100: My Journey, Reflections, What's Next

From TPan the human

For those that don’t know my backstory, I encourage you to read it here!

Friday, August 19th, 6PM

A (my fiancée) was driving us into the city to enjoy dinner after a long week.

I was coming off the high of a great call with LJW, a fellow Write Web3 collective member. He was sharing his vision of writing and work efforts, while I shared my version of the same.

While on the highway, A was behind a Porsche 911.

🥵

While bobbing our heads to music we were blasting and enjoying the weekend vibes, I asked her:

“Do you prefer a Porsche 911 or a BMW M4?”

“At this age, I prefer a Porsche 911.”

Now if you know A, she likes cars. She drives stick, raced and did donuts in high school, and likes to yell at slow drivers on the road.

She makes fun of my parallel parking (it’s justified lol) and we tease each other about how she’s the better driver between the two of us. An Asian woman that’s a good driver and drives stick? 💪

She always wanted a M4 for the thrill of driving it, but as financially responsible people, this was a dream. (I did rent a M4 for her birthday last year, she had a LOT of fun 🏎)

I didn’t expect that answer. She always wanted a M4, since I’ve known her for 5+ years. But the reason made sense.

In my head I made a statement to myself:

I’m going to get her that car. I’m going to get her that fucking car.

And as we were driving behind that Porsche on a Friday evening bumpin’ beats…I broke down.

I couldn’t stop. I cried. I cried and cried and cried. I couldn’t form any words for several minutes, blubbering like a baby.

I caught A by surprise. Why did I suddenly break down? Why now, when we were in good spirits, embracing the beginning of a fun weekend.

As I gathered myself, the realization hit me like a ton of bricks

I’ve been bottling up so much pressure

The pressure to show my parents that this bet would pay off. They gave up everything to immigrate to the US for me to…table my career and write? LOL

The pressure to support A and my future family as I take a detour on what originally a clear career path. A is plenty capable, but I want to make sure I can do my part to support us and our future.

The pressure against time. I had financial runway, but a bear market doesn’t help. Also a tip: Your NFT portfolio should not be considered a part of the financial runway calculation lol 🤦‍♂️

The pressure from peers and friends. This is indirect, but my friends have tech backgrounds. They’re accomplished in their own right, leading teams in Operations, Product, Growth etc. Early on in my sabbatical, I shared what I was up to and why Web3 was interesting. I often received blank stares or generic responses like “Oh, that’s cool!”

It was discouraging, though it wasn’t anyone’s fault. I was still figuring out what I was doing, haven’t built up the confidence of my vision of where I belonged in the space, and most of my close circles did not consist of people who’ve gone on the entrepreneurial journey before.

The pressure I gave myself. Like many in this space, we want to be great, not just good. With the growth mindset, we push ourselves to be better. As a one-person show, I am the limitation for what I aspire to be and do in this space. 12-16 hours are the norm and I love it. But burnout is real and I have to be careful.

Back to the Porsche — After wiping away the snot and tears, I shared with A what I was going through and my determination to get her that Porsche.

It wasn’t about the Porsche. It was about making the bet on myself, my skills, my ability to make a living my way. And if my future wife wanted a car, I could get her that because I wanted to.

As I’m recalling this evening 3 weeks ago, I’m tearing up while typing. I feel the sheer willpower coursing through my veins to make this work. I feel it in my bones and though I’m ready to take the L if needed, I know it won’t be one. There’s only one result, and I’m going to make it a W, so help me God.

Plus I have a ‘BELIEVE’ sign inspired by Ted Lasso. I give it a high five every time I go downstairs to write. I’m so cheesy, but it reminds me why I’m doing what I’m doing.

Call me delusional. Call me a fool. I’ve always been one, at least a little bit. How many Growth professionals leave their career wholesale to pursue…writing?!

So how is TPan going to make this work?

Looking back on the past 5 months this is how my journey has looked so far.

April - July 2022 - “I’m on sabbatical”

  • Realizing I have a knack for this writing thing while applying my background in Growth + Marketing

  • Not worried about $ as I continue writing and meet others in Web3

  • Having a good time soaking it all in!

July - August 2022 - “Fork in the road”

  • Beginning consulting/advising engagements. I still am a Growth and Marketing pro after all.

  • Realizing there could be something with that writing thing

  • One foot in, one foot out with doing my own thing vs. joining another company full-time

It was at this point — after my conversation with LJW and my Porsche breakdown moment, that I realized I need to create a strategy for TPan. Regardless of what my goals were, I needed take a serious look at what I was doing and where this could go.

2 days later, I decided I was going all in.

September - December 2022 - Going all in

This is where it gets fun.

  • The vision is clearer with the H2 strategy doc

  • General PMF (product-market fit) is established. Pressure test 3 PMF sub-hypotheses to maximize surface area. (More on that later)

  • Monetize while maintaining integrity and value-creation to my audience

  • Assuming certain milestones are hit, prepare for sustainability (keeping the circles intact) and scalability (increasing the surface area of the circles) for H1 2023.

A couple years ago I received one my favorite gifts: A waterproof notepad for the shower. At work, I’ve been known for having ‘shower thoughts’, and this was the perfect tool.

You can get one here

Lol at the photoshop work.

I love this notepad because A and I doodle, write notes to each other, and recently I write work related thoughts.

Only one of the images on this page is work-related.

The numbers are arbitrary periods of time and there is no specific measure for the Y-axis. But I’m betting that over time I will be able to pass the ‘traditional’ route I was originally on.

This crudely drawn figure represents why I’m doing what I’m doing. If it all goes to shit, I’ll go back to the original path on the left. Also, I haven’t ruled out full-time opportunities. I’m just a lot…pickier :)

Making $

Work for TPan has 3 buckets:

  • Consulting/Advising

  • Writing

  • WW3 (passion project)

Monetization for TPan with those 3 buckets:

  • Consulting/Advising - Exactly that

  • Writing - We’ll dig into this one

  • WW3 (long-term potential for the collective and core contributors)

Monetization for writing:

In my first post back in April, I shared my hypothesis about content in Web3 and I still stand by it today.

I believe I cover all these bases, and I think I cover them well (examples are just a sample).

Philosophers:

OGs:

NFT Projects (has evolved into Web3 companies + NFT projects)

What does partnered content look like for TPan?

Here are the 3 categories that I will be focusing on from a BD/Partnership standpoint:

  1. Industry Conferences

  2. Web3 Companies

  3. VC Funds

What are the themes in terms of needs?

  • Written content today lacks personality and depth (LinkedIn, Substacks that aggregate headlines, Twitter threads).

  • Most written content today does not provide depth to topics.

  • Content is a commodity. Good content is not.

This is where TPan comes in.

Industry Conferences - TPan is your on-the-ground content partner that shares the conference experience

  • #41: Consensus Recap (I wrote this from 1-4am while on a conference high lol)

  • #46 - #50: NFT NYC Precaps (writing about my experience while at the conference. I didn’t go outside until I hit publish)

Web3 Companies - You want to bring on the next 100 million to Web3. TPan helps your audience understand the story and vision.

I believe (I know) I am able to create partnered/sponsored content that you will want to read and not feel like you’re being sold to. I wouldn’t work with a company or product I’m not interested in anyway.

VC Funds - Your portfolio co’s need help with well-written content. TPan is an extension of your value-add as an investor.

2 angles here:

  • Thought and content partner to the VCs themselves (see philosopher pieces above)

  • CaaS (content as a service) to the portfolio companies

The second and third categories are complimentary. VCs are a top-down approach while the Web3 companies are a bottoms-up approach.

What else are you doing?

For those with a keen eye, I did a slight rebrand:

Subtle but important 😉

NFTs brought me into the space, but Web3 as a whole is what captured my heart. I’ve also changed my Twitter handle to reflect that as well.

I am also opening up premium subscriptions to Web3 with TPan.

But I’m putting a twist on it (dammit TPan you always do this):

My Substack content will always be free. No premium posts. If I want to maximize surface area of my impact, the core content I create will be free.

This subscription a ‘tipping’ subscription (thanks to Sev for this idea!). You want to support me because you like my content.

That said, here’s a sneak peek of what I’ll be offering:

No promises, but let’s just say I like to add value 🤔. So if you like surprises and want me to not eat tuna sandwiches for the rest of my life, consider a tipping subscription.

It’s $20/month or $200/year. I write 5x/week most weeks, so each piece is $1. The only competition I have for this level of value is Arizona Ice Tea.

Subscribe now

And if you subscribe and see the following charge, please don’t be alarmed, heh.

Why are you sharing your strategy?

  • Because that’s how I am lol.

  • I want to share with other content creators and those thinking of taking the leap that it can be done. Not all of us are built to do side hustles. Some of us are meant to dive in (sometimes foolishly) and I’m one of those people.

  • Ideas are free, execution is not. If you’re able to replicate my strategy or do it better than me, that’s awesome! Let me know if you do!

Thank you

Thank you for taking the time to read. Thank you for chuckling at my stupid memes. Thank you for giving me a chance. Thank you for your feedback.

Thank you to A, Mike, Khayyam, WW3 crew (LJW, Sev, Kairon, Kahris in particular), Wilson, Mashal, and countless others and communities for your wisdom, support and belief that there’s something here.

Thank you to Beeple for creating digital art every day for 15 years straight. Thank you to Fred Wilson writing every day for ~15 years straight. Neither of you will ever read this, but you’ve shown me the power of consistency and perseverance.

This is the end of the beginning, and the beginning of a journey that I’ll look back on and smile.

See you next week.

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