach has been one of my favorite follows on Twitter. Previously the Head of Social Media for the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), Matt now heads up content marketing at Fast, a buzzy new start-up designed to bring one-click checkout to shoppers and sellers all over the internet. The product is set to launch on September 2nd, but over the last few months Matt’s Twitter has been a marketing masterclass of how to generate hype by building in public. I could write an entire essay on why Fast’s marketing is so great (I probably will, so DM me if you want to read it), but for now I’ll focus on the way it form relationships with its followers.

Fast is always looking for ways to engage with its audience. No fanbase is complete without its own name. Beyonce has the BeyHive, Taylor Swift has the Swifties, Justin Bieber has the Beliebers and Fast has the Fastronauts. But in order to be a true Fastronaut, you’ll need your own helmet.

Some graphic design work here, a few cheeky Twitter interactions there, and there you have it. Look at all the happy Fastronauts!

Fast also makes a point of listening to its (potential) customers. On numerous occasions, Fast has encouraged fans to create content for the company with the promise of buying its favorite designs to use in future marketing campaigns. Here’s an example. You can click on the thread to see some of the responses.

An offer like this engages current followers, attracts new ones, and serves as an amazing first step for talent attraction. In a perfect world, Fast will take off and need to build out a content team. No better place to start the hiring process than from your own sourced talent pool.

So far these two examples have shown how Fast engages with consumers. But since corporate “seller” accounts will likely drive more revenue, it’s important that it spreads its message to brands too. Here’s an example of how Fast is able to work both sides:

Followers enjoy the riddle and engage with the Tweet by tagging brands, brands take notice of Fast and become potential customers. The fans who get the most correct answers win free merchandise which only further promotes the brand when worn. Brilliant. Fast has also done a similar experiment where followers are encouraged to tag their favorite brands that they want to see integrate with Fast. This is even better because it shows brands that one-click checkout is something that their customers really want.

Time will only tell how good Fast’s actual product is, but we are in for a treat if it’s a quarter as good as its marketing efforts.


👂Talk Less, Listen More

Last week, I recapped five of my biggest takeaways from side-hustling. I purposely left one lesson off the list because it’s so important that it deserves its own segment.

Listening.

Growing up we were always told to listen to our teachers, parents, and other authoritative figures. This isn’t the type of listening I’m talking about, and in many cases, I would actually offer the opposite of that advice.

I’m talking about listening to learn and build relationships. People love to talk about themselves, but only when they know there is someone who’s listening. Here are two tips to make you a better listener:

Ask The Right Questions

An indicator of a good conversation isn’t how many questions you ask, but if you ask the right ones. Often times we fall into a habit of thinking about what to say next, instead of actually listening to what the person is saying. Don’t do this.

Most people listen with the intention of replying, but not understanding. The best conversationalists and networkers are the ones who are able to understand as well as they are able to talk. Curiosity and enthusiasm are contagious. They also make you instantly likable. Asking follow-up questions is a great way to show that you are engaged and interested in what the other person is saying.

Never Rely on Technology

When conducting interviews for my book, I used an app called CallRecordNow to record my conversations. I intended to transcribe the audio later on in the writing process. What I thought to be a helpful productivity hack, was actually a massive crutch. Since I knew I could play back the conversations, I rarely took notes and occasionally let my mind wander. It was only when I lost nearly 60% of my interviews (shoot me a message if you want to hear this story) did I realize how foolish this was. Not only did it hurt me, but also the quality of my discussion. It wasn’t until I realized I was unable to remember main talking points from three separate interviews that I realized how bad of a listener (and notetaker) I really was.

Shell-shocked, I reached out to my friend for advice. He’s the owner of a multimillion dollar travel agency and also happened to be one of the people whose interview had been lost. I told him what happened, begged to speak with him again, and asked if he had any advice for this situation.

His advice: “Always listen :)”

My advice: Always listen, take notes on key ideas, and always hit the damn “merge call” button when you are trying to record a conversation.


🧰Tool of the Week

By 2021, people are expected to spend over 100 minutes a day viewing online video content, a 19 percent jump from the current average of 84 minutes per day. 92 percent of marketers say it’s part of their current content strategy, with 88 percent claiming it provides them with a positive return on investment (ROI).

With the surging demand for video content, it is still surprisingly hard to put together a well-edited video without having experience with Adobe After Effects or other video editing software.

Enter StoryCreator.

Dubbed as the “Canva for video editing”, StoryCreator was designed to help creators publish high quality videos as quickly and seamlessly as possible. No editing software experience required.

Since its launch four days ago, it’s received an overwhelmingly positive response on ProductHunt garnering over 1,200 upvotes. While I haven’t personally used this app yet, I definitely plan to for my upcoming projects.

Seem like something you would use? Try it out and let me know what you think. If you’re working on a new business, project, or side hustle, please reach out! I’d love to hear more about what you’re building and how I’d be able to help.

If you’re new here and want to catch up on some old editions, here are a couple of my favorites: A Whole Lot of Socks and It Is What It Is?

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See you on Friday,

Randy