138: The Story of the Last 18 Months


00:00:00   How are you feeling, Myke?

00:00:01   (Myke groans)

00:00:04   - This is like the worst possible feeling for me to have

00:00:08   is what I'm feeling right now.

00:00:10   - No, you should feel amazing because it's finally here.

00:00:14   It's finally real.

00:00:15   So much work made tangible.

00:00:18   Why would you feel, "Blah"?

00:00:20   You should feel, "Blah!"

00:00:21   - No, 'cause this is that point of,

00:00:23   you obviously feel this when you work on videos, right?

00:00:26   Of like you work on something for so long.

00:00:29   And that feeling of you're about to like tell everyone about it or show it to everyone.

00:00:33   It just feels horrible. It's very strange.

00:00:37   Yeah, it's the "well there's nothing else to do, now I get to see how it goes" feeling.

00:00:44   That's how you're feeling?

00:00:46   That's how I'm feeling.

00:00:47   Well, it's time to talk about the Sidekick Notepad.

00:00:50   So this is the second big product from Quaddix brand.

00:00:56   So we have the theme system journal, and we've had some little bits here and there, right?

00:01:01   So we have the subtle notebook, and obviously we have the subtlety, the subtle sweater,

00:01:07   we have the Cortex Mark 1 pen in collaboration with Studio Neat.

00:01:10   We've done lots of little explorations, but this is the second product that we kind of went and did the whole thing.

00:01:19   came up with the idea, design, arrange, manufacture, like, you know, it was like a real thing from

00:01:25   nothing.

00:01:26   Yeah, this is the biggie.

00:01:28   Everything else was some kind of like 0.1 type of project.

00:01:33   But this is this is the thing where, God, I don't know, what when must we have mentioned

00:01:37   it years ago when we started to say like, oh, we're working on a second project.

00:01:42   Yeah, this this project began on the first of July 2021.

00:01:45   Oh my god.

00:01:46   - God.

00:01:47   - That was when I sat down and drew out

00:01:50   what I was looking for.

00:01:51   So let's say, so today we're gonna talk about

00:01:53   what this product is, but the majority of the conversation

00:01:56   is gonna talk about the 18 plus month manufacturing process

00:02:01   and kind of what that has been like for us.

00:02:03   And then also talk a bit about what 2023 means

00:02:07   for the company that we run together

00:02:09   and how we're thinking about that, right?

00:02:10   So I just wanna set that out upfront,

00:02:12   just so you know that we're gonna give you

00:02:14   our sales pitch on this product,

00:02:15   but then we're gonna talk about everything

00:02:16   went into making it and how I think it's,

00:02:19   it sounds like a horrible thing to say like at this point,

00:02:22   but like how it is hopefully going to change our business.

00:02:26   - Yeah, putting it on the line there, Myke.

00:02:27   - Yeah. (laughs)

00:02:29   Yeah, I am, yeah.

00:02:30   - This is going to end up being like,

00:02:31   now we can tell you a lot of the things

00:02:33   that we could never quite tell you

00:02:35   as the project was going along.

00:02:38   In this way where we always saw like,

00:02:40   oh, it will make sense shortly, right?

00:02:43   Soon we'll be able to talk about this.

00:02:45   It's just very interesting how we wanted to talk about this as it was going on,

00:02:49   but the very process itself kind of made that completely impossible.

00:02:53   And so now it's like, ah, there is a long story about how this came to be.

00:02:58   And like, I think this is also interesting if like, if you are trying to make a

00:03:02   product, this is why it takes so long.

00:03:05   And it's like, it's been, I've said this with the theme system journal and it's

00:03:10   like 10 times more for Sidekick Notepad.

00:03:13   It's amazing to me how long it takes physical products to get made.

00:03:16   It's astounding to me that anything gets made in the physical world.

00:03:21   And now we can tell you some of why is it like that.

00:03:24   First off, here's what it is.

00:03:27   Sidekick Notepad is a landscape format notepad.

00:03:31   It has 60 perforated pages.

00:03:34   We use the same great papers, the theme system journal.

00:03:37   It is laid out as about three quarters of dot grid for note taking.

00:03:42   and then one quarter of the page is to-do list.

00:03:44   It's 30 centimeters wide by 18 centimeters deep,

00:03:49   and it has been designed to sit comfortably

00:03:51   between you and your keyboard.

00:03:53   We'll talk about the soft launch of this product

00:03:55   in a little bit, but it's been really interesting to me

00:03:57   to see people putting them on their desks

00:03:58   and the way they put them.

00:04:00   It works great in front or behind the keyboard,

00:04:02   depending on how you sit.

00:04:04   We did a lot of testing for ergonomics,

00:04:06   like if people put this in between them and their keyboard,

00:04:08   is it good?

00:04:09   And I would answer yes,

00:04:10   but your own mileage will vary.

00:04:13   But it also just works as a great notepad

00:04:15   in meetings as well.

00:04:16   That's kind of like the dual purpose of the product.

00:04:19   We've made it so it's fantastic as the product

00:04:21   to sit on your desk, so as you're taking notes

00:04:24   throughout the day, as you're typing things,

00:04:26   you're writing things, you want something to scribble down.

00:04:28   Maybe you've got some to-do items you want to write down,

00:04:30   and then at the end of the day,

00:04:32   you can kind of transport those into your apps

00:04:34   and services that you want,

00:04:35   tear off the page and start fresh.

00:04:37   But also it's the perfect product

00:04:39   take to a meeting environment so you don't have your computer on the desk. It's not distracting

00:04:43   you. You can write down all your notes from the meetings, write down all of your action items on

00:04:48   the side, take it to your desk and then transport that information into the places that it needs to

00:04:52   go to. That's kind of what we've made this product for. Yeah, and it's where the name

00:04:57   sidekick notepad comes from is because we were really just thinking about this as like,

00:05:02   it is your sidekick while you're working. It's there to help you do whatever it is that you're

00:05:09   trying to do. And the vision of this notepad that is perfectly sized to sit in between you and your

00:05:18   laptop on a table, that is really the core idea of this. And like you said, in addition, the,

00:05:23   I need to go to a meeting, I want to be able to take notes, those notes are going to be actionable,

00:05:29   and they're part of like what my day is,

00:05:32   but I don't need to bring my whole computer along.

00:05:34   And it's like, that can just be distracting.

00:05:36   - And I've never liked to do it.

00:05:38   Like this goes back to when I would work in the bank,

00:05:40   you know, I'd be sitting around the table with 12 people

00:05:43   and you know, 10 of them would have their laptops.

00:05:46   And you could see that they weren't focused on the meeting.

00:05:49   Like emails would come in,

00:05:50   notifications would come in and distract them.

00:05:52   And like, you know, that's fine.

00:05:54   But if I was gonna be in a meeting,

00:05:55   I wanted to be able to get the value out of it.

00:05:57   otherwise there was no point being there in the first place. And so I would like

00:06:01   to just have a notebook of some kind in front of me and that was what I used.

00:06:04   Yeah. And so that's where this product comes from, it's why we went to great

00:06:08   lengths to make it like structurally sound so it can easily move around. I

00:06:12   have a great story about that later on in the episode about what that took to do. It's like you can pick it up and it

00:06:17   doesn't like flop down. But it's also the idea of it being your companion, your

00:06:22   sidekick that's why this is not a notebook it is a notepad it is for

00:06:28   things that you take notes on throughout a day or throughout a session and then

00:06:34   you put them somewhere else this is not a notebook for you to save this stuff in

00:06:39   forever it is intended that you will tear the page out and start fresh now

00:06:43   you can keep pages I do like if I've got something important I'll keep the page

00:06:47   and you can even like slot the page kind of like in the back which is just a

00:06:51   little hack that I've done to my own notebook that I made, which is like a funny thing,

00:06:54   you just like tuck it in the back and it works great behind there, you can keep it for later.

00:06:58   But the idea is with this product, where it's coming from, it's like reason for existing

00:07:04   is I've been calling it like an in-between. So it kind of fits like in-between in your

00:07:11   actual setup, but it is also like an in-between between like something you're doing right

00:07:17   now and your to-do app or it's an in-between between what I'm thinking about and what eventually

00:07:21   goes on my computer. I'm sitting there sketching out an idea then when I'm happy with what

00:07:25   I've got I'll type it into notes or obsidian or whatever right? That is like the as we

00:07:32   would call it the insight that created this product. I was like I just want something

00:07:36   that when I get a phone call and I'm now on a phone call that I wasn't expecting I don't

00:07:41   have to hunt for a pen and paper. The paper's right there always. My Sidekick notepad is

00:07:48   100% of the time open between me and my keyboard and that is like the cover has been designed

00:07:55   with specific folds so it can stay comfortably open on the desk. That is where it comes from,

00:08:03   being this ever open canvas for you to take whatever notes or whatever to-dos that you

00:08:08   you ever need to at any point during the day.

00:08:10   It's like, it just removes that friction of,

00:08:12   let me grab a piece of paper, like it's always there.

00:08:14   - Yeah, and it's very easy,

00:08:16   I think a lot of people have this experience,

00:08:18   I definitely have this experience of that exact thing.

00:08:21   You've been caught off guard and some like actionable thing

00:08:23   has just come across your radar, like someone called you

00:08:25   and I was like, oh, I need to do this thing,

00:08:26   I need to get back to this person about something.

00:08:29   And I have definitely made some digital note on that

00:08:32   in a hasty way.

00:08:34   And then because digital has no physicality,

00:08:37   It's just poof, gone forever.

00:08:39   And it's like, oh no, right?

00:08:40   Like it's very easy to lose stuff that way.

00:08:43   And my vision on this is a bit like paper products exist on a kind of spectrum

00:08:50   of like ephemeral to archival.

00:08:53   How long do you expect something to last?

00:08:56   And the theme system journal is way more on the archival end of that spectrum.

00:09:00   Like you're writing things in here.

00:09:02   You're specifically going to look at them later.

00:09:04   In a future year, you may want to look at the previous year.

00:09:07   Like it is an archival kind of product.

00:09:09   This isn't exactly ephemeral, like a, like a scrap of paper would be

00:09:14   the most ephemeral kind of thing.

00:09:15   But I sort of imagine that each page on the Sidekick notepad is designed to

00:09:22   last for somewhere between like a day and a week's worth of work, depending

00:09:27   on like how much you write down.

00:09:28   And it's, it's there to exist as like, this is the buffer of that size.

00:09:34   Do you have stuff that you're like, you're brainstorming something today and you just want somewhere to write it physically?

00:09:40   Because I still maintain that like physically writing out stuff is much more helpful under lots of circumstances.

00:09:46   Like you have this pad of paper that's right in front of you.

00:09:49   It specifically has a dot grid, so it makes it very easy to do any kind of brainstorming on there, like, or you can write on it.

00:09:56   And it also has this little task list on the side of like, oh, right, this I need to get back to this person by the end of the week.

00:10:03   And I just want to put it here in this place

00:10:05   where I'm always going to physically see it in front of me.

00:10:08   So that's kind of my idea of where does this product sit

00:10:11   in the one day to one week per page.

00:10:15   And then ultimately it does go somewhere else.

00:10:18   - Yeah, I'll very frequently take some notes

00:10:20   on something I'm thinking about

00:10:22   and I will leave that page, I won't tear it off.

00:10:25   And that also works for me.

00:10:27   If I'm working on some kind of bigger project,

00:10:30   it's just there all the time in front of the keyboard.

00:10:32   and it kind of helps me with then the further brainstorming

00:10:35   of that thing, it's like a little reminder,

00:10:37   it's like this physical reminder of this idea

00:10:39   that I'm working on, and I kind of like that

00:10:41   as like a way to help me noodle through things.

00:10:44   So like it's 60 pages, so essentially it could be two months

00:10:47   but I think I keep mine for about three to four months

00:10:49   'cause I don't use a page every day.

00:10:51   I don't need a full page every day.

00:10:53   Like sometimes I'll just make a note here

00:10:55   and then tomorrow's notes can also go on that same page,

00:10:58   like it doesn't need another whole page.

00:11:01   So this product, the Psycic Notepad, the price is $32.

00:11:05   It has been made with very particular materials

00:11:08   and processes which have created a quality product.

00:11:11   We'll talk about those a little bit later on in the episode.

00:11:13   This is expensive for a notebook of any kind.

00:11:16   I understand that, but I know what it took

00:11:19   to make this thing and I believe in the quality

00:11:22   of this product at that price point.

00:11:23   - I mean, look, I'm just gonna say it.

00:11:25   So like with the Cortex stuff,

00:11:28   One of the things that's really important to me is that these products

00:11:32   are physically nice to use.

00:11:34   They feel good.

00:11:35   They fold right.

00:11:37   The paper tears right.

00:11:38   The paper is high quality.

00:11:39   Like you want things that just are a pleasure to use as much as possible.

00:11:45   And that just means that the price of materials has to go up.

00:11:50   And so like that is the place in the market that we're trying

00:11:53   to sit with these products is we want to be making the things.

00:11:57   That's like, yeah, it's more expensive than a random pad of paper that you could keep

00:12:02   next to your computer, for sure.

00:12:05   But it's purpose designed and it feels very nice.

00:12:09   Once again, the amount of effort spent on how does it tear is just outrageous.

00:12:15   But like that's a key part of the thing, like you want it to feel good.

00:12:18   Put a pin in that, right?

00:12:20   I'm gonna write on my Sidekick notepad that's in front of me right now, I'm gonna write

00:12:24   tearing versus folding.

00:12:27   We're gonna get to that later on in the episode,

00:12:29   and you'll see what I'm talking about

00:12:30   when it comes to this thing.

00:12:32   - You just made me realize I actually need a second one

00:12:35   for my podcasting computer,

00:12:36   because this is exactly the kind of thing that like,

00:12:40   I have my Cortex show notes open in front of me right now,

00:12:43   but I keep them all on the computer,

00:12:45   and I don't really want to type on the keyboard too much

00:12:48   while we're talking,

00:12:49   'cause it means editing work for you,

00:12:51   and it also kind of distracts me a little bit somehow

00:12:54   when I'm typing.

00:12:56   This is exactly the kind of thing like,

00:12:57   oh, I need a second one for my podcasting desk

00:13:01   for like things to follow up later on

00:13:03   during the Cortex conversation.

00:13:04   That's exactly what it's for.

00:13:06   - That was a part of the insight that I had

00:13:07   of why I wanted it,

00:13:08   is I've always had a notebook of some kind in front of me.

00:13:11   We work with Studio Neat on the pens

00:13:14   and they helped us get started with the journal

00:13:16   and they make a great product called the PanaBook,

00:13:18   which I've used and love forever,

00:13:20   but I was looking for something slightly different

00:13:22   'cause it's a notebook, right?

00:13:24   But I wanted something that was intentional

00:13:27   in the idea of you just tear it and move on.

00:13:30   And that's what it's for.

00:13:31   I was looking for this kind of thing.

00:13:33   But the idea of having a notebook in front of me

00:13:37   all the time has been something that I've been doing

00:13:38   in some form forever.

00:13:40   I used to use field notes like this,

00:13:42   Rodea notebooks, all these kinds of things.

00:13:46   So again, this is similar to what we've said

00:13:49   about the journal.

00:13:50   And the journal leans more on this end than Psychic Notepad,

00:13:53   but you can take the idea, right?

00:13:54   Like if you just think this sounds like an interesting idea

00:13:58   and you don't want to pay $32 for our product,

00:14:00   I just endorse the idea of having a notebook

00:14:02   between you and your keyboard, right?

00:14:04   - Yeah.

00:14:04   - They're not all gonna fit as well as this one,

00:14:06   but you'll be able to find something that probably can.

00:14:08   Even if it's just like a legal pad,

00:14:10   like just turn it on its side and put it in front of you.

00:14:13   Or even if you're thinking like,

00:14:14   "I'm not sure if I want to spend that right now."

00:14:16   Try it with something that's cheaper

00:14:18   and you will get an idea as to whether

00:14:20   this is a useful thing for you in your life.

00:14:22   And then I'll tell you, buy ours,

00:14:23   'cause it will be the best one you can get.

00:14:25   (laughing)

00:14:27   - Yeah, I'm totally behind that as well.

00:14:30   It's like all of this kind of stuff,

00:14:32   you don't need to get our exact notepad

00:14:36   to have something to write on your desk,

00:14:38   but we're just trying to make one that's really nice to use.

00:14:42   That's what we're trying to hit.

00:14:43   But that is why the price just has to be higher

00:14:46   than it's going to be for a regular notepad

00:14:49   that you're gonna find.

00:14:50   So as always, you can go to cortexmerch.com to get this.

00:14:54   Again, we'll talk a little bit later on in the episode

00:14:56   as well about that URL, but cortexmerch.com

00:14:58   is where you can go to buy this.

00:15:00   I think you can also go to sidekicknotepad.com,

00:15:02   but that's just like a way longer URL.

00:15:04   So just go to cortexmerch.com.

00:15:06   - Yeah, and Myke, we've been training people

00:15:07   on cortexmerch.com for a while.

00:15:10   - Yeah. - So it's like,

00:15:11   go to cortexmerch.com.

00:15:12   - You can go to cortexmerch.com.

00:15:13   But before I talk about the manufacturing part,

00:15:16   I wanna talk about one more part of the money part,

00:15:18   which is shipping.

00:15:19   I just want to get this out there, all right?

00:15:21   - Yes.

00:15:22   - So people stop asking me.

00:15:24   And if you hear this and still ask questions,

00:15:26   I can't help you anymore, right?

00:15:27   Like this is the thing.

00:15:28   So shipping is expensive for this product

00:15:31   because of its size and because right now shipping is high.

00:15:35   Shipping at the moment, I check frequently.

00:15:38   So US shipping is fluctuating by a dollar a day,

00:15:42   some days for this product.

00:15:44   Sometimes it's $11 to ship, sometimes it's $12 to ship.

00:15:47   Like that is just what shipping is like right now.

00:15:50   Shipping is expensive.

00:15:51   It has been since the start of the pandemic.

00:15:53   And I don't even know if it's logistics anymore.

00:15:56   I think maybe just the logistics companies like

00:15:58   that the shipping costs what it costs.

00:15:59   So they're just not changing it.

00:16:01   But US shipping on this product costs $12.

00:16:04   It's a complicated product to ship.

00:16:06   We get a lot of people outside of the US ask us,

00:16:10   why don't we stock in another place?

00:16:12   Like the simple answer for that is,

00:16:14   the logistics partner that we use,

00:16:16   Cotton Bureau have been great to us,

00:16:18   they only have one location.

00:16:20   We, for about 100,000 reasons,

00:16:24   can't set up another location on our own.

00:16:26   We would need another storefront, another URL,

00:16:29   like it would be very, very complicated,

00:16:31   way more complicated than me and Grey

00:16:34   as the only people in this business can handle.

00:16:37   - Yeah, it's just too much.

00:16:38   - I hope that one day in Cortex Brands' future,

00:16:41   we will be able to have multiple fulfillment locations,

00:16:44   but with the size and age of our business right now,

00:16:46   that's just not realistic for us,

00:16:48   especially because me and Greybov

00:16:50   have other things that we do.

00:16:52   Like if I quit podcasting and he quit YouTubing,

00:16:54   then we could probably find a way to do that,

00:16:56   but that would also be catastrophic for our families.

00:16:58   So we're not gonna do that.

00:17:01   So I just wanted to give a fact

00:17:03   that people may not be aware of

00:17:05   as to why shipping sometimes appears to be very high

00:17:10   when they go to buy this product.

00:17:11   And that is because since 2021,

00:17:15   especially this is for Europe and the UK especially,

00:17:18   there was a new rule brought in that taxes must be paid

00:17:22   at time of purchase, and then that money will be passed on

00:17:27   to the governments, right?

00:17:29   So you are paying your sales tax, VAT,

00:17:32   whatever it is upfront.

00:17:35   So you may see, for example, I did this with the UK recently,

00:17:38   you know, like it's $32 plus $12 shipping,

00:17:41   so the same shipping price,

00:17:42   plus around $8 to cover taxes.

00:17:45   That covers VAT and some other kind of customs duty stuff.

00:17:49   - VAT is like the UK sales tax for anyone outside the UK.

00:17:52   - If we sold Sidekick Notepad from the UK,

00:17:57   from Germany, from whatever,

00:17:59   we still have to charge the same taxes.

00:18:03   So the price may be a dollar or two different,

00:18:08   but it wouldn't really be that much different.

00:18:10   So what I just want people to be aware of

00:18:12   that they may not know is that their taxes

00:18:15   from their governments are being included

00:18:17   in the purchase up front.

00:18:19   That means you will not get a customs notice afterwards.

00:18:24   And they were worse because, especially in the UK,

00:18:27   you would also get charged a fee for handling.

00:18:29   - Yeah, this is one of these things that changed

00:18:31   and it's just a subtle way that life changed for the better

00:18:36   that I didn't really think about

00:18:38   until we really started shipping a lot of notebooks.

00:18:41   But it used to, like, I used to constantly run into this problem in the UK of, I would get something shipped to me from America, and then it would be like, lost in customs for forever.

00:18:52   I would sometimes get a slip that told me I needed to go to a website to like, pay some ransom money to get that thing sent to me.

00:19:00   Sometimes I would just never get the slip and it would be sent back and it would just take forever to get some product.

00:19:05   It was genuinely such a nightmare.

00:19:08   Um, but the UK and the EU did do this rule change.

00:19:12   That's like, no, no.

00:19:12   If, if you as a company are shipping into the UK, you as an American company

00:19:19   need to collect the VAT sales tax ahead of time and then pay it to the UK.

00:19:24   It actually has made my shipping life so much better because now I actually get

00:19:29   products because the thing is all handled in advance and it just arrives at the door.

00:19:33   And like you said, it's actually cheaper because they don't have this additional

00:19:37   BS like handling fee at customs.

00:19:40   Which I think was either like eight or 12 pounds.

00:19:42   Like used to drive me mad.

00:19:43   It was ridiculous.

00:19:44   It was absolutely ridiculous.

00:19:46   And there was no way that you can handle this ahead of time.

00:19:48   But it has, even for me buying products from the US, I do have this like, sometimes

00:19:53   I, it takes my breath away when I look about how much it's going to cost to ship it.

00:19:57   But it's just because previously I would have bought it and then later have gotten

00:20:03   this bill basically to have the thing actually be received from me.

00:20:07   And so the price would have been split up into those two things.

00:20:11   But yeah, so we do get a ton of questions about like, I'm in the EU or I'm in the UK

00:20:16   or I'm somewhere else and I'm trying to get this sent and like, why is it so high?

00:20:21   And it is because of this rule change.

00:20:23   And I have a suspicion that because the system I do think just kind of works better for all

00:20:27   parties involved, I think more and more countries are going to be doing this kind of like, no,

00:20:32   no, you just need to collect the taxes ahead of time thing.

00:20:35   So it's going to be happening more and more.

00:20:37   But yeah, like you said, if we have basically like $8 to cover it for selling one of these

00:20:43   notepads in the UK, well, that would mean that we would just have to sell the Sidekick

00:20:47   notepad for $40 in the UK, but now we set it at $32 and then it's also the $8 for the

00:20:55   VAT.

00:20:56   So that's where the pricing comes from.

00:20:57   - The price is effectively the same.

00:20:59   So we would hopefully one day have some more spread distribution just for speed.

00:21:05   That's the only difference.

00:21:06   The difference is speed.

00:21:07   So like, if you're in the US, you might get it in a few days.

00:21:09   If you're in the UK, you wait a couple of weeks.

00:21:11   Like, that would be the reason I would do it.

00:21:13   But it's not a price thing.

00:21:14   I think there is speed is part of it.

00:21:16   One of the reasons I would like it is genuinely just so it's like it's less confusing for

00:21:21   the buyer.

00:21:22   That's a good point.

00:21:23   I just think as a user experience, nobody likes it when they go to buy a thing and then

00:21:27   they're like, "Ah ha, but did you know that there's a hotel fee as well?"

00:21:31   It's like, "What?

00:21:32   I'm at a hotel.

00:21:33   Why is there like a room fee?

00:21:34   That's what hotels do.

00:21:35   Why is this extra?"

00:21:36   Like that kind of thing is just unpleasant.

00:21:38   So that for me would be the main thing.

00:21:40   Like we would want more distribution

00:21:43   simply to eliminate confusion because this is,

00:21:45   this has gotta be by far like the number one

00:21:48   most frequent asked question for Cortex brand as a company

00:21:52   is why on earth if the two of you are located in the UK,

00:21:56   does it cost so much to ship to the UK?

00:21:58   - Definitely not made easy about the fact

00:21:59   that this product is made in London,

00:22:01   but like that's like a whole other reason for that,

00:22:03   which I'm going to get to in a minute,

00:22:04   but like it has to be made somewhere.

00:22:06   it just so happens that it's made here instead of where the journal's made, which is in Poland.

00:22:09   It is going to be more absurd in a moment, yes. So that's our way to try to explain what is

00:22:16   actually happening when someone goes to purchase this. And like, what's this additional cost to

00:22:20   ship it to where I live and where I know you live? And also there's just this thing of like,

00:22:24   now I'm plugged a little bit more into like the independent small company maker kind of world.

00:22:29   everyone hates Amazon because what Amazon did for Papal's mental model

00:22:35   including mine, yours, everyone's bought shipping costs.

00:22:37   Yeah.

00:22:38   Shipping costs nothing.

00:22:40   Nothing, yeah.

00:22:41   But it doesn't, right?

00:22:42   Like Amazon have their own logistics network, you pay every year, right?

00:22:47   Like a chunk of money and they make it up in volume.

00:22:50   We are not making any money on the shipping.

00:22:52   It is all going to the logistics companies that put these things on whatever it is type of machine.

00:22:58   they put them on and send them somewhere.

00:22:59   Yeah, yeah, that's another good point to raise.

00:23:02   This isn't like on eBay, right, where you're making all your margins on a BS shipping cost.

00:23:07   That's not the situation here.

00:23:08   It's like, no, no, that's actually what it costs to move it from one place to another.

00:23:12   But yeah, Amazon has completely watered people's minds as to what it costs to ship product

00:23:17   because of just the way that they work.

00:23:19   Including mine.

00:23:20   When I buy stuff that's not on Amazon, I'm always surprised like, shipping!

00:23:24   I pay once a year for this!

00:23:25   What is this doing here?

00:23:26   I'm buying toothpaste and literal individual batteries and having them shipped with Amazon

00:23:31   and it costs nothing.

00:23:32   It's like, oh right, it doesn't cost nothing at all.

00:23:34   I have like a great example of this.

00:23:36   So you're familiar with comic relief like Red Nose Day, that kind of thing, right?

00:23:40   Mm-hmm.

00:23:41   So it's a big thing, it's a big charity event here in the UK.

00:23:43   Johnny Ive made the Red Nose this year.

00:23:45   Okay.

00:23:46   So he designed it, which is just like a cool thing, it's like a really interesting design

00:23:50   thing.

00:23:51   I wanted one.

00:23:52   Okay.

00:23:53   And Tom and Dan were like, can you- we want them, because you know, we're just like design

00:23:56   fanboys or whatever, right? So I was like, "Yeah, I'll get you some." So I went to the Red Nose Day

00:24:00   website and I bought three of them and I think I paid more in shipping than I did for the product.

00:24:06   - Mm-hmm, yeah, for sure, you had to. - Then I saw the next day that Amazon are doing it and the

00:24:09   shipping's free. - Oh, right, right. - I was like, "Yeah, you see?" - All right, but enough of that shipping.

00:24:15   Let's talk about the timeline of this product, Myke. - This episode of Cortex is brought to you by Issue.

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00:26:42   So with the journal, when we made version 2 of the journal, it was from scratch but

00:26:47   we were basing it on something that had existed, which was the first version the studio Neat

00:26:52   helpers make. So I was like, "Alright, I have an idea of what I like and don't like about

00:26:56   this product and what I want to change and how I want to redo it." And I could kind of

00:27:00   build it up from a starting point. With Psychic Notepad, I was going from zero. There wasn't

00:27:06   anything that I owned that existed like this. I bought lots of products to do competitive

00:27:11   research.

00:27:12   enjoyed visiting you at Mega Studio and seeing just the stacks of other notebooks where you

00:27:18   were just like trying to get some kind of design reference for what we wanted to do,

00:27:24   the result of which was like, "All of these are terrible."

00:27:26   [laughs]

00:27:27   Yeah, it helped inform to me how the cover should open, but again, it's like you would

00:27:32   then use it and the paper was terrible, or you'd use it and the perforation was really

00:27:37   bad and would be messy at the end.

00:27:40   I couldn't find anything that, and that's it for me.

00:27:43   If I can't find something,

00:27:44   then I know we can go and do it, right?

00:27:46   If the product doesn't exist, we can go and do it.

00:27:49   And this product initially,

00:27:51   I was kind of code named it Scratchpad,

00:27:54   because it's like initial idea was

00:27:56   it was just gonna be all dot grid.

00:27:58   And as we were talking,

00:28:01   I don't think you were super sold on it.

00:28:03   And then just the idea of,

00:28:05   well, what if I put a to-do list on the side,

00:28:07   and it was, we were off to the races.

00:28:09   - Yeah, like now this is a thing.

00:28:10   - 'Cause then it was like, it has more of a story,

00:28:13   more of like a purpose in that idea

00:28:15   that you just have in front of you,

00:28:16   take your notes, put your to-dos down,

00:28:18   like it's got more of a reason to exist, right?

00:28:21   Because it's opinionated in its own way.

00:28:24   And plus like the design, it was simple in a way

00:28:28   'cause we didn't need to redesign

00:28:30   because we just used the assets that are in the journal.

00:28:34   But I loved that and wanted to do that

00:28:36   because then it builds like a visual consistency

00:28:38   between our products.

00:28:39   - Yeah, I think that's, for me,

00:28:41   that was like a big moment in this timeline,

00:28:43   is one, when we discussed the to-do list on the side,

00:28:48   they said, I do really like that both of our products now

00:28:53   have this, like there's a thing that it's intended

00:28:55   to be used for, but it is quite flexible,

00:28:58   you can do whatever you want with it.

00:28:59   But yeah, that first version of it is like,

00:29:01   it was too far in the do whatever you want,

00:29:04   it's just a dot grid.

00:29:05   It's like this doesn't, it doesn't suggest to me a intended use.

00:29:11   Whereas like once those to-dos were on the side, it's like, ah, okay, I get it.

00:29:14   You've got like brainstorm, jot down whatever, make notes on the left hand

00:29:19   side, then like, here's the results of this on the right hand side.

00:29:24   And like, these are the things I, you know, like I was thinking

00:29:27   about it for when I was a teacher.

00:29:29   Like that, that right hand side would totally be for me the like, what must

00:29:33   I do before I can go home today kind of things of like, all right, this came up,

00:29:37   this came up, this came up, like, I'll just put these things down here.

00:29:39   Uh, and then feeling like, oh, we can borrow the design language

00:29:46   from the theme system journal.

00:29:48   For me, that was really like a, this is an actual company kind of moment of like,

00:29:53   oh, look at this, like we have this visual similarity between these two products.

00:29:58   I just absolutely love that.

00:30:00   and that's where it settled in my brain,

00:30:03   is like, this is a thing.

00:30:04   - Yeah, and so then it's like, yeah, okay, we've got this,

00:30:07   we know where we're going.

00:30:08   So I was like, easy peasy, I thought to myself.

00:30:10   (laughing)

00:30:12   We have a company we've been using

00:30:14   to produce a product for us for two and a half years now.

00:30:18   The first one was really easy,

00:30:20   we just sent them to the specs,

00:30:22   and they were like, yeah, we can do that.

00:30:23   So I was like, awesome.

00:30:24   So I hit up my contact and was like,

00:30:26   can I get a new spec request form?

00:30:28   I got a new product.

00:30:29   And she's like, "Yeah, sure."

00:30:30   Sent me the form, filled it all out.

00:30:32   I knew how to fill it out now

00:30:33   because I understand what paper means.

00:30:35   You know, it wasn't like last time where I was like,

00:30:38   "Uh, white paper?"

00:30:40   Right, like, you know, it's just like, I don't know.

00:30:42   But now it's like, I can say,

00:30:43   "Well, I want this kind of paper in this way,

00:30:45   "and I want this kind of cover and this kind of binding,

00:30:48   "and here's some images and here's some reference

00:30:50   "and here's some diagrams."

00:30:52   And she was like, "Great, we can't do this."

00:30:55   (laughing)

00:30:56   And I was like, "Oh my God, not again."

00:30:59   - Yeah.

00:30:59   - Like it just, it took me back to

00:31:02   when we were trying to get the journal like redesigned,

00:31:06   or even when we were trying to make it

00:31:07   in the very beginning.

00:31:10   And like, and I couldn't find anyone

00:31:12   that would produce the product

00:31:13   and I couldn't understand it back then.

00:31:15   And I didn't get it now.

00:31:16   And I was just like, I was like, why?

00:31:18   Like, what's the reason?

00:31:20   And she just said to me, what you want is hard to make

00:31:23   and we would need to buy tools for it.

00:31:25   and the volume that you want to start with,

00:31:29   that is not a thing that we wanna do.

00:31:31   And so I was like, okay, you know what, that's fine.

00:31:34   - That's understandable.

00:31:35   Yeah, that's understandable as a reason.

00:31:37   - Like for us, I said, I'm hoping that we'll be able

00:31:40   to order this same amount once, twice a year.

00:31:45   And she's like, well, if you can confirm that, then great.

00:31:48   But I'm like, well, but I can't.

00:31:50   - Right, yeah.

00:31:51   - So.

00:31:52   - It's like, I mean, we could say we could confirm it,

00:31:54   but then that would not be true.

00:31:55   Like we don't know.

00:31:56   - If it was the size of the journal,

00:31:58   then they would be happy and I hope it will be,

00:32:01   but they're just like,

00:32:02   unless you can give us some kind of like,

00:32:04   you're willing to put down, you know,

00:32:07   that you will order 10,000 a year or whatever, we'll do it.

00:32:10   And it's like, hmm. - They were like, no.

00:32:11   - I don't want to say that for sure.

00:32:15   So I was kind of at a loss and then decided to play a card

00:32:22   that I've had as a potential escape hatch kind of card

00:32:27   for a while.

00:32:28   We have a friend, his name's Matt,

00:32:30   who works for a British paper company called GF Smith.

00:32:33   I met Matt years ago at a conference

00:32:35   and we've become good friends.

00:32:36   And he's always said,

00:32:38   "You know I could help you with all of this."

00:32:40   And I'm like, "Well, yeah, but as soon as that happens,

00:32:43   we now have a business relationship rather

00:32:47   than just a friendship."

00:32:49   And I don't want to necessarily do that

00:32:51   I said Matt you need to understand when it comes to this stuff I'm really demanding.

00:32:55   I want very specific things done in very specific ways and like and I want it done just right

00:33:00   and he's like don't worry about it because I can help you so I was like okay I called Matt and I

00:33:07   was like look this is what I want to make this is how I want to make it our existing supplier

00:33:12   doesn't want to help us or can't help us what shall I do and so he put me in touch with a

00:33:18   a number of manufacturers in the UK, because they're a British company, who he thought

00:33:24   would be able to help us produce it. So I had a bunch of phone calls, which was super

00:33:28   weird to me. But like, you know, I'd send these people an email of what I want and they

00:33:32   call me on the phone. Like, what's happening? Why is everyone calling me? And I remember

00:33:37   saying this to you at the time and you were like, oh God. They were just unprompted phone

00:33:42   calls.

00:33:43   Yeah, but this is, this is also

00:33:44   This is how this stuff's done.

00:33:45   It's how it's done.

00:33:47   And I can also, in retrospect,

00:33:50   I can also understand this much better

00:33:52   because in a conversation, lots of things can come up

00:33:56   about little details that really matter

00:33:58   that would just take forever in email back and forth.

00:34:01   - They're sussing me out, I'm sussing them out.

00:34:03   They're like, "What about this, what about that?"

00:34:04   It would have taken way longer to email back and forth,

00:34:07   and it never would have been as clear.

00:34:08   - And there's a little bit of a first date vibe

00:34:11   to this as well of like,

00:34:12   "Well, do we want to work with you?"

00:34:15   Which is still, I find these business

00:34:19   to business relationships just very strange

00:34:22   in the way it all works.

00:34:23   And it's just not the consumer world at all

00:34:25   where you just buy stuff and people sell you stuff.

00:34:28   It's like, "No, no, no, how much do we like you?

00:34:30   How much do we want to enter into a relationship with you?"

00:34:33   So yeah, I can, in retrospect,

00:34:35   I totally get the phone calls, but yes,

00:34:37   I remember talking to you about it and you're like,

00:34:39   "Ah, someone just called me.

00:34:41   I was just finding my own business.

00:34:43   And now I want to answer this phone call right away

00:34:45   because we're trying to find someone to work with.

00:34:47   And it was a little stressful.

00:34:48   - I understand the idea of like,

00:34:49   "Hey, let's have a phone call.

00:34:50   "How you set for next Wednesday?"

00:34:52   But no, all these people just call me.

00:34:54   - Yeah.

00:34:55   - Like just randomly.

00:34:55   It's fine, but it was weird

00:34:57   'cause I don't work that way with anyone.

00:35:00   And I haven't for like 10 years at this point.

00:35:04   So we looked at these two,

00:35:06   we had two companies that were interested

00:35:09   and looking at the product and I sent them some basic specs

00:35:12   and they produced me some basic prototypes.

00:35:14   And it was like I must have been talking

00:35:17   in two different languages to these companies

00:35:19   because one was good and one was bad

00:35:22   in every single possible way.

00:35:24   I would try and tear the pages out

00:35:26   and the whole page would just come out.

00:35:28   It's like it wouldn't tear,

00:35:29   like it would just completely come out, right?

00:35:31   Like every little bit, it was very strange.

00:35:34   And it was just like an interesting part

00:35:36   of this whole process, but one that I was happy

00:35:38   that I actually got options.

00:35:40   Because if I feel like if I would have gone,

00:35:43   if I would have only had the one option,

00:35:44   it was the company where it didn't work the way I wanted,

00:35:47   the product would have ended up changing.

00:35:49   We would have had to have gone

00:35:50   in a different direction potentially.

00:35:51   And I just find that like super interesting.

00:35:54   And was why I was super happy that I had options

00:35:56   for these prototypes that was made.

00:35:58   So we ended up working with a company based in London,

00:36:02   which is unbelievable.

00:36:04   - I know, it's shocking to me.

00:36:07   And like on that idea of the first date,

00:36:09   like when I was talking to them,

00:36:10   I was like, please let those be good

00:36:12   because I can get on a train and be there

00:36:15   in like half an hour.

00:36:17   It is just unbelievable to me that I can do this.

00:36:20   Like that there is a company based in central London.

00:36:25   - I know.

00:36:26   - That is a print shop.

00:36:29   They don't have an office there.

00:36:31   They assemble the products there.

00:36:34   - Yeah.

00:36:35   - Unbelievable.

00:36:36   It's like magic and I had the same first date jitters

00:36:40   when you started talking to me about this

00:36:42   because it was like, oh my God, this beautiful girl

00:36:45   and she lives down the street, it's impossible.

00:36:48   (laughing)

00:36:50   I was like, please let this work out, please.

00:36:53   - It worked out super great.

00:36:54   We started the project with them

00:36:56   and we started going through all the necessities

00:36:58   and we started to prototype things

00:37:01   and work through various challenges, there were many.

00:37:04   So like originally, to keep visual consistency,

00:37:07   I was like, well, what if we did the perforation,

00:37:09   like the perforation is on the journal,

00:37:11   where it's like the circles.

00:37:13   So we tried it out and it was so ugly.

00:37:16   Because across that entire stretch of the notebook,

00:37:19   all right, so like 30 centimeters across,

00:37:21   it just ended up being like this little sharp points

00:37:25   the whole way across.

00:37:26   - Yeah.

00:37:27   - It just did not work across that long strip,

00:37:29   which I never would have imagined.

00:37:30   I was like, this looks so cool.

00:37:31   It did not look cool.

00:37:32   So we ended up going with a more standard perforation.

00:37:35   - Yeah, it was way more visually prominent

00:37:37   than you would have expected.

00:37:38   And this is the kind of little stuff

00:37:41   that just really adds up.

00:37:43   You go like, "Oh, we're gonna save time this way."

00:37:45   And you go, "Oh no, this actually looks terrible."

00:37:47   - It was cute in the journal,

00:37:49   visually distracting in Sideki Notepad.

00:37:51   It just did not look right to have across the top.

00:37:55   It was great when there was nothing torn,

00:37:58   but as soon as you torn one, it didn't look good.

00:38:00   Yeah, and it's also because the way that this works,

00:38:03   it's like you're working down through it on your desk,

00:38:06   so you are getting like a tower then

00:38:08   of this semicircle pattern, and it just, it looked bad.

00:38:12   But yeah, like, keep in mind, listeners,

00:38:14   every time for the rest of this conversation,

00:38:17   Myke mentions like something that needs to be changed,

00:38:20   that means like a new physical prototype needs to be built.

00:38:25   Like it just, it takes forever to do this

00:38:29   if you really care about the details.

00:38:32   And this is where I am so appreciative

00:38:35   for your pickiness on this,

00:38:36   because you also, just for the paper

00:38:40   and for lots of other details,

00:38:41   you're very sensitive to changes

00:38:45   that are small changes in a quality direction

00:38:47   that all add up.

00:38:49   But it does mean that, oh, it's gonna take a while

00:38:52   for us to get this product actually made.

00:38:54   - From when we began manufacturing

00:38:55   to when it was completed, it was 12 months.

00:38:57   So we had what would have been the final prototype,

00:39:02   what was expected to be the final prototype,

00:39:04   one year before production ended.

00:39:07   - Right, yeah.

00:39:07   - And there were many things that went into that,

00:39:09   which I'm going to talk about,

00:39:10   but it took so much longer.

00:39:13   And this is, remember what Gray was saying earlier

00:39:15   about can we talk about this as we're going along?

00:39:18   No, because at every single point in that 12-month span,

00:39:21   I thought we were a month away from Sharepeng.

00:39:23   - Yeah, we kept having this feeling like

00:39:26   There's no point in talking about it now because we're almost done.

00:39:30   But then also, and then as it started to go on, it was like, we obviously

00:39:35   can't talk about this because we could still be another six months away.

00:39:38   Yeah.

00:39:39   From being able to show anything.

00:39:40   That was like the second half that we transitioned into is now that it's taken

00:39:46   this long, what are we going to do?

00:39:49   Are we going to start talking about a thing that we've spent months and months

00:39:54   and months on, but that might still take a year before it can be in people's hands.

00:39:58   Like that just seems like a terrible idea.

00:40:00   It's been very weird, I think for both of us, to have this major project running in

00:40:07   the background that has been in this position of like, "Oh, it's almost done.

00:40:12   Oh, it'll never be done."

00:40:14   And that also just like, we can't really talk about this product in any kind of useful

00:40:19   way on the podcast itself.

00:40:20   And also the further we got down the road the higher the risks became because the product kept getting more and more expensive

00:40:27   And so yeah, it was like the further we went down the bigger a hole we were digging

00:40:32   Yeah, right

00:40:33   And so it made it very daunting that like if it would have cost that price and it was done in a month

00:40:38   It just you wouldn't have enough time to think about it. Mm-hmm, but like when you're a year into manufacturing

00:40:43   It's like okay if you want to do it this way

00:40:46   it will cost X amount more per product.

00:40:49   And it's just like, oh my God,

00:40:50   this just keeps going and going and going, you know?

00:40:52   Because there were like all these little things

00:40:54   where like I would get a unit and I'd be like,

00:40:57   I'd prefer it if it did this.

00:40:58   And they're like, okay,

00:41:00   but we need to buy a new machine to do that,

00:41:03   which we're happy to do,

00:41:05   but it's gonna be another process

00:41:06   and it's gonna cost X more per unit.

00:41:09   And this just like kept going

00:41:12   over the course of that one year span.

00:41:14   - Yeah, a couple of times when you told me

00:41:16   like Effie Berman is gonna buy new equipment

00:41:18   for something that you wanted to do,

00:41:20   I definitely had a bit of a like,

00:41:21   ooh, like this is getting into like scary territory here

00:41:26   for what we're doing.

00:41:27   - So here's the thing about them and equipment,

00:41:29   which is different to the other company that we use.

00:41:32   The company we use in Poland is a very like modern place.

00:41:35   Like they have like also modern machinery.

00:41:38   Effie Berman is very much,

00:41:40   they have like these incredible,

00:41:41   wonderful printing machines that are very modern

00:41:44   printing machines.

00:41:45   But a lot of their assembly machines are old fashioned.

00:41:49   They're like old reproduction machines.

00:41:51   So like, one of the things they needed was I wanted

00:41:54   rounded corners, right?

00:41:56   And they went and bought a vintage machine

00:42:00   where they were able to create like a blade,

00:42:04   a corner blade, and then someone would load all

00:42:06   the notebooks in and they would step on a pedal

00:42:09   and it would cut down like a guillotine.

00:42:12   It's like that was the kind of stuff they went and bought.

00:42:13   And it's like, that was the kind of thing

00:42:15   as we were like working it out together.

00:42:17   But it was one of the things that I loved working with them

00:42:19   is so I, you know, I've said like hand assembled in London

00:42:22   and people were like, what does that mean?

00:42:23   I'll be like, let me tell you,

00:42:25   I have met and seen the people putting this stuff together.

00:42:29   This product is not put together by a big printing machine.

00:42:33   Like you might imagine,

00:42:34   like it's not going through this machine

00:42:35   and then there's robots cutting it

00:42:37   and another robot's glue in it

00:42:38   and then another, no, these are human beings.

00:42:41   I have watched them glue the product.

00:42:43   I have watched them cut the edges off.

00:42:45   Like it's done by hand in a way that I didn't even think

00:42:49   was done anymore, let alone feasible within the cost

00:42:53   that we were able to get it at.

00:42:54   Like it's one of the reasons I've loved working

00:42:57   with this company is like I know,

00:42:59   I've met all of the people that had something to do

00:43:02   with putting this thing together.

00:43:04   It should have been so great for me to see it all unfold

00:43:07   in front of me.

00:43:08   But like, talk about folding, let's talk about folding.

00:43:11   I told you about tearing versus folding, right?

00:43:13   (laughing)

00:43:14   So we assume, oh, the hard part will be the perforation.

00:43:18   The hard part was the math on the folding of the cover.

00:43:23   So the cover of the notebook folds over the top of itself

00:43:27   and back around.

00:43:29   And it leaves you this kind of like border spine,

00:43:32   like at the top.

00:43:34   And we put the word sidekick on there,

00:43:35   like it's branded, it looks nice.

00:43:37   One of the great things about having such a long manufacturing process is I was able

00:43:40   to take the prototypes and I could use it for like a couple of weeks, a month, and see

00:43:44   how it would fare.

00:43:46   One of the things that was happening with some of the earlier models is the fold almost

00:43:51   like would continue forever, like and over time it would start to split away from the

00:43:56   notebook.

00:43:57   Right.

00:43:58   Right, so like it would, the kind of like the edge of the cover that folds back would

00:44:01   just lift and you'd start to see the paper underneath more and more and more.

00:44:06   So we had to like work out what is the point where the stress doesn't exist anymore on

00:44:15   the fold because if there was stress on the folds it would pull everything to try and

00:44:20   relieve the stress.

00:44:22   And so we had to find a level of which to reduce that stress.

00:44:26   Then it got even harder when I was like, oh, can we print on the backside?

00:44:31   Like can we do another debossing and foil in like on the backside of the notebook?

00:44:36   when it flips over it will say the word psychic.

00:44:37   And it was kind of one of those things where they were like,

00:44:40   I mean, yeah, but this is so much harder.

00:44:44   - Yeah, like we already have an engineering problem

00:44:48   that we're trying to solve here.

00:44:49   And then like, and that's an engineering problem

00:44:52   where you want something smooth, right?

00:44:55   'Cause like in physics, you don't want there to be

00:44:57   more stress at one location than another location

00:45:00   to pull back the top of the notepad

00:45:02   to reveal all the torn off bits.

00:45:04   It's like, oh, you want things nice and even.

00:45:05   Okay, great.

00:45:06   That actually turns out to be very hard to do, but we've got it.

00:45:08   Cool.

00:45:09   Can we put an uneven elements that structurally changes the stress through

00:45:13   the whole thing by, you know, stamping a logo on one side is like, Oh, okay.

00:45:19   Because it's also, it's like, Oh yeah, there's loads of ways you can do it, but

00:45:23   then I'm like, but I still want it to be attractive though, like the fold.

00:45:26   And it's like, okay, and then it's like, you have to change the design file

00:45:30   because the caustic logo's on the front, but then the fold went

00:45:32   right through the middle.

00:45:33   So now you're going to move that down now.

00:45:34   "so we've got to change where that goes,

00:45:36   "gotta change all the dies,

00:45:37   "gotta change all the plates."

00:45:38   Just went on and on and on.

00:45:40   And then with paper running out,

00:45:43   global supply chain issues, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

00:45:47   It took a year because sometimes we were six weeks

00:45:50   of nothing happening, 'cause there was no paper anymore.

00:45:53   So it was like all of these things led up to this.

00:45:56   And then it ended up that they were completed

00:45:58   at the exact wrong time of the year

00:45:59   to have them completed for us.

00:46:01   So like the product was done ready to ship

00:46:05   in the middle of November.

00:46:07   And then we put it on a boat.

00:46:09   It's the first time we put something on a boat.

00:46:10   Usually we'd flown stuff,

00:46:12   but this time we put it on a boat,

00:46:13   which was an interesting experience

00:46:15   because when you book something for a cargo freight

00:46:19   on a plane, it's very reliable.

00:46:22   Like, you know when your window is,

00:46:24   a lot of the time the way they do this is like,

00:46:26   they fill the unused space on a commercial airline,

00:46:31   is the way that this stuff is typically done.

00:46:34   So there's empty space because there's not enough luggage

00:46:36   or whatever, so we just put it on.

00:46:38   So you have like a small window, sometimes it's like a day,

00:46:40   but usually they know where you're gonna be,

00:46:42   so you get that window like a week before.

00:46:44   It goes on the plane and it finds its way

00:46:46   and it's picked up and it's done,

00:46:47   and just like a few days and you're done.

00:46:49   But with shipping freight, it was like,

00:46:51   "Oh, well it's gonna be this day."

00:46:53   And then it's like, "Actually no,

00:46:54   "No, it's gonna be two more weeks now."

00:46:56   And then it'd be on the boat, and then it's like,

00:46:58   "Well, now you've got like four weeks at port."

00:47:00   And it's like, "What has happened?"

00:47:01   It just like, it was very flexible.

00:47:03   And again, like in talking to people that do this

00:47:06   all the time, it's like, "Yeah, no, that's what

00:47:07   "putting things on a boat is like."

00:47:09   Like, things are much more like,

00:47:11   "Yeah, well, you know, maybe there's some space

00:47:13   "on this one, or maybe there isn't, and we'll kinda see."

00:47:16   And it just is what it is.

00:47:17   - Yeah, I think the mental model for me for shipping,

00:47:21   like planes versus boats is that it's a latency and throughput situation where it's like,

00:47:28   "Oh, on planes, latency is very low, but the throughput is also much less."

00:47:33   So deliveries arrive on a more reliable schedule, but there's just few of them because planes

00:47:39   are smaller.

00:47:40   And those cargo ships – man, if you've ever actually stood next to one of those cargo

00:47:45   ships, it's like you're just confronted with the vast, like you just can't even conceive of how

00:47:52   big they are volumetrically if you're near one of them. It's like the throughput on global freight

00:47:57   shipping on the sea is mind boggling, but it does mean that the latency is extremely high because if

00:48:06   something goes slightly wrong it's like, oh it takes forever to get everything off of this boat

00:48:12   and you can just have these huge knock-on effects.

00:48:14   So there's advantages to each system,

00:48:17   and there's a reason why most stuff is shipped on the seas,

00:48:21   if it possibly can.

00:48:23   But that means companies that are doing that,

00:48:26   they have to be built in such a way

00:48:27   so they can account for like,

00:48:29   hey, stuff might not arrive

00:48:31   for two months out of your schedule,

00:48:33   and you just need to build your company around that

00:48:35   if you're gonna do that.

00:48:36   - Which is like going into the future

00:48:37   is like a new logistical challenge for us.

00:48:39   That's how I wanna be shipping stuff more.

00:48:42   So that's just gonna have to be a thing that we build into.

00:48:45   And I don't know what that's gonna look like

00:48:47   in the long run, but it's just gonna be one of those things

00:48:48   that we learn, like we have so many other things

00:48:50   of like how to plan.

00:48:53   And once a product becomes,

00:48:54   once it's been around long enough, it's easier to plan for.

00:48:58   - Yeah, things do become easier.

00:48:59   - We struggled with the journal at the start

00:49:01   for like a bunch of reasons.

00:49:02   We never knew how many to order,

00:49:03   we never knew how quick they were gonna sell,

00:49:04   but now we have like a real good idea.

00:49:07   So it's much easier to fulfill that product.

00:49:09   We don't know what's gonna happen with Psychic Notepad.

00:49:12   We've had it on sale for a couple of weeks.

00:49:14   We did like a soft launch.

00:49:16   We've sold more than I thought we would

00:49:17   in that period of time, but we still got lots left.

00:49:19   Like we just put it up on our Instagram and stuff like that.

00:49:22   By the way, you can follow us

00:49:23   with Cortex Brands on Instagram.

00:49:25   And I've just been putting it up there

00:49:26   and people have been finding out about it.

00:49:28   That's been super useful for me to kind of like understand

00:49:31   how to more effectively tell the story of the product,

00:49:34   like from questions that people have had.

00:49:36   So that was really useful in a way,

00:49:38   like to be able to get more information from people.

00:49:41   Yeah, I think actually that's something we should just talk about for a second.

00:49:45   It's like a thing that we've learned useful just generally in business is this like soft launch,

00:49:52   which I just never would have thought about before.

00:49:54   Because of course, like I come from the YouTube world where it's like, guess what?

00:49:57   Everything happens on the one critical day, right?

00:50:00   Like there's no soft launch here.

00:50:02   But with this product in particular, the role that was, what was the order?

00:50:05   It was first on Instagram, then on Moretex.

00:50:08   Is that the way we did it?

00:50:09   We never spoke about it on Moretex.

00:50:11   We were going to, but we didn't even do that yet.

00:50:14   It wasn't ready to put on sale.

00:50:16   So we didn't do it.

00:50:16   It wasn't ready to put on sale.

00:50:17   Yeah.

00:50:18   So it was, it was just on like the Instagram soft launch and it's, it's

00:50:23   just a great case of seeing some quirks in both like how we're messaging a thing.

00:50:30   Because like on any project that you work on for a long period of time, you, you get

00:50:36   into your head little assumptions that you then forget to explain when it comes

00:50:41   around to actually promoting the thing or talking about the thing.

00:50:45   Yeah, this is called like the curse of knowledge, right?

00:50:48   Like you want to explain a topic and then you learn about the topic, but then.

00:50:51   Once you like understand it well enough, you've forgotten what the

00:50:55   problem was in the first place.

00:50:57   And so you become bad at explaining it.

00:50:59   And so like, I think this happened a little bit with us where it's like,

00:51:02   "Oh, we've been thinking about how this is used."

00:51:05   That by putting it out on Instagram, we were able to see,

00:51:09   "Oh, here's where a little bit of messaging has gone wrong."

00:51:12   And in particular, the thing that was very interesting

00:51:14   was like, "You need to show it next to a computer?"

00:51:17   - Yes. - And it was so funny.

00:51:19   - People couldn't understand it.

00:51:21   There's no criticism on anyone,

00:51:22   but just the product photos,

00:51:24   people couldn't understand, where does it go?

00:51:27   - Yeah, this was totally on us, right?

00:51:29   This is not on anybody else,

00:51:31   But I think this is almost a comical example of how you can forget the most

00:51:35   critical thing about what you're doing.

00:51:37   The whole pitch of the product is it goes between you and your computer on your desk.

00:51:43   It sits right in front of your keyboard.

00:51:45   We did not show it in front of somebody's keyboard in any of the product photos.

00:51:50   And if you don't know that, that it's like, how big is this thing?

00:51:54   Like you have absolutely no frame of reference for the scale.

00:51:58   And I just thought that was like a great example of, oh, Before we actually try to

00:52:04   promote this very heavily anywhere, we got to make sure that the product photos show

00:52:09   a computer and the notebook in front of them, because otherwise we'll lose a bunch

00:52:15   of sales because people just don't understand what the thing is or it'll just,

00:52:19   it was almost even worse than that.

00:52:21   Like the copy references it as being in front of the computer, but it's like,

00:52:24   where exactly, because.

00:52:27   Even in this conversation, I kind of think like people who haven't used something

00:52:31   like this before might not be thinking there's like space between the keyboard

00:52:36   and them, but there really is like, you have space for exactly this sized product

00:52:41   that's right there and it just helps to have some product photos to show like,

00:52:45   this is where it goes.

00:52:46   So I just kind of love that.

00:52:48   And I, and I also thought like, boy, is, is that a lesson that there always

00:52:53   needs to be some kind of soft launch.

00:52:56   And also I'll just say this has for me completely proved the utility of

00:53:01   Instagram, which I think I was quite publicly doubtful about on the podcast

00:53:05   ages ago, where I'm like, Myke, I don't think this Instagram is going to be

00:53:08   useful to us at all.

00:53:09   And I think it's just a distraction.

00:53:10   And it's like, man, just through this soft launch, like Instagram has

00:53:14   totally earned its weight with me.

00:53:16   Like, no, no, this is actually a useful tool.

00:53:18   And I was completely wrong and underestimated the utility.

00:53:22   Also this product especially lends itself to product photography.

00:53:26   You can just do lots of interesting things.

00:53:28   It's like a nice product to take photos of

00:53:31   because you can just put it on lots of desks and stuff like that.

00:53:33   Like I've been experimenting a little bit with Instagram ads,

00:53:38   like just like boosting some posts and stuff.

00:53:40   And I've been doing this for, I don't know,

00:53:43   maybe a couple of years at this point, just on and off.

00:53:45   But maybe in the last year I've been doing it a little bit more.

00:53:48   And just like, you know, if a post is doing pretty well

00:53:50   "Oh, we've got some nice imagery.

00:53:52   "I will just put a budget on it

00:53:54   "and here's five pounds a day or whatever

00:53:56   "and just see what kind of response it gets."

00:53:59   Psychic notepad has destroyed any journal marketing

00:54:03   that we've done.

00:54:04   Just the images of it on the desk.

00:54:06   I think it's 'cause it is just pleasant to look at.

00:54:09   You can shoot it in different ways

00:54:10   and it also is easier to.

00:54:12   Maybe if I tried doing that with the journal,

00:54:14   that would do really well,

00:54:15   but it never struck my mind to show it in use

00:54:19   rather than just like show me what the page looks like.

00:54:22   - No, but it's a harder thing to do

00:54:24   because I've traveled with my theme system journal

00:54:28   and there's a number of times that I have tried

00:54:30   to photograph it or do a little video of it in use

00:54:34   and it is more difficult to show

00:54:36   and that's partly because it doesn't lay flat.

00:54:40   It's also just the practicality of what you're writing in it

00:54:43   is going to be more personal

00:54:44   and so if you're thinking about trying to photograph

00:54:46   something or show it in use,

00:54:49   There's always that little hesitation of like,

00:54:50   well, do I have a good example page to show?

00:54:55   Or like, do I wanna like mock up a page?

00:54:57   Like, I don't really wanna mock up a page

00:54:58   'cause I'm actually just using this thing.

00:55:00   I've taken it to many places where I thought like,

00:55:02   oh, I'm gonna photograph or I'm gonna take a little video

00:55:05   of this beautiful journal in beautiful Hawaii.

00:55:07   And it's like, I don't though,

00:55:09   because Hawaii is made of beaches.

00:55:12   And so where am I like putting,

00:55:13   am I putting this journal in the sand to video it?

00:55:16   Like, it just, I don't know.

00:55:17   - Just dig, see that, that to me,

00:55:20   see you've missed a trick,

00:55:21   that's like pure Instagram bait.

00:55:23   Dig it and like put it in the sand,

00:55:25   put some sand on the pages, you know,

00:55:26   like you're a vacation.

00:55:28   Next time you go, you gotta take those.

00:55:31   - Right, well.

00:55:32   - Can we close the shipping bracket?

00:55:33   - Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, close the shipping bracket.

00:55:35   - So I mentioned it being the worst time of the year,

00:55:37   so it kind of arrived around the end of November,

00:55:40   but we couldn't put a new product up for sale

00:55:43   at the journal selling time,

00:55:44   because we had one focus in December and January.

00:55:48   It's like, sell journals.

00:55:50   That's what the business currently completely is.

00:55:52   Anything watering down that messaging,

00:55:56   I think would have been overall bad for a Cortex brand.

00:55:58   So we've now, they've been ready since November.

00:56:02   We're telling you about it in February.

00:56:04   (laughs)

00:56:06   - Yeah, but I think that was the right decision.

00:56:08   Because this again comes into a,

00:56:10   what is your business?

00:56:11   What do you want it to be?

00:56:13   It's like we want Cortex brand to have a bunch of products, but in November it is a business

00:56:21   that depends entirely on one product.

00:56:24   And so it's like, Oh, could we message that we have this additional product at the same

00:56:29   time that we're talking about the theme system journal?

00:56:32   Sure.

00:56:34   But why risk muddying the waters when like everything depends on the theme system journal?

00:56:41   to like, we'll just wait, we'll wait until after this

00:56:44   like particular season has passed,

00:56:46   and then at the start of a new one,

00:56:47   like now we can mention it,

00:56:48   and it's like a clearer messaging.

00:56:50   - It's like if we had some kind of accessory or companion

00:56:53   to the journal, it's like yeah,

00:56:54   I'll see you all this time, right?

00:56:56   But this is like another,

00:56:58   it's like these are completely different products,

00:56:59   they're just made by the same company.

00:57:01   They're like for completely different uses,

00:57:03   they don't share a story, they share elements,

00:57:07   but the journal is like no, you keep it with you

00:57:09   in your bag, on your desk, whatever,

00:57:10   like a butt on your bedside,

00:57:12   and whenever is right for you at a certain time of the day,

00:57:14   you'll write in the journal.

00:57:15   But this is like, no, just keep it on your desk, right?

00:57:19   It doesn't, they don't even,

00:57:21   they don't share that kind of idea.

00:57:23   - Yeah, it's a more like work-focused product, I think,

00:57:26   than the journal is.

00:57:27   So it would have just been unnecessarily risky, but yes.

00:57:30   I do feel like that was the final cherry on the top

00:57:33   of like this long development time.

00:57:35   It's like, oh, it's taken absolutely forever,

00:57:38   And it's all arrived at the one time of year that it doesn't make any sense for us to talk about it.

00:57:45   So like, okay, I guess we're going to wait.

00:57:47   Before we talk about the kind of like marketing and what I'm referencing as getting serious.

00:57:53   There's one thing on the manufacturing we've not touched on, which is the coffee cups.

00:57:57   Oh yeah.

00:57:58   I love this.

00:57:59   Yeah, this, I love this.

00:58:00   So in working with JF Smith, we're now working with like an incredibly knowledgeable company who are

00:58:08   experts in paper. So we have these two companies. G.F. Smith provides the paper, F.E. Berman

00:58:13   provides the manufacturing. So these are these two British companies. We have made in Britain

00:58:18   certification which was really hard to get. It's like the specific stamp and it's in the

00:58:23   back of each Sidekick notepad to certify this product was made in Britain. We're working

00:58:28   with these two British companies and there are experts in their field and we're able

00:58:32   to have these kinds of conversations and my friend Matt from G.F. Smith said, "We have

00:58:37   this paper and it's called extract and it could be interesting as the cover for

00:58:43   you so extract is a paper that is made from recycled coffee cups now coffee

00:58:52   cups that you get from you know your every single coffee shop that you go to

00:58:56   ever they are by traditional processes an unrecyclable product because they

00:59:02   have plastic lining inside for insulation of water and heat. So you may think, "Oh,

00:59:09   this is paper or card. I'll put it in the paper or card recycling." Unrecyclable.

00:59:17   Unless somewhere is specifically saying, "Put coffee cups here," that may as well just

00:59:23   go in the trash because it cannot be recycled.

00:59:26   Yes, there are many things that people put in the recycling bin that should really just

00:59:30   go in the trash because they can't be used.

00:59:32   And traditionally coffee cups have been

00:59:34   one of those kinds of things.

00:59:36   It feels like cardboard,

00:59:38   and so you feel like you can feel better

00:59:41   by putting it in the recycling bin,

00:59:42   but like really nothing's happening.

00:59:45   - So, G.S. Smith has worked with a company

00:59:47   to create this product from this very specialized process

00:59:51   where using these incredibly expensive machines,

00:59:55   they can take coffee cups and turn them into paper.

01:00:00   And it is, as far as I know, one of the only thing you can take these coffee cups and recycle them into

01:00:07   other than just more coffee cups or whatever. It is like an actual process, it is a product that can be made

01:00:13   from what otherwise would be waste. So the paper is called "Extract" and it was initially going to be used on the cover.

01:00:21   So like just the cover and it was proposed that we would use a gray backing board. That backing board

01:00:27   that you've seen on so many notebooks. I kind of like gray with speckles in it,

01:00:30   looks recycled, and they made me a version I was like "ah I don't like it"

01:00:35   it didn't feel premium enough to me and so we worked with GS Smith to get a

01:00:43   thickness of this paper made that they do not make. So again it was like they

01:00:49   gave me it in their thickest paper weight right so the thickness and I

01:00:53   picked it up and the sidekick notepad like flopped and fell on itself in a way

01:00:57   and you know it just didn't feel right and it wasn't fitting of what I wanted

01:01:00   if like you can just pick it up with one hand off the desk right and it's just

01:01:05   fine it's sturdy it's structurally sound so we ended up taking their thickest

01:01:10   weights and laminating them together you kind of like stick them together and you

01:01:14   create a new paperweight the cool thing about extract is in they say every sheet

01:01:19   of extract in 380 gsm that's like the paperweight contains at least five up cycle coffee cups

01:01:25   per sheet so for this first print run over 3 000 coffee cups have been recycled to put

01:01:33   into psychic notepad i just there's two things i love here one this again is like mike hurley

01:01:39   product designer he does amazing work like like the genuinely like getting this like

01:01:45   a custom paper thickness made,

01:01:48   like going to all the work to have this done,

01:01:51   to get what is a really fantastic cover

01:01:54   for the Sidekick is just, it's so good.

01:01:57   And like I said before, this is, to me,

01:01:59   is more of like a work-focused product.

01:02:02   So there's something just really charming

01:02:04   about the fact that it is made out of coffee cups.

01:02:07   - Yeah, yeah. - Like I just,

01:02:08   I just love that as a kind of tie-in.

01:02:11   - You know, I hadn't put those two things together,

01:02:13   but like they work really nicely together, right?

01:02:15   Like everyone's in the meeting with their coffee cups.

01:02:18   - And it's like this notepad comes from those coffee cups.

01:02:21   And I hadn't seen this number before,

01:02:23   but that's absolutely shocking to me

01:02:25   that our first run is going to be recycling

01:02:28   3000 coffee cups.

01:02:29   I had no idea it was that many.

01:02:30   It's a little detail about this product

01:02:33   that I just really like.

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01:04:46   Earlier you were talking about the idea of imagery, right, being helpful for the product.

01:04:51   I thought as well we should make a video to show people how they can use it. So I have

01:04:57   been working on a video. When this episode posts, the video will be available on the

01:05:01   Cortex YouTube channel. I'm saying that is the case.

01:05:05   I was like, "Myke, Myke."

01:05:07   No, it will be done, alright? I spent too much time on this, it will be done.

01:05:12   Listen, Myke has been working on this quite hard and a lot. I'm also quite tickled because

01:05:18   I feel like we're in reverse situations here. Myke is working on a video and it's

01:05:23   taking him longer than he thought it was going to take and it's turned out to be much harder

01:05:27   than he thought it was going to be.

01:05:29   And now we're recording an episode of Cortex

01:05:32   where he swears the video will be out

01:05:35   before the Cortex episode goes out.

01:05:37   And I have my doubts and it just feels like,

01:05:40   oh, look at us, we're in upsy tipsy turvy world,

01:05:43   like everything's reversed.

01:05:44   So yes, no, Myke, that video of yours

01:05:47   will definitely be out before the Cortex episode goes up.

01:05:50   There's no chance that it's gonna take longer

01:05:53   than you expect. - No chance.

01:05:53   No chance at all.

01:05:56   I've put like 30 hours of work into it so far.

01:05:59   - I believe that, yeah.

01:06:02   - I'm currently at the stage where I hate it.

01:06:05   I hate, you obviously understand

01:06:08   what I'm talking about here, right?

01:06:10   - Everyone goes through this, yep.

01:06:11   - I'm at the point in the production process

01:06:13   where I have like two things left and they're tricky,

01:06:17   and so I hate the project.

01:06:20   But what I will say is up until like three days ago,

01:06:23   I've loved doing this.

01:06:25   This is such an interesting, weird thing for me,

01:06:29   where I feel like I'm able to like flex creative muscles

01:06:33   that are not normal for me.

01:06:34   Like I've never made anything like this.

01:06:38   I'm not talking to you and showing you this product.

01:06:40   I'm not showing you this product

01:06:42   the way that I would show you a keyboard on a live stream.

01:06:45   What I am trying to do is set up a bunch of scenarios

01:06:50   where you can see the product in use,

01:06:52   like how it's written on, where it sits,

01:06:55   and here's some closeups and someone's putting it in their bag and taking it to

01:06:58   a meeting and here's a meeting environment.

01:07:00   So like it shows you the story of how the product can be used.

01:07:04   Cause I just, again, it was like, as I was,

01:07:06   as we were doing going through the soft launch, I was like,

01:07:08   I think this would be valuable if there was a video that just showed it in

01:07:13   use. And so to do this,

01:07:15   like I started and I couldn't get anything to look right.

01:07:19   And so it has been a case of now bought a bunch of lights,

01:07:24   I bought tripods, camera sliders,

01:07:26   and I'm building now a set of equipment in my studio

01:07:31   which I can use to continue this project.

01:07:35   And it feels like a very high pressure task

01:07:39   because I don't know what I'm doing.

01:07:43   I have these ideas.

01:07:44   I'm like, oh, it would be cool if I could make

01:07:48   a little shot that looked like this.

01:07:50   And about 95% of the time,

01:07:52   I don't know how to do it in con, right?

01:07:54   So I end up with something different,

01:07:56   but it wasn't what I was imagining.

01:07:58   My skill levels can only take me so far in this,

01:08:02   which is not very far at all.

01:08:04   But I have this other part of it of like,

01:08:08   I'm gonna put it on our YouTube channel.

01:08:11   So lots of people are gonna see it,

01:08:13   and that's really daunting as well, right?

01:08:14   So it's like, this is a very weird process,

01:08:18   which is why I am putting way more work

01:08:21   into this than I expected.

01:08:22   Like when I first imagined this video,

01:08:24   I was like, I'll just do it on my streaming desk.

01:08:28   Like I've got a top-down camera,

01:08:29   I can talk to my other camera

01:08:31   and I can just show you what it looks like.

01:08:33   And then I was like, well, but what if I want,

01:08:36   what if I get some like nice shots that show like the clear,

01:08:41   it's called a foil, but like the clear foil inlay

01:08:43   on the debossing so it kind of shines.

01:08:45   Oh, that would look good if I could do that.

01:08:47   Oh, but to do that, I need to be able to use this lens

01:08:50   that I have and I need some,

01:08:52   and then it just spiraled from there

01:08:55   to the point where I'm trying to make a product video,

01:09:00   which is really hard.

01:09:01   And you want it to kind of,

01:09:05   it's gotta feel decent quality,

01:09:08   and that is very hard to do.

01:09:11   There are people who do this for a living, right?

01:09:13   I wanna do it myself because of everything.

01:09:15   I wanna try it myself at least once,

01:09:17   and then I hope in the future

01:09:19   we will work with more professionals on this kind of stuff.

01:09:22   But I wanna give it a go because I also want to

01:09:25   make video and photo marketing a bigger component

01:09:28   over how we show all of our products,

01:09:31   especially Sidekick Notepad.

01:09:33   I think it will be an important part for its life cycle.

01:09:36   - Yeah, so I knew you were working on this,

01:09:38   but I didn't really know what to expect

01:09:40   when you sent me the video.

01:09:41   And while, yeah, it is not as good

01:09:44   as what you would expect a professional

01:09:47   product video to look like.

01:09:49   I was incredibly impressed by how well you did

01:09:52   in Mega Studio.

01:09:53   It was also Mega Studio really paying off

01:09:56   with all of the keyboards and the different desk location.

01:09:59   You made Mega Studio look like 30 people's homes.

01:10:02   It's like incredibly good.

01:10:05   It's interesting for me to see because again,

01:10:08   thinking about what do we want Cortex brand to be,

01:10:11   it was a real moment of, oh my God,

01:10:14   this is a product video.

01:10:15   We've never made one of these before.

01:10:17   Like, when I made a video promoting the journal,

01:10:19   it was very much like, "Hey, I made a thing.

01:10:22   "Here's how I use it.

01:10:23   "You might find it useful as well."

01:10:24   Like, that's sort of the pitch.

01:10:26   - It's kind of like a vlog.

01:10:27   - Yeah, it's way more on the vlog end of the spectrum.

01:10:30   It's the thing that, like, what makes it a product video

01:10:32   is like, could you imagine this just on a website

01:10:36   for the product, you click it,

01:10:37   and it shows you how to use it?

01:10:38   Whereas my video, like, that doesn't work at all,

01:10:40   because people would be like, "Who's this person?

01:10:42   "Why should I listen to his advice?"

01:10:44   Like it doesn't make any sense as like the stuff that I've done to use in that way.

01:10:47   So I actually feel like your video is a big step in the direction of

01:10:52   the professionalism of the brand.

01:10:54   Like, no, no, it's a product video.

01:10:56   Here's how to use it.

01:10:58   Here's, here's the kinds of things that you would expect to see.

01:11:01   Look at it in all of these different environments.

01:11:03   Look at how nicely it's filmed so you can actually see stuff.

01:11:06   And I really do want to give you credit for the filming quality because it's

01:11:09   Like, so people take photos and you think, oh, I see product photos and they're better

01:11:16   than the photos that I take.

01:11:18   If you ever try to take a nice photo of a thing, you can very quickly realize like,

01:11:22   oh, I can't get it to look like beautiful product photos do and I can't quite figure

01:11:26   out why.

01:11:27   But if you play around ultimately, like it's the lighting a little bit like you can get

01:11:31   there.

01:11:32   But product videography is like 10 steps up in difficulty from doing good product photos.

01:11:39   Like you can do good product photos, but good product videography is just so much harder to get looking right.

01:11:48   And so that's why I was like, I cannot believe how good of a job Myke did by just like getting some sliders and a few cameras and setting some stuff up in Mega Studio.

01:11:57   Like what you're attempting to achieve is really hard and you did a fantastic job with it.

01:12:03   Thank you.

01:12:04   But I'm also not the least bit surprised that you're in that moment of like,

01:12:08   "I'm frustrated with this video, like it's not at all what I imagined it would be."

01:12:12   Because you can easily imagine a beautiful video shot of a product,

01:12:18   but actually getting that is very difficult to do.

01:12:21   So the last part that I need, the last shot that I need, the one that's left,

01:12:25   is like trying to show it in a meeting environment, and I really don't know how to do that yet.

01:12:32   So like this is what I'm going to be spending some time on over the next few days.

01:12:36   And then I think I'm basically done.

01:12:38   Like, do you have a suit?

01:12:40   Can you dress up in like a little suit?

01:12:41   Well, but the problem is it needs to consciously be me on my own.

01:12:44   So like, I'm probably going to rope people in.

01:12:47   It's most likely going to be my wife.

01:12:49   It's like, can you just sit here and pretend you're talking to me for like 20

01:12:52   seconds?

01:12:53   Like this is probably where we're going to end up going with that one.

01:12:56   But like, yeah, that makes sense.

01:12:57   This has been like the last part that I need.

01:13:01   And it's, but it's also like the part that I've struggled with, like the most to produce.

01:13:05   Really, this is, it was a blessing.

01:13:08   Like I showed you a card and shown you any of it.

01:13:10   And I was like, all right, I need to show him something at some point, because if you don't like it, or like, if you're like, no, you need to change these seven things.

01:13:17   Cause this is unwatchable.

01:13:18   Like I need to know this now.

01:13:19   Uh, you were, you were very kind like you're being now.

01:13:23   And that really helped me.

01:13:25   Like it's, it's helped me a lot to get this final part done.

01:13:28   Let me just cut you off there, Myke.

01:13:30   It's not kindness when it's good.

01:13:32   You have only being kind if it's not good.

01:13:35   And if it was not good, I would not be kind.

01:13:38   - And this is why you were the person

01:13:39   I needed to show it to.

01:13:40   'Cause I could show it to different people,

01:13:41   I could show it to my wife,

01:13:42   and she, you know,

01:13:42   Adina provides good constructive feedback,

01:13:45   but is also trying to make sure that I'm happy.

01:13:49   Where like, I'm not,

01:13:50   one, I say, I know you will be honest with me,

01:13:52   like 100%, 'cause you are,

01:13:55   because you know, I know you know the value in it,

01:13:57   plus this specific thing technically comes from both of us,

01:14:02   even if it's just me that's doing it.

01:14:05   It's like similarly, when you made your journal video,

01:14:09   you shared the script with me,

01:14:10   you shared the video with me,

01:14:12   which is like, you would never do that on a YouTube video,

01:14:15   and then you're just like, what do you think of this?

01:14:16   But no, it was like, read this, make sure it's good,

01:14:21   'cause even though it's on your channel--

01:14:23   - It still represents us.

01:14:25   It's like my video talking about how I did it, but it represents us

01:14:29   and the product that we've made.

01:14:30   So like, yeah, it's, it's, it totally, it totally makes sense.

01:14:33   And yeah, I also like with many creative projects, you know, you show things to

01:14:37   people and people do want to be nice.

01:14:42   And so if a thing is bad, they'll often kind of couch their criticism in other ways.

01:14:47   But my feeling on that is always like, you're not doing anyone any favors

01:14:51   because you know where this is going.

01:14:52   It's going to go on the internet and the internet will let you know if it sucks.

01:14:55   real fast. So like, you're not sav- all you're doing if you don't give someone accurate

01:15:01   criticism for a thing that is going up on the internet is you're just delaying a much

01:15:07   greater pain that will come later. Like if- if anyone- if someone shows you something

01:15:12   and they're like "what do you think of this?" and they're going to put it up on the internet,

01:15:15   like, you have to tell them if it's bad. You just do.

01:15:19   - But there's this weird feeling that I have of,

01:15:23   I know you know this, right?

01:15:27   Like just about anything that I'll ever show you.

01:15:29   So I always can take criticism from you

01:15:33   easier than I can take it from other people.

01:15:35   I can't explain that completely,

01:15:36   but I just know that you are coming at this

01:15:40   from this very specific way,

01:15:42   whereas I know how he thinks when it comes to this stuff.

01:15:45   So just an interesting thing.

01:15:47   but luckily you reacted to it in a way that I was not expecting at all.

01:15:52   So that was good.

01:15:53   That felt very good.

01:15:54   Yeah.

01:15:54   But that, but that's why like, Oh, I could be very positive about this video.

01:15:57   Cause I was, I was genuinely super impressed.

01:15:59   I mean, just as a slight anecdote, like I, my wife, as I've mentioned before, was

01:16:06   formerly a professional wedding photographer and she also transitioned

01:16:09   into doing baby photo shoots.

01:16:10   And doing like a baby photo shoot is basically doing like a product shot.

01:16:14   The baby is the product.

01:16:16   [laughter]

01:16:19   But it is. It's like it's totally the same.

01:16:21   - I know what you're saying. Yeah, it's funny.

01:16:23   - You need the same equipment.

01:16:25   You need the same kind of things.

01:16:26   Like you just need a bit more

01:16:28   'cause like you need to keep the baby calm

01:16:29   and you need to keep the baby's attention on you.

01:16:31   Like my wife could take a photo of a baby

01:16:33   that would make like even the like the stone coldest

01:16:36   of people's hearts melt.

01:16:37   Like she was fantastic at it.

01:16:39   But I happened to need, while I was away,

01:16:42   I needed my wife to basically do a video product shot

01:16:45   of something that I was working on.

01:16:47   It's like, Hey, I need you just to get me a couple of like

01:16:51   nice shots of this thing.

01:16:52   And my wife, former professional photographer, completely failed

01:16:59   in this task and I let her know.

01:17:01   And I was like, these are all unusable.

01:17:03   I can't do anything with anything that you've done for me.

01:17:06   And it's like, that's, that's why, like, I was doubly

01:17:09   impressed with what you've done.

01:17:10   It's like, no, no, this is good.

01:17:11   Like, this is hard even for like former professionals in this

01:17:15   area to do so yeah. And like I said, it's an unexpected transition into the more business-like,

01:17:24   more serious future direction of Cortex brand. Cortex brand shouldn't be like the casual CGP

01:17:34   Grey vlog video about like, "Hey, look at this product." Like it should have these more serious

01:17:41   kind of straightforward, just explanatory promo videos.

01:17:46   They don't reference me or you at all.

01:17:49   Yeah, exactly.

01:17:50   Doesn't reference the podcast at all.

01:17:51   Yeah, that's always been the idea, is like, this should be a thing that should exist separately

01:17:55   from us.

01:17:56   Yep.

01:17:57   And like, that is not a thing that we have achieved, but this really felt to me like,

01:18:02   oh, this is a real first step in this direction.

01:18:06   There's no concept of the podcast or of us in this promo video.

01:18:12   So that actually lends itself quite nicely into the year of getting serious, which is

01:18:16   how I'm thinking about this now.

01:18:19   So that's the phrase.

01:18:21   We hadn't decided on a phrase, but we decided on this approach together, but I'm thinking

01:18:26   of it as the year of getting serious.

01:18:28   It's the theme for our business.

01:18:29   It's the theme for our business.

01:18:31   So we were talking about this recently on one of our calls.

01:18:35   we have monthly call, we go over cortex brand stuff.

01:18:38   And we kinda just decided that, all right,

01:18:42   we need to focus our company

01:18:46   as if the podcast doesn't exist, points.

01:18:50   Because typical direct-to-consumer brands,

01:18:54   DTC companies as they're known,

01:18:56   you will hear these companies advertise on this show

01:18:59   and you will see them all over Instagram, right?

01:19:01   It is a company that's selling you a product directly.

01:19:05   That's what it means.

01:19:06   It's like they're not going through a supermarket

01:19:08   or whatever.

01:19:09   This is one of the newer things that has been created

01:19:11   by the internet and internet advertising.

01:19:14   Typical direct to consumer companies

01:19:18   do not have an inbuilt large audience

01:19:20   that they can sell their product to.

01:19:21   They just have to scrap it out,

01:19:24   make products that look good and photograph well

01:19:27   and you put some advertising behind them,

01:19:30   you try and build a brand around it

01:19:31   and you just scratch and claw away and you get there.

01:19:35   We have so far been primarily relying on the idea

01:19:40   that we have products and we will tell you,

01:19:42   the cortexes about them,

01:19:43   and then we can tell you the stories like we have today.

01:19:46   And then you might understand it a little bit more

01:19:48   and you may want to buy the product.

01:19:50   And that's great.

01:19:51   But the whole time we've been talking about

01:19:53   since the very beginning of Cortex brand,

01:19:56   we want to make products that people

01:19:58   that don't know who we are, would be interested in.

01:20:02   But up until this point,

01:20:03   we've not really done anything for that.

01:20:06   Like we have focused them very much on,

01:20:09   hey, you listen to Cortex, right?

01:20:11   And the theme system journal is a tricky product

01:20:15   to just get into because to buy the product,

01:20:18   you've already have got to have decided

01:20:21   you wanna live your life a certain way.

01:20:23   And it has been a very successful product for us.

01:20:25   We're very happy with it.

01:20:26   it continues to grow and that is in part because of the now body of work that we have here

01:20:33   and the videos that you've done and it continues to grow and at this point I think we're in

01:20:38   a word of mouth kind of situation with the theme system journal that especially around

01:20:43   certain times of the year people say hey I do a theme and then it kind of like perpetuates

01:20:47   itself from there but the product is trickier for someone who's completely cold on this

01:20:56   to sell to them.

01:20:57   - Yeah, the way I think about this is preamble.

01:20:59   It's actually something I think a lot about

01:21:01   when I'm doing video topics as well,

01:21:04   is like sometimes there's an idea that you want to convey,

01:21:07   but the idea requires a lot of preamble.

01:21:10   And that's the theme system journal has that.

01:21:14   Having an inbuilt audience through the podcast

01:21:20   gives us a big advantage in starting out this company.

01:21:24   - And we are very grateful.

01:21:25   And we're very grateful for it.

01:21:27   Yeah.

01:21:28   Like, but that's because everyone here has the preamble in their head already.

01:21:34   And it's something that like, I think I didn't like fully understand until

01:21:39   we started to think about other stuff.

01:21:41   It's like, oh yeah, if someone wants to buy the journal, there was already an

01:21:47   inbuilt assumption that they've heard you and me talk a bunch, possibly for very

01:21:53   many hours and the journal can follow on as something like, "Oh yeah, I would like,

01:21:58   I've heard these guys talk about this.

01:21:59   Sounds like it's worked for them.

01:22:00   I would like to give it a try."

01:22:02   And this product, like the Sidekick Notepad, has much less preamble for

01:22:10   what is this as a product by a lot.

01:22:13   And I just, I think that's like an interesting distinction that I didn't

01:22:17   fully understand for quite a while of like, "Oh, that's something to keep in

01:22:22   mind for product design, how much of a preamble does this thing need?

01:22:27   That is exactly it. And I think this was something that I landed on earlier in the process.

01:22:32   Oh yeah, for sure. I didn't get this for a while.

01:22:34   Because I kept telling you, and I'm going to say it now, this is the best thing we've

01:22:39   made. And you kept saying to me, I'm not sure man. Like, you're like really better than

01:22:43   the journal? Yes, this is better than the journal. And this is like a broader scope

01:22:48   of what I'm talking about here. Like you compare the two products, you'll have a favorite.

01:22:52   For our business, long term,

01:22:56   I think this is a better model of a product

01:22:59   because this is the kind of product

01:23:01   that we are able to sell to someone based on a photo.

01:23:06   It's all you need.

01:23:07   'Cause you'll see it in use

01:23:08   and you'll understand it completely.

01:23:10   Or as much as you need to make the purchase decision.

01:23:13   - I mean, as long as we photograph it

01:23:15   in front of an actual keyboard.

01:23:16   (laughs)

01:23:17   - Yes, if you just take a top-down photo,

01:23:18   it doesn't make any freaking sense.

01:23:19   - It doesn't make any sense at all.

01:23:20   - You put it in front of a keyboard

01:23:21   and now we're off to the races.

01:23:23   But like that is, and what I say is like not purposefully,

01:23:28   but one of the reasons that we're looking at this

01:23:30   is like, all right, this is about getting serious now,

01:23:33   is the next two products, the next two major products

01:23:36   that we are likely to make are more in this vein.

01:23:38   Of like, they will be way easier to understand

01:23:43   based on what they're called or how they're described

01:23:45   or how they're photographed.

01:23:46   'Cause they're just, they are, one of them's not simple,

01:23:50   but it is way easier to get than the journal.

01:23:53   - And one of our products I think of

01:23:55   as a zero preamble product.

01:23:57   - 100%.

01:23:58   - There is, like Sidekick has like a tiny bit

01:24:02   or like, ooh, what's that for or whatever.

01:24:04   Depending on the order that things come out,

01:24:06   but like one of them is a like,

01:24:08   no, there's no question at all about what this is.

01:24:10   Like, yeah, you get it immediately.

01:24:12   It's a zero preamble product.

01:24:13   - If I'm willing to bet the farm on this, right,

01:24:16   why do we call it Sidekick Notepad?

01:24:18   was because I want there to be other things like this.

01:24:21   If this does well, because I've already had people ask,

01:24:24   "Would you do this, would you do this?"

01:24:26   I want to make different formats of this product,

01:24:29   but it's got to do well enough that this makes sense.

01:24:31   Maybe like an entire to-do version, smaller product,

01:24:34   and it's just to-dos.

01:24:35   - The way I think about it is, if this works,

01:24:38   this is like the founding member

01:24:40   of a little family of products.

01:24:42   That's the way that this could be.

01:24:44   And this all lines into the existing audience is fantastic.

01:24:49   It's a nice advantage, but it can also be a kind of crutch of like expecting

01:24:54   that everybody who buys your product is like familiar with you, even if you don't

01:24:57   really realize that that's what you're doing and it's like, ah, but this is

01:25:01   different, like this has the possibility of just like people can see it, understand

01:25:05   it much more quickly and much more easily.

01:25:08   Don't know anything about us and just go, oh, that's an obviously

01:25:11   useful tool for my work life.

01:25:13   Like, yes, I would like to have this very nice notepad

01:25:17   to have in front of my computer and to take into meetings

01:25:21   and like tear off the sheets when I'm done with the day.

01:25:23   Great, like it's a very understandable,

01:25:25   we don't need the whole like,

01:25:26   let me explain to you what a theme is

01:25:28   and why it's better than a New Year's resolution.

01:25:30   - Hey, you know New Year's resolutions, they suck, right?

01:25:32   It's like, you don't need to do any of that.

01:25:33   It's like, so you gotta have a yearly theme.

01:25:35   What's a yearly theme?

01:25:36   What's this?

01:25:36   When in a, and it's three sections to the journal, right?

01:25:38   It's like, it is a great product for what it does,

01:25:41   but it takes time to explain.

01:25:43   And it also makes me feel a little bit like I'm wearing one of those like cult style t-shirts every time I'm mixed with this.

01:25:49   Oh, but we're all in on the cult of the fame, man. We're all in on it.

01:25:53   Don't get me wrong, I don't have a problem with it, but it is a little bit like, I need to explain to you a philosophy, right?

01:25:59   And then this product makes sense.

01:26:01   It's a lifestyle product as well as it is anything else.

01:26:05   And so like, so this is the area that we are now considering, right?

01:26:09   So this year is now about getting serious

01:26:13   for the next multiple years going forward.

01:26:16   And we're actually kind of borrowing

01:26:19   from your theme last year, where you decided,

01:26:22   I'm a YouTuber, I'm gonna do YouTuber things.

01:26:25   We're deciding we're a direct-to-consumer business.

01:26:28   We're gonna start to do more

01:26:30   direct-to-consumer business things.

01:26:32   - Yes.

01:26:33   - So this is about now more photos, more videos,

01:26:37   trying more advertising, and--

01:26:39   - More Instagrams.

01:26:40   - More Instagrams, @cortexbrand on Instagram,

01:26:44   and trying to understand more the story of our brand

01:26:49   to people that do not know who we are

01:26:53   is like a very important part

01:26:57   that I'm now starting this journey on.

01:26:59   So I'm working with a few people

01:27:02   in different marketing fields,

01:27:03   and we're like, we're trying to work this out now

01:27:06   of how do we talk about the products that we make

01:27:10   to people that don't know us,

01:27:11   why would they care about them?

01:27:13   What is it?

01:27:14   And so this is the stuff,

01:27:16   we're kind of looking at it as pillars as well,

01:27:19   that's what I'm being told,

01:27:20   content pillars is the thing I keep getting told about.

01:27:23   But this is what learning for what you were just talking

01:27:25   about, we have these two different products

01:27:27   at different pillars.

01:27:28   One is just like, Sidekick Notepad is a very simple thing

01:27:31   in that like, hey, it's a notepad,

01:27:32   it sits on your desk between you and your keyboard.

01:27:34   You can take your notes on it through the day,

01:27:36   take it to your meetings. Then we have this other product which is, "Hey, let us

01:27:39   help improve your life." And so like it's two different types of content and we're

01:27:44   gonna start making both of it and leaning into it more. Like similarly, like we have

01:27:51   138 episodes of a show that lasts about two hours so there's all this content in

01:27:58   there too. So there's things that we've said, things we've spoken about. Can we

01:28:01   pour those out? Make it more part of what the overall brand is and this is now an

01:28:05   and like an exploratory process that we're beginning

01:28:09   to try and understand what is this over the next few years.

01:28:12   So this is the year of getting serious at Cortex Brand,

01:28:17   which means you will now hear us say,

01:28:22   if you wanna get a psychic notepad, go to cortexbrand.com.

01:28:26   We're not merch anymore.

01:28:30   - Yeah.

01:28:32   It's just a URL change, but it's representative of this

01:28:37   getting serious about what we're trying to do.

01:28:40   And merch has a connection to something else.

01:28:45   And so yes, the Sidekick Notepad, it is fantastic.

01:28:50   Myke has poured his heart into many details.

01:28:57   It's been hand assembled in London

01:29:00   through machinery specifically purchased to make it.

01:29:03   It is a fantastic product.

01:29:06   Go check it out at cortexbrand.com.

01:29:09   - Almost makes me emotional.

01:29:12   Hearing you sum it up like that.

01:29:14   - Hey man, you have genuinely put a lot into this.

01:29:20   You really have.

01:29:21   And this is a weird episode, but especially for you,

01:29:26   It's the release of so much work and really making it public.

01:29:32   Uh, so yeah, you have every right to feel a bit emotional at the end of this process.

01:29:38   Like it's real, it's out there.

01:29:40   People can buy it, people can use it and we're going to see how it does.

01:29:44   I would just like to say before we move on, I just want to thank Cortex

01:29:48   listeners for listening to this discussion that we've had.

01:29:50   I know it's obviously like, I've tried my best and we've tried our best here too.

01:29:55   We did a little, "Please go buy it" at the top

01:29:57   and a "Please go buy it" at the end of this discussion.

01:30:00   The middle really was supposed to be like opening up

01:30:03   and letting you know what it was like

01:30:04   for us to make this thing.

01:30:06   - Yeah.

01:30:06   - I know the whole thing is basically one huge ad

01:30:10   for our product.

01:30:11   And so I really hope that this has been interesting to you.

01:30:15   And I just want you to know it means a lot

01:30:17   that you've listened to this.

01:30:19   - Yeah.

01:30:20   - Because this has been an absolutely dominant thing

01:30:24   in my life.

01:30:25   working life for nearly two years just making this. Like, it has drained so much of my energy

01:30:35   this year to producing this thing. And it's been so weird to have this thing that has

01:30:40   been so important to me work-wise, and I've not really been able to talk about it. And

01:30:46   so this is 18 months worth of stories in one episode.

01:30:52   And I also think it's just us talking about how you really are the lead product designer

01:31:02   at Cortex brand.

01:31:04   Like this is a thing that you do now.

01:31:07   And like what does that mean?

01:31:10   That means spending just a ton of time on a product and making it nice and making it

01:31:18   the best version of the thing that it can be and making something that people will enjoy using.

01:31:23   So yeah, you are now the product designer of Cortex brand in a real way. Like the first time

01:31:30   we did the journal, everything was very slapdash. It was a bit like, "We don't know what we're doing."

01:31:36   But in the second time around, it's just different. And you made this thing from the total

01:31:43   ground up. So yeah, you should feel great about that.

01:31:46   - I do, thank you.

01:31:48   - Cortexbrand.com.

01:31:50   (laughing)

01:31:52   - We can still say it slowly, you know?

01:31:54   - We can still say it, yeah.

01:31:55   - We can still say it, cortexbrand.com.

01:31:58   So you can still do it, it's still the same, you know?

01:32:00   - Please, if you're still listening, go check it out.

01:32:03   It's a great product, give it a try.

01:32:05   Let us know what you think about it.

01:32:07   - Yeah.

01:32:07   - Cortexbrand.com.

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01:34:31   So every year I've done this for a number of years now,

01:34:35   where I take my time area reports and look at them year over year and see kind of how my year has changed.

01:34:42   It's like state of the mic.

01:34:44   State of the mic, yeah.

01:34:46   It's kind of like for me now has become like a little bit of a tradition in also thinking about how I applied.

01:34:52   It's like for me it's my last part of how I applied my theme, right?

01:34:55   It's like this, because I can look at this and see like, oh how did I do in certain areas or whatever.

01:35:01   So I have an image for you. This also will be in the show notes. It shows on the left 2021,

01:35:08   and on the right 2022. I have a bunch of like little observations on this, but I'm always

01:35:13   intrigued to find out if anything's jumping out to you. So I can open this up now? You can check out

01:35:19   the state of the mic. Let's see how this how this was going. Oh, it's your image is slightly

01:35:24   misaligned it's breaking my brain hold on

01:35:28   hold on i will fix this i will fix this for the published version don't worry

01:35:35   it will be i was like oh my god i can't i can't look at this i'm literally i'm

01:35:39   gonna open it up and pixel made it right now

01:35:42   i made it with shortcuts i should have just fixed oh is that how you made this

01:35:48   okay i was i was two screenshots and i have a

01:35:50   shortcut that just takes two images and we'll put them side by side

01:35:54   Okay, oh, Pixelmator Pro is letting me know they have a bunch of AI in it. Great, yes,

01:35:57   I just open up, everything's got AI in it, I know. Okay, select, copy paste a new layer,

01:36:04   and drag it. Why aren't you letting me track this? Oh my god, it won't let me do this.

01:36:10   That's infuriating. Why am I an idiot? This is the- obviously you're having the same issues

01:36:15   I had. This is an impossible thing to align. It cannot be done. It cannot be done. Okay,

01:36:19   Alright, well, I'll do my best. Oh God, my brain is really breaking.

01:36:23   Okay, well, the number one thing I like to see is we've got admin down, right, for Cortex Brands.

01:36:33   I like that. I like the less admin work, more actual, like, product works. Yeah?

01:36:39   - So that's because everything related to Cortex Brands went into Cortex Brands admin.

01:36:43   - Oh, okay. - So things got split apart,

01:36:48   And so there was less admin, but then we added in Cortex brand product design into that.

01:36:56   So that's like a new area, like 31 hours into product design, and then 75 hours in admin.

01:37:03   Which is like one of those things I read, I was like, "That doesn't seem right."

01:37:05   I feel like that should have been way higher, but I can't argue with the numbers.

01:37:09   No, no, it's not possible to argue with the numbers. Well, I mean, actually it totally is.

01:37:16   like with the timers it's very easy to like have some weird things in the data. So I guess I'm also

01:37:22   noticing is it that sponsor booking is gone? Because you've got two categories here for sponsor

01:37:27   booking and sponsors. But it's like sponsor booking has disappeared as has sponsor copywriting

01:37:36   and is it sponsor aftercare? Is that also gone? So I had four separate projects in 2021 prior for

01:37:45   podcast sponsor stuff. Booking, copywriting, and aftercare. And then just like a general

01:37:51   sponsors one. To be honest, I can't tell you what that even meant now, looking back at it.

01:37:56   In 2022, I just collapsed this all into sponsors in one bucket, because in 2022,

01:38:03   I was dealing with this less than I was before, which has shown out, right? Like the,

01:38:08   it's way less. It's probably half at least. It continues to go down year over year. And I did

01:38:15   did a little consolidation to kind of show that.

01:38:18   Things like copyright and aftercare,

01:38:21   I just wasn't doing those anymore, booking, not all.

01:38:23   So it's just like, let's get rid of those,

01:38:25   put it all into one bucket and call it sponsors.

01:38:27   - So where has all that work gone?

01:38:29   - Carrie does it.

01:38:30   - Fantastic.

01:38:31   - And going into 2023, it will be less and less

01:38:36   and less and less to the point where maybe 2024, 2025,

01:38:39   that doesn't even exist anymore.

01:38:42   I think, I mean, I feel like that's gotta be the goal, right?

01:38:45   Is to get that category down to as close to zero

01:38:48   as is possible.

01:38:49   - I don't think it'll ever be zero,

01:38:51   but it will be like, my plan is like at the bottom.

01:38:54   Basically.

01:38:56   - Oh, your mentorship is way down.

01:38:58   - Yeah, I had to take a break from calls

01:39:00   for a few months when we were moving.

01:39:03   - Ah, okay.

01:39:04   Those like 10 way calls that you were scheduling.

01:39:07   - It's back to monthly now, but there were a few months

01:39:11   where I just couldn't do it.

01:39:13   And then also when I had COVID,

01:39:14   I took a couple of months off there as well.

01:39:16   - Yeah, that'll do it for sure.

01:39:18   - So I wasn't able to keep the calls up to the same level,

01:39:21   but that would definitely increase in 2023 over 2022.

01:39:26   It should go back to closer to around 2021.

01:39:29   But also in 2021, there was a lot of set up for that,

01:39:32   which didn't exist in 2022.

01:39:35   That was when I started doing it.

01:39:37   And so I had to spend a lot more time

01:39:39   get in the processes and stuff set in place.

01:39:42   - Right.

01:39:42   Okay, question.

01:39:43   What is this massive improvement

01:39:46   in a category called self-improvement?

01:39:49   - Yeah.

01:39:49   - So what is the deal with that?

01:39:51   - Self-improvement is physical health, mental health,

01:39:56   so like gym stuff, therapy, and also if I'm in a situation

01:40:02   where maybe I'm having lunch with a friend

01:40:07   or someone who I consider kind of in a mentor relationship

01:40:11   where the idea of this time that we're spending together

01:40:15   is not just to hang out, but we're getting together

01:40:17   and kind of more akin to some of the lunches

01:40:21   we used to have before we started the show.

01:40:23   - Right, okay.

01:40:24   - Where we're gonna come together

01:40:25   and we're gonna talk for two hours

01:40:27   and I'm going to leave this a better person

01:40:31   than when I sat down in some area.

01:40:34   It's like I have a few people in my life

01:40:36   where those kinds of meetings will do a certain thing for me,

01:40:41   or invigorate me in some way,

01:40:43   or may open up some doors to me

01:40:45   that weren't previously opened before.

01:40:47   So that is included in it,

01:40:49   but it is much more the health and fitness.

01:40:52   I started tracking my health and fitness stuff in there,

01:40:55   which was not, I didn't do that in 2021.

01:40:57   But in 2022, when I went, it wasn't everything,

01:41:02   it's just when I would go to the gym.

01:41:04   Other workouts and stuff like that,

01:41:06   I don't count in here, but like it's,

01:41:08   I'm making a very conscious effort to take time

01:41:10   out of my day when I could be doing something else.

01:41:13   So I'm gonna give myself the hours.

01:41:16   If you removed that and you would say much bigger,

01:41:19   'cause really my year over year is larger, right?

01:41:22   My total number.

01:41:24   But that's because previously I only tracked work.

01:41:27   Where now, 150 hours.

01:41:29   - Oh, okay, right, so that makes sense, right?

01:41:32   So you just added in a huge category

01:41:35   that you basically didn't, so eventually you're gonna

01:41:37   slowly add in all the categories,

01:41:39   then you're gonna be just like me

01:41:40   and run a timer all the time.

01:41:41   - No, probably not, but you never know.

01:41:43   I have thought, genuinely I thought like,

01:41:46   for me, like I like to try and amend my time tracking

01:41:50   to mirror something with my theme.

01:41:52   And so like that was self-improvement for me

01:41:54   was the structure stuff, right, from 2022,

01:41:58   of like doing things to provide a bit more structure

01:42:00   and stability in my life, similar to home,

01:42:02   home was added, home was 100 hours, right?

01:42:04   - Yeah, I was just seeing that as well.

01:42:07   We've got home and family management

01:42:10   has done a huge jump as well.

01:42:12   - So both of those are increased

01:42:13   because of all of the home buying stuff, right?

01:42:16   But like family management may have been more

01:42:18   when we were dealing with like paperwork and stuff

01:42:20   and then home was more about like,

01:42:22   in this house and trying to get it done

01:42:25   or whatever it might have been at that point.

01:42:27   So they all got added in and these were much more

01:42:30   related to like year of structure.

01:42:32   And so thinking with year of the weekend,

01:42:34   I'm not going to track my weekends, but I'm considering adding something about like time with friends.

01:42:41   That's not in the self-improvement category.

01:42:43   Currently, I've been tracking some of this in self-improvement, but I think I might just have like a

01:42:48   friends time as a category that I might track.

01:42:51   But I've not completely decided on that yet.

01:42:53   Yeah, just something to think about.

01:42:56   This is not a strong suggestion, but just popped into my head is,

01:43:00   You could also just do something like have a weekend timer in the sense that if you feel

01:43:07   like you're using the weekend well, you can keep that timer running.

01:43:12   But if you tried to break to do things that are not good for the weekend, you would have

01:43:16   to stop that timer.

01:43:18   Just in the way I think of, again, I like the timers as a sort of intentionality tool

01:43:23   or a "what am I doing" tool.

01:43:25   It's like, "Oh, I get to clock hours for a well-spent weekend, but I have to be aware

01:43:31   of if I start to do something that doesn't work towards this goal, I have to stop this

01:43:37   timer."

01:43:38   Even if that doesn't mean you're tracking the thing that you're doing.

01:43:41   Yes, yeah, that's interesting.

01:43:43   What I might do is create some kind of timer when it's like—I'm not going to put the

01:43:47   timer on on Saturday and turn it off on Sunday, but if I'm using my weekend for an intentional

01:43:54   activity. Yeah. Yeah, I might, that's a good idea. And that would probably, if I just called

01:44:00   that weekend, I could then track things like going out with friends on a Wednesday afternoon.

01:44:06   So yeah, I think I'm going to add that in now, actually. So just a timer called weekend,

01:44:09   which will be more for, it's like a code word, really, more than anything else. Yeah, that's

01:44:14   exactly it. Like, just just what you said, like, because with a bunch of these things

01:44:17   already, you're happy to lump things together in a single category. And so like having a

01:44:22   separate socializing with friends tracker.

01:44:24   It just feels a bit like, no, no, there's a goal you're trying to achieve, which is

01:44:26   well spent weekend time.

01:44:28   Just try to track that and like lump a bunch of stuff together in that one timer.

01:44:33   Because it doesn't really matter the specifics of like, of which of the good

01:44:36   weekend activities it was.

01:44:38   It just matters that you've actually put a bunch of hours towards that as a goal.

01:44:41   Yeah.

01:44:42   So there's a few things that I'll bring your attention to.

01:44:45   There is a reduction in editing and prep of shows.

01:44:50   One of the bigger changes there was when test drivers became the backmarkers that

01:44:54   removed a huge prep and editing.

01:44:57   Oh, right.

01:44:58   Right.

01:44:58   Show switch over.

01:44:59   But then also the bigger drop that probably won't see an effect until 2023,

01:45:05   because I did it at the end of 2022 was passing off the editing of upgrade.

01:45:10   Right.

01:45:10   Right.

01:45:11   Of course.

01:45:11   Because now podcast editing will only include Cortex and the Pan-Addict.

01:45:15   That's it.

01:45:17   Also, something I've added for 2023,

01:45:20   which relates to what we were just talking about,

01:45:21   is there is now a Cortex brand marketing project.

01:45:25   - Oh, right, okay.

01:45:27   So for like Instagram stuff, yeah.

01:45:28   - Exactly, it doesn't really fit product design or admin.

01:45:33   And it is kind of funny where it's like,

01:45:34   Cortex brand marketing in 2023, in February,

01:45:38   has nearly clocked as many hours

01:45:40   as Cortex brand product design did in all of 2022.

01:45:43   It's like, I'm convinced I've done something wrong.

01:45:46   Like that there is somehow a 30 hour drop year over year

01:45:51   in Cortex brand stuff.

01:45:52   I don't know, I'm convinced something's gone wrong here.

01:45:55   - It can't possibly be true.

01:45:56   - It definitely wasn't the case.

01:45:58   And so I don't know what's going on.

01:45:59   (laughing)

01:46:01   - Yeah, that's definitely not the case.

01:46:03   And there's also the, just the fact of like,

01:46:06   I know that the Sidekick Notepad just like

01:46:09   lived in your brain for hundreds of untracked hours.

01:46:12   - That's probably part of it, yeah.

01:46:14   Like I honestly wouldn't be surprised if that's part of the reason you weren't running a timer

01:46:20   is like there was tons of times that you were just like thinking about it in a way that

01:46:24   it didn't make any sense to actually be tracking.

01:46:27   And that just kind of led to a being out of the habit of flipping the timer on at all

01:46:32   that was in your head a lot getting worked on even if it wasn't being tracked on for

01:46:37   sure.

01:46:38   One of the interesting ones is the podcast-a-thon

01:46:41   going down from 72 hours to 69 hours.

01:46:45   The reason is, because this year,

01:46:47   I was not doing as many streams

01:46:48   because I was traveling to Memphis and back.

01:46:50   - Right, okay.

01:46:51   - So there were less actual, like,

01:46:53   me and Steven sitting downstream in something,

01:46:55   which is what I did a lot of in 2020 and 2021,

01:46:58   and that would just rack up the hours easy,

01:47:00   where this time I had a big trip to do,

01:47:03   which didn't track that entire trip as podcast-a-thon,

01:47:06   even though that was where a lot of it was being done.

01:47:09   Plus the biggest change would be no setup.

01:47:13   - Right, okay.

01:47:14   - I didn't have to completely demolish

01:47:17   and rebuild Mega Studio over the span of three days.

01:47:21   And I think that that made a huge difference

01:47:24   for that category as well.

01:47:25   - How do you feel about the comparison

01:47:27   between these two years looking at it?

01:47:29   - I feel pretty good about it

01:47:30   because one of the things that happened

01:47:33   I started to consider myself to the level that it is the fourth highest thing that I tracked

01:47:39   over the year is like how I was thinking about me and making time for me and

01:47:44   so that was like a huge jump like to go up to the level that it did and

01:47:49   Really only to be bested by podcasts which are just an incredibly time intensive thing

01:47:54   Right like so nothing's ever gonna beat those numbers like it's not it's not gonna happen. It doesn't matter

01:47:59   matter what I do.

01:48:00   I would actually argue that if self-improvement was your number one track category, it's

01:48:05   actually a massive problem.

01:48:07   I've done something terribly.

01:48:08   I need to go back to the year of structure.

01:48:10   Yeah, that is a sign of a life gone wrong if your number one category is self-improvement.

01:48:15   It's like, "Oh, I spend most of my time working on myself."

01:48:18   It's like, "Oh, you're doing nothing then."

01:48:20   You pray love, man.

01:48:22   This is terrible.

01:48:23   So yeah, overall I'm pretty happy with it.

01:48:26   So like, I feel like now going into this year, Cortex brand marketing's in there.

01:48:29   I'm going to put in a year of the weekend kind of thing.

01:48:32   And now to split out some of that self-improvement time a little bit more and

01:48:36   kind of now self-improvement a bit more focused on overall health, I think

01:48:41   is where I want to go with that.

01:48:42   And, and yeah, I feel like you should, you should have a separate category

01:48:46   with it, which is just health, which can be like physical and mental health.

01:48:50   If you want to put those two together and then like weekend stuff get, get pulled out.

01:48:54   I feel like that's gonna, that just seems like that would be more useful to you for this year going forward.

01:48:58   For me, the term self-improvement works better in my mind than health, even if it's just tracking that stuff.

01:49:05   Mm-hmm.

01:49:06   There is something about making myself better, whatever that means, which just is, it tracks more for me than the word health.

01:49:16   Like health just carries so much baggage.

01:49:18   Mm-hmm.

01:49:19   And I think like self-improvement is like,

01:49:21   I'm making myself better for me

01:49:23   and for the people I care about.

01:49:24   And like, so there's just something about that phrase,

01:49:26   which just works more in my mind,

01:49:28   even though I know it is not necessarily

01:49:31   what other people would use or is like the most logical

01:49:33   if I end up just using it for health stuff.

01:49:35   But this is why these things are important

01:49:37   to be personal, right?

01:49:38   Like they're just how it works in my brain.

01:49:40   - It's whatever resonates with you

01:49:42   about taking care of your health.

01:49:44   - Before we finish today.

01:49:47   Myke, are you sure you want to talk about this on the main show?

01:49:50   Like, look, I'm going to give you an out.

01:49:53   If you want to talk about this on more text, we can, because I have a feeling

01:49:57   this is going to be a very uncomfortable conversation, but it's up to you.

01:50:00   No, I want to talk about it on the main show.

01:50:02   Okay.

01:50:03   Because I spoke about it in the main show last time.

01:50:06   I feel like I'm chickening out if I go for more text.

01:50:08   I have something else I want to talk to you about on more text.

01:50:11   Okay.

01:50:11   But I just like, I see this headline.

01:50:15   I see one word, the word is Mastodon.

01:50:18   - Mastodon!

01:50:19   - And it's like, oh Myke, I feel like I'm not gonna like

01:50:23   the way this conversation goes,

01:50:25   so you would be chickening out to do it on MoreTech,

01:50:28   so I give you all the credit for doing it here.

01:50:30   What's going on with Mastodon, Myke?

01:50:32   - When we spoke last time, I'd left Twitter,

01:50:34   I was maybe about six weeks out from Twitter.

01:50:36   - Right, and you said how you wanted nothing like Twitter

01:50:39   in your life. - Nothing like Twitter.

01:50:41   I wanted nothing like Twitter in my life,

01:50:42   that was what I said. - Nothing at all?

01:50:44   Nothing at all.

01:50:45   I have now joined Mastodon.

01:50:47   Hear me out.

01:50:50   - Myke, Myke. - Hear me out, hear me out.

01:50:51   Nope, hear me out. - No, but it's like,

01:50:52   it wasn't even one episode.

01:50:55   - I know, but it was two months total.

01:50:57   I just didn't get to talk about it, right?

01:50:59   (laughing)

01:51:01   - I didn't even get to do the like,

01:51:03   hey, how's it going not being on anything like Twitter

01:51:07   or Twitter itself conversation

01:51:09   before I see this heading that Myke wants to talk

01:51:12   about Mastodon on Cortex.

01:51:15   So, okay.

01:51:15   - Hear me out.

01:51:16   - I will hear you out, I will do that.

01:51:18   - There were a couple of things going on

01:51:20   over the time period.

01:51:22   So, one of the things that I was talking to you about,

01:51:26   I think we talked about in the episode,

01:51:27   but I don't remember, of like,

01:51:29   trying to find ways to still be able to talk about

01:51:32   the various things that I'm doing in the outlet

01:51:34   that I have, which is podcasting.

01:51:36   The more I tried to do that, it just felt awkward.

01:51:38   Like, to, like, you know, I'm doing this show,

01:51:41   I'm like, "Hey, I'm doing this other thing,

01:51:42   go check it out."

01:51:43   It just didn't fit naturally.

01:51:46   I didn't feel comfortable trying to shoehorn

01:51:49   my other projects into my other projects

01:51:51   to try and get people to go check out my other projects.

01:51:55   That just felt weird to take that time out

01:51:58   to be like, "Hey, come and check out this keyboard stream

01:52:00   that I'm doing," or, "Oh, you should listen to this."

01:52:03   I didn't like it.

01:52:04   And Twitter for me had always been just a great tool

01:52:07   for promoting the stuff that I'm doing

01:52:09   to the people that might care about the other things

01:52:11   that I may be doing, right?

01:52:12   Like you may listen to me on this one show

01:52:14   and then you maybe you got another one,

01:52:16   like, hey, I like Myke, I wanna know what he's up to.

01:52:18   And so I would always post about these things on Twitter

01:52:21   and it worked fine for me.

01:52:22   Things with Mastodon started to pick up quite significantly

01:52:26   after the episode that we posted

01:52:28   when Twitter shut down their third party app access.

01:52:31   And so it was the second kind of shoe to drop,

01:52:34   which pushed a lot of the Apple focused tech community,

01:52:38   which is where my largest presence is, to Mastodon.

01:52:42   So they all left to a dominant Mastodon.

01:52:44   One of the things that I started observing

01:52:47   over this time period was that like colleagues of mine

01:52:50   were gaining a lot of traction on Mastodon

01:52:53   in a way that I actually didn't think

01:52:54   was gonna be a thing for them.

01:52:55   Like that their audiences were great on there

01:52:58   and people seemed to be really engaged.

01:53:00   And so I kind of saw this as a point of like,

01:53:03   if I ever want to try this, ever,

01:53:07   It kind of has to be now.

01:53:09   Because if I, in three years, I'm like,

01:53:15   oh, you know what, I should probably be on that service.

01:53:17   I'm like shouting into the void, like,

01:53:19   hey everyone, I'm here now.

01:53:21   Too late, no one cares, right?

01:53:24   So I feel like it kind of has to be now

01:53:26   while people are interested in the service

01:53:30   and it's got that like,

01:53:31   hey, we're making it happen kind of vibe.

01:53:33   I have a lot of problems with Masson and how it works.

01:53:36   It's super weird and super strange in certain ways.

01:53:39   One of the things I do like is I have my own instance.

01:53:42   It's just, I use this company called masto.host.

01:53:45   I set up my own instance.

01:53:47   This is for, it's like complicated stuff.

01:53:50   Essentially the way to think about it is like,

01:53:52   I have my own website, which people can read

01:53:55   in their masto.app essentially, right?

01:53:58   So I have mike.social.

01:54:00   And I like, 'cause I can own the domain, it becomes mine.

01:54:05   it also comes with a bunch of benefits. If you have your own instance, there are no trending

01:54:08   topics. It just doesn't load. Stuff like that. Like things that I would have issues with

01:54:11   with Twitter. Like I've got sucked into trends and they can't get any of that. So I am on

01:54:17   Myke.Social and I have set for myself a selection of guardrails which have already significantly

01:54:26   changed my experience. So while Mastodon is technically Twitter-like, this is nothing

01:54:36   like my experience of using Twitter before. One is 15 minute app limit per day. That is

01:54:46   my maximum and I am not going over it. Because of this 15 minute app limit, I'm taking a

01:54:52   a very different approach to how I use Mastodon.

01:54:54   So I use an app called Ivory,

01:54:56   which is made by the people that made Tweetbot.

01:54:59   And I open the app once or twice a day,

01:55:03   see what's going on and close it.

01:55:05   Because I just don't have the time.

01:55:06   Like I only have 15 minutes,

01:55:08   this is not enough time to spend a bunch of time in there.

01:55:11   The biggest change is the following list.

01:55:14   I follow less than 50 people.

01:55:16   I followed a thousand people on Twitter.

01:55:18   - Yeah, that's too many.

01:55:20   So now the app is not worth opening for content for me,

01:55:24   because there's not a lot of content.

01:55:25   There's maybe like 30 or 40 posts a day,

01:55:30   maximum, in my timeline.

01:55:32   And so there isn't really a lot to go in there for.

01:55:36   So I'll open it once or twice a day.

01:55:37   I will see what people are saying,

01:55:39   if they've got feedback or whatever for me.

01:55:42   And then I'm closing it down.

01:55:44   This feels very different.

01:55:46   I know that this only sounds as good as my own,

01:55:49   like how I feel, like people will take from this what they will.

01:55:53   But I, there is an element of,

01:55:57   I feel in leaving Twitter and I did it and I was happy and I

01:56:02   learned a lot about myself and how I use social media and I'm applying some of

01:56:05   these things to how I'm using Mastodon.

01:56:07   But ultimately I think I have a professional responsibility to be accessible on

01:56:12   this service. I think in the long run,

01:56:15   not being on Mastodon now would be not great for me.

01:56:19   Why? What does that articulate as?

01:56:23   I think it puts me off on an island that I was becoming

01:56:27   just more and more conscious of and it didn't feel good.

01:56:31   They just felt to me like an element of like

01:56:35   "I'm just out there, man. I'm just out there and you can be over there

01:56:39   and I'm going to be over here." And I felt like it was becoming

01:56:43   too easy for me to just make fun of it and I didn't

01:56:47   understand it and I feel like now using it it's like yeah okay like there are

01:56:52   parts of this that are weird to me I don't agree with a bunch of the

01:56:55   decisions like there are things that are weird about it and there are things that

01:56:59   are technically complicated about it people are making it simple enough at

01:57:03   this point to try and get started and ultimately once you're started you're

01:57:08   kind of in it and then there are weird things that you bump into but I think

01:57:13   over time app developers are gonna smooth those things out and so it's like ultimately

01:57:20   it's just nerd Twitter and realistically that's all I want like a lot of the problems

01:57:26   that I have with Twitter was when it for me wasn't nerd Twitter and like there was just

01:57:33   like stuff breaking in and taking my attention in places that I didn't necessarily want or

01:57:37   need and maybe Mastodon is a little bit less of that and a little bit more of the communities

01:57:43   I care about.

01:57:45   I think it's important for me to be able to talk to people in the place that they are

01:57:51   without necessarily surprising them with a thing I want to talk about which is how I

01:57:55   started to feel like I was doing on some of my shows and that just didn't feel right.

01:58:00   And so I'm on Mastodon and my experience so far has been really good.

01:58:06   seem very excited about the service, people seem very excited when you kind of join, which

01:58:12   has been nice, it reminds me of what Twitter used to be like. Ultimately it's still a service

01:58:17   full of people and people can be difficult but I am doing a lot of work in how I better

01:58:24   protect myself from some of the things that have bothered me most and more. So I feel

01:58:30   pretty comfortable about where I am now. I am aware of the fact that it has been maybe

01:58:36   four or five weeks since I said I was leaving. Technically I've left Twitter. I have never

01:58:42   going back. Like I just don't need it in my life. Now I'm on a different service.

01:58:48   I feel just deeply unconvinced. I'm just worried because I feel like a lot of your concerns

01:59:00   were about what the, what a Twitter like service was letting into your life.

01:59:05   And now you're talking about the things that you were missing.

01:59:09   But the previous situation was you were happy to give up those things to prevent

01:59:15   other stuff from getting into your life.

01:59:17   And so that was just like, Oh, do do do do do, Oh, my life was clearly better without

01:59:22   all this like bad stuff getting into it.

01:59:23   Oh, but I miss the things.

01:59:25   So let me like sign up for another service, which gives me the things like,

01:59:29   It's just that door is opens up both things.

01:59:32   Uh, it's like the good and the bad.

01:59:34   So that's, I think that that's my primary concern about signing up.

01:59:38   I will, I will always grant that it is unfair of me to take a really strong

01:59:45   position on you don't need this because just the nature of your work does make it

01:59:49   more, much more useful for you as a tool than it does for me.

01:59:52   Like there's just no argument.

01:59:53   There's just no argument about that.

01:59:54   So like, I will still.

01:59:57   Grant you that.

01:59:58   But I don't know, it just, it sounds a little bit like you're spinning a story that's very convenient

02:00:05   for getting back the thing that you had very good reasons for leaving in the first place.

02:00:11   - I think the big difference here is I did not miss my main use of Twitter as like a consumer.

02:00:19   - Right, okay.

02:00:20   - And I am not recreating that.

02:00:23   - But I get--

02:00:23   - I think that's been a big change for me.

02:00:26   There were two areas that were bothering me.

02:00:28   It was the constant noise and people being mean to me.

02:00:33   Realistically, the noise was a bigger issue, I think,

02:00:38   for me in that arena because it was too distracting

02:00:41   and I would be in there all the time

02:00:43   and that's not coming back.

02:00:46   That is the thing I have learned from this,

02:00:48   my two month process was I didn't need it,

02:00:52   I didn't want it, not for me anymore.

02:00:55   And so now, in joining Mastodon,

02:00:57   well I'm not gonna follow many people at all.

02:01:00   And then the noise isn't there.

02:01:02   The other part, the criticism part,

02:01:05   that's the thing, I'm working on it.

02:01:06   And I'm trying to limit the amount of time

02:01:11   that I spend in Mastodon,

02:01:14   so it's less likely to break its way into my day.

02:01:17   Like I've done a bunch of things,

02:01:18   like I set up the app limits.

02:01:20   I've also set it so I never get recommended

02:01:23   the Ivory app when I'm pulling down Spotlight.

02:01:26   - Oh, okay, yeah, that's a good thing to do.

02:01:29   - So there is way less of a pull

02:01:31   for me to open the application because I'm not seeing it.

02:01:35   Like I have to have decided,

02:01:36   and then if I think to myself,

02:01:38   hey, I'm gonna open Ivory now,

02:01:41   I'm forcing myself to have the second question of why now?

02:01:45   And then a lot of the time, I don't do it.

02:01:49   It's like, I'll be honest,

02:01:51   I am working through this with my therapist.

02:01:52   He said to me that exact thing.

02:01:54   Every time you wanna open the app,

02:01:56   ask yourself why you wanna do it.

02:01:58   And so then I'm thinking about that

02:02:00   and it's giving me a second thought about like,

02:02:03   oh, actually all I wanna do right now

02:02:05   is get some kind of validation or whatever.

02:02:08   So like, it's probably not healthy right now.

02:02:10   We'll come back to it later on.

02:02:12   And so like I'm opening the app more specifically.

02:02:16   I'm also using tools like Buffer

02:02:18   so I can post about ever opening it.

02:02:20   - Yeah, I mean, yeah, that's great.

02:02:22   So trust me, I know how this whole thing sounds, right?

02:02:26   Like I'm incredibly aware of it.

02:02:28   I've wanted to bring this to the show today

02:02:30   'cause I feel like I need to be open, right?

02:02:32   (laughing)

02:02:33   About this whole thing.

02:02:34   - You need to confess.

02:02:35   - And I've been dreading it.

02:02:36   I've been dreading it.

02:02:38   Because I know, I understand how you would react

02:02:41   because it's how I would react

02:02:42   if you told me the same thing.

02:02:44   - Yeah, well okay, so let me also just articulate

02:02:46   something here which I would just like to put into your mind

02:02:49   which is trend lines matter more than absolute amounts.

02:02:53   And so it's like, well, yeah, of course,

02:02:55   you just moved to a smaller social network.

02:02:57   And don't get me wrong, the pitch of nerd Twitter

02:03:01   is actually quite a good pitch.

02:03:02   Like that is maybe the best pitch from Astadon

02:03:04   I've ever heard is like, oh, it's nerd Twitter.

02:03:06   Like, ah, right, that's when I liked Twitter,

02:03:09   was when it was older and it was just a bunch of nerds.

02:03:12   - So this is what was dragging me in.

02:03:13   Everyone was talking about it.

02:03:15   All the podcasts I was listening to, all my friends like,

02:03:17   "Oh, there's like these seven new apps

02:03:18   "and they're so cool."

02:03:19   It reminded me of like 2012 or whatever it was.

02:03:24   And I was feeling this draw of like,

02:03:27   those were good times where every week

02:03:29   there was a new Twitter app

02:03:30   and they had all this cool design

02:03:32   and all these innovations.

02:03:33   And I felt like there was this area of my world

02:03:37   that I was not allowing myself to look at at all.

02:03:41   And the further it carried on,

02:03:44   the more kind of like, it felt like it was becoming a blind spot for me in a way that

02:03:49   I started to become uncomfortable with and where it almost felt like I was taking a stand,

02:03:55   which I wasn't, you know? And it did. So I just thought, well, if I can manufacture this

02:04:01   experience to fit more where I am in my life right now, maybe it will reduce some of the

02:04:06   negative feelings I was having.

02:04:07   Yeah, like I said, that's, it's an attractive pitch. I totally get why, especially for you,

02:04:12   an extra attractive pitch. But the things you're saying about like, oh, there's less

02:04:16   noise because you're following less people. It's like, well, of course, because you just

02:04:20   moved to a brand new thing. And it's always easy to start by following a smaller number

02:04:24   of people. Because you don't have that like weird implied social snubbing as you slowly

02:04:29   start unfollowing a thousand people. But you know, like you didn't start Twitter with the

02:04:33   intention to follow a thousand people like that just happens over time. It's like, well,

02:04:38   exactly what will happen with Mastodon over time. Like, sure, you want to fight how many

02:04:42   people you follow, but that number only ever really goes up. It never goes down. And there's

02:04:47   also just the question of, will Mastodon be successful? Presuming that it is, that means

02:04:53   like, well, people are making it easier for people to get onto Mastodon. And so every

02:04:58   day that passes, it's nerd Twitter, but diluted slightly more. Like that's just sort of what's

02:05:05   going to happen. So I guess I'm phrasing it like my concern isn't necessarily that like

02:05:10   right now this is bad, but it just I don't see why this is ultimately going to be any

02:05:17   different from Twitter just because of the way trends naturally go. The noise will naturally

02:05:23   increase over time. If they're doing well, that means that they're growing, which means

02:05:27   that it's not so much a selected subgroup of people. As it grows more and more, I just

02:05:32   think like the temptation to use it from a content consumption side will increase.

02:05:38   Like, of course it's, it's easier not to think of it as a content tool right now,

02:05:42   because there's just fewer people there.

02:05:44   But yes, I dunno, I just think about the trend lines with this and it all seems

02:05:47   to point towards like, if it works, it will just be Twitter again, and it'll

02:05:51   have all the exact same problems.

02:05:53   So that's why I feel like, oh, that's going to be a, like a slow

02:05:56   boiling frog kind of problem.

02:05:58   And that's my concern.

02:05:59   I agree with you, provided the fact that I,

02:06:02   for me, my view on it is that I allow it to happen.

02:06:04   Like, my approach to the service is different

02:06:07   to my approach to Twitter.

02:06:09   Like, my approach to Twitter was,

02:06:11   I'm gonna use this as a way to keep up

02:06:13   with what's going on in the world.

02:06:14   I am not using it for that at all.

02:06:17   At all.

02:06:18   Like, what's going on in my community?

02:06:21   RSS is where I'm getting the information.

02:06:24   - So you're just intending to use it as a broadcast tool?

02:06:26   - To be able to have a place

02:06:28   where people can ask me some questions.

02:06:31   Like I was getting some great psychic notepad questions

02:06:33   over the last couple of days.

02:06:34   People were asking for things or asking me

02:06:36   how does this thing or that kind of stuff.

02:06:38   So that was really useful.

02:06:39   And also it was a way for me to just be like,

02:06:41   hey, there's this thing going on,

02:06:43   do you wanna come check it out?

02:06:44   That's my plan for this service.

02:06:46   I feel like if I can stick to that plan,

02:06:50   I think it will be more beneficial than not.

02:06:53   - All right, we'll see.

02:06:56   - We'll see.

02:06:58   Gotta come clean, man, you know what I'm saying?

02:07:00   Like, I felt like I couldn't just leave that whole conversation out there

02:07:03   and then I've changed my mind and I'm like,

02:07:05   "Shh, nobody tell him."

02:07:07   Yeah.

02:07:08   Well, I have registered my grumpy disappointment.

02:07:12   [LAUGHTER]