The Kaizen Newsletter #34 (18/02/2020): I already failed my yearly goal

One of my 2020 goals was to gain 500 subscribers before the end of the year. In a previous newsletter, I also explained that I didn’t necessarily know why, but I felt it was the logical progression and it was a proxy for success.

I did a bit of foreshadowing here, but that goal was exactly that. Just a proxy for success.

I’ve been thinking a lot for the past few weeks, but there are two triggers that pretty much concluded that the goal to gain 500 subscribers was “wrong”.

My first big trigger came after talking to Abhi Vyas who I met through Twitter. During our call, he asked me what I was working on and I responded that my main goal right now was writing my newsletter and trying to get my subscriber count to 500. I think he chuckled a bit when I told him that because he then said that he didn’t care about the numbers of subscribers he had. What was more important to him was simply to publish his work online and to have meaningful conversations with like-minded people.

And I was a bit confused because that was also my goal. I also wanted to publish more work online, but I felt it wasn’t enough. I also had to spend a lot of time marketing it - by making more tweets and by advertising my newsletter so that I have more eyes on what I was doing which would then convert to more subscribers.

But a week after our conversation, I eventually realized that I was spending A LOT more time tweeting than actually writing and publishing more.

I was spending more time trying to gain numbers than to actually do what I initially wanted to do which is to provide more value by writing more.

That's when it hit me that "hey maybe 500 subscribers shouldn't be my goal" since it was pushing me to NOT focus what I really wanted to achieve.

Then, this week, I stumbled into this tweet which pretty much confirmed it for me.

Basically, focus on building amazing things that people have no choice but to notice you.

Yes, marketing is still important, but that shouldn't be my MAIN focus. Marketing works the best when you already have a good product to sell.

But until then, focus on making your product better.

So that’s why I already failed my yearly goal. I decided that I won’t care about the amount of subscribers I have at the end of the year.

Instead, I want to learn as much as I can and then share it with everyone through my writing.

Now, on to the newsletter.

Weekly Favourites

📃 Article

  • When "Grow your revenue!" is wrong - Daniel Gross - A good reminder that you don't need to go chase the $$$$ right away. Similarly to my story above, focusing on your product should be your main priority. Only after your product is REALLY good should you go ahead and start selling it. That's also why a lot of new startups would do beta testing with only a few customers, iterate their product until their customers really love it and then start selling it.

📺 Videos

  • Cheer - Netflix - Ok, I actually have no interest in cheerleading AT ALL, but I was super curious about this docuseries, since I heard really great reviews on it. And it did not disappoint. Even though the series if focused on cheerleading, you get everything else you would want in a good TV series, amazing lead characters with depth, drama, injuries, failures, win, friendships, passion, grit.

  • How to Make a Kurzgesagt Video in 1200 Hours - Kurzgesagt - Kurzgesagt is basically the video version of Wait But Why. This youtube channel does animated videos explaining you pretty much anything and everything. It could be super relevant like "Is meat healthy for you?" or more random questions such as "What if we detonated all nuclear bombs at once?" In this video, they go through their whole process of how they actually make these videos and it's crazy all the time and work they actually put in for just ONE of these videos.

🎙 Podcast

🐦 Tweets

  • If there’s ONE thing I should be doing well as a PM is finding problems, so I found this tweet to be very important to keep in mind.

🎧 Music



🙏 Shoutouts

  • 🚨Cheese incoming 🚨- Thanks to Nancy for making me some amazing homemade Pho for Valentine's Day 😍😍

👋 End Note

If you want to know what I'm up to now, you can check it on my website here.

If you enjoyed the Kaizen Newsletter, then it'd be cool if you can share it with your friends.

Share The Kaizen Newsletter ⛩

Feedback is always appreciated, so let me know what you liked and what I can improve on by replying to this email.

If you see any cool articles, links, tweets, stories or podcasts that you think are interesting, feel free to share as well at