Monkey Business

The case for goofiness

Sup nerds, you're reading Cyber Patterns. 

You’re joined by 4,258+ readers learning how to develop their Content Strategy. In today’s essay, I wrote about the intersection of monkey business and big-money business.

Before we get there though, I’ve got big news.

My first book Memes Make Millions is available for pre-order.

Memes Make Millions is a look inside the underground meme economy. Through a series of funny essays and interviews, you’ll learn about the big-money business of memes.

In my time on Twitter, I’ve met a crew of creators who are proving that you can make serious money making funny memes. I’ll introduce you to some of my friends: memelords with millions of followers, writers for infamous meme brands, and even walking memes themselves.

Memes Make Millions will be delivered to your inbox on October 15th.

P.S. Your pre-order includes an exclusive interview with a memelord with 1.7 million followers on his marketing strategies and advice for creators.

Monkey business can become big money business. I’m not just talking about memes either. Cyber Patterns started as monkey business.

I started the newsletter under a different name — Brain Blasts — a reference to cartoon character Jimmy Neutron screaming “brain blast” whenever he’d have a good idea. And now things are getting serious for me.

With my content writing for startups doing $30,000/month and the newsletter at 4,000+ readers, it’s time to scale. On Friday, I announced I’m building a content writing studio for startups under the Cyber Patterns brand.

What starts as a silly project may become a serious one.

Don’t underestimate the power of monkey business.

Memes Make Millions did $200 of sales in the first 2 days. A book on memes.

Startup accelerator Launch House was born after a tech worker tweeted he was sharing an Airbnb with his tech friends for a week. They raised $12 million from Andreessen Horowitz and have mansions in LA and New York.

Me hangin out with the Launch House gorilla in NYC

Angel investing platform Stonks was born from a goofy stock-picking newsletter written by a couple friends who were burnt out from their day jobs. When regulatory policy shifted around live-stream funding, the friends pivoted to build a fintech platform and raised $15 million from Andreessen Horowitz.

And of course, you can’t forget about Bored Ape Yacht Club, the name itself a metaphor for rich bored humans. BAYC was a goofy idea by two pot-smoking friends and currently has a $1 billion market cap despite a crypto bear market.

The list goes on and on. This doesn’t even include TikTokers like Addison Rae who now have venture funds, MrBeast on the cover of Forbes, or comedians like Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David who are nearly billionaires.

Just because an idea is silly doesn’t mean it can’t make you serious money. Despite what people will say about cancel culture, we still live in the best time ever to monetize your sense of humor.

That’s the point of my book. You see goofy meme accounts and think nothing of it. No one realizes they’re minting millions. It’s a subtle reminder not to underestimate the jester because he may be a king in disguise.

Comedy as a content strategy

A while ago, someone with 40,000 followers told me to either stick to being funny or being serious on Twitter if I wanted to grow.

I tried it for a day, but I just can’t stop myself from cracking a joke and making myself laugh. I’m like Michael Scott every time he says “that’s what she said”. This inability to stop myself from cracking jokes and laughing got me in trouble in school, but it’s paid dividends in my career, friendships, and dating.

That’s because a sense of humor shows you don’t take yourself too seriously. I hate people who can’t laugh at themselves. It’s why most of LinkedIn is so cringe and why my friend Jack Raines has done so well writing goofy posts on LinkedIn; he’s arbitraging on the fact that nearly everyone else is afraid to.

“I think it’s because humor is related to strength,” writes Y Combinator founder Paul Graham in Hackers and Painters. “To have a sense of humor is to be strong: to keep one’s sense of humor is to shrug off misfortunes, and to lose one’s sense of humor is to be wounded by them. And so the mark — or at least the prerogative — of strength is not to take oneself too seriously.”

For this reason, I implore you to be goofier online.

I wish that I could tell this to my younger self: post more ridiculous shit on the internet. I posted goofy videos in middle and high school, but stopped once college got on my radar. Now that I launched the pre-release of my book, I started making goofy videos on TikTok and it’s been the best part of my day.

As a social media manager for startups, I get paid to make memes for brands; but I only got this role because I was willing to post dank memes on my own account. Similarly, my friend Shane went viral last week for his Instagram re-design and a company worth $4 billion asked him to design silly stuff for their account. Attention is valuable.

My new favorite follow on Twitter is fashion designer Nicole McLaughlin who makes weird shit like a bagel bra and a pair of sneakers with a trail mix pocket. While staying goofy as hell, she’s adored by the streetwear world, was Forbes 30u30, and has done drops with big brands like Reebok and StockX.

Elon Musk posts memes and dick jokes. Marc Andreessen’s current bio is “Powerful person; can’t handle being questioned”. Steph Mui is a Stanford-educated VC-backed fintech founder and tweets the funniest shit ever.

The point being here is that monkey business and big money business aren’t mutually exclusive. Even if you crack a joke, people will still take you seriously.

In fact, if they’re anything like me, they may take you more seriously.

Creators Corner

3 things that helped me be a better creator this week:

🎥 I started posting funny videos on TikTok to promote my book. I’m following Nat Eliason’s guide on how he got to 55,000 followers.

📕 I started reading Good Strategy, Bad Strategy by Richard Rumelt. Expect me to take over France by next week.

😂 I was asked how I make my memes. I use a tool called Meme Generator.

Thanks for reading nerds.

Create some cool shit this week.

Jason Levin

P.S. Want to really upgrade your content strategy?

📞 If you want 1:1 advice on your content strategy, book a call with me.

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Until next edition, see you on Twitter, TikTok, and LinkedIn.