Crazy is the New Confident
In Defense of Trying Really Hard to Go Viral
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Check out this picture from 2013 of Travis Scott performing for 15 fans.
“He looks like a wannabe,” you might think. Well, you always look like a wannabe until they wanna be you.
A young Travis Scott
Performing to 15 fans looks “crazy” to some people. But it’s part of a pattern: every artist who sold out shows started out playing shows for 15 fans. By 2016, Travis would be raging and stage-diving with sold-out crowds.
In Netflix's documentary Travis Scott: Look Mom I Can Fly, Travis's longtime friend said he knew Travis would blow up since they were teenagers. "I knew it. It just took a while for the rest of the world to catch up”.
When you're a young creative, the world is gonna need a lot of time to catch up to your vision. People will call you "crazy". But you're not "crazy". You're confident in your potential and abilities.
They’ll call you crazy because they lack your confidence. They’ll call you crazy because it seems crazy for you to believe in yourself when they do not believe in themselves. They’ll call you crazy because your goals are improbable. They’ll call you crazy until you’re rich—then they’ll just call you lucky.
FIND YOUR MIKE DEANS
That photo of Travis above was taken by Mike Dean, a record producer Travis still works with today.
Mike Dean believed in Travis when almost no one else did. Now they’re getting Grammy Nominations and making millions together.
Find your Mike Deans. Do it now. Thank me later.
For most of my life, I felt like I was crazy.
I wanted to be a full-time creator, but knew almost no one else who did. When I started making friends online in July 2021, that’s when everything changed.
I found people who were just as crazy/confident as me. They were sharing their thoughts online and had similar ambitions of growth. So they didn’t think it was crazy if I was doing the same. Instead, they had confidence in me.
Here’s me DMing with a friend about why I went all-in on Cyber Patterns.
Finding your Mike Deans is key to winning online.
If you don’t have any Mike Deans in your life, the best place to find them is by making friends on whatever platform you’re making content on. For me, that was Twitter. But you can do it anywhere.
With them, you feel like you can do anything. Without them, you can be making great work but nothing will be working.
MARKET CYCLES // CREATOR CYCLES
In startups, there’s a model of a product’s adoption that goes: Innovators, Early Adopters, Early Majority, Late Majority, and Laggards.
The Innovators are people like Mike Dean who saw a famous rapper in a young nameless Travis Scott in 2013
The Early Adopters are like the day-one mixtape fans from 2013-15
The Early Majority is when his debut album Rodeo came out in 2015
The Late Majority is like when Astroworld came out in 2018
The Laggards are the people still sleeping on Travis in 2023
If you’re early in your journey and your fanbase is largely innovators and early adopters, the world is still gonna need a lot of time to catch up.
You need to overcome the chasm where most people give up. This will take time no matter what—although you can make that happen faster by:
If you’re like me and don’t have the money for paid acquisition, then you’ve gotta figure out how to go viral, right?
IN DEFENSE OF TRYING VERY HARD TO GO VIRAL
In the chase to go viral, you need to accept that you will look crazy to some people. But you’re not crazy—you’re confident.
And if you’re confident the world will eventually catch up to love your work like they did with Travis Scott, why not make that day come faster?
Going viral speeds up how many people will get your message. It’s like hitting network effects but for creators. Due to increased competition though, going viral today isn’t as easy as it was in the days of Charlie Bit My Finger.
Virality is engineered by a mix of 16-year-old boy geniuses like Eric and companies like Mattel with budgets larger than Caribbean countries.
You can’t just post a random video and go viral (except on TikTok).
But even if you do happen to do it once randomly on TikTok, then how the hell will you do it again and how will you capitalize on it? You’re not gonna get rich off one viral hit (unless you’re James Blunt with You’re Beautiful in 2004).
If you want to consistently go viral and make that a reliable part of your social media growth, you’re gonna need 2 things:
A content strategy. For Eric Zhu, this meant posting funny memes about him working from the school bathroom because he’s 15. For prolific shitposter Jack Raines, this meant posting satire on LinkedIn. For me, it’s posting case studies.
An insane work ethic. It might seem like Eric is posting funny pics in 5 minutes, but I hung out with him in SF and felt like I was with Kanye in the booth in ‘08. He’s a mad scientist and very, very picky with how his memes are made and shots are taken. And it seems like Jack just writes goofy LinkedIn posts on the toilet, but he’s been working on growing his LinkedIn for years. As for me, I’ve spent countless hours growing my Twitter and researching/writing threads.
The only way to consistently go viral is to be strategic about this shit—and try very hard. Once is an accident, twice is luck, ten times is a strategy.
Last semester, I had a marketing professor try to tell me that social media virality isn't a sustainable or predictable marketing strategy.
I raised my hand and objected, "It is sustainable if you post bangers."
I stand by that.
— Jack Raines (@Jack_Raines)
Aug 1, 2023
To reiterate what Jack said, going viral is only sustainable if you consistently post bangers. And to consistently post bangers, you need to try very hard. Posting bangers day after day requires A LOT of work.
So if you are trying to go viral, then please for the love of God don’t half-ass it. There’s nothing worse than someone half-assing their attempt to go viral. So if you’re gonna do it, go balls to the wall.
If you’re confident in your content, then do everything in your power and try as hard as you fucking can to go viral. When you go viral again and again, the world will quickly start catching up to you and your Mike Deans.
Soon enough, you’ll have believers all across the globe.
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I want Cyber Patterns to be your go-to email for cool creative shit and cyberpunk techno-optimistic content. So I’ll be curating this every week plus extra links in the premium newsletter.
Cool Shit Corner
5 links to help you create more cool shit:
⮑ Watch the Travis Scott documentary on Netflix
⮑ Designer Jack Butcher went on The Danny Miranda Podcast
⮑ Ambitious people need to be around each other
⮑ Use Tweet Hunter for all your Twitter writing and scheduling
5 links to embrace your inner techno-optimist:
⮑ I host the Banned Book Club with 40+ people on Discord
⮑ Techno-optimist Mike Solana started a new podcast
⮑ For genius AI prompts you’d never think of, subscribe here
⮑ Read my piece from last year I’m a Cyborg — And So Are You
⮑ Lil Wayne’s thoughts on AI are legendary
If you want to become a better content strategist, subscribe below:
Thanks for reading nerds.
Create some cool shit this week.
P.S. Want to really upgrade your content strategy?
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