Discover more from Late Checkout - a Substack by Greg Isenberg
How to become an idea machine
Before we dive in to this week’s newsletter:
New pod episode is live with Jackson Fall.
We talk about his viral “HustleGPT” AI tweet that got 20M+ impressions, 100k+ followers in 7 days and changed his life. It’s a must listen.
Let’s get into this week’s newsletter
The median tweet gets zero likes and zero retweets.
It may not feel that way, scrolling through Twitter’s ever-changing algorithm and only seeing the posts who’ve already received external validation. But most Twitter users (the ones we don’t see) are screaming to nobody — and that’s not where you want to be.
Today, I want to walk through my process for validating my ideas — for both content and products. How I capture my thoughts, choose the best ones, and turn them into beautifully packaged, public-facing winners.
Sharing this because I think this make you an idea machine.
Two lists with all of my ideas
I have a Notion page titled “Ideas” — which is just several running lists of thoughts that come into my brain. It’s structured into different categories:
Names (usually domain name ideas)
Sayings (ex. “Do you mind if we blow your mind?”)
Logos (ex. Flying saucer with rainbow coming out of it)
Some of the ideas are dumb and silly, which is perfectly fine. Some of the ideas come from things I see — for example, I saw an umbrella at the beach and thought, “That’s a logo.” And I write it down. Others come from listening to podcasts or watching YouTube.
I also have a page in my Notes app that is ideas for startups. This one’s a bit more unstructured:
Gardening for the best ideas
For 30 minutes twice a week, I have time blocked off in my schedule to review my lists. I call it gardening — which consists of two ways of thinking deeper:
Prioritize: What are the most interesting ideas?
Synthesize: How can I say this in a more clear & concise way?
That’s the most important question I ask myself when sorting through these ideas.
Why should I be tweeting this now?
Why does this need to come out right this second?
I think the reason I always find myself asking this is because ideas that come out at the right time have the highest likelihood of spreading.
For example: right now, what are a lot of people talking about?
How AI can make us more productive.
I had been sitting on an “how to use AI to boost productivity” free community idea for 8 months. And I had the name too, YouProbablyNeedaRobot.com. Now was the time, and it grew to 25000+ Discord members in 3 weeks. All from a few tweets.
Timing isn’t everything but it’s a lot.
I always try to prioritize insight bombs when posting. I enjoy thinking outside the box and communicating the ideas that others might not be thinking of.
Every time you see my name, I want it to be attached to a scroll-stopping idea — something that grabs your attention. Something that you need to see.
I want people to see my ideas. I want to create conversations. If I’m choosing between two things I want to post, the one that has a better chance to stop the scroll is the one I’ll pick.
So everything up to this point has been internal. If an idea is really sticking out to me, here’s what I’ll do:
Throw it up on Twitter and LinkedIn as a one liner.
(Remember: the median tweet gets zero likes, so if you haven’t built an audience on Twitter, I think LinkedIn is the best place to start.)
If the idea resonates, I’ll turn it into a Twitter thread or a longer LinkedIn post. I’ll type it all out in 10-15 minutes, throw it into ChatGPT (my prompt is always “Pretend you’re a copy editor"), and once it’s cleaned up I’ll post that.
If it resonates again, I’ll move it to a newsletter or blog post. And if that hits, I know I’m onto something — so it’s time to talk about it on my podcast and short-form video.
This is my exact content creation process. I hope you’re able to steal something from it and validate your own great ideas. Also — let me know what your process is, how you go through the life cycle of an idea.
Whenever you’re ready, there are a few ways to work together:
Enrollment is now open for Community College. It’s our masterclass to teach you how to build products communities will love.
This course sells out 100% of the time. And this time we’re including a free landing page for your brand so seats will fly. Check it out here. Class starts April 17th.
P.S: Most people expense the course through their company. Invest in yourself and let them pay ;).
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