As the holiday season comes to a close, and the new year is in sight, I find myself feeling both grateful and overwhelmed.
It's a time of year when my primary goal is to be present with my family and take a break from my daily routines, but I also have a growing list of priorities and deadlines to tackle. It can be a bit of a balancing act moving a startup forward while making time for holiday activities, so I'm trying to embrace the concept of ichigyo-zammai, a Japanese philosophy of channeling your focus on one thing at a time.
This week, I'll continue tackling a few high-priority items that many of my fellow founders may also be focused on: reducing burn, goal planning for 2023, and clarifying a vision for the future – especially with so much uncertainty in the market.
Most of all, I’m grateful for all the lessons of this year and to finally reap some fruits from the seeds that were planted all year long.
So, without further delay, I want to update you on some exciting news to come, and happenings across the board.
AUDO’S MVP IS LAUNCHING IN LESS THAN A WEEK!
Audo’s MVP opens the doors of our A.I. Career Planner where our proprietary AI asks you questions to identify your goals, skills, and interests to match you with the best courses and certificates to reach your desired career outcome.
For $39 a month, you get unlimited access to over 15k courses created by some of the largest companies and employers. With each course completed, our AI then matches you with job opportunities available anywhere on the internet. Affordable education, personalized to the user, powered by job market availability.
I’m obsessed with creating an alternative to college for Zoomers (Gen Z) and future generations. I believe that the A.I. we’re building will soon be powerful enough to help anyone pivot their career, or rejoin the job force based on their needs.
Making money on the internet is easier than ever. Digital skill acquisition is more affordable than ever. But a college degree is more expensive than it’s ever been. During this current market downturn, many of our beta users have been prioritizing upskilling with us because they need to find work before graduating high school and help support their families affected by layoffs. I know there is a better way to approach career navigation, and we know these gigs exist online.
Audo can help people on their way to consistent income through freelancing and upskilling.
The validation of our concept by real users has been encouraging. We’ve been generating 100 new signups a day and have over 12,000 registered and waitlisted users since we began our Beta in September.
All I’m going to say is that this MVP has been a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to ensure we don’t lose momentum. While the day we push this release will be exciting, what’s more exciting is the momentum we’ve built going into the coming year.
Cheers to an amazing team and especially our users above all else.
MY FIRST BOOK IS COMING OUT!! AH!
I’m Just Saying: A Guide to Maintaining Civil Discourse in an Increasingly Divided World will publish in the first half of 2023 and is available for pre-order now. Wow, that feels good to say: my first book is almost done!
I’m Just Saying draws from history, popular culture, and personal anecdotes from my own life to explore the concept and practice of civil discourse, an essential part of democracy and civilized society that is becoming rare in today's digital age. (As I’m sure you’ve noticed!)
Why would my publisher be interested in the hot take of a 23-year-old, privileged, tech-founder on the ancient practice of civil discourse? This one for me is personal. From my days at Colorado College to founding Nota (formerly known as The Doe), the anonymous publishing site I launched, to managing multiple remote teams across continents, I’ve witnessed such a massive breakdown in civil discourse during a time of hyper-scrutiny and cancel culture.
It’s worth noting as someone who loves tech that this book doesn’t exist to negate the amazing value technology has brought so much as it exists to analyze technology’s impact on civil discourse in society.
Do not get me wrong, I love A.I, and I love efficiency, but the truth is that we’ve lost the art of micro relationships and basic connections made through our conversations with both people we love and those we only encounter briefly. I’ve spent years reflecting on this, studying this, and working to scale civil discourse.
I also intended this book to be helpful to fellow founders and builders who want to lead their increasingly remote and global teams by leveraging the power of civil discourse. (It really makes a difference, trust me!)
You’ll be hearing much more about the book in the coming months. But for now, you can help me out by putting in some pre-orders, here!
SENTIMENTS FROM GUIN AND NOTA
A quick update from the two other companies I founded, but stepped away from as CEO this year: Guin and Nota.
Guin Records, helmed by Misha Kordestani, has spent all year “storming and norming,” refining processes, exploring tech solutions to fill gaps, and preparing for a year of newly structured deals and a new tier of artists. We have a new website we’re excited to launch in the first quarter, and a tech product baking in Figma that we hope might eventually scale some of the basic record label functions we know artists will need most in this challenging industry.
On the Nota front, we’ve fully pivoted to our new product offering launching in 2023 under the direction of CEO Josh Brandau. There’s a lot of low-hanging fruit to build tech solutions to help the digital publishing industry that has long been bleeding. In the age of free information and social media, we’re on a mission to create a marketplace and streaming economy for journalists, writers, and digital publishers. That’s our long-term vision, but today, we’re building with AI to make content more accessible for consumers, and give publishers an edge to ensure their information reaches the masses before misinformation does.
This starts with AI text-to-video, AI SEO automation for entire article libraries, and more. We’re currently fielding feedback and inquiries from publishers interested in pilot partnerships of our beta, and finding ways to bring the larger vision to life as fast as possible.
SEE YOU IN THE NEW YEAR.
Friends, that’s all I’ve got for this rainy winter day.
Here are some words I'm using to anchor my coming year: iterate, automate, delegate, learn and balance.
I’m a big fan of mantras. One of my favorites this time of year is, “Rome wasn’t built in a day, but they were layering bricks every hour.”
Let me know what kind of goals you’re focused on for 2023. I’d love to use this monthly newsletter as an opportunity to hear your rants and learn from or reconnect with you.