Here is a quick re-cap of SumoCon 2017 + all my notes:
Full PDF of notes:
Transcription of notes (hat tip to Mike for transcribing):
Here is a quick re-cap of SumoCon 2017 + all my notes:
Full PDF of notes:
Transcription of notes (hat tip to Mike for transcribing):
Soooo this last week was pretty cool :)
The whole AppSumo Team was going on a Workcation to Napa Valley on April 21st – 26th, and put this post out:
So not only does the whole AppSumo Crew get to go on a workcation, but we invite 10 people to come work with us and we’ll help them with their businesses.
Needless to say, just like the AppSumo Seattle Getaway in 2013, it sold out hella fast.
So on April 21st, 2014 we hopped a plane to San Francisco. Here’s some of us at the airport:
We tried to fit 6 team members into an SUV, but with luggage it didn’t workout…..so instead I rented a 2014 BMW and drove that the whole time.
Don’t worry, we drove it “very gently” ;-)
After a 1 1/2 hour drive from the airport we arrived at the country house which is in the Napa Valley area.
There were two houses rented so everyone could sleep relatively comfortably (at the last house in Seattle a lot of people ended up sleeping in random-ass places because there wasn’t enough space in all the rooms).
The main house was AWESOME!! It was a 33 acre estate with a:
Everyone sitting around the fire pit for introductions:
Private tour and tasting of vineyard wine by The Wine Spies:
Noah looking hella shady:
Aaron Batalion on the left (one of the founders of LivingSocial) was hanging with us at the house, spoke to people about bidnaz, and went on the winery tour with us:
TAKING A SELFIE OF OTHER PEOPLE TAKING A SELFIE:
The second house:
Everyone congregating and working and discussing:
Chilling by the fire was my favorite thing. I realized that a gas fireplace is SO much better because it requires no cleanup like a traditional fire, and your clothes don’t stink like smoke!
Private tour of the greenhouse and farm before eating at Ad Hoc. Andrew Warner of Mixergy was with us:
Oh man the food was good!! It looks so “normal”, but it was truly an awesome meal:
Goofing off while Andrew Warner speaks to everyone:
He should interview me about how to do handstands!
I stole someone’s dog while taking notes:
On the way back home I flew Virgin Air for the first time….and it was AWESOME. Since I just had such a cool trip in a mansion in Napa Valley, and dropped off my white BMW….I figured I may as well upgrade to 1st Klass (only $139 extra from San Francisco to Austin)!?
It was actually the best domestic first class I’ve ever been in. Good job Virgin Air!
Aaaannnddd that was my trip for the Napa Valley Workcation. A good combination of getting work done, helping people with their businesses, and goofing around.
Fresh off a trip from Cabo, I went back to Austin, did laundry, packed the exact same clothes, and headed off to our AppSumo Getaway in Seattle:
Some of the people who came were already running businesses, some were not.
I noticed something while talking to the people who DID NOT have a business going….
There were lots of ideas floating around in their heads (and even written down), but no apparent framework to make sense of those ideas.
I realized something I accidentally did back in the day, and still to this day, that has helped me immensely: I would write down tooonnsss of ideas, and rank them.
Read that last part?
The part about “ranking them”?
It’s immensely important. So lemme take you through the simple process I use to find business ideas, product ideas, ways to make money…..
I first am fully aware of this:
“The best way to get a good idea, is to have a lot of ideas!”
I write down a ton of ideas. Anything. The point is to get the brain jogging:
Just by it’s nature, this list will contain some gold, and some crap. Mostly crap. But who cares, it’s just a freakin list!! (usually mine are written somewhere in a notebook).
Now here’s how to sift your list of ideas for gold (in a semi-scientific way):
You rank each idea on a scale from 1 to 5 in several areas:
Total up the numbers, and almost instantly….the piece of paper you wrote these down on will turn from a random list of ideas, to a piece of paper telling you which ideas you should move forward with.
Here’s a ghetto example I made in 2 minutes:
Obviously some ideas will be easier for some than others based on skill/talent.
So in my particular case, this list has shown a book about Kopywriting will be my best bet. A yogurt stand however, doesn’t seem very fun (although I love GOING to them and pretending my CakeBatter yogurt with 9 pounds of chocolate toppings is “healthy”)!
So this my friend, is a key difference between a regular-ole list of ideas….and a list of ideas which tells you which one to go with.
Now I’m a big pencil/paper kind of guy, but I thought I’d make a cool “Idea Calculator” for you to use.
Simply click on the Google Doc, and save it for yourself. It’ll auto-calculate your ideas, and tell you when something is promising (usually anything over a “10” is decent):
Here’s your Idea Calculator (save it for yourself in any format you choose to start entering your own):
The point of this is to get you to start ranking your ideas with a number…..so you can spend less time sifting through ideas, and spend more time trying the winners.
Neville – Enjoying the awesome Seattle summer weather (and surrounded by 25 nerds in a house)
This is a business AND kopywriting lesson in one, on how to keep things retardedly-simple (with 4 quick examples).
When you watch this vid, try to think of ideas to hone your own business message (or flat out create a new one):
(YouTube Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjbnL0fmflY )
So you’ll learn two lessons from this one story:
Lesson 1.) A lotta wantrepreneurs over-complicate the hell out of contracts.
Check out the contract Noah and I made for a project (and yes, it’s real).
Lesson 2.) A lotta people over-complicate the MESSAGE their business sends out….which makes it too damn complicated…and thus useless since stupid people like me can’t understand it. I’ll show you some good examples.
Enjoy the vid!
FYI you can go to Kopy.tv to easily see all my vids.
(This is an email I originally sent to the email subscribers of the KopywritingKourse):
We’re trying to shift the copy on our AppSumo deals to be more “real”….and it was a struggle for me personally.
When Noah was co-working at my place a few years ago…..I got the idea to start writing the sales copy for his new project “AppSumo” as this jovial/hilarious/fat/racist/sexist Sumo.
The name “AppSumo” was perfect, and the logo was perfect too:
….this fat bastard made it easy to get away with saying ANYTHING!
….it was all fair game and VERY few people complained out of 100’000’s of people (if you’re not pissing SOME people off, you’re doing it wrong).
People would constantly ask “Who the hell wrote that copy!?” and try to hire me for their own copy. It’s HUGE compliment when people are willing to spend thousands of bill$ just from reading our sales pitches (to boot, they’d usually end up buying a bunch of stuff from AppSumo too)!
The copy was mainly educational. And it would SHOW EXACTLY what the product would do for a group of people, and even how to use it.
It also had humor….but that was secondary. Educating people was priority #1.
After pawning off most of the writing to other copywriters, the quality went down.
The copy turned into regular bullshit sales copy…..but with a bunch of cheesy Sumo jokes thrown in.
“Yes! Everyone should buy this!”
“This is a TOTALLY KILLER VALUE!”
“If you want to live the dream of making millions, buy this!”
Over the course of about 8 months the whole Sumo-voice thing seemed “played” to everyone at the office.
A change was wanted.
Everyone wanted to put out “stories” rather than “sales pitches”.
I fought this so damn hard. Even pissing off some people at the office who never get mad at anything (sorry guys)!
Then I thought “Ok….lemme swallow some pride and give this a shot.”
I started poking around the internet and noticed that EVERY big blog, EVERY big news outlet…..featured STORIES!
People share stories.
People don’t share sales-pitches as much.
People don’t share “How-To’s” as much (unless it’s about their specific interest).
(Think about it, how often do you see a non-marketing person share a sales-pitch on Facebook)?
The 1st piece of copy I wrote in this “Story” format was for Prey. You can see it here:
…..I originally wrote a how-to article on using Prey to protect your computers, but the team wanted a story. Eventually that’s what was put out…..mainly against my will.
Three things happened:
Even Ramit Sethi and Derek Halpern both personally told me “It was some of the best copy I’ve seen in a long time, anywhere. Really terrific job.”
Lots of sales.
Lots of sharing.
Lots of compliments.
….maybe this “story thing” was a good move.
We’ve since replicated the results with the story format.
NOW….this doesn’t mean I think everything has to be a damn story, but it’s certainly one way you can breathe some new life into what you’re writing.
If you want to test out a “Sales Story” of your own…..you can try following this rough outline I used:
You can even go to AppSumo.com and click the “Back” button on the banner image to see all our previous deal copy.
Checkout the number of shares and comments to spy on which deals did well or not.
….and lemme know if you have any success (or failure) with a “Sales Story”!
Keep being a student.
P.S. If you used to read the old AppSumo emails, which do you like better? Meaning which did you actually look forward to and open the most? Vote please (I’m a constant student myself, so I love learning from your answers)!
I’ve always been skeptical about the YouTube view counter.
I’m trynna become a famous youtuber here, so I got to watch the stats!
Every time I post a video it’ll get something like 300 views…..but I KNOW that it’s getting more. I’ll refresh in a few hours later and the count will still be the same.
Even with this recent email the same thing happened.
An email was sent to about 750,000 people on AppSumo today, a percentage of which either saw this on a page or an email:
When I snapped this screenshot, there were:
……yet look at this video counter:
Only 305 views??
Yea right. The numbers don’t add up. I can even see people adding new comments all the time, but the views don’t go up.
So what’s up then? I Googled around and found this fascinating video about this YouTube number count phenomenon. Hope you nerds out there enjoy this as much as I did! Enjoy!
If you’ve ever worked from home before…..or WANT to work from him, this might interest you.
There’s some really cool things about working from home, and really sucky things.
I’ve always liked working from home or coffee shops.
Even till this day, I only go into our office whenever I start slowing down at home. This is simply because I get a lot of GREAT WORK done at home…..but then after few hours I get distracted and unproductive.
Here’s some of the pros, cons, tips & tricks we’ve all learned from working at home:
When AppSumo first started (around this time), we used to send out these long, hilarious, and foremost…. EDUCATIONAL emails about every product we got a deal for.
Usually it was me writing these emails.
Then there was a point where two full-times sales guys were adding deals at pretty ridiculous rate.
Deals needed to be tested and written…..and we were testing 2 to 3 a day.
Naturally I couldn’t write amazing copy for EVERY DAMN DEAL at that pace.
So we hired a couple of copywriters.
After a while, the format of AppSumo emails changed…..and the deal quality was just average. There were good deals, but our batting ratio was a bit down (although I’m proud that we were still miles ahead of any remote competition).
This left us with:
So recently we’ve been TOSSING OUT SHITTY DEALS.
If we can’t recommend the deal to our friends and family, it shouldn’t make the site.
This is a heartfelt video that explains if we’re not having fun doing this, YOU sure as hell won’t have a fun experience either.
We talk about it here:
P.S. If you ever see a shitty deal on AppSumo….please yell at me. We’re not saying every deal will be perfect for YOU, but we don’t wanna become the same-old sleazy sales bullshit internet marketing you see everywhere.
Well, the results are in…..and there were some pretty clear winners!
Most people (including me) thought this image would do the best. It’s by far the most descriptive of the group, and the least distracting. The images with the Sumo kind of took away attention from the text.
Now for fun, take a quick guess which headline test would win….before you peek at the results:
THE WINNER BY A LONG-SHOT:
1st PLACE HEADLINE (#2):
Hire Someone by tomorrow. Use these Craigslist scripts…
2nd PLACE HEADLINE (#3):
Craigslist hiring scripts. This is the new way to hire. No sifting through countless crappy candidates.
LAST PLACE HEADLINE (#1):
Hiring Sucks. Let Craigslist do it for you….here’s the scripts to use.
I originally thought Headline #1 would’ve won. Turns out the “Hire someone by tomorrow” proposition for people was the best (Usually every Craigslist success story I’ve had happens within 17 hours of posting…..so this isn’t some “made up” headline).
As for the Craigslist Hiring Course itself….I’m proud to se people have been pretty happy with it (aka getting results)!
I just happened to use Craigslist 2 days ago to post a job the old boring way. Lots of qualified/unqualified resumes to review and sort to go/no go folders…
Anyway, the course was great! Head spinning with ways to use GoogleDocs/Forms. Integration of GoogleForm, video, AIDA – simple to do and full of value for me!!!
Very interesting lesson. I think I have learnd 2/3 things (Typing with HTML, Using a video, using Google form).
And most of all, very attractive lesson. Usualy I get bord. But this was exciting….
I had the sensation to really learn something…
Please, continue revolutionize.
Whenever I write kopy for a product I launch on AppSumo, I write FOUR headlines.
I also make THREE images for the product.
….those headlines and images then get split-tested in different variations. The AppSumo “machine” shows each combination thousands of times, then picks the combination that works the best (a.k.a. has the highest conversion rate).
The latest product I did called Hiring Sucks, has 4 headlines as follows:
I also made three different images in Photoshop (each needs to be exactly 440×248 pixels in size). Here they are:
So for everyone that looks at the deal today (it went live at Midnight this Thursday (9-20-2012), it might be a little different based on the split-test version you are seeing! Cool huh?
Click and see which combination you are getting shown:
I’m curious to see which combination eventually wins out (the “machine” always keeps testing, but the results are usually clear within the first 2 or 3 days of launch).
Pretty cool eh?
I’ll update with which combination wins out.
My guess is the 1st image and the 1st headline.
P.S. Did you know I occasionally tweet?