How to spot trends | STFO 🤘

Published about 1 month ago • 1 min read

I may not have bought Bitcoin at $10, but I've made pretty good bets over the last few years.

I stumbled upon this graph in my screenshot folder last week:

It's the number of downloads my podcast got when I launched it 7 years ago. Back then, most people I knew hadn't even heard of podcasts. Now, everyone and their dog has one.

The beauty of being early is that you don't have to fight that hard for attention. If I launched Everyone Hates Marketers today, I doubt it would have taken off. The market is saturated with high-quality marketing podcasts, and the novelty of the format has worn off.

The point isn't about podcasts, though. It's about how being early to the party — but not too early — can help make you stand the f*ck out.

I'm no genius. I didn't predict the rise of Bitcoin, and I can't predict whether product-led growth will eat account-based marketing for breakfast.

But, looking back, there are a few things I've been early at, which gave me some advantages:

  • Cohort-based courses: I launched my first one nearly 4 years ago before platforms like Maven hit the mainstream.
  • LinkedIn content creation: Around the same time, I started to take this place seriously by posting a few times a week — which helped me grow steadily. Nowadays, it's much more saturated.
  • Paid recommendations newsletter: This one is the most recent, but I've been toying with investing $$$ to get quality subscribers to my newsletter... From other newsletter operators. I was among the first to use SparkLoop for this purpose. Most newsletter operators are now using some paid recommendation engine.

The truth is, I don't have some secret formula, and I don't obsess over being early at everything. For example, I never signed up for ClubHouse (remember it?).

I try to pay attention to the people in my space who seem to be doing crazy, funky stuff. And then, if it makes sense to me, I like to try it out myself.

So, yeah, I believe standing the f*ck out isn't about being the loudest or the flashiest. It's also about having the courage to try new stuff because you believe in them, even especially if your friends think you're nuts.

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