Alex Lieberman’s Morning Brew is more than just a newsletter, it’s a bonafide media company growing into podcasts, long form reporting and content creation. I was recently turned on to Morning Brew (from a previous Coffee with Kim session!) and I’m officially hooked. The catchy, 5-minute or less read helps me stay up to date, in the know and perfectly entertained!
Several years ago the optimal YouTube video length was 10 minutes. Just two years ago the length of an Instagram video post was 60 seconds. Snapchats now are 30 seconds or less. And the new optimal TikTok length? 6 seconds! Needless to say, the average attention span of consumers is shrinking. Alex and his Co-Founder anticipated this years ago leading them to ask the question, “How can we give people the highlights of what they need to know in 5 minutes or less?” This 5-minute magic targets business minded millennials who have little to no time to sit down and read the newspaper but who still want to be informed about current events. The tactics Alex shared here can help anyone who is trying to solve for this same attention deficit problem in their industry!
The most impactful marketing scheme for Morning Brew has been their referral program with a staggering 300,000 subscribers signing up after being passed a link from their friends. This number is proof that the power of recommendation (or influence!) still holds enormous power even if the world of digital ads and clickbait.
The next tactic Alex shared was the most unique I’ve heard yet. Instead of looking at other newsletters as competitors, which most advisors would suggest, Alex looks at them as partners. In fact this tactic of partnering and cross promotion with other newsletters as brought more subscribers to Morning Brew then other conventional marketing tactics. This out of the box thinking can be applied to any of us. Where is an area where we look at competitors but instead should be looking at them as allies?
As an entrepreneur you tend to only want to show the good: the milestones, the big announcements, the debuts. While it’s great to share the good, many are guilty of only putting the pretty parts of business on social media. But let me tell you, being an entrepreneur isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Alex’s new podcast, The Founder’s Journal, is pulling back the curtain on the good, bad and ugly of being an entrepreneur. Each episode is 8-12 minutes of raw behind the scenes footage that most people would never dream of sharing. Think of it as a backstage pass to all the unfiltered “real stuff” that goes on in a business. I’m curious to hear how this experiment plays out and it makes me wonder, how much of myself would I be willing or able to share for public consumption?
During this pandemic we are all asking questions about our careers and businesses. When I pressed Alex on what he thinks leaders specifically should be asking I was impressed with his answers of: “What makes you unique?” “What are your super powers?” “What are you good at?” “Are you leaning into it or have you outsourced something you love to do while still holding on to something you hate?” There are so many times in life where I hold on to something I don’t even really like doing out of convenience. The old, “It’s faster to do it myself.” I’m hoping to fix this thought in my own life as we grow closer to 2021.
If you’ve ever wanted to be an entrepreneur here’s a great question to ask: What are you passionate about? Whatever you just imagined in your mind, can you do that for 5 years straight and not get bored or overwhelmed? If so, then entrepreneurship might be a good path for you.
As Alex has grown Morning Brew over the years he’s recognized 3 important categories as a leader:
1.) Things we know.
2.) Things we don’t know.
3.) Things we don’t know, that we don’t know.
Succeeding in business or your career means you have to acknowledge all three of these buckets in your life and sort out what goes where. I thought Alex’s strategy that he outlined for this was spot on!
Hiring: Don’t hire quickly, even if you’re in a rush to hire someone. It’ll end up wasting even more time when they’re not a good fit.
Cross Organizational Learning: Learning from each other within the company. If someone on your team is doing something that works great – share it so other teams can follow suit!
Firing: Be clear and communicative. This is an hard but inevitable thing every leader will face. Learn how to do it well.
What is something you’re obsessed with? Now teach me about it.
This question and the way they respond will give you an insight into what this person can do when they’re passionate about a topic or subject. How deep do they dive? Do they seek out knowledge on their own? How curious are they?
Lay-up questions at the end of the interview. People are under the impression that you “should” ask questions at the end of an interview. Don’t be that person. If you’ve heard the saying, “if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all” the same concept applies here. If you don’t have an awesome, thoughtful question, don’t ask anything at all.
Best life hack you’ve been doing lately? Peloton’s Bootcamp classes.
Best gift you’ve given to yourself? David Perell’s writing course
Newsletter you love? (Besides Morning Brew of course!) Not Boring by Packy McCormick
One thing you need more of? Focus
HOMEWORK: Take an article this week that takes 5-10 minutes to read and turn it into a 60 minute learning exercise. Click on the attachments, dive deep into the rabbit hole. Tag Alex or I in it so we can see what you’ve come up with!
Keep up with Alex on LinkedIn and Twitter.
A special birthday episode where the guest will be…drum roll please…YOU! I’m serious. Join me LIVE and we’ll send over a link for you to join me in the studio on this very special birthday edition of coffee. You’ll be on screen with me and can ask me anything!
Well…maybe not anything..but you get the point. I want to connect with this Coffee With Kim Community so please RSVP here and let me know you’re coming! I need a good count for the amount of cupcakes I need to bake…