Jason Feifer is the Editor in Chief at Entrepreneur, an American magazine and website that carries news stories about entrepreneurship, small business management, and business.
He also hosts a podcast called Build for Tomorrow, and he is the author of a forthcoming book titled Build for Tomorrow, Not for Yesterday.
Jason is a unique blend of individual creator and polished corporate employee, so he offers a balanced perspective on work and content creation. In this episode, Jason and Nathan discuss:
• How to package your work
• How to pitch your content and get press as a creator
• Time management for creators balancing full time careers
Links & Resources
- Boston Magazine
- Men’s Health
- Fast Company
- James Burnett
- Marc Andreessen
- Pessimists Archive: @PessimistsArc
- Louis Anslow: @LouisAnslow
- Andreessen Horowitz
- Joel Weber
Jason Feifer’s Links
- Personal site: jasonfeifer.com
- Jason’s Podcast: Build for Tomorrow
- Jason’s forthcoming book: Build for Tomorrow, Not for Yesterday
- Jason’s Instagram: heyfeifer
- Jason’s Twitter: @heyfeifer
You make the thing that you want to make. You believe in it, and you don’t give up on it, and you spend years doing it. And if you’re good at it, and if you were right that this was a thing that was worth making, people will find it because good really does rise up. It happens slowly, but it does happen.
In this episode, I talked to Jason Feifer. Jason’s the Editor in Chief of Entrepreneur. And we dive into a bunch of different things.
One, how he splits his time as an individual creator and, you know, running a very successful, very popular magazine. How he blends those things. He’s got a newsletter, he’s got a podcast, he has several podcasts. He’s working on a book, all of those things. So how he prioritizes his time. All of that.
The monthly cadence that he works on, I found really interesting. We also dive into how to package your work. We talk about why he changed the name of his podcast and the research that went into that. Then finally we wrap up by talking about PR and how to get press as a creator, how to think about pitching each individual publication, the work that you need to do to actually get covered a lot of good stuff.
So let’s dive in.
Jason, welcome to the show.
Thank you for having me.
So I want to dive in, you’ve got two very different things going on. They’re actually, I mean, they’re closely related, but, two different worlds, you know, with everything you’re building on your own audience. And then of course, as Editor in Chief of Entrepreneur, I’m curious just how you spend your time, as I would think the Editor in Chief is a very time-consuming thing. Then you’re building an audience. You’ve got two young kids, you know, you’ve been doing it all through a pandemic. And so I’m curious what, you know, what a day or a week looks like, in Jason’s life.
it looks like panic. It looks like absolute mass panic. That’s how I feel. Panicked. Okay? So first I’ve made this, I made this realization a couple, more than a year ago. I can’t remember when this took place for me, but I realized that I needed to maximize how my brain works, like work with my brain.
Right. Which is to say, when am I best at doing various things? And then let’s make sure that I’m doing those things at that time, because if I can write a full, like 2000 word story, in, let’s just say two hours, which sometimes I can do, that’s going to happen in the morning. If I try to do that at 5:00 PM, it’s going to take four to six hours.
So why on earth would I waste my time doing tasks when I’m not primed for them? So I clear out the for if I can manage it up to noon, but that’s almost impossible. So really can I safeguard the first hour and a half of my day for writing? And then what I do with that hour and a half depends upon the needs that are most present for me.
So for example, sometimes it’s writing a magazine story. Sometimes it’s writing a chapter in my book. Sometimes it’s writing a podcast script and this is dictated by the deadlines that I have. And then the rest of the day, I’m trying to manage everything that needs to be managed. I’m answering a lot of questions.
I’m getting on a lot of calls, but I will, Oh, I, if I can. If I can do it, which I can’t always do, but I can do it. Then I will not book anything back to back. I will always block out like a half an hour in between. And that’s because things are coming at me and they’re coming at me for lots of different projects.
And it’s hard. You can, you think that you can switch gears really fast between one project and another one company in another, as I’m sometimes doing, because I have my own company and then I’m also working with Entrepreneur and I mean, I, I mean, I’m employed by Entrepreneur. and so I need that time to make those shifts.
And the days that I hate the most are the ones, well, first of all, where I lose that time in the beginning, but also where I’m back to back and I never have time to catch up on any of the inbound because that’s when I’m working late into the night.
Yeah, that makes sense. Are there other things that you’ve found? Right. So writing in the morning is something and I can absolutely relate to that where like 3:00 PM. Nathan is, he’s actually just legitimately terrible writer. He wants to do anything, but Write, are there other things that you’ve found of like blocking off days of the week to focus on.
You know, one activity or one business or anything like that.
I don’t, I have too many constant demands to be able to block out full days. I would love to be able to do that. So instead, I tend to think about things in terms of goals for a week. So I know for example, here’s, here’s an example. I know that my Build for Tomorrow Podcast comes out on the last Thursday of every month and it’s a monthly show, which I know is not a great cadence.
Yes, yes. I’m aware, but it is such a deeply researched, highly produced show. It is, it is a months worth of work that goes into every episode. And for reasons that we can discuss I’ve decided that that’s okay because the. Ultimate goal of a podcast. Isn’t always just to have a bazillion listeners of the podcast.
Sometimes it can serve other purposes. And for me, that show is also an IP factory and for good reason. So anyway, we can go into that, but I, I, so that comes at the last Thursday of every month, which means that I get it to my, I record the previous Thursday. I give my editor a week to put it together because that show has like 50 different audio files and there’s a lot of editing that goes on.
And so that means that I know. The leak the week leading into recording week is when I have to have that script done, I am polishing that script. So now that enables me to prioritize all of what I would think of as the kind of free writing time. So there are, there are, I’m pretty sure things during my day, what, what needs to happen?
What needs to happen fast? What is the project that I’m going to be chipping away at for a week? And that is the week where that’s the project. What’s the week before that’s the book project, because that’s the time in which I don’t need to be focusing on the PO. Podcast. I can be chipping away at the book and these, this is the way I think about it.
I almost have to kind of dual track everything. There are the things that are going to be required of me day to day. And then there are the things that I’m going to be working towards as steadily as I can. And I’m building in the time for the hiccups so that I know there’s going to be some day where there’s some unbelievable fire at Entrepreneur that I’m going to have to put out and which I’m doing right now, in between, us having this conversation, there are like 40 fires that I’m putting out.
And so I had to shelve a bunch of my stuff. I’m not working on the book this week. Instead I’m dealing with like a cover that fell apart and me having to write two features. And that’s fine because I’ve built that into the expectations of, of how I set my deadlines and how I’m working on these dual tracks at the same time.
So you, you tend to think about things then on this monthly schedule, is that, did that start from the Podcast being monthly or were other things already contributing to the way you view it in, in a monthly schedule?
You know, it started, I think, from running a magazine that’s right. Like I’m trying to think through what do I have to do? And then what are the patterns of work related to doing those things? And then how can I try to get them all to sync up? And so I know for example, that a, a monthly magazine. So, so let’s talk about the monthly magazine for a little bit.
So when I worked, I’ve worked at a lot of magazines. My first magazine job was Boston Magazine. I’ve worked at Men’s Health, Fast Company, Maxim, Entrepreneur. Those are the ones that I’ve had full-time jobs. And then I freelanced for a ton of others. And there’s usually this thing called ship week at a magazine.
Ship week is the week in which everything’s getting finalized and literally shipping to the printer. And that week at every magazine that I have ever worked at, but not run myself, which is to say every magazine that isn’t Entrepreneur that week is hell. Like when I was working at Boston Magazine ship week, I would be there till two in the morning.
What are we doing? It’s a monthly magazine. What possible now? I think back. And I’m like, what? Possibly kept us there until two in the morning. That is insane. And the answer is that we were doing. We’re doing a lot of BS. That’s what we’re doing. We’re doing a lot of BS. Right? So what, what was happening? I think back to that now, and I promise to get back to the point, but I think back to that now, and I’m like, what was keeping us there?
And then I think, Oh, I know it was that. My Editor in Chief would come by my desk at like eight or 9:00 PM. And he would have circled a caption on a photo. And he would have said, you know, I think that this caption can be funnier. And then I would have spent an hour writing 20 different captions, and then I would spend another hour waiting for him to finish whatever other thing he was doing so that he could look at these captions.
And that’s how you end up at the office until 2:00 AM. And when I took over a mag, I took over this magazine. I have a much smaller staff than any other, any of the other jobs that I’ve ever worked at. We have a tiny, tiny staff making Entrepreneur magazine. You would be shocked if you know, Entrepreneur, the brand, the magazine, whatever.
It’s a, it’s an international brand. It’s been around for 40 something years. It’s very, well-respected. The staff is tiny. And so I am, I I’m thinking to myself when I took over this job, how am I possibly gonna keep quality up with this few number of people? And the answer is stop doing all the stuff that doesn’t really matter, right?
Guess what? Not a single person in the world. In the world has ever purchased a magazine because they think the captions are funny. Not Write, not, not that Editor in Chief who, you know, God love him. James Burnett. he’s a friend of mine now, but by editor-in-chief bust magazine was asking me to do stuff that ultimately didn’t matter.
And so I’ve caught a lot of that stuff out. And consequently, we don’t have an Entrepreneur hellish ship weeks. We just don’t. Instead what we have is a steady, steady workflow. And so I reorganized the way that we do things and I just decided to stop caring about things that didn’t matter that are nice to haves, but not need to haves.
And, and therefore I adjusted how this thing is produced and I created a level of consistency so that I know the general flow of what I’m going to be needing to do when every issue to get this thing together. And then I can start to schedule all of my other needs around it. So it’s nice to have projects that have long deadlines and short deadlines, a short deadline, for example, Is a story that I have to write in a week.
Okay. I know exactly how to budget my time for that. Then I’ve got like a mid sized project every month. I got to produce this Podcast. Okay. Let’s set that schedule. Let’s know exactly when the deliverables are and we can work backwards from there and make sure that the heavy workload on that doesn’t correspond with the heavy workload for anything else that I’m doing.
And then. You’ve got the super far deadlines. Like the book I got to turn, we’re talking, I am talking to you on, on April 5th, 20, 21. I got to turn this book in, in like September, October. So I got some time and that doesn’t mean that I want to burn that time. I actually always, I’ve programmed myself to think that I’m always behind.
I, that’s another reason why I’m in a panic. I’m always behind on this book, even though it’s due in October. But the reason is because I don’t want to get to September and be like, Oh my God, he didn’t write the book. So instead I am always working on it whenever I don’t have anything else pressing to work on.
And that is the way that I have these tiers of deadlines and these tiers of things to do so that whenever I don’t need to be doing one thing, I have another thing lined up, ready to go.
That makes a lot of sense and I’m fascinated by it because I’m in this position similar to you of, you know, having a full-time job, running a company, running ConvertKit and then also being like, Oh yeah, I do a podcast and I have a newsletter and these other things, and it’s, it’s a challenging thing as a creator to have two jobs.
But I think, you know, in this case you were an I R R. Running the show at those things. But, you know, a lot of people have that full-time job that they’re having to do, you know, the same thing. And so just thinking about that for everyone, listening is what are the schedules that your job naturally has?
And then you hit, might have an answer to why is your Podcast monthly, or why is it weekly, or why does it have this cadence? And it might be because that is the natural cadence to my life and it, it fits in. So
Yeah. And you know, and it’s also look, you, you set on anything that you can, that you control, you set the rules. And so, a friend of mine, or yeah, a friend, a friend of mine, I was like, do I need to give more detail? No, I don’t. A friend of mine recently asked me a bunch of Day has been asking me a lot of advice about a small publication that she wants to start.
She is employed at a large publication. She wants to start her own publication. And one of her questions to me recently was. Is it okay. She’s like, she’s like I have, you know, I have a bunch of material, in the bank because that’s something that I always advise people do is don’t put yourself on a crazy treadmill, have a bank of materials so that you’re not responsible for creating the thing.
That’s about to go out the door. Like, do you have a buffer? That’s great. I mean, look, I’ll be honest with you. I don’t have a buffer on everything that I do, but, and, and she said, well, what if I, what if I, what if I start running weekly and I run out and I’m not able to keep up and then I have to skip a week?
What then am I answer was well, Okay. You set the rules, you, you are creating this new project. You are establishing the expectations of the audience, whatever you say is what it is. So do the thing that is manageable for you, and then make that, the thing that your audience comes to expect, because there’s just no reason to set some rule for yourself.
That’s going to drive you into the ground. Can you do it? Yes. Can you find some schedule in which you can do it in then? Great. Do that. You can always increase it later. You can always change it later, but don’t, don’t cut your, don’t make something so difficult for yourself that you’re not able to achieve it, fit it into what you have available and you know, Nathan you’re right.
You and I, we, we run the show and so we have more, we have more, control in a way, but you know, Something, my parents told me that I remember about myself is that in grade school they noticed, and they always thought that this was a problem. And only later realized that it wasn’t a problem. They always thought that it was a problem that I would, I would get into class every, every school year start young, start middle school.
I remember doing this and I would figure out what is the least amount of work that I need to do to do a good job here? What is, what is passable? Right? Because, I don’t need to burn myself out on this math class in ninth grade, right? What is the least amount that I need to do to pass this thing so that I can spend my energy and time on other things that I care about.
And that is frankly, still how I operate. That is how I’ve operated my entire career. Put me in a job. I will figure out how to do a really good job doing that with the least amount of effort that’s required. And then I’m going to take the rest of my effort and I’m going to build other things for myself.
This is what I do.
I’m curious, what other, you know, lessons or takeaways from how you run Entrepreneur, other creators who would want to see, like, I think that that hell week that you described is, you know, at a, at a previous publication is what a lot of people are used to, you know, as they’re writing their weekly newsletter that comes out every Monday or something like that, like they’re experiencing hell week.
But kind of every week and they have the worst possible boss who is themselves. And so like, what are some of those other things you’d recommend to go to that smooth fluid process?
Yeah, it’s great. It’s great. So, I mean, you know, obviously everybody in Entrepreneurship rightfully talks about culture, creating the right culture and one of the big things, and I don’t know how many people ever think to do this, but because I came out of this world where there were these hella ship weeks and there was hours and hours spent on captions.
I’ve started to, I created a Cory culture and Entrepreneur that we pride ourselves on not doing what we all previously did at other companies. Yeah. Like that’s, that’s a point of pride because I have, I have an amazing, it’s a small team. It’s an amazing team, right? It’s, it’s a team that have worked at just the greatest magazines in the world and they are all for one reason or another working at Entrepreneur now.
And, and, and we, right. So, so Judith, my photo director and Paul or creative director, I mean, you know, these guys are guys are working at the New York times, T style magazine and, and, and Paul’s has been the creative director of like three different magazines. And we all know what BS looks like. And so a big part of our culture is we are doing things differently.
Like we are, we are not going to sweat the small stuff. We are going to make a really high quality product, but we’re not going to drive ourselves insane doing it because we’re only going to focus on the stuff that really matters. What do people care about? What is quality and how do we be realistic about what we can create within the resources available?
Because we all know. That if you were to give us millions more dollars and like a giant staff that was 10 times the size we’d make a different product. Yeah. We would make a different product, but that’s not what we have, what we have or the resources available and the talent available, and we can still make something awesome.
But we have to think about it differently. And so I, I would say, you know, to, to your, to your question, number one is you, you set expectations in a positive but realistic way. What is the best damn thing that I can do with what I have available to me without focusing on what I don’t have available to me?
Because if I showed up to work every day thinking, Oh my God, this team is so much smaller than what I had when I was at men’s health. Well, then I wouldn’t get anything done. So I’m not focusing on what I don’t have. I’m only focused on what I do have. And then, you know, the, the other thing, you know, as I, as I think through what we do at the magazine is we.
Cultivate. And then we work within trust. So I trust the hell out of the people that I work with. They don’t hear from me probably as much as they should because frankly I’m super busy. And so I trust them. I let them, I let them do you know when Paul and I, Paul, my crave director, we both worked at Maxim together and Oh my God, the amount of like reviews that we all had to go through, there were 14 different reviews.
We’d sit around the room and we’d look at every photo and we decide, okay, well, these are the photos, but now let’s review it again. In two days, we don’t have time for that. I don’t have time for that. I trust Paul. I trust Paul and he’s going to make those decisions. He’s not going to run it by me. And I’m going to look at it eventually.
And every once in a while, I’m going to have some feedback and Paul’s going to have to tear something apart and he’s not going to get annoyed at me. You know why? Because I gave him so much leeway in every other aspect. and I just find that this is a better way to operate, have a team, trust them, know that you are all doing something great because you’re doing it differently than, than others.
And you are going to make the best thing possible without driving yourself into the ground, because frankly, you got to do it all all over again. Next month. I, I can’t, I can’t afford having my team stuck in the ground. We gotta be moving.
Yeah. And th that’s a great point about, you know, you got to build for longevity because nothing important is going to happen in a month or six months. And if you burn people out in that amount of time or burn yourself out in that time, then you can’t do anything longterm.
So when it comes to all this stuff that you’re building on your own, cause.
One thing that, you know, people point out to me when I’m trying to do everything. So like, you know, you don’t have to Write, like you don’t have to have a podcast and a newsletter and a blog and, and like all of these other things. So talk a little bit about why you’ve ramped up the personal side, you know, your brand, your audience, your Podcast, all of that more so when you already have an audience through Entrepreneur,
Right. So I, out of curiosity, this’ll fit into my answer. Do you have an answer to what the point is? What’s the point.
that’s a good question. I mean, the first thing that came to mind is like, at this point, I’m just having fun of like, what are the things that interest me, you know, like, I mean, rebooting this Podcast, like I did this Podcast. I dunno, six years ago or something. And then I brought it back mostly because I found that I was sitting at home and not talking to anyone.
And like, I had all these questions for people that I like and respect. And I was like, this is the best format to get onto it. Lots of people listen to the show. That’s great. I don’t care.
this is the part that I’m optimizing for in this case. And so, yeah, that’s not an answer to what’s the point, but
No. Okay. Well that’s fine. I mean, no, but, but you answered it, you answered it because you have the, you have the same answer that I have, which is that I’m not really sure. Right. That’s it. That’s your right. We know, we know that we like it. It’s enjoyable and it gets us things, whatever those things are, they could be all sorts of different things.
But what’s the, what’s the ultimate point. I don’t know. What’s the point is to do it. So now let me tell you my philosophy called work, your next job, because this is really the answer. Okay. Here, here’s something that I, throughout my career, even when I was a rookie reporter at a small town newspaper, which is where I began, I.
When I was a rookie Wilkie when I was, when I was a character on star Trek, when I was a rookie reporter, as I worked at the gardener news, 6,000 circulation, daily newspaper covering nothing, nothing was happening and in garden messages. And, and I really wanted to work for giant publications.
That’s I didn’t know what I did. I couldn’t have explained it to you. I was fresh out of college, but I was like, can I work for the New York times, the Washington post, just large publications. And, and eventually I realized, you know, these people who work at the places that I want to work, they are never picking up my newspaper.
They are never reading this great story that I just did about the middle school play. And they are never reaching out to me and saying, kid, bring me up to the big leagues. It’s never happening. Right? Like it’s never happening. And so I needed to go to them and that was the only way I needed to go to that.
I needed to go prove to them because you know what I wasn’t going to do. I wasn’t going to follow the normal path of like a tiny paper to a larger paper, to a slightly larger paper, to slightly larger paper, because I would be 89 years old. But before that, before I reached anything and so I was like, I’m going to skip all these steps.
And, and that means I’m going to quit this job. And I’m going to freelance and I’m going to just go pitch and pitch and pitch to these, to these publications. And, and, and after like sitting in this tiny apartment next to a literally next to a graveyard and Holden, Massachusetts, I, for like for like nine months pitching, I, you know, I got some stories in the Washington post and the Boston globe and a couple others.
And then I took this, I took another small newspaper job because I was lonely and I needed better income. And then I just kept freelancing, on the side because I realized, okay, I’m going to take this job. I’m gonna work this job. It’s gonna pay me. And it’ll, it’ll serve some kind of function in my, in my ladder, up in my career.
But I think that the real answer here is actually the freelancing that I’m doing on the side. And so I’m going to keep doing that and that’s, and then I just kept doing that throughout my entire career. And I eventually, I eventually came to this philosophy about it and it was called, I call it work your next job.
So work your next job. You may, everyone listening to this in front of us right now. And yesterday and tomorrow, all the time are two sets of opportunities. Opportunity set, a opportunity, set B opportunity, set a is everything that is asked of you show up to work. What does your boss need? What are your KPIs?
What is asked of you opportunities to be is everything that is available to you that nobody’s asking you to do. And my argument is that opportunity set B is always more important. Just always, it has always throughout my entire career been more important, which is not to say that the jobs that I work or not, because I, you know, obviously I guess, I guess if, if the.
CEO of Entrepreneur was listening to this right now. He’d be like, wait a second. You’re just telling me, you’re telling me that you are deprioritizing Entrepreneur. And like, you know, like it’s important. I get it. It’s important. I want to do a great job. But when I think about the future of my career and not knowing where it’s going and not knowing what opportunities are ahead, what I know is that focusing on opportunity, set B prepares me better for the future, then opportunity set a alone does because if I only focus on the things that are asked of me, that I’m only qualified to do the things I’m already doing, but opportunities at B is where I learn and where I grow and where I become better.
So how did I become Editor in Chief of Entrepreneur magazine? Well, there’s a lot of answers to that, but here’s one of them. One of them is that like many, many years prior, I worked at fast company and I was a print editor. My job was to edit front of book sections and print features. And then they started a video team and I.
I had really no experience on camera. And nobody asked me to be a part of the video team, but it sounded interesting. And so I started doing it and I developed a knack for it. And I absorbed everything that the video director said. And I ended up, I created two series, like I had like a weekly, weekly series and then one where we actually traveled around.
It was super cool. And I got a lot of experience and, and I got really comfortable on camera and because I got comfortable on camera, I also had the raw material to get comfortable on a microphone. Like you hear me right now and also get comfortable on stage. And then what was that for? I don’t know. I didn’t notice for, yeah.
Did I ever get a TV show? No, I didn’t got a TV show, but years later I am interviewing to be Editor in Chief of Entrepreneur magazine. And one of the reasons that they really like me is because I can represent the brand really well. I’m good on camera. You can put me on stage and I’ll be really good.
Where does that stuff come from? It came from me doing it at random, at fast company that nobody asked me to do. It was opportunity set B and now it is creating a new opportunity at Entrepreneur allows me to be Editor in Chief because I’m good at this stuff. So that’s why I do it. Why did I create the podcast?
I don’t know, because it seems like it’d be useful. Why am I doing the newsletter? I don’t know. It just seems like it’ll be useful. I’m just doing it because I don’t know what the ROI is, but I know over and over and over again, because my entire career has proven this to me, that focusing on opportunities at B is more important.
So figuring out how to do it, find, find a way, find the time. That’s my philosophy.
I like it. And I think I’m driven a lot, the same way of like, what’s going to, you know, what’s going to push me. What, where am I going to learn? If I have two options in front of me, like air B. Like, it’s always choosing the one where it’s like, I am going to have to learn something I’m going to have to end up being a front person to achieve that goal.
Whereas this one is like, I don’t know. I think I could do that with the skill sets that I have. And so it’s pass on that and go to the one that requires a new
a new set or something.
I mean, look, I, I, I’m sure that there are, I’m sure that there are people for whom they develop a skill set and they’re good at it. And then they’re really satisfied just doing it throughout their career. And if, and if that’s you, then congratulations, because you found an easier path and that’s wonderful, but if that’s not you right.
And it’s not, it’s just, yeah. Like what you just described. It’s not me. I remember a couple of years ago. Well, more than a couple of years ago before I was an Entrepreneur. And I had, like, I had always aspired to be a really good magazine features. Editor only I could be a really good magazine features editor and, And then I became a good magazine features, editor.
Like I just know how to do it. You know, it’s like, it’s a formula. I apply it. I just know how to do it. and then I remember editing some story. I can’t even remember what it was. And I was just like, Oh, is this it? Like I got here and not now, do I just do this forever? This is terrible. Like, I hate this, this thing that I really wanted to do now, I hate, I felt trapped in it.
So I always want to be adding. And you know what, when you’re constantly adding, it means that relying on the things that you know, how to do can be comforting and satisfying. And also you discover that things that you became really good at in one way are, are, are actually. Useful raw material in learning something else.
So, I mean, do you listen to how, I didn’t know how to make a Podcast, but I, I, what I did is I was like strung together these skills from other things talking on camera, but also I learned knowing how to write a magazine feature, translated into knowing how to write a Podcast script. They’re totally different, different styles of writing.
It took me a while to figure out the pacing is different. The needs are different. You got to signpost everything over and over again. Oh. But like it’s the raw material was there. And so it felt like I was utilizing something that I had worked hard at, but without being trapped inside of it, because I was using it in a different way.
And that in a weird way, felt liberating.
well, I want to ask about that because with the Podcast, almost everyone just doesn’t interview show. And I feel like we can make fun of interview shows. Cause we’re on one right now. And it’s like, you know, you and I both know they’re there, they’re easy, like 30 minutes of prep. You’re, you’re good to go.
I’m all of that. And it’s fun. Like they get engagement. All of that. Now the show that you’re doing like Build for Tomorrow is not an interview show. It is the high production, like crazy amounts of work goes into it. All of that, I guess. Well first why do that type of show? And I say that from the point of view of like someone who wants, like, I would love to do that show.
I just know that I’m not willing to commit the amount of time to make that happen.
Yeah, no, it’s true. It’s a great question. I ask myself all the time. Why am I doing this? It’s so much work.
The due date comes up. You’re like, what am I doing?
Yeah, I’ve made this so hard on myself, right? Like this is a really hard show to make. Right. So, you know, for, for, for those who don’t know, built for tomorrow is a show. My tagline is it’s a show about the things from history that shape us and how we can shape the future.
And the idea is to understand the context, from history, of, of something that we’re experiencing today and then see what it teaches us about how we can be creators tomorrow. So our, my most recent episode for example, was it’s about, you know, the, you know, the, the thing that people always say, old people, I’m just gonna call it bold people.
I’m insulting you old people. What old people say about young people, which is that they all got trophies as kids. They all got participation trophies, and that’s why they’re entitled now because they never learned that winning takes. Work. so that’s a thing that we’ve all heard and we, we could agree with it or we could disagree with it, but w but I will tell you, as I discovered, and this is what the episode is sort of hinges on, will tell you that we have all swallowed.
A falsity about this story. And it is in fact, weirdly the most verifiable part of this story. And that is the idea that participation trophies are New. We talk about them as if, Oh, this generation, the young people today, they grew up with the participation. No, you know what, actually, if you look through the history, people have been getting participation trophies for a hundred years, one zero, zero, a hundred years.
So all the baby boomers who are like millennials today and they’re participating, no, you guys got participation trophies. You did. I know you’re going to tell me you didn’t, but that’s because you don’t remember them because it wasn’t that important, but you did. You did. And so I, so I, to, what I want to know is, okay, well, where the hell did they come from?
Which actually is a question about where did youth sports come from? And tell the whole story of where participation trophies came from and then apply that to today so that we can come to an understanding about what it is that we’re really frustrated about when we’re, when we’re talking about like generational changes.
And blah-blah-blah because to me, my view of it is that like every generation is basically exactly the same, but we always talk about them as if they’re like some weird new species. And I think that that’s completely, self-defeating like the, the very logic of it falls apart on its face. If every generation was worse than previous generation, then you and I wouldn’t talking through riverside.fm.
We were to be rolling around in mud somewhere because we wouldn’t have invented any of this stuff. But, but in fact, every generation gets better, not worse, so, okay. That’s the point of this, the show and. and so how do I do that? Well, I don’t just go interview one person. I interviewed like a bazillion people.
And then, and I also dig through, newspaper archives and historical research and I, and then I like pull it all together into this script that goes on for like 9,000 words and has 50 different pieces of audio and the sound effects and music. And I hire actors to like read these old newspaper clips.
And it’s a whole thing. Why to your question, why do I do this? and I will tell you, the answer is not to make money because, this show does not make as much money as it should for the amount of work. why do I do it? I do it for a couple reasons. One, because I’m okay. Doing something without knowing what the point of it is.
I start without knowing what the ROI is, because what I want to do is create. And push myself. So I wanted to create a show that pushed me and I wanted to create a show that said to the world, Hey, I can do this really good, complicated thing. Right. I got, I, I just can, and I’m going to learn it and I’m going to become even better at it.
I’m good at this. It’s a showcase. And what is it for? What’s the showcase going to do for me? I didn’t really know, but I’ll tell you what happened because I did it. What happened is that it developed an unbelievable community of really, really smart people, right? Like it’s like, it’s like when, when you get into bed and check your email, when you get into.
When you get into bed on it, this is a real anecdote. When you get into bed on a cruise ship and your honor, and I don’t really like cruises that much, but I’m on a cruise ship because I was hired to speak on the cruise ship. So that’s pretty cool. And I saw getting into bed on the cruise ship. Where I was hired to speak.
And I look at my email and I’ve got an email from Mark Andreessen telling me that my podcast is his favorite podcast. And when’s the book coming well, you know what? I did something good, right? Like, I don’t care. That’s what happened. I don’t care if the, I don’t care. If the, if the show doesn’t make that much money, it doesn’t, it makes some ad dollars.
But like, I don’t care because it, it has attracted this unbelievable community of people and those people now I have access to, and they’re listening to me and they’re thinking of me as a kind of authority. And then like a foundation came to me and started throwing money at me, which is true. That happened.
And then, and then I, I sold a book deal, which is going to be called Build for Tomorrow. Not for yesterday. It will come out in 2022. And it’s based a lot on the research that I did for the podcast. This is what I’m talking about. When I go like that wouldn’t have happened. If I just created a, like a little, a chat show, you know, people could do that.
That’s great. That’s fine. And I don’t hold it against anybody because you know what. I’m marshaling my skill. I am aware of what I’m good at and also what I really like to do. And, I mean, whatever, I’m not gonna, I’m not going to dance around it. I’m a good writer. I’m a good writer and I’m a good performer.
And, and I, and I want to, I want to harness those skills. And so I do. And, and I put it out into the world and took, Year’s Write Mark Andreessen. Didn’t email me like five minutes after I posted my first episode. He emailed me years after making this show, but he emailed me and now I can email Mark Andreessen whenever I want, because he likes my shop.
And that’s awesome. So that’s what it’s for.
Yeah, that’s interesting. I love the approach of quality over quantity. And I think about, you know, a lot of shows like that, like a hardcore history, for example, it’s one of those things where you’ve Notes. They don’t even have a consistent schedule. You’re just like, there’s nothing, no hardcore history episodes.
And then like all of a sudden it comes out and you’re like, this is amazing. And people are talking about it and you know, that’s exactly what you’ve done is there’s the conventional advice of like, show up at the same time every week, you know, be super consistent for your audience. All of that prioritize consistency over quality when one of them has to go and I love it when you’re going the other way of saying like, no, let’s go quality all the way.
And let’s find a cadence that okay. Works for that.
Yeah, I think that’s right. I mean, look, there’s something to be said for following standard practice. And if I could make that show, Ooh. If I can make that show on a weekly basis, I would. And, and maybe, maybe one day I will, who knows, but it’s not going to happen now because I don’t have the time. And so to, you know, it goes back to, I mean, it is you’re right.
It is, it is not being hung up on quote unquote best practices, but it also like a lot of it is in what I was talking about a little earlier at Entrepreneur where I said, okay, I, our ethos is to be aware of the resources that we have available to us and then make the best damn thing with those resources.
Right. And so I’m looking at myself for this podcast and I’m like, well, what are the resources I have available to me? I mean, to start it with just me. Now it’s a little bit more because now I have, I have some funding and I can hire like a reporter to help me out, but whatever, it’s still not that much.
So I have, I have some resources and I have some time, not a lot of time. I got some time. What is the best damn thing that I can make given all of this? I guess I could have made a weekly five to 10 minute show, but I don’t want to do that. I want to go like crazy deep. I want somebody to listen to this show and end it and be like, Holy crap.
Like that was everything I need to know about that. Right? Like that was the full story. And that’s just, that’s just how I wanted to make it. There were other ways to make it, but this is, this is how I wanted to make it. And sometimes I, it’s not going to, I realize this is not the way the world works and not everything’s going to be like this, but sometimes you just go out, you make the thing that you want to make you believe in it and you don’t give up on it and you spend years doing it.
And. And, and if you’re good at it, and if you were right, that this was the thing that was worth making people will find it, it doesn’t, it doesn’t matter if it’s on a weird schedule. It doesn’t matter if it’s like a hard to explain. It doesn’t matter. People will find it because, because good really does rise up.
It happens slowly, frustratingly slowly, but it does happen. And if you’re willing to commit to that, and if like making the thing that you want it to make is so satisfying, that it will propel you through all the years where like nobody cares where Mark Andreessen is not emailing you. Well, then, then keep going.
Yeah. And I think so many people are looking for that. They hear that, you know, if you do the work, if you put in the quality, like that will rise to the top, but they’re underestimating, I guess, two things. One the amount of time that that might take, because that could take one, two, three, five years or more.
but there’s also a packaging element to it. Like you recently changed the name of your podcast for you to, to talk about that because you’ve been doing the work and then you realize that you’ve been putting it in the wrong backpack.
That’s right. That’s right. And this was, this was an unbelievable lesson. This, this to me is really, I mean, there’s a lot of lessons in this, but I’ll just tell, I’ll tell you the story first. Okay. So the show was not born as built for tomorrow. The show was born as pessimists archive and pessimists archive was originally a Twitter feed.
It’s still is a Twitter feed run by a guy named Louis Anslow and five years ago or something like that. I stumbled across this Twitter feed. And I don’t know if you’ve ever had this experience. Have you ever like come across something? And it was like, hi, I made this, but I didn’t make this, like, this looks exactly like something that I would make, but I didn’t make it.
Have you, is that a, is that just me? Have you ever had that.
Yeah. I’ve, I’ve definitely had that before.
Yeah. So for me, pessimists archive was that because I was obsessed yes. With this question of why our fears repeat across time. And I was like, I was a fast company at the time and I was digging through old archives and I was like writing these stories for fast company about this.
And then here comes pessimists archive, which is doing the same thing. It’s like clipping out these old newspaper clippings about like why radio is addictive and, and all that stuff. And so I was fascinated. I was like, Oh my God, I didn’t make this, but I made it. And so I DMD pessimists archive and Louie responded, I didn’t know who it was.
And we started talking and I was like, look, if there’s any way to like partner up, I would love to do something. And we decided to make a Podcast. He didn’t know how to make a podcast. I didn’t know how to make a podcast, but I had a media background. So I thought I could figure it out. And so I, we started, we started making the podcast, the first podcast, it took three months to make.
And the second one is going to have three months to make a, this was a slow process. And, eventually it, it got traction and it started to get some of that attention. It was really exciting. And, and so the podcast is called pessimists archive and, and Louie ran the Twitter feed and I ran the podcast and, and it was, it was great.
And then I hired mutual friends of ours, Adam and Jordan Bornstein and their, and their company, a pen name, Content. And, and they, I hired them to do growth on this podcast. And the very first thing that they did is they, we did some with, with, one of their team members, Rochelle Devo. They did some, she did audience insights, audience insight Research, talk to a bunch of my audience, dove deep with them and came back with this mind-bending report.
And this report told me a couple of things. One of them was that the name pessimists archive was amazed, major barrier to entry. People thought that it was a pessimistic show. And I had heard that anecdotally people would have that and I’d be like, ah, idiot. Haven’t listened to the show, but now I’ve got like Research showing me people don’t understand the show because of the name and the logo.
And, and like, if somebody can get over that barrier and start listening to the show, they’ll tell friends about it. And the friends won’t listen to the show. Like I was just, it was really, really interesting. And then also, I, in the earlier days of the show had really thought of it as a history show and Rochelle’s Research.
Okay. Day revealed to me that people listened to the show. Not because they think of it as a history show, but because it helps them feel more resilient about the future, which is to say that I was making this thing, that I was thinking of his kind of like, you know, slightly academic and highfalutin. And in fact, people were having a kind of self-help experience with it.
They were, they were listening and they were taking something away for their own lives. And when I had those pieces of information, I realized, wow, like, I can, I can take this and I can write, make it even more relevant to people’s lives. And I can take down the barrier to entry and open it up. And that’s going to be scary because change is scary and like changing the name of this podcast is going to be scary.
And, it’s going to, it’s going to alter Louie and my relationship, which, which, which ultimately, for a number of totally mutual mutually agreed upon reasons ended mute Louie and I are separate entities now. Right. and, and, and I thought let’s, let’s do it. Like I preach that change is opportunity.
That’s like the conclusion that I’ve drawn out of studying history and studying Entrepreneurs is like adaptability is where the opportunity is. So I got to do it myself. And so I, I changed the name of the show and I pivoted a little harder into where my audience was telling me they were. Right. Instead of it used to be the show used to exclusively be about like, why, why did it take 500 years for people to use forks?
Which is, which is an interesting question I will have, you know, it’s actually a fascinating question, but, Write, I was interested in the repetition of fear across time. And like, people didn’t use forks for like most of humanity, forks are like a new thing. relatively speaking. And so, so, but I thought, okay, but if I can, if I can go the extra mile and find these historical stories that also inform our lives today in a very tangible way, then I’m going to have something that’s like taking the things that I love doing and keeping the tone and the essence of this show, but also making sure that it’s really delivering exactly the kind of value that I’ve just learned from my audience that they want.
And. And that was, that was transformational. And that was, that was the thing that got me to the next phase where like, I couldn’t have sold the book. I sold this book to penguin random house for, you know, it was a nice deal. I couldn’t of done that without that transformation. I couldn’t have sold the pessimists archive book, but I could sell the bills for tomorrow book.
And, and, and again, it all goes to, I couldn’t have possibly predicted any of that at the beginning. If I thought, well, I’ll start this podcast. It’ll lead to this and this and this and this and this and this. And then I’ll have a book. Well, I would be a first of all, I’d be Nostradamus, but like, that’s not how it works.
You just do it. You do it. You don’t care about the ROI you get in there. And then you discover the opportunities along the way
Yeah, absolutely. And I mean how you package it and, and you know, the quality of work you put in, but then Hey, position package, it makes such a difference. And so that’s kind of the last topic that I want to talk about is the PR side. Right? I think a lot of, a lot of people think about press and news stories and a lot of creators think about that, of like, Oh, that’s something that a big company can do.
You know, someone Entrepreneur will want to write about Google. They will want to write about the startup, that Andreessen Horowitz just funded with $50 million or something like that. But they won’t want to write about me as an individual. even though I’m doing the quality work part of what I’m taking from your story is like, yeah, you have to do the quality work and package it in the right way.
That makes it interesting. But I’m curious, what would you say to creators who, you know, are looking to get more conventional press coverage and more than just being mentioned in blogs or something like that? what systems should they put together? How should they think about their work?
Yeah. So there’s a lot to say here. Okay. Let’s, let’s start from what I was just talking about before audience insights. So if, if you’re in business, the idea of getting insights from your audiences is not a foreign one. Right. You know, you know, to do that. but people. Don’t think about how important that is or version of that is when they’re trying to get press, which is to say, if you’re trying to reach out to your audience, you want to get some insights about what that audience is looking for so that you can cater your pitch as much as possible.
That’s how press works, too. You have to understand the publication that you’re pitching because big people tend to think and people tend to think because, and I get it that people don’t understand how media, people often treat media as if it is a service provider. I will get emails and the emails will say, how can I get a feature in your magazine?
Which I read as, how can I get a hamburger at your hamburger? Right. I don’t sell hamburgers. I’m not a service provider. Right? I don’t, I don’t have ups. I don’t have a service for you. so, so what, what, how do you reach out? Well, the starting point. Is to understand that a journalist and, you know, and just speaking broadly here, a journalist doesn’t care about you or your business.
They don’t, they just don’t. And you know what? That’s not a bad thing because they do care about something. You just have to understand what it is, what they care about is they care about their reader or their viewer or their listener. They care about their audience. They want to deliver great value to their audience, and they do that through storytelling.
So they’re not here to serve you. They’re here to serve their audience, but if you can figure out how they serve their audience and the kinds of stories that they tell to their audience and the way that they tell them and the takeaways that they’re looking for, and just basically the thing that they are delivering value on and the form in which it comes well, then you can figure out how you can be valuable to their audience.
And once you’re valuable to their audience, then you’re valuable to them. And that’s how it works. So what’s the customer insights. Let, I’ll let you I’ll use Entrepreneur as an example, if you go through Entrepreneur magazine, Entrepreneur.com is, is slightly different because print and digital products are, they’re just a little different.
I can explain it, but let’s just make it simple Entrepreneur magazine. If you go through Entrepreneur magazine, what you’ll notice, if you think hard and close about the content that you’re looking at, you will notice that every story in some way or another is about a problem solved. It’s always about how somebody thought through some kind of challenge.
It’s always about some kind of insight that somebody had some counterintuitive decision that they made something that drives them towards solving a problem and growing their business or growing their life, whatever that is not an accident. That’s the mission of the magazine. I’m not writing stories that are just like, I’m not, I’m not writing a Chronicle of every company that hit 20 million in revenue like that.
That wouldn’t be interesting. Who cares about that? What I’m looking at is like, what can my reader, who is. Anybody, right. Anybody anywhere, what can they learn from this person that I’m writing about? And the answer is that if, if I’m writing about somebody who makes widgets, the person who’s reading, it may not make widgets.
So they don’t care about how to make a widget, but they might care about what to do, know what to do. Like when the widget factory ran out of money and this person had to like figure out some solution. Well, that’s something that’s pretty relatable solving. The problem is broadly relatable. So that’s what I do.
So when people reach out to me and they’re like, you know, What is the w w what are the qualifications of, of being covered? Well, there are, there are no qualifications, right? It’s not how, it’s not how it works. It’s not like, Oh, send me, send me a year, like financial disclosure document. And then I’ll take a look at whether you deserve coverage.
That’s not how it works. What I’m looking for is value for the reader. Do you have a story? And do you have insights that are valuable to my reader? Yes. Well then I’m interested. No, well then I’m not a service provider. That’s how to think about it. So, so yes, you can get coverage. You don’t have to be Google, but what you have to do is you have to figure out who you’re pitching.
You have to understand what they’re looking for, and then you have to cater your pitch to that.
Thinking back to when you were the freelancing journalist, that you were doing all the way back then of coming up with stories and, and very actively pitching it to each individual publication.
Yup. That’s exactly what I was doing and getting ignored. Just like everybody who pitches media gets ignored. And, yeah, that’s what I was doing. I was pitching, I was cold pitching. I was trying to try to foster relationships with people. I was trying to get any kind of crack open in the door. And, and, and the way that I did it was that I spent time.
I mean, you know, again, I’m pitching to be as a freelance writer, but it was really not that different. I was, I would, my first major piece was in the Washington post health section. How did I get it? Well, I spent a hell of a lot of time reading the Washington post health section. Like, what are they covering?
How are they covering it? What. What did they just do in the past month? That leads me to an idea that isn’t what they just did in the past month. But seals feels like it fits in with whatever conversations they’re having over there. And then writing a pitch that’s catered to it and showing them that I’ve got the goods, right.
That, that, because sometimes people will pitch things that, that have nothing to do with what you’re doing. And they think that just because they showed up, you’re going to like change the rules, right? Like, like people will, people will, people will send me their poetry. We will write poetry. Have you ever picked up Entrepreneur magazine and found poetry in there?
No. Well then we’re not going to knit. Not once. Not once. We’re not going to start with you. Right? Like, it’s just, you, can’t just, you can’t just like assume that people are going to move the mountain for you. You can cook, go to the mountain. So, yeah, that’s what I was doing. I was studying the place that I was pitching.
And then I, I didn’t know the person, Susan Morris. Yeah. The like health editor at the time, 20 years ago. I don’t know what she’s up to now, but she’s, she’s who responded to me. I didn’t know her. I couldn’t figure out anything about her, but I figured out her publication and I figured out what she likely was looking for.
And, and, and I was right.
I think that it might be projecting here, but, I’ll just do that. I’ll project my thoughts on to just all creators, because that sounds interesting. so you know, a lot of creators, myself included would think of it as like pitching a story, you know, about my company, about my creative venture or something like that is like, almost feels too forward, you know?
It feels like, Oh, we should do this thing. That’s. You know, ancillary Daily related, and then it’ll get covered in the w we’ll get discovered or whatever else. And it sounds like what you’re saying is you should find the things that you’re doing in your business that match the way that that publication writes stories and all that.
And you should like craft a pitch and write, you know, a meaningful amount of that story. Is that right?
That’s that’s. I mean, you don’t have to write the story for them, but you want to deliver the information so that they can see that there’s value. Yes, absolutely. I mean, right. It’s not, if you go out there and you’re focused on your agenda and I understand your, obviously the Royal, your Write, and everybody had been, you walk this, you want coverage and you don’t want coverage, to contribute to the marketplace of ideas.
You want coverage to drive business. I get it. I understand. But, And, and so you might, you might, I mean, the way that you just framed it, there, you might have, you might feel some heads. I suppose somebody could feel some hesitation because they’re like, Oh, well, you know, who’s going to, who’s going to write this like glowing article about me, who am I?
And yeah, you’re right. Who is going to write that glowing article about you? Because, because the, the, the profile, the like just general, here’s this company and they’re doing great things, but that’s not interesting. It’s not interesting to anybody. So what is the thing that you do that is distinct and that fits what this publication is looking for?
Hey, here’s a, here’s one of my favorite examples. I got this email and this woman named Joelle is years ago and she has product called buttery. It’s a butter dish and it’s a butter dish on a hinge smart here. Why do you, why do you want a butter dish on a hinge? Like, you know, it’s just to save it. There’s like the bottom part of the butter dish and the top of the bedrooms and each sort of like, eh, like it opens up on a hinge.
Why would you want that? Well, you would want that because it turns out you don’t need to refrigerate your butter. It’s not a thing that you actually need to do. You can keep your butter out and then it’s nice and soft and like spreadable. It’s great. But the problem is of course that soft butter is just super messy.
So if you have a normal butter dish where you like lift the lid up and down all the time, you’re going to bump into the butter. It’s going to become big mess. But if it’s on a hinge, then it never bumps into the butter. It knows exactly where it is. Smart. Okay. That’s not for us, but that’s smart, smart, smart product idea.
Because by the way, when I say solving problems, I don’t mean for Entrepreneur. I don’t mean that you like solved a consumer’s problem. That’s literally every business, right? Every business of solving a consumer’s problem, I mean that you solved a problem in your own business. So, because that’s the thing that’s gonna be relatable to other people.
So, so she, she emails me about this buttery thing and I’m like ready to tune out. And then she tells me this fascinating little thing that she did, which sounds silly. I’m sure she thought it was silly to share, but it was great, which is that when she was first developing this thing, she was trying to, she was trying to figure out some basic questions.
What’s the price point? What are the colors that I should sell this thing? And what do know? And she wanted to do some market research. She wants to market research company. She was like, how much would it cost for you to do market research on this? And they said $10,000. So she didn’t have $10,000. So what’s she going to do?
Well, she doesn’t really know. And then one day she’s sitting at the airport flying somewhere and she looks around. And she has this revelation. This is pre COVID. She realizes the airport is full of people who have absolutely nothing better to do than answer questions about butter dishes. There’s, ain’t nothing better to do.
Just sit in there. And fact, you could start at gate one and by the time we got to gate eight, everybody had gate. One is New. You could do just do it over and over again, and you can show up, right? You could, you could, if you’re flying out of an airport at 5:00 PM, you show up whenever you want show up at 8:00 AM.
You have the whole day nobody’s going to kick you out. Right? So, so this is how she does her own market research. She goes to airports every time that she’s flying out, she spends like hours and hours going around asking people or just sitting around and answer questions about butter dishes. She doesn’t say that she’s the.
Inventors, you just, you know, I’m doing some market research and this is how she does it. She saves $10,000. This is how she gets out into the marketplace. This is a wonderful story. I love this story so much because everybody Write people want to Podcast. Can’t skitzy you, but you’ve been smiling throughout the story because it’s so delightfully clever, but also relatable.
And everybody in every business, it doesn’t matter what you’re in. Can appreciate the story. You hear it. And you’re like, I love that I can do something like that myself. Right. That’s what I’m looking for. Nobody cares about the butter dish. Everyone cares about how she did market research. Those are the stories that I’m looking for.
That’s what I respond to. So, yeah. And you would only know that if you spent some time paying attention to the publication,
Yeah. Well, that makes so much sense because when you talk about Entrepreneur as solving a problem, everyone is like, okay. Yeah, I solved all these problems for my customers, but you’re looking to solve problems for your customers. Your customers are the business owners, you know who, and so in this case, market research is a problem.
Like there’s so many of these things that every business owner faces and they’ve all been like, Oh, I’m going to hire this agency. It’s going to be great. $10,000. I don’t know how, you know, everyone has encountered that. And so then, and you know, having that story to solve that problem is. Is really compelling.
Is that something, do you feel like each publication Write sitting out Entrepreneur side, each publication kind of has that, that hook or that formula or their own style along those lines?
Yes, they do. They’re there. They’re all going to be different. And I don’t know how to articulate them for each one, but they, every publication has a, has a reader in mind and a mission statement. All right. So, so when I, when like my friend Joel Weber, who’s the Editor in Chief of Bloomberg Business Week.
We had launched a couple of years ago and I, and I was just curious. I was like, Joel, what is the mission statement for, for Bloomberg business week? And, you know, I can’t remember exactly what he said, but it was, it was some version of, it was some version of like, we, we will tell we like what leaders need to know, or like, what is a leader in business today?
Need to know? We’re going to tell them that started, it’s Write like major leaders in business today. What do they need to know? We are going to tell you, that’s not, that’s a that’s that makes sense. Now I read that magazine and I’m like, Oh yeah, that’s exactly what it is. That’s not my mission. Right? My mission.
Isn’t what, like what major leaders need to know? My mission is an Entrepreneur is someone who makes things happen for themselves. And, and I’m going to show you how to do that. and, that’s, that’s my mission. And, and when I was at fast company, fast company, fast company has a different Editor in Chief.
Now I don’t, I, I don’t, I don’t know how to speak to their mission. Now, when I worked there, it was really, it was like, how do we ha what’s next in business is kind of what it was like, what’s next in business. And so that meant that Entrepreneur or fast company was super interested in things that seemed like they were industry changes.
If you were a small startup, you, you had some, you had something show for a different idea in a way that you were shifting an industry, fast company was interested in you because they were interested in what’s next in business. So, yeah, every publication has that. And I, and I realized that it’s easier to hear it, or somebody say it than it is to like spend time figuring it out.
But if you just, if you just read a bunch and you’re always thinking, why did someone make this right? Like this exists. Somebody worked on it. A whole team of people worked on it. What, what were they thinking? You know, you can reverse engineer it pretty fast. It’s like, if, if you, if you’re watching, if you’re watching a TV and a Subaru ad comes on, you can figure out who Subaru’s targeting pretty fast.
Right? Look, who’s in the car. Where is the ad shot? Well, you know, like what’s the, what’s the music in the ad, right? Like all of those things are signals that tell you Subaru sat down with their marketing team and they’re like, this is, these are the people that we’re targeting right now. Make an ad for that.
You can see it. And the same is true with editorial. You can see who it’s for. You just have to think analytically about it.
Yeah. And it’s good. I’m realizing that I, when I read all of these different publications, I think of the blend or the amalgamation of everything that I’ve read across publications, rather than drawing the lines of what I read in the same publication and then tying it to, okay, what do I know about the publication?
What’s their mission statement. You know, what have I read in interviews with, you know, their editors or their founders. And, I’m realizing now that, yeah, it’d be, it’s maybe not easy, but it’s straightforward to deconstruct that and take your own notes and see, okay, this is the kind of story that they’re interested in.
And then to look at my own life and business and say, okay, where does that match up? And instead of having one pitch that I’m like sending to everybody, then I, you know, tweak versions of
how it matches to these three publications.
Customize it customer, right. It’s it’s I like what you said there, right? It’s not, it’s not hard. It is time consuming. And this is, this is one of the reasons why people would hire a publicist is to not have to do that themselves. But. I mean, you know, most publicists are pretty bad at their jobs. Let’s just be honest.
And so, you know, hiring a publicist is not, is not like an end run around this. I mean, they’re all great publicists out there. They’re great publicists out there. I have friends who are great publicists, but, but a lot of them are bad at their jobs. And, and, and that’s because they’re not doing this thing that I’m talking about either they’re not customizing, they’re not thinking about exactly how to target.
And so the more that you either surround yourself with people who can do that work or do it yourself, the more you will increase your chances.
Yeah, I like that. That’s, that’s probably a good place to wrap up. We’ve taken a bunch of your time. I’d love for you to just tell listeners where to go to subscribe to the newsletter, follow you on the podcast, all of those things.
Yeah. Sounds great. I know. Look at that. The word newsletter only came up once in his podcast. How’s that?
It’s all tangentially related too.
That’s right. I’ll tell you three things, I guess, number one, if it wasn’t clear already, boy, would, I love you to listen to Build for Tomorrow.
So go check that out. Build for Tomorrow, wherever you get podcasts. Number two newsletter. If you go to Jasonfeifer.com, that is my name turned into a URL, J A S O N F as in Frank, E I F as in Frank, E R.com, you will be prompted to sign up for a newsletter, but you could also go up to the top to click on free training where you’ll get this free audio course that I created about how to become more adaptable.
And when you enter your email address to get that free course, what do you know? You will also be subscribed to my newsletter. Little trick, maybe you haven’t heard about that one. And then finally, I will say that I’m pretty active on social media, particularly on Instagram @heyfeifer.
So you can follow me there and DM me. I respond to literally everybody’s DM. So if you’ve got a question, I’ll answer it.
Sounds good. Well, thanks so much for coming on.
Thank you. This was so fun.