MegaMaker - Why do you want to be famous?

hey, here's a few thoughts from today

Here are a few things I've been thinking about.

As always, if you have something to say – please reply to this email. 👍


avoid fame if you can

There are some people that think they need to be Twitter famous in order to start a business.

But I think fame is a trap; you should avoid fame if you can.

It reminds me of this interview with NOFX (the punk band):

Interviewer: "Do you wish you got bigger in the 90s?"

Fat Mike: "No way. Because once you get really big, you can’t hold on to it. You can’t sustain that level of popularity. Our level of popularity we can sustain. Our crowds have never gone down. We sell out places all the time, the same clubs we always play where if you look bands who did go the MTV way they were big for a few years, but then they were back to playing clubs."

If you're a band, and you can fill a room with a hundred people and play to those fans in multiple cities around the globe, you've made it. That's perfect.

The same is true in startups. If you can build a small, profitable business without becoming well-known, you should do it. It will bring so much more calm to your life.

"I always want to say to people who want to be rich and famous: ‘try being rich first.’ See if that doesn’t cover most of it. There’s not much downside to being rich, other than paying taxes and having your relatives ask you for money. But when you become famous, you end up with a 24-hour job." – Bill Murray



the secret is to sell what people are already searching for

Most purchases start with a search:

  • "gift ideas for my wife"
  • "best podcast hosting"
  • "top indie games for teens"

So the secret to a successful business is to build/sell products that people are already searching for.

I was reminded of this while I was at the barbershop. The topic of gifts came up. "Where do you guys shop for your girlfriends/wives?" someone asked. Multiple people mentioned Wildflower General Store here in Vernon. If I was the owner of that store, I'd be optimizing search results for "gift ideas for women vernon bc".

While some purchases are impulse-driven (like seeing something cool on Instagram and buying right away), most sales come from intent-based searches.

People already know they want to buy something, and they go out looking for it.

Arvid Kahl asks:

How do you keep tabs on the movement of search terms? Or find new ones to “build for?”

For existing products (like Transistor), I send an automated email asking customers how they found us. If they respond, I ask for specifics: "Do you remember what you typed into google when you were looking?"

For new product ideas, I observe what people ask for recommendations for on Reddit, Twitter, LinkedIn, Slack, Discord, as well as in real-world locations (like coffee shops, conferences, barbershops).

twitter profile avatar
Ali Abdaal
Twitter Logo
Twitter Logo
September 7th 2021

I also keep track of the terms people use to find Transistor (and our competitors) in Ahrefs. You can also use Search Console, but only for domains you own.


cool stuff

📺 Netflix documentary: Stutz. Corbett Barr recommended it, and I watched it with my wife. Really powerful stuff from Jonah Hill and his therapist, Phil Stutz.

🎧 Starry Messenger. Really enjoying this audiobook by famed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. "A wake-up call to civilization. People no longer know who or what to trust. We sow hatred of others fueled by what we think is true, or what we want to be true, without regard to what is true. Cultural and political factions battle for the souls of communities and of nations. We’ve lost all sight of what distinguishes facts from opinions. We’re quick with acts of aggression and slow with acts of kindness.”

📺 Star Wars: Andor. I found the other recent series' (Boba Fett, Kenobi) to be particularly bad. They made me not want to watch any more Star Wars. Andor changed my my mind.

👩‍💻 How to make people happy. "Openly express gratitude towards others more. Genuinely compliment people you know more. Offer to help people, even if you can’t completely solve the problem.


Justin Jackson

🐘 Follow me on Mastodon

Suite 1, 3000-30th Street, Vernon, BC V1T 2C1
Not getting what you need? Unsubscribe

Older messages

Classic mistake

Thursday, November 17, 2022

hey, here's a few thoughts from today Here's a few thoughts for today. (BTW - thanks for all the thoughtful replies I got to my last email. Keep those coming!) ---- A common estimating mistake

is twitter done?

Sunday, November 13, 2022

hey, here's a few thoughts from today I'm not cheering for the death of Twitter. I've been on the platform since October 2008, and it's meant a lot to me. Twitter is where I go to

Content warning

Thursday, November 10, 2022

hey, here's a few thoughts from today Hey friends, Here's a few thoughts from today: ---- Thoughts on Mastodon I've been trying out Mastodon. People bill it as a "Twitter alternative.

“you’re being overly pessimistic”

Saturday, November 5, 2022

hey, here's a few thoughts from today Howdy, Thanks to everyone who replied to my last email (over 33 of you!). People were overwhelmingly supportive of the new format. I appreciate you. ❤️ I have

A few thoughts from today

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

hey, here's a few thoughts from today Howdy, Justin Jackson here. I'm trying something new with my newsletter: I'm going to send shorter emails, more frequently, featuring a few "

this is tomorrow (just a heads up)

Monday, February 6, 2023

Learn more about the state of fintech 2022. CB Insights 🖥️--> 2023 Fintech Trends to Watch SAVE A SPOT Hi there, Thought you'd like this webinar tomorrow on how our experts are thinking about

Retail Innovation: 10 Retailers That Nailed It

Monday, February 6, 2023

Weekly Curated content from GrowthHackers Community GrowthHackers What's new? ChatGPT firm trials $20 monthly subscription fee in the US Read Instagram adds lead forms as CTA button option on

The Compounding Advantage of a Big Chip Stack in a Downturn

Monday, February 6, 2023

Tomasz Tunguz Venture Capitalist If you were forwarded this newsletter, and you'd like to receive it in the future, subscribe here.​ ​The Compounding Advantage of a Big Chip Stack in a Downturn​

This Week at YC: Navigating market cycles with Snapdocs’ Aaron King

Monday, February 6, 2023

He built Snapdocs through volatile market conditions and with minimal outside funding into a $1.5B company today. This Week at YC February 6, 2023 📈 Snapdocs' Aaron King on navigating market cycles

StartupDigest Reading List: Founder-Led Sales, Scalability, Slide Decks

Monday, February 6, 2023

Weekly newsletter on technology, startups, and venture capital. View in browser Techstars Startup Digest Startups & Tech Weekly newsletter on technology, startups, and venture capital. ------------

🦄 Zette: Unlock paywalled articles

Monday, February 6, 2023

Zette is aiming to be the “Netflix for News” by granting readers access to articles behind paywalls. Once a user has joined the Zette platform, they can use the Zette Chrome extension to bypass

Today's Digest: The positive side of negative self-talk

Monday, February 6, 2023

Your Indie Hackers community digest for February 6th ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

Learn from the Co-founder of Square!

Monday, February 6, 2023

Meet foundr's newest instructor Hi there, Our newest foundr instructor is none other than world-renowned entrepreneur Jim McKelvey! Jim's a glass blower turned billionaire co-founder of Square

Silicon Valley Funding News - Week of February 6, 2023. Anthropic Raised $300M from Google

Monday, February 6, 2023

View this email in your browser It's raining in San Francisco again... Here are a few great reads and lists for this week: Top 9 Most Funded Generative AI Startups are: OpenAI raised $11B from

Who to Know in Silicon Valley

Monday, February 6, 2023

Building your follow list (and, therefore, your brain) ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌