Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 0:02
Once upon a time, there were 10s of 1000s of makers struggling every day they built for hours and hours but didn't ship and didn't earn enough income. One day, the no code wealth podcast came to help them find the way because of this makers became founders and live the life they deserve. Because of that, founders live lives of abundance. Freedom. Because of that founders live lives of abundance, freedom and creativity. That's what I'm really all about. Hello, my name is Aziz and from being a poor boy born to a single mother in North Africa, with no opportunities, just sheer hard work, to failing multiple startups, yet learning a whole lot to barely escaping alive the war in Ukraine, even living as an illegal immigrant. I've lost everything twice. And now, I'm rebuilding my life. One more time. 1% a day sharing the wisdom of luminaries of interviewed on this podcast from Google executives to Amazon, Microsoft, Forbes, Technology Council, Harvard, Goldman Sachs, Financial Times, and even a priest from the Vatican church. Everyone is welcome, here. So let's begin. My guest today is Kevon Cheung. Kevon is the author of Twitter book, find joy and chaos and the founder of public lab, he helps creators grow their business in public by sharing their journey and cultivating community. Kevon how are you today?
Kevon Cheung 2:24
Hey, Aziz, thank you so much for having me here. I hear a lot of interesting conversations on your podcast. So I'm just excited. It's my turn now.
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 2:34
Thank you, I'm gonna have a lot of fun with this, I'm gonna play the devil's advocate a whole lot. So we're gonna make it exciting and spicy. And my very first question is this. A lot of the super successful people that I interview, attribute their success to no more than 10 relationships that have been with them for a long time that open doors for them that supported them when they needed any more than that was a rather noise. So what is the value of building a following or a community on Twitter? If it tends to be in reality that no more than 10 people are the difference that makes the whole difference? Or what's your perspective on this?
Kevon Cheung 3:20
Yeah, I think the first thing that is amazing about having a following is that you feel very much supported, you know, in the lonely journey, because as a creator, I'm sure a lot of us are actually solopreneurs. We're just working on everything ourselves. And sometimes you're like doubting yourself, you're like, I don't think I can make it. But then once you put something out people are there cheering for you. So I think that's the most obvious benefit of building a following. But also, I think, I'd like to talk about building public a lot. One of the key benefit is that a lot of times you don't get enough marketing and exposure to your products, right. And building public is exactly helping you to build momentum until that day, you put it out there and people are already waiting because they have been hearing from you all this time. So I think these are the two major benefits of getting followers on the internet.
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 4:27
Thank you. I love that. So it's support during the hard times in the journey where you're doubting yourself you're doubting everything you do, as well as beginning and getting your brand out there so that when you're when your product is ready to be published and shipped, you won't be needing them to do the whole thing. You will have a relationship with people who like you know you and trust you and therefore easier to buy Correct?
Kevon Cheung 4:59
Yeah, Ah, that's totally right. Because if someone out there listening to this have tried to build something, I think you will feel the same, like when you put something out there, and then you're like, all excited waiting in front of your laptop waiting for those notifications to come in, and then it just doesn't happen. I mean, I had a lot of experience like that, like even staying up to 2am Waiting for the product can launch to go, and then nothing happened. So I think, yeah, we're kind of taking a very different approach of building momentum building traction, instead of relying on what we call like overnight success, because we know that nothing is overnight is basically getting your idea, getting your solution to the hands of like, maybe a few people each day. And then after 30 days, you will have 100 people.
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 5:59
Thank you. I love this. And again, continuing with the devil's advocate theme, there isn't marketing this saying that. Usually, you have your clients you wish you had the clients you think you have, and the clients you you actually have, and usually they're not the same people. And therefore, often there is this easy possibility to fall into the trap of building a community of people who are like you, and therefore they're not your buyers, because you are not often your buyer, you are the creator, and therefore you're on the other side of the fence, like a teacher building a community of teachers and then trying to teach them. That's not the another way, they're not the students. So do you notice this? Do you feel this is real that a lot of people might gravitate towards people who are similar to them, but by definition, it means there will be people who are not the ideal client? And therefore, what's your perspective on this?
Kevon Cheung 7:07
Yeah, I'm glad you point this out. Because actually, I think when you build a community around yourself is is quite natural. Like you said, you have like minded people and the people that you like to hang out with to be around you. But I think it is actually Okay, so I like to use the fishing example, for example, like a fisherman went out to the sea and put out a huge net in the ocean, right. And maybe their goal today is to catch tuna. And what happened after they put up the net, is that okay, maybe they're at the right area. So 90% are tuna fish, but they're also a bit of crap and strim in the net, and then they let these creatures go back to the ocean. So it is exactly the same as approaching building a presence or, you know, attracting customer at some point, like, when you build a community is really not to just catch the tunas, you need to be okay, that in that community, they are just someone who is like a friend, only there to support he or she or they are never going to buy from you. And that's okay. And then you're going to be okay, like, oh, there's some salmon in the net. And these are people who maybe are actually against what you do. Like they may be hate building and public. But also they're there for some genuine feedback, giving you a different perspective. And you want to have these people in the audience as well. So first of all, I think we need to be okay that a community is a mix of people. But I also think because I've been doing this for a while now, I think I'm 20 months in since late 2020. And what I realized is that it actually doesn't matter. Because we're not saying that you can just build a community or a following, and then get rid of the usual business practice, you still need to know how to sell you still need to know how to craft an offer. So the community is really to kind of empower your active presence to show that you're not someone building behind a scene, and they might lead to some customer they might not. It's just one small part of the whole picture. And if you look at this, then you will feel much better, not putting all your eggs into this strategy.
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 9:40
Thank you. I love this and continuing with the devil's advocate theme, I'll call the Jesuit who is you know, Baltazar Gracia who wrote, I don't know like more than 500 years ago the In a book called The Art of worldly wisdom, and he has a whole chapter where he says, Never show your unfinished product or unfinished masterpiece or art or whatever, because people will be totally disappointed when they are involved in the process. And therefore, they will not be an all for it or respected at the end. And therefore, he encouraged people who are naive to the politics of life. It was like the first book Teaching Jesuits how to, like, be more political, but not in that way in the sense of human politics. And therefore, he is stressed again and again. And again, that the our the part where you're creating something is not impressive is absolutely mundane, and quite boring. And therefore if people see it, they will not think your end product is amazing, because it wasn't anything special. While if they see it. In the end, they will assume and create mythologies about, wow, it was created in a magical way with a genius starch and blah, blah, blah. Not understanding that a lot of writing is rewriting a lot of work is rework. So what's your perspective on this?
Kevon Cheung 11:16
I think the world has changed. If you ask me this question, maybe like, I don't know, like 20 years ago, maybe it is still valid, because we live in a world where live information is limited, right? But ever since the internet has come along, and we cannot live without it, I think the world has changed. Like, I'm I'm not a political person. But I was just on the TV. And I saw that there's like a new mayor in Bangkok, Thailand. And you know, people love him, because he's very involved in the community, listening to people caring about what they say, and then taking action. So that was a great reminder to me, and in a way that you know, people have changed and they want to see more about what are you thinking? What are you planning to do about this? Are you here to listen to us, and then build something that can solve the problems, I don't think we're ever going to go back to that, you know, oh, my God, this product comes out of nowhere. And it's so awesome. And I love the mystery of it. No, we're never going back to that. So everything is about transparency these days. And you know what, we think that people would be disappointed when they see the work in progress. But once you try it, you realize that they're not disappointed, I don't know who is saying they're disappointed, but that they are really not. In stead, they actually very much want to get involved in helping you build that. But this has given that you have been very helpful and genuine in the first place. If you are like a very selfish person, always taking from them and not giving back. Of course, they're not going to help you. But my approach, for example, teaching my students has always been, you know, give them so much be so helpful that they cannot say no to help you back. And when they help you back, you have the right people to solve that problem with you. And the product is just going to be so so much better. So this is my way of tackling, you know, not relying on my brain to build any products anymore, because I have used this approach and failed so many times. Now. I just keep asking questions in the public, and people will tell me what they want. So I think, yeah, final word, the world has changed.
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 13:52
Thank you. And thank you for mentioning the Thai mayor. And speaking about how the world has changed. Well, your approach is about being kind and friendly and generously giving value. And to keep on playing the devil's advocate. There are too many examples of controversial figures who are being really I don't know rude or obnoxious on Twitter and who grow their accounts at in a way that sweet kind good people cannot reach and they even become presidents and all kinds of things like that, where they're constantly polarizing, getting people to not only engage but create a super fan base who buys everything from them even without the offer being amazing or whatever, just because of all the attention and evolutionarily. People who get attention are high status and usually are throughout evolution. It was the strongest, smartest, most capable person and therefore attention in the human eye. psyche equals competence. And therefore, although they're getting it in a controversial way, subconsciously, people who are giving them their attention, they need to assume that oh my god, those people are geniuses and amazing and know what they're talking about. So what's your perspective on this? Do you believe, since the world has changed that there is a place for this? And your students should learn from them? Some tricks and ways in order to polarize and create a lot of attention? Or do you go for avoiding it totally.
Kevon Cheung 15:35
First of all, I think there's something to learn from everyone. Like, I wouldn't say we would try to imitate them. And you know, what you say polarize create a lot of reactions so that more and more people can see the tweets, I wouldn't go that far. But maybe they're really good at copywriting. Maybe they're really good at writing that opening line in the tweet to get you to read the rest. I think these are the things that are worth learning from. But overall, I think, I don't really worry too much about what other people are doing on Twitter. The reason I say this is I like to use attending a school as an example of getting on Twitter, like, Twitter is so big, we have so many people. If you try to, you know, compare yourself or try to see what everyone else is doing, it was going to, like kill your day, you're going to spend so much time on it. But if you imagine, okay, getting on Twitter is like going to a new school. Wow, there's a group of popular kids over there. But I'm this person who loves mathematics. And can I survive in this school? Well, yeah, but the way is not to compare yourself with the popular kids or not to even try to get close to them. But actually just find a few friends that love mathematics. And then you guys can start a math club, you can do some math projects, and you can still have a really good time and achieve your goals. So I keep reminding myself and the people around me that Twitter is is actually not a community itself. It's just a platform, the communities are really the people you surround yourself with. So if you see these kind of people, and you really don't agree with their way, my my advice is, unfollow them, block them, or even no, sorry, my advice is to first unfollow them, or you can even block them if you want, so that you're kind of really filtering out your circle and to protect your presence. And that would be the way to do it. So yeah, that would be my perspective on this.
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 17:59
Thank you. And since you're mentioning Twitter, and how big and vast it is, and I remember recently, you tweeted about the possibility that Twitter changed in algorithm somehow, in the way that it shows tweets on the homepage, or the home tab or whatever. So why Twitter? Why not medium or LinkedIn, or whatever it is. This is one, two, do you believe that there is this thing where people think, Oh, my God, the algorithm is Shadow banning me or it's not loving me or I need to struggles for a year before I get one viral tweet or whatever it is. And third, do you think Twitter is a great bet if we don't know what Elon Musk will come and do? And you know, he's crazy.
Kevon Cheung 18:51
Okay, okay, I literally have to write down the three questions because you know what, my wife likes to tell me three things, and I can only remember the last one. All right, so let's get to your first question. You're asking why Twitter, not other platforms like medium LinkedIn, Instagram, Tik Tok, honestly, is kind of like a personal choice. But also it can be a logical choice because you will want to build your presence in front of your target audience. So for me, I know that I enjoy working with entrepreneurs. And when I look at where entrepreneurs usually hang out, and I'm talking about my type of entrepreneur who are like bootstrappers creators, Twitter is really the place to go. Because the second thing I look at is what kind of format I'm comfortable with. I don't think I'm very comfortable being on video like Tik Tok style video every single day, or taking a photo of myself or my work around on Instagram, every A day, that's just not me. I try to understand what kind of approach I want. And it is techspace something quite easy. And there's a lot of conversations. So if you look at LinkedIn and Twitter, LinkedIn is somewhere you pose a long post, and probably that's the only one for the day. And then people comment, and then you comment back, it is not that conversational and fun. But on Twitter, you know, on average, I put out maybe 20 to 30 replies, some of them are just emojis. And most some of them aren't just me teasing my friends. Some of them are me adding values to people live. So much more can happen when it is just text base and is so short form. So I think at the end of the day is picking the platform that you enjoy, and your people hang out. So that is your question number one. Let's get to question number two, I think I heard something about like, what if the algorithm changed the home feed change and your tweet doesn't go viral? I think viral is a word that we all need to avoid. Because I have learned the hard lesson that virality doesn't really help you grow. I have the one of my tweets actually gained 3600 likes, and I was talking about the software clubhouse. So it has nothing to do with my expertise. But somehow it got viral. And guess what it brought me maybe like 15 followers, and they're not even the people that I want to attract. So this tells you that going viral is actually quite meaningless, you might as well gain the right people, like three people a day, and you still do a much better. So I think, at the end of the day, the algorithm will change. Everything of the platform will keep evolving. But guess what? It changes for everyone, it's not trying to discriminate you or something. So I think it's still a fair game, we might have to change our approach here and there. That's what I share with my audience. Like I actually teach them how to battle this new change of the home fee. But let's all keep learning and adjust ourselves. And you know, the world is moving so fast. We don't expect to be still anymore. Right? Okay, so now let's get to your last question. Elon Musk. Um, honestly, speaking, I'm not giving too much thought into Elon Musk, because I'm the kind of person that I don't spend my time thinking about things that I have no control over. So whatever Elon wants to do, whatever the Twitter team wants to do, I don't really care. But of course, I try to de risk for myself, for example, if you don't know, Twitter is very much just a discovery platform for people to find you. Because of the algorithm, right? You might get seen by random people, but you need to get them into an email list so that you can build relationships, and you know that your content is getting into their hands. So if you start doing that early, and you're like, slowly getting the right people into your email list, then you don't need to be afraid Twitter might go away one day. I'm certainly not afraid. Let's diversify our risk a little bit more.
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 23:39
Thank you. And now I'll keep it at two questions that I noted down. So we're going from three to two to one and away. Cool. First, look, you have more than 10,000 followers, a lot of the big accounts, they say actually, before you reach to the magical number of 10,000 followers, Twitter is hard, boring, not bringing back so much value to you. So to people who have less than 1000 accounts, and they're trying to get to 1000, or whatever work involved. First, what is your approach to Twitter that is bringing joy rather than chaos? In a way of course, that will encourage people to get your book to learn more about it. And secondly, some experts will say don't make more than one or maybe maximum two threads per week because some of the big accounts notice that if they make a thread every day, they lose engagement totally and therefore not many people see their accounts, while other people like Grant Cardone, or I don't know. I'm sure Goggins. You know, David Goggins will say, post 10 times per day don't go for maximum volume because or even Gary Vaynerchuk who was like post 100 kinds of pieces of content on all platforms every day, do you believe in this quantity? At least to reach big results? Do you believe in quality? Were one really good thread per week for a while? And when will people see actual results that will show them that they're on the right path? Is it at 1000? Is it at 5000? Is it correct that unless you have 10,000, you don't see the real potential of Twitter? Let me know.
Kevon Cheung 25:34
Okay, we're getting to some really heated debate here, which I like, let's talk about the how do I find joy in the Twitter chaos? In my mind, I, I've already described Twitter is so crazy, so noisy, so distracting, like everyone is talking. And then everyone is giving you advice on this. And that, you know, to me, when people say something like, You need to get to a 10k followers in order to have some kind of success. I think that's just BS. I think what they're trying to sell you is that maybe they have a guide or an ebook for you to get to 10k. And they say that to get you to buy it. So I am really against this type of sales tactic, because because of my own experience, like you can enjoy success as early as maybe 600 followers, is not really about the number if you have the right approach. So let me kind of elaborate on this a little bit more. If you have, like 600 followers, and you're really building relationships and being helpful in a community, I'm guessing you can have like 30 to 50, close friends, that you're exchanging ideas all the time. And guess what, if you have the right 50 People, you would be able to build something for them, and they would buy from you. And if you consider that success, then you can already enjoys a sense. So for me, I think I built my first course when I was at maybe 2000 followers. And when I tweeted, Hey guys, I'm going to build this building public course, who might be interested, I'm going to run the first cohort for free just to get some feedback and kind of understand what it means to do a course online. And then so many people raise their hand. So what do you think, and then after the first cohort, I started charging for the second one, even though it's just a $50 fee, and then I keep increasing the price until now. It's like 600, and 1000. So to me, it's a step by step process. And those numbers saying you need to get to 5000 to enjoy says 10,000 to enjoy success. No, no, that was not just sales tactics to me. So to me, the version of joy is really what I just said you'd like you can figure out your own goals. And you can get it in small wins kind of approach very early on, but you need to just understand where your position is and how to tackle it. So z you are saying like, a lot of people advocate not a lot of people. A Z you were saying some people advocate for tweeting a lot like Gary Vee. Um, actually, let me repeat that date. I don't know. I forgot if you quote Gary Vee,
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 28:39
either. Okay, Grant Cardone like.
Kevon Cheung 28:43
Sure. Okay, I see. So there are a lot of people who will say you have to tweet more so that you get more impressions so that you can build your follower faster. I think it works for some people, but it doesn't work for some people like I always say it depends. Because for someone like Gary Vee. Yeah, everyone loves him, like whatever he say, We're gonna listen to him. Even if he tweets like 1000 times a day, some people will dig through the tweets and try to find value because we already trust him. But you know, I work with so many new entrepreneurs, new creators, imagine someone new with like 123 followers, and they tweet a lot. Imagine that, how would you feel? You're feeling like, Why is this person tweeting so much? I don't know this guy. I just want to, you know, get to know the value but like, it's all scattered. He's retweeting. He's talking about his daily life and all this that is diluted, the presence is diluted and then you lose out on that follower. So I think for new people, this type of advice doesn't work well, in my mind. You just need to tweet like two, three times a day maximum. And each tweet provides a value to your follower. And then you're good. If you have more ideas, I would rather you save it up. So that maybe one day you're like, Oh my God, I don't know what to say today. And then you grab that idea from your whatever note taking app, and then put it on Twitter, that is a much better way to kind of extend your presence and not just, you know, overwhelm yourself so much. That is my version of joy, like you enjoy early success, and you take control of your social media presence. Yeah, I think I answered your question. Right?
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 30:41
You did. Thank you so much. This was a highly value packed episode where you answered many questions that people will have doubts about I thank you so much, Kevin, and can you share about if people want to get your book or participate in one of your courses? What are they? What can they expect inside? And which links should they go to? or social media? Or maybe even your Twitter? And I'll make sure to write your Twitter and link to the websites and the episode description.
Kevon Cheung 31:18
Yeah, definitely. So for the bulk. I mean, it's definitely for someone who is very keen on the fundamentals like you understand, once you get these fundamentals of Twitter, you can just run with it, you don't need to add new things, you can just keep on repeating them and your Twitter presence will grow is really for people who care about this. And for my course, is really for people who want to get the deep dive into building public because it's called building public mastery, and have a community approach to challenge yourself to be more in public. So it's a very, you know, group kind of learning experience. And you talked about links, I think most of you can find me on Twitter, I'm like really active there. Try not to spend so much time there, but I'm active there. So my username is meats Kavon METKE vo n. And then, you know, the website I run is public lab dot Kol. And pretty much if you go to these two links, you will find everything I do and maybe something that you find useful. But if you are just new to my work, you have tons of free resources, you can dig around, and I'm pretty open and compensation know. So if you reach out to me, ask me a question. I will try to get back to you ASAP as well. That's kind of my standard to myself. Yeah. So that's how you find me.
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 32:49
Thank you. Okay, Vaughn. This was my privilege, my honor, such a fantastic episode and a wish you to keep going. You're helping your community and a lot of good people. Thank you again.
Kevon Cheung 33:03
Thank you, Rosie. Thank you so much for having me here. It was really fun.