You're not unique

An ode to weird niches

Sup nerds, you're reading Cyber Patterns.

Today’s piece would not be possible without all my friends who kept on encouraging me to invest more time into my weird passions like making weird art on Photoshop, talking to strangers on the internet, and reading sci-fi.

Thanks for pushing me to be myself. I hope this piece can do the same for others needing the extra push.

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Alice Lemée is a writer’s writer. We met at a party in NYC a few months ago and I’ve been a fan of her work ever since.

A digital nomad, she’s traveling the world solo and paying her bills writing for startups. In her blog Internetly, she writes all about her adventures and shares her advice for freelance writers and creators.

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Sorry, you’re just not that unique.

My generation was taught that we’re “special” and “unique” but all that did was isolate us and make us feel alone.

When my therapist told me “you’re not that unique” 2 years ago, it felt like a giant weight off my shoulders. I’m not that different from others. I’m not special or completely unique. God, what a relief.

I grew up thinking I was this special unique person and yes I’m weird in my own Jason kinda way, but at the end of the day, I’m just like millions of other people. There are countless others just like me and you in the world. You’re not alone and you’re just not that damn special.

When you internalize this, there is something really special that happens as a creator. You realize there are countless people (literally millions) with the same taste as you and who would enjoy your work. Your friends, parents, and school might not give a shit about your work, but there are people on the world wide web who will. You just need to go out and find them.

When you start building friendships online, it’s like realizing there are alternate parallel universes. 2 of my closest friends I made on Twitter — Justin and Randy — had been listening to similar music as me, reading similar books, and watching similar content, but we weren’t friends until Twitter only because our parents raised us in different states. Twitter brings people together that would’ve been friends if they’d been in the same high school.

The black sheep finds his friends online

Making close friends via Twitter has had a profound effect on me.

It made me realize that I know when I start every newsletter with “sup nerds” it will turn off a lot of people, but it’ll bring in countless more people like me who think it’s funny. The same goes with cursing, making dumb TikToks, and writing a book about memes. There’s just that many people on the internet.

The world is huge. There’s enough people who fuck with my vibe that Cyber Patterns is up to 4,600+ readers and I’m up to over 13,500 Twitter followers for being my genuine weird self.

It’s not a small world after all

We were raised singing “it’s a small world after all” at Disney, the “most magical place in the world”. Well, it turns out the world is really huge.

Yes, to some, Disney is the most magical place in the world. But to me, Twitter is the most magical place in the world. To others, it might be their childhood sleepaway camp. What explains this difference of opinion?

The world is huge and people have different preferences. But because of the law of large numbers, however weird or niche your work is, there is a market out there for your work. In fact, there’s riches in the niches.

I got 99 problems and they all niches

My old boss Greg Isenberg has a great post about building businesses on top of Reddit communities. There’s countless weird niche communities.

  • My cousin told me she was in a subreddit for hamster-lovers and hamster-owners with 100,000+ people in it. It blew my mind. We started talking about ways she could make money on top of the community: newsletters, selling hamster cafes, etc.

  • There is a subreddit called Tales From Retail with 953,000 people telling stories about their retail jobs. If 1% of people subscribed to a newsletter about retail stories, you’d have a 10,000 person newsletter. Imagine a TikTok show interviewing retail workers. Boom, a hit.

  • My personal favorite: Birds with Arms. There are 1.2 million people in a subreddit dedicated to images of birds photoshopped with arms on top of it. Instagram page? Merchandise? What about a TikTok show?

Whatever weird thing you’re into, there’s a market for your work. Some incredible real-life, weird-niche businesses:

  • Greg Isenberg had been building community-driven products for 10+ years with previous exits to StumbleUpon and WeWork. With an undying love for online communities, he’s built his audience to 300,000+ on Twitter, is an advisor to Reddit, and is the founder of Late Checkout, a product studio for community-driven companies.

  • My friend Prez Thomas dropped out of college after raising $4,206,900 dollars for Dank Bank, a platform for buying and selling memes. Yes, you can bet an interview with Prez is featured in my upcoming book Memes Make Millions.

  • Isaac Medeiros turned his love of swords into an 8-figure business called Mini Katana. Their Discord has 30,000 users, their newsletter has 400,000 subscribers, and they’ve done 240,000,000 views on TikTok. For a sword company in the digital age. Go figure.

Follow your weird passions. They’re not as weird as you might think.

I’ve loved tweeting since I was in high school. Instead of making a few kids laugh in class, I could make people laugh at scale.

My teachers told me to get off my phone and my parents thought social media like Twitter was a waste of time. And it largely was a waste of time until 2021.

I didn’t take Twitter all that seriously until I heard writer David Perrell say that when he was starting out on Twitter, he invested at least 2 hours per day. He had 200,000 followers so I figured I might as well listen to him.

From there, I lost my mental block screaming “Twitter is a waste of time” and started becoming a Twitter-maximalist spending 3+ hours on the app everyday. Once I took Twitter seriously, it seriously changed my life.

So yes, this is me officially saying you should ignore your teachers and spend more time on Twitter. But it’s also a push for you to follow whatever niche thing you’re into. Don’t pay any attention to people who think it’s weird or you’re uncool for liking it. You never know, it might end up being the thing that makes you millions.

Creators Corner

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

🏝 How I Spent My Twitter Vacation is a funny little piece I wrote about Twitter’s recent shutdown for my friend’s blog. I’ve been writing more and more satire as of late and I think I’m improving the muscle.

👾 Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow is a story about 2 teenage video game designers. I finished it in 4 days and miss the characters like I’d miss a lost friend. As I’m writing Memes Make Millions, I aspire to write about my subjects in such a way that my readers think of them like their friends too.

⏰ It’s Time to Build is a brief essay from venture capitalist Marc Andreessen highlighting why we should always be building new things and improving our world of bits and atoms.

Thanks for reading nerds.

Create some cool shit this week.

Jason Levin

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

P.P.S. Want to learn the secrets to meme marketing?

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

Through a series of funny essays and interviews, I take you behind the scenes of the meme marketing world. You’ll get advice on meme marketing from the wisest and wealthiest memelords in the game.

Perfect for all marketers, growth hackers, and meme connoiseurs.