Social Confoes 009 – Steal His Marketing for TikTok growth hacks w/ Abhishek Kumar
Steal My Marketing, the name of the Podcast hosted by Abhishek Kumar. Diego and Jean-luc talk with him about how he was able to growth hack his TikTok following to over 125K within a year. Furthermore, we expand this to other social media platforms and how to leverage your following to get into a conversation with some of the smartest mind around the world.
You find a voice by putting your ideas out there and some ideas start resonating with you. In my case, what I consistently feel is that I am fascinated by this idea of shadow powers and what shadow powers are. They are people working around the most powerful people in the world. Nobody knows who they are.Abhishek
You can also connect with Abhishek through his socials:
- 0:00 – Introduction to Abhishek and his first time on the other end of the mic
- 5:13 – How did the name Steal My Marketing come about?
- 8:00 – What’s your thought process on choosing what to curate?
- 11:30 – Why do you think TikTok worked for you in particular?
- 19:15 – A separate social media channel for Social Confoes or not?
- 24:03 – How do you look at the issue of people just going over the surface of the content instead of really in-depth?
- 29:45 – How do you leverage platforms like Substack to build your social universe?
- 33:46 – Jean-luc’s wasted years
- 38:09 – What’s next for TikTok in your view?
- 49:58 – Justin TV
- 53:21 – What’s your end goal?
- 56:46 – Do you have a favorite failure?
- 58:21 – Closing off – Why do you think going to another country is an important experience?
Video Version of the Episode
Feel free to join our Discord Server.
Diego: [00:00:00] And we are live with another episode of social compost. It’s Tuesday, 9:00 PM in Suriname and my co-host is frozen. So I’m taking over his role anyways, come back. Yeah. Sorry for the delay guys. A few technical issues today, but we’re all sorted now and we are live to go. Anything add before we kick it off?
Yeah. I like to add that actually three minutes late. That’s kind of my fault. So the apologies are all mine. I was joking around today that I was going to tell my guests like, hi, I’m Jean-luc, the guy who always makes Diego stress some less, some last minutes. Well, not bad intentions, but I do let him stress occasionally.
So the full, this it’s all my fault. And the technical difficulties as well, but I guess Diego let’s, let’s just jump into the show and introduce our guests for tonight. Yeah, so to kick it off tonight, we have someone all the way from the UK. First of all, we appreciate the UK guests from staying up so late.
I mean the European guests in general, but joining us tonight is Abhishek Kumar. And he’s gonna talk to us more about a bit about TikTok, some social media strategies, and basically how he kind of growth hacked his TikTok and how he’s applying that to, I guess, other areas in his online career, his, he also is the host of the Steal My Marketing podcast, and to learn more a bit about him.
I’m bringing him up now. Abhishek welcome to social convos. Hey man. Good to join you here. Super excited for today.
Yeah. Yeah, so you’ve seen how it usually goes backstage as all things go with life reductions, but this is things we have to deal with and we improvise anyways, welcome. And first of all, thanks for staying up and thanks for hopping out of the session. Cause Shandwick knows. So we’re in a fellowship right now on podcasting.
So podcasting on podcasting and we were actually in a workshop a few minutes ago before going online. So we hopped out earlier just to prep with, to get on here. So appreciate that. And that shows how committed you are as well as hosts. And now actually as guests to start it off, how is it to be on the other side of the mic?
Abhishek: [00:02:56] Oh, this is probably my second time regarding a podcast but the first time we did it it’s a friend of mine called Rishi back from London and he did not end up like starting a podcast at all. He recorded a few episodes and then he was like, maybe I should post it for a few months. So again, and this is of course my first live session.
So a bit of novice, I don’t know how to put it into words, but it’s going to be exciting.
Jean-luc: [00:03:24] Okay. So, but what you yourself are a podcaster. We can, we can call you that, right? Yep. You can. Yes. Yes. So, and how did you, how did you get into podcasts or what made you, what got you excited about podcasting?
Abhishek: [00:03:41] Yes. So. Going back to the beginning of my journey, back in March of 2020, I started this TikTok account where I started posting videos of entrepreneurs that I liked. So those were like Mark Cuban, Mark Zuckerberg, and Sam Parr from the Hustle and all these people who had done a bunch of things in their entrepreneurial life.
And those were sharing lessons in all these conferences. And that account blew up to about more than 120 K followers. And over time, people started asking me if I had a podcast or a YouTube show when he started the TikTok channel, I did not have any idea that it would morph into what it is now. But once that people started asking me, I was thinking about branching out of TikTok as well.
And I realized that the following that I have, gives me the advantage of reaching out to some of the most famous intellectual people out there and putting yourself out there and getting them as a guest on my podcast. The only reason why I do it is because it gives me access to the people who would not give me five minutes of their time.
I interviewed Austen Allred in my previous episode is the founder of Lambda school. One of the biggest schools in the U S and he is some of the most famous entrepreneurs on Twitter is one 50 K followers. He’s from Y Combinator. Paul Graham is as a mentor, like he’s super, super famous and extremely intelligent.
If I asked him for a coffee, like there is no chance I would get a , get a time with him, but just because they have a podcast, I could have him for one hour so that’s my secret of podcasting.
Jean-luc: [00:05:13] Well, of course, you, you first need to have the, the, the following to be interesting enough for, for them.
So, but I, I, there are so many questions we want to jump into, but the first one is, is the name steal my marketing. I mean, it, it came from somewhere, the idea came from somewhere that you decided, which is good, which I really like to not just tell wisdom or bring wisdom out there, but kind of like give the opportunity for wisdom that you know of that you yourself personally like, and you think is beneficial for others to put it out there.
So, so how did the steal Steal My Marketing come about?
Abhishek: [00:05:51] Right. Yeah, I guess there’s this very interesting conversation going all over the internet of building an audience. And the common thread you see is you can only build an audience if you provide value. And for most of us, the answer is if I don’t know much about entrepreneurship, how they provide value, like Mark Cuban can provide value because he’s sold broadcast.com for $5 billion, but I’m not a my multi-millionaire or a billionaire.
Like how can I provide value? And the thing I realized is that via living this age, where there is infinite information out there, there is so much content being produced. There are a thousand good newsletters on sub stack, 10,000 great YouTube channels, Clubhouse conversations, Twitter threads, all these things.
And so. We’re entering an age where the room, where the role of curators will be huge people who can filter great content and put it out there for people so that instead of you going through a hundred articles to choose what are the three best, I can just subscribe to your newsletter and get the three best articles of the past week in my inbox.
And this is the same with my TikTok account as well. Like if Mark Zuckerberg was giving a three-hour long interview, most people don’t have time to watch a three hour long interview. You certainly don’t have time to watch a three hour interview every single day of your life. And so I do that for you and I convert that three hour interview into a two to five minute clip that is easily digestible.
And then I post on TikTok. Now I’m not providing, like I’m not creating value out of thin air. I don’t have my own knowledge, but I’m saving your time. You, instead of going through three, five, 10 hours every single week, you can just follow me account. Go through that two-minute clip and say, ah, this was one of the best parts of that interview, so, okay.
I get it. I can move onto the next one. And this is true for newsletters. This is true for people who are doing great Twitter threads. This is true for great clubhouse conversations. Like you’ll see a lot of people right now, writing Twitter threads on Clubhouse conversation. It is time everybody is out there trying to save time for this.
So if you have time, you can listen to a two hour conversation. If you don’t, you can maybe follow a curator. And I guess I’m that.
Diego: [00:08:00] So you mentioned a pretty interesting, their curation is like kind of kind of shaped up to be a kind of new role in this mealtime media interconnected world. So what would you consider are what’s your thought process on choosing what to curate?
What’s the process behind it? What do you define as good and would be valuable to others?
Abhishek: [00:08:23] Yup. I’ll give an example of a friend of mine. His name is Dickie Bush, and he has this newsletter called Dickies Digest. He started writing that in the beginning of 2020, maybe around January 5th of 2020 was his first sort of newsletter out there.
And he sent it to five of his friends. And what he did was he was reading a lot about growth tactics, listening to a lot of podcasts about growth. And what it did was it was listening to say 10 interviews every single week, or maybe five days later, every single week he would curate those links. These are the three best podcasts interviews that I did in the past that I listened to in the past week.
These are the five best articles I read in the past week. He started with five subscribers. When I interviewed him about four or five months back, he had around 2000 subscribers and around 9,000, sorry, 2000 Twitter followers. And in the past around say three or four months, he has grown from 2000 Twitter followers to 9,000 Twitter followers.
And he did exactly that. He was interested in certain stuff that he was consuming all about growth and hacks and all these things. He started curating that. In my case, it was this general idea of, so I started with a very broad thing on TikTok tock. And my TikTok account is still broad. It’s more like the studios, people who started it.
If there was a quick hack, if there was something interesting that they did, those are the clips I do find on Twitter. It’s a little bit of a different story where I did start broad with sharing all the stuff. But you might have heard of this idea of finding your voice by doing it. Like you don’t find your voice by sitting on a couch.
You find a voice by putting your ideas out there and some ideas start resonating with you. In my case, what I consistently feel is that I am fascinated by this idea of shadow powers and what shadow powers are. Are people working around the most powerful people in the world? Nobody knows who they are.
They are not media famous, but they are super, super powerful. And Diego, you know Sachit Gupta who is the program director of the on-deck podcasting fellowship. He was a shadow power. He worked for Andrew Warner who has interviewed a thousand entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley. If you get to know Sachit Gupta you get a direct link to Andrew Warner which in turn gives you a direct link to.
A thousand entrepreneurs out there. And this is the idea that I keep on coming across with all these like articles that I read. And I recently subscribed to every door to newsletter because of that, because there are so many articles that teach you about networking with all these people, because it’s networking is it’s either you alone sitting in your home and you don’t know anybody on it’s about how can you email Mark Cuban, but nobody is talking about how can you email Mark Cuban’s assistant, be friends with that person and then go to Mark Cuban.
That’s a three-month long process, but it’s still better than trying to email even Mark Cuban
Jean-luc: [00:11:24] could backfire as well. But, but that’s another that’s a story time story. Go ahead, Diego.
Diego: [00:11:30] No, that’s exactly the workshop. It’s, it’s funny that we’re talking about this and last week it was kind of that way too.
I jumped out of the fire side chat and. We happened to talk about a topic they were just mentioning. So it’s kind of funny for me to see how meta these conversations get from 30 minutes ago to actually the interview. So that’s quite interesting. And I guess bringing it back to shortly and take the, why do you think it worked for you that you’re TikTok up, blew up?
Cause this is kind of a format that’s pretty common on Instagram as well, for example. But why do you specifically think that it blew up on TikTok and not anywhere else?
Abhishek: [00:12:15] Yeah. So David Parrell talks about this idea of a jet stream going through crossing the Atlantic, and it uses certain wind currents. Like when the wind currents are in favor, you don’t have to use a lot of fuel to cross the Atlantic Ocean and with TikTok, it was exactly that.
Like, if you start a YouTube channel today, or if you start an Instagram page today, it is really difficult to grow those pages because there are so many people, like all of your friends supposed to go on Instagram and all of them are consuming contents. It’s more like 1 billion people are regularly posting on Instagram.
But how many of your friends do, you know, have an account on TikTok, but are not posting anything there because there is still this social stigma that they talk is for kids and young boys who are dancing and singing. And so, but TikTok has about a billion users. So it is obvious that the number of users that are out there and the number of creators that are out there, there is a huge difference in that number.
And for TikTok is a platform. It needs content creators. So when you have few content creators and a lot number of people consuming content, it is natural that it will push your content to a huge number of people. And so that effect is higher. And again, the other thing was the unique. The, how you unique the content was because most of the people on TikTok
they were like dancing, singing, creating all these funny videos. And I was out there posting the most serious stuff on entrepreneurship. And with 1 billion users, you can be sure that there are people out there that are hundreds of thousands of people out there who are interested in that content. They just haven’t found it on that particular platform.
And so people started following it, and I will get a lot of comments and a lot of like emails that this is the most unique page on tick-tock because nobody is doing it. And right now I like, I know a few pages that do motivational stuff and all those things, but still today the, I haven’t found a lot of pages that do your entrepreneurial stuff, focusing on the actual lessons and the actual stories, especially from the Silicon Valley and the SaaS stuff.
Jean-luc: [00:14:19] I think it’s especially curation. I mean like Gary Vaynerchuk of course has his own tick-tock, which is exclusively Gary Vaynerchuk. So I think from the curation perspective, it’s, it’s really, it’s really nice. You basically answered question. Why tick-tock instead of Instagram, because the market on Instagram is pretty much saturated, so it makes, it makes total sense.
I don’t want to give some, some shout-outs as well. Greg Gregory wants to let us know that he’s on time today. So thank you for joining in on time. And also Marlon is giving us some shout-outs odds.
Diego: [00:14:51] So TikTok’s algorithm is a kind of being in favor of you there. And I guess to come back to the term you use the shadow power, the people around that you don’t know about around the big names there is a actually quite recent incident or like opportunity that you yourself came into through the fellowship you’re in.
And I read it in your newsletter that from a 30-minute chat with one of the producers of Justin Kan’s podcast, you’ve kind of from that 30 minute chat kind of grew into working with them. So could you tell us more about how that went and kind of that experience?
Abhishek: [00:15:38] Yeah, there are like probably 50 conversations that I’ve had where I’ve talked to people from the entrepreneurial world.
And I’ve said that I started with TikTok and I used to think that it would be a disadvantage because I did not have a YouTube channel or an Instagram page, but it’s more like people are interested in that because it is so unique because they get a lot of emails and a lot of DMs of people saying, Hey, I have a big YouTube channel, but.
The most unique email they get is I have a big TikTok channel. I would love to like promote you there. And what happened was I was just, I just set up a random call with friend just to catch up because we were both on On Deck and he shared some very, very interesting lessons from his entrepreneurial journey and how he got to start working with Justin Kan and likewise, I was doing the same with how I build my own TikTok and coincidentally, they were thinking about coming upon TikTok they had just created an account that is still there. The quest pod it’s just, they haven’t started posting anything. So it has like seven followers and they were thinking about whether or not they should invest their time on TikTok.
And so. What he offered Brent was, you know what you have, you have done these podcast episodes. You do record videos. Why don’t you send your videos to me? I can expose those videos on my channel and see how it goes. And I might have posted like five videos on my channel. They have picked up more than 500K views.
So we thought we should work on TikTok talk, but right now their priority is to do it on YouTube. So on an immediate scale, I’m not working with them on TiKTok but certainly when they do jump on the platform, we’ll be working together and I will be certainly helping them grow that page. And it has happened with me over and over again.
Brent being just one example, like something happened yesterday so there’s this person called Danny Miranda and Danny Miranda podcast is the, one of the biggest upcoming podcasts out there, like interviewed Gary V recently. And I love his hustle, like the way he reaches out to people that we distribute his content.
It is awesome. Absolutely. Awesome. And yeah. they just DM them on Twitter. And I said, I love this tweet of yours. And I just shared this example of Anthony Pomp talking about how his brother was able to grow his Twitter followers from almost negligible to 160K followers within a year. And he replied back and he said, yeah, that’s awesome.
And thank you. And I said I would love to talk to you about how you distribute your content because he has a podcast as well. And I was just wondering how you distribute his podcast because I want to grow mine. And so I said, I would love to like chat with you and get to know how you distribute your podcast and in return and what I can do is I see that you have started a YouTube channel. It has 500 subscribers. It doesn’t get a lot of views, but I have a TikTok channel that has caught some number of subscribers. So maybe I can post your videos on Tik TOK and see how it goes. And he immediately replied back, and he said, Yeah, let’s do it because I was thinking or jumping on Tik TOK.
And so again, I’ll be posting his videos on TikTok and that’s a partnership as well. What ended up happening was we will probably record a podcast episode within the next two or three weeks. And if I had planned about it, I might have emailed him in maybe two months. And then he would have said no, who knows what he would have said, but I went there, offering him something instead of asking him to come up on the podcast.
And coincidentally, he just wanted to jump on the talk at that moment. And he was also looking to like, come up on some of the podcast shows and like, I guess we’ll be entering a partnership. So in that way,
Jean-luc: [00:19:15] I have a question. Yup. As that from you to us, because we’re doing a podcast right now, we’re distributing the content on our personal challenge channels. Would you recommend us to make a separate social media channel, which is just called social Confoes? Why would you, why would you not? And then transforming the fuel that you have of this podcast now with three people on it, which is not really easy to edit in a TikTok format, how would you take the best bits from this podcast and pose them on TikTok?
Abhishek: [00:19:59] I used to, so when I was in, like in reading people, I used to be very sort of like, I did not think about like Allie posting this interview on Tik TOK. And I should like set up my questions in a certain way. But recently I’ve started doing that. Like if I’m, if I’m asking a guest 15 questions, I know that there are two or three questions that will give, that will bring out answers.
That will, it really will be super interesting for social media. But an example is I did this interview with Austin Allred. And so he’s a big advocate of clubhouse and clubhouse is sort of a topic where Silicon Valley is divided. There are some people who say that it is a billion-dollar company, and then there are some people who say that it is worth this because Twitter spaces is going to kill it.
And I knew that if I asked this question from Austin, it would get, get me an interesting answer that I could post on social media. And Austin’s sort of case was that. Clubhouse will be a $400 billion company, which goes to the extreme of the bulky scenario. And when he posted it on a Twitter thread, that thread got like Austin retweeted that, and that particular thread got 80,000 impressions.
I have 500 followers on Twitter. I usually tweet of mine gets maybe 500 or 400 or a hundred impressions just because I had structured my questions before the interview in a certain way that would get, I knew that if that got shared, it would get a bunch of views. I was able to sort of like. Repurpose that content on the social media platform.
Another question was she had recently tweeted that Peloton is basically replacing religion in America another topic that people can be divided in because they will be like, how is the product replacing the institution of religion in this particular country? And he gave a very interesting answer on that and that again was like super valuable for social media.
So I would say that if you’re trying to sort of. Build a social media channel where you want these pieces of content to go viral. There should be some questions that, you know, will get you interesting answers that you’ve enforced on social media. And the other thing is serendipity. Like you may be into being somebody who may speak for one hour and then there may be like five- or two-minute clips that are super, super valuable that you think your audience will like, as for posting it on our podcast channel or a personal channel, I would say, do it on a personal channel.
Like if I had to go back to March of 2020, I would build my own personal tick-tock because that is more valuable. Like people don’t love brands, they love people. And so, which is why like, Sam Parr has such huge following. It was the founder of hustle or all these founders on Twitter. Like when they share the lessons, those get more retweets and more likes because in a head we’re like, Oh, this is David Parrell saying it, not this particular brand behind which X amount of people hide.
Diego: [00:22:57] Yeah, I share that sentiment as well. And that’s kind of a deliberately why I didn’t really focus on creating social channels for us. Kind of a similar approach because in the end, it’s about the people and from the feedback we’ve gotten from the past few episodes I got from a few people it was really on the personality of the host that, that they really like and trust, and really already like the Confoes, but they really related to the hosts and how they kind of framed the conversations and the show in general.
So that’s kind of my sentiment to that part on the branding part. But then again, I do see it as a platform to, for us to, you know, just. have a home too, but it’s a platform for multiple hosts. So maybe in the future, it’s just a central location to meet up, but it’s carried by the personalities from the shows.
Jean-luc: [00:24:03] Okay. So I have one more devil’s advocate question. There’s always this notion that if you share like nuggets of interviews, you get into what people like to call pseudo, profound wisdom, our pseudo profound BS. I know you’re familiar with the term. I know that you very carefully select the content that you want to post because it, it, it gets easy to get in like nice nuggets of people that when you listen to the whole interview, like, no, that’s, that’s not the direction I want to go.
So how, how do you look at The, the issue with people only reading the headlines and thinking like, okay, I got the knowledge and how do you protect yourself against, or trying to avoid that people in your following gets like this aha moment constantly, but they actually don’t go into depth into what you’re actually sharing?
Abhishek: [00:25:04] Right. Yeah. I have a very different thought on this. It’s more like most people would say that people who watch motivational content, just like they lie in the bed and they don’t do anything. And then there are people who hustle and do things. I would say that there is this transition phase in some people like I used to watch, I used to be that person who used to watch a lot of Gary V and I didn’t use to do anything and all that time, like when you’re watching all these videos and you’re getting inspired by all these people, somewhere along the way, there are some ideas that I just attracted to you and you start doing stuff.
To me, it was this idea of building a social media page. And I like, I started building social media pages way before I started my TikTok account. I had a few Instagram pages that I sold to other people in the US and the UK. And this was when I was back in India. And I built a Shopify store. All those things failed, but along the way, I learned a few things, but most importantly, I learned this lesson of failing at things after working on them for six months or 12 months, every single day for two or three hours after I came from college or after I came from work, which is really important.
Once you get into a habit of failing at stuff, like I know that tomorrow I can feel on my social media page or six months down the line, I can feel on Twitter and I would not be discouraged because that has happened over and over again. And so I know that if I fail on Twitter, I just pick up the next thing that I feel is cool and something that I can do.
But I guess that was really important in like trying a lot of stuff. And that happened, firstly, because it was watching all those motivational content and all doing anything. It wasn’t like I was the person who was really getting motivated or I was the person who was only hustling. There was this transition phase, particularly in my life.
Diego: [00:26:53] Was there anything in particular that triggered this transition that you decided to, okay, now it’s the moment that, you know, snap. Now it’s the moment I’m going to start taking action. And what, what made you realize that?
Abhishek: [00:27:11] Yeah, so it was basically me taking this action of starting a Steal My Marketing TikTok page and a Steal My Marketing Instagram page, which no longer exists, but it basically started two pages.
And I was posting the same content on both on both of these platforms. And my idea was whichever takes off, I’ll just start putting on my attention to it. Naturally, Tik TOK took off way earlier year, then Instagram did it. And I, so I stopped posting on that page, like completely changed the account’s name. And I don’t know even where that is, but I started focusing on Tik TOK and then the other thing was, as I was getting good at TikTok and he knew that I was able to build a following.
And gave me the confidence of starting a podcast. And it’s super, super scary if you’ve never done it. And then you start to figure out things like when I started the podcast, about six months back, I did not know anything about production. I did a really, really bad interviews in the first few facilities.
I did not know anything about the skill of interviewing people, but once you’re doing that, you start to get, you start to read stuff like how, how does this first do it? How is he trying to promote his stuff? How is he asking questions? Once you start doing that, once you’re in that zone, where you are with all these people who are doing podcasting, just start reading about it and the algorithm start recommending you content related to that.
And so over time I started improving and I’m still doing it. Like my interviews are still not as good as I would like them to be, but slowly, slowly, I’m adding it. Like my production skills, my interviewing skills. How do I distribute the content that I’m producing and. Or what time I am also gaining a lot of confidence that I can figure this out.
Like one example would be Twitter two months back. I had no idea how I can build a following on Twitter right now. I’m fairly confident that in the next 12 months I will build a decent following on Twitter because I guess I have what it takes to build a following. I know what a valuable content is and in what format the audience needs it, which is important.
Like if I shared the same video that it produced on tick-tock, if I like, if I take a video that they produced for TikTok and share it on YouTube, that will do terribly because it’s not made for YouTube. Like there are nuances to all these platforms. You can just share the same stuff in the same format and all these different platforms.
So you have to adapt to that platform. And I guess with Twitter, I’m getting a lot of confidence that I know how to do it, and I just have to execute it over and over again.
Diego: [00:29:45] Transitioning to other platforms you’ve mentioned Substack before and Twitter. So I want to narrow down on Substack for a second because that’s where you write your newsletter and do your writing.
And like I saw on Substack that you made, like in the early days you had a tight schedule on the nuggets, you pick from every video. And it was very, you know tedious and very well organized to release on a regular schedule. So can you talk a bit on how that helped you propel the growth?
And I guess in the context of, of Substack, because many people don’t know what Substack is how that serves the bigger goal of growing your, I guess your universe.
Abhishek: [00:30:37] Yeah, Substack is a great example because you can basically go back to the first like additions. You can basically go to every single edition and see how I have changed the newsletter over time.
And it’s sort of a light example of how you find your voice when I started Substack. My idea was maybe I should like grab a bunch of emails because all these people are following me. So I started there down the easiest platform and I basically, I had no content at the time and I thought maybe I should just summarize my Tik TOK videos.
And I did that in the first few episodes. Then I did other stuff and other stuff and other stuff. And then I came across Dickie Bush and he was doing his Sunday Digest Sunday snapshots newsletter. And so Dicky day Dickie’s digest. I’m confusing it with the other newsletter by his friend. So he used to do the Dickies digest newsletter and where he would share stuff that he was reading and a very particular format.
What’s working really well for them. I hear the grown from five subscribers to 2000 subscribers within a year. And so when I came across that content, I realized that Whoa, I can do that in some ways, because I’m also reading all this stuff, all these articles and listening to all these podcasts, but I don’t have a structure where I’m taking notes on those podcasts.
And the thing that people fall into a trap off is when you’re listening to all these different shows, you listen to them and you don’t do anything. You don’t take notes, you don’t learn anything from them. It’s almost like you’re watching Netflix because it’s like you get into this habit of binge listening to podcasts and you’re getting motivated for two minutes and then nothing happens.
And so. I started taking, I build this like system that I was taking notes on every single podcast. And then I would like tweet about them. And then I would include that in the newsletter. Or maybe if I weren’t reading about then I would just make a short summary that this was a great article on X, Y, Z, and then I would share it on, in the newsletter.
Along with that, I started sharing links to my podcasts. So right now the newsletter is where everything comes together, where, when I do release the newsletter it’s, this is the latest episode of the podcast. This is the recent tweet thread that I did on one of my favorite episodes on the podcast. And maybe this is the best article that I read this week.
So it got, like, it brings all the things that I’m reading or listening to in the past week together. And over time, I guess I can add more and more content to it. But at this point it’s more like a curated newsletter and it wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t come across Dickie Bush. But see, I didn’t have a newsletter and they came across Dickie Bush.
Maybe I would listen to that story and see, okay, he’s doing good, but I don’t have a newsletter, but since I had a newsletter, which was terrible, but I still had a newsletter. So I could just say, okay, big is doing this. Maybe I should take that idea of his and apply to my newsletter. So even if you have a bad social media page, if you have a bad newsletter, if you had a really bad Twitter if you are doing something, you can improvise on it, but you cannot improvise on things that you aren’t even doing.
Jean-luc: [00:33:46] So this is why I call my twenties, my wasted years.
Diego: [00:33:54] Elaborate on that other bit.
Jean-luc: [00:33:57] So I spent, especially the early twenties, I spent assimilating into Dutch culture. I decided if I’m studying Europe, I have to figure out what the social structure is, how to get accepted, how to kind of integrate, but also assimilate into the culture.
I’m not going fully into this. I’m thinking I’m pretty sure I’ll be checking those about Salman Rushdie and, and the transition from the Indian culture to the, to the UK culture and how you try to find a fit at where you are like on a, on a, on a yeah. Identity level. And I think in some cases COVID helps out because you’re like, okay, I can go out.
I can socialize. So I’m just gonna start learning how to make money or how to build a network or starting to learn stuff. But for me, my starting twenties, like my 20th year, my 25th year, it was, it was just, I call it the wasted years. There’s a great song about it. I might share it on my socials as well, just for the fun of it.
And it’s not at a, I mean, I studied people for five years. I just started, you mean behavior how networks work, how the informal and formal structures of groups and organizations work. And I call it the wasted years in a sense, because I didn’t focus on building a network finding ways to build up my skills that all came after that.
So that’s why I brought it up. I quickly want to jump into two things. I think, I think I can help out a little, of course. I wish you have to know that this podcast is making sure that my next TikTok goes up tomorrow. That’s just wanting that, you know, you can keep me accountable on that and you can even DM me, like, I didn’t see the tick-tock.
I didn’t see it for Twitter. So the biggest secret about Twitter, and it’s a lot different because you already have kind of your tribe on Tik TOK. So if you tribe on TikTok and, and I know you’re switching from TikTok which is a steal, my marketing brand to your personal account on Twitter, but there is still some leverage to be had that if you, I have to check your links, which link you currently use on your TikTok to move people away.
But if you use that link solely for saying, like, follow me on Twitter as well, I think it’s a Substack but you can also change it with Twitter just to see how many of those 125 follow back, because if only 1% follow backs falls back is even a thousand followers. So it’s definitely worked to check that out, but Twitter is really tribe, tribe, tribe based.
So it’s using the hashtags. I mean, I’ve gone viral just out of hashtags as well on Twitter. Like Gary V retweeted me once. That was like, well, okay. I’ve never seen that engagement in my life. And yeah, it’s once just once, because he had, I think it’s a new book or a new sneaker came out and I jumped on it and he retweeted it and my Twitter blew up and I was like, Oh, this is cool.
But it’s very tribe based. So it doesn’t work for instance, in countries like Suriname Twitter just doesn’t work here. I can talk hours for that. But I think the second thing that people underestimate about, about the tick-tock is that dog was already huge before it can became tick-tock. I mean, you know, because the company Douyin and about the app and that they bought what is it called?
Help me out here ByteDance. Yeah. But by dance bought a musically. So basically, yeah. And by dance, the owner of Douyin bought musically and then they merged together. So when. When musically became TikTok and when Douyin became TikTok it was already over 300 million users, active users, which is a lot different compared to Snapchat where Facebook could just kill it off and decide like, okay, you might be still interesting for a niche because people want to be on that platform.
But from a business perspective, we’re just gonna build every feature that you have. And if you’ve got a completely destroyed from there, and it’s, it’s funny, like you mentioned that people have said like yet Twitter is actually going to ruin the party for TikTok but Twitter has always been that social media platform that never got killed off, but again never became the top three platform anymore.
So. I think the biggest value for TikTok right now is that it was already big, so they can shut it down Facebook and they try it of course, with a ban from the US the ban in India, they tried to politically kind of destroy it, but it’s already too big to be destroyed.
So, so the, the biggest question is like, what’s the next step for TikTok, is it just gonna stay like this short videos? Are, are we going to see them make a push to become a more all rounded platform as well?
Abhishek: [00:39:09] I think if you look at the steps that TikTok has taken, they’re trying to be more creator focused than adding more features to it.
And there has been this. Sort of wave where every single new feature that comes out gets added to every other social media, like stories. It started from Snapchat. Now it is on Twitter and LinkedIn, like who watches LinkedIn stories, like nobody even watches Twitter stories. And so, and Tik TOK is just going the other way, but it is focusing on how do we empower creators and it started the payment, like this payment program for all these creators
so similar to what you have on YouTube. If you create a bunch of content and you’ve got a bunch of views, you get paid for your content, that similar thing is on Tik TOK as well. And at the same time I was talking to Reggie, he’s one of the members of the, On Deck community. He has the biggest financial podcast in Singapore gets about 30,000 downloads per month.
And I was talking to him about Tik TOK. And what he said was. The TiKTok communications team basically reached out to him a few weeks back and they said, you’re producing this content on finance. We would like you to come up on the platform. So from the company perspective, they are really trying to diversify the kinds of content that people are creating and what they offer to him was we will push your content to more and more people, even if you don’t have a lot of followers in the beginning.
So as a creator, you are like, they’re offering a new platform. They are giving me a built in audience because the algorithm will push my content to a bunch of people. And since I will only be one of the few financial podcasts out there on TikTok I will get the leverage. Of getting to the audience much faster.
And I will probably one of the only 10 pages that shares that content. So they’ll have a ton of audience. And so they’re really focusing, going deep into what the creators need. I think that is a very long-term strategy because all these like Instagram at this point is super, super bulky. Like it is Snapchat, Instagram plus YouTube plus Facebook.
So it’s, I guess like we have seen this sort of aggregation in terms of features on social media and the next day, or social media will be like decoupling, like decoupling that like Substack is only newsletters, clubhouses, only audio podcasts TikTok is only short videos. Hmm.
Diego: [00:41:34] You mentioned something there.
The creator economy is kind of Something becoming more prevalent in this global society, the shift from, you know mass production to creator focus to focusing on the individual and creating content. TikTok up making these moves and Substack for newsletters. Do you see, I guess, where do you see this creator economy going on a broader spectrum of social media?
Do you think like the giants like Facebook Google will step up their game to focus on creators or the opposite. Cause they, they try, they try to kill off TikTok didn’t happen. So how do you see that dynamic going forward in the next few years?
Abhishek: [00:42:30] I think in the next few years, it feels see a bunch of platforms that will cater to a very specific niche.
And we’ll see a lot of like rise of SaaS applications and all these other like different code-based courses that will support all these creators. And like my friend Dickie, he has this small cohort called ship 30 for 30. He has already taught more than a thousand, I guess. Around 500 people where all these people, right.
an essay every single day, and Dickie has 9,000 followers on deck is teaching probably a thousand people every single week on podcasting on writing newsletters on speaking publicly, where do these people go? They will start creating a lot of content, which is why like I am subscribed to maybe 50 newsletters.
I don’t even have time to read them. Then I’m subscribed to 20 30 podcasts. I’m subscribed to a hundred YouTube channels. And then I have the TikTok and all these things that is just so much, so much content out there. And. I forget what the term is, but there was this, this thing where people are like, you will read articles, like people are more unhealthy than ever before.
And then you will read articles. Like there are more people going to the gym than ever before, and this is happening at the same time. Like more and more people are unhealthy, but at the same time, more and more people are joining the gym. It’s like the same thing in the creator economy where you have so much content.
Most of it is junk out there. So you have more and more junk than ever before. But also since so many people are creating content, there is so much valuable content out there. You won’t even have time to go through all of them.
Diego: [00:44:08] This brings it back actually to the beginning where you said You’re basically the curator of that content. And now we’re coming full circle as in you’re subscribing to so many of these channels. So how do you as a curator, because now it’s kind of in a sense, like the curators even need a curator.
So how do you get out of that? I guess viscous cycle of finding the valuable content of consuming media and actually taking it in.
Abhishek: [00:44:44] Right. So in my case like me being a curator, I need to create content. So I know that I have to watch specific YouTube channels that I know will give me valuable content that I can repurpose for my TikTok with the Twitter.
I recently started writing almost daily threads where they sort of summarize the lessons that I learned from a particular podcast. I know which are the podcasts that are extremely valuable in the entrepreneurship space. So I know that even if I’m listening to say two or three things that are just entertaining to me, like Joe Rogan, like I spend a lot of time listening to that, but I know that these are the specific shows apart from Joe Rogan, that I need to listen to, to produce that content on Twitter.
These are the specific newsletters that I know will give me the content that I know that I can apply in my podcast and maybe even sharing my newsletter. So today, this morning I subscribed to every or two, and I was reading articles on how. All these like super busy, super famous VCs organize their time and how they build their own network.
That is this very cool article. I forget, I guess his name is Pete or something as a VC. And he probably has like 30,000 followers on Twitter and he basically, no, no, it’s, it’s an idea you don’t do. Yeah. You still have to be the voice. Yeah. So there’s this article on the newsletter SU super organizers speed.
The voice is a people person. It is crazy good article like Peter voice. He has this air table where he enters the name of every person he has ever met. And with say he met Diego tomorrow, he would write the Diego does this podcast, this is what he can provide to other people due to his experience and his wisdom.
And this is what Diego needs. So tomorrow, if he meets me and he says, Hey, I know this person, Diego, he’s good at podcasting and production of podcasts. Maybe you should meet him. And since you are know bunch of stuff about social media, maybe you can help him on social media and he can help you with production.
So he’s a super connector. Like he meets thousands of people every single month. And he’s building all these networks within those connections. So as a VC, what do you need most? You need people, you know, to succeed. He’s just improving the, the probability of those people succeeding. And since like, he’s the main chain among all those thousands of connections, everybody knows him.
And he gets to tap into not only the network, but also like when somebody succeeds, when Diego succeeds, Peter reaches out to him and says, Hey, I want to invest in your company. Diego is like, yes, please. I’m grateful to you because you introduced me to all these other people who helped me succeed.
Jean-luc: [00:47:24] It’s interesting, Diego. And I think there was, I, I, there was this feature on LinkedIn that you could build up your relationships and every time you connect that you what’s kind of a CRM model, but I couldn’t find it when I was on LinkedIn. The last time. I don’t know. Is it still there? I remember LinkedIn had a CRM model that you could all put in, like what, your connection when you met and what the last thing you spoke about, because what, what does he, what does he use?
Peter, what does Peter use? Does he use his own? He used this, he uses a software called air table.
Diego: [00:48:02] Well, it’s basically kind of like just a database, like an Excel sheet, but with some fancy filtering and it’s really, really easy to use kind of like the notion.
Jean-luc: [00:48:15] Okay. Yeah. So it isn’t anything like, it’s not something like HubSpot or
Abhishek: [00:48:21] well, no, no, no, no, no. It’s not very technical. It’s just drag and drop interface that you could basically use a basic word document. It’s just that a table is a bit more fancy. It’s a little bit easier to use, but it’s standing special about that table.
Diego: [00:48:34] The great thing about airtable, though, what I do like about it is its ability to integrate and to automate with other platforms.
So if you really ham with it, then you can automate it. But do the basic, most basic features it’s comes down to a, you know, a CRM, Excel sheet, kind of putting the names and just updating it on a regular basis, which I kind of started doing something in Notion like that. And I’ve got to go into that, but it’s really nice to hear that.
That’s how you kind of can keep a tab on your relationship. I, similar story, I heard, I listened to the podcast that Brent shared the interview that Justin Kan did with Mark Cuban and kind of similar to that he got there, there was this snippet at the end that he shared on LinkedIn, how Mark even knew about Justin Kan from in the early days he emailed him.
But then get a response now that he’s big and he could re go back to his email database and see, Oh, it was this guy. So kind of a seed was planted there, like and he could go back, Oh, it’s earlier relation or someone who reached out earlier. And they could hit it off on that. It was a good way to, you know, connect.
Jean-luc: [00:49:58] So, yeah, so correct me if I’m wrong Twitch was called Justin TV before, right? Oh, sorry, go again. Twitch. Before Twitch became Twitch, what’s it called? Justin TV. Just so there is a pretty strong connection between Justin and Mark, I think because there were a lot of Dallas, Maverick games being streamed on Justin TV back in the days.
Okay. So, so I know, I don’t remember a lot about Twitch how it got started. I just remember that when I was studying in fit in, in Helsinki, in Finland in 2009, after I came from Manchester, I went to Helsinki and there was like, no, television access for sports. And I was like in my room and like completely like losing my mind because I was totally disconnected from the NBA, from basketball, from any sport.
And Justin TV was like, my lifeline was like, go on and search for a livestream. On a sporting event just to be able to watch parts in, in, in Finland. So it’s, it’s really crazy. And the reason I mentioned is, is because you’ve mentioned it already, that you’ve infested a lot of time in finding out how platforms work.
You started out with Instagram pages and, and there’s, there’s a nugget that I really want people that are watching, or re-watching are listening to this podcast to understand because we like to idolize and, and put our first business idea on a pedestal. And we kind of, it it’s really hard to let go of it because in our mind, the first business idea that pops up is going to be the million dollar idea.
And I think that’s really important to understand like even for something like just in TV, which became Twitch, it only became like, Like globally known when it was Twitch. We, a lot of people didn’t know about it just in TV while as just the TV, honest in his own, right. Was one of the most successful live streaming platforms in, in like 10, 15 years ago.
So I think that’s really something I want to take away from this, as well as saying like don’t, don’t, you should be able to kill your darlings. Not because you have a great idea and you want to go and it’s going to be your first idea and you want to make it the million dollar idea. There, there is so much thought process, so much experience, so much skill that you learn through all the years.
That even if it’s something that’s even the slightly similar to what you started out with it, it can be just the next move that takes you to the next level, which brings me off course to, to my final question, which is not necessarily the end goal, but where do you want to take. Steal my marketing word.
Where do you want to take it? Is it that you want to be part of like a, how do you call it shadow power, shadow power that you want to be shut up or for like one of the big personal brands in the world do want to end up having your own media company. What’s the, what’s the end goal for you when it comes to what direction would you like to go towards?
Abhishek: [00:53:21] Yeah, it’s a really great question. And I guess like at some point I would like Steve may marketing podcast to be a place. And along with that, the newsletter to be a place where people go to find extremely good lessons on entrepreneurship. And more importantly on networking with powerful people and the steps that you can use to do that.
A lot of people, they feel like, how can I, Netflix, all these people many don’t have anything. And this is, I read this article this morning. There was this person called, who does my first million podcast, which gets millions of downloads every single month. And he’s the co-host of that podcast. And was talking about a friend of his, like in this newsletter called super organizers.
And he was talking about a friend of his who is super, super helpful. So when Sean was starting his podcast, his friend knew that he’s like trying to get into the podcasting world. He basically bought two books and send it to Sean and Sean remind remembered it like his podcast today is one of the most successful podcasts out there.
And he wrote about him in another newsletter. And so I was thinking like, what if I didn’t have a TikTok account? What if I didn’t have, like, if I, if I had zero followers, I would readily steal that idea of Sean and look like, go to Twitter, look at what my heroes are doing. What, like, what are the, some of the famous entrepreneurs?
What are they doing? And how can I help them? Can you send them a book? Can you send them an article that will be insightful to them? Can I just say thank you for like that particular article that I read that I loved, maybe I implemented parts of it. Like somebody wrote a very good thread on cold emails, maybe I use that particular template to cold email somebody.
And then again, back to that person, they would really like to thank you because I did this because of you. And if you do that over and over again, people start noticing you like, you may not recognize it, but other people are watching you, that this person is hustling. This person is taking steps to be successful.
And that is the most important part because the, the, the general story that gets out in the media is personal and he invested it. Isn’t never, so all these people have a relationship that goes on years and years, where. Mark Cuban might have met Justin when he was super, super young. He might’ve seen that his, yeah, he’s hustling.
with Justin TV, that’s not going anywhere. And now yeah, it’s getting some traction. And now their favorite at this particular idea, like in the gaming niche. And now it’s really getting traction. Mark has seen that journey of like Justin as a founder He has seen that he can hustle, he can work hard, but he’s also smart to pivot and kill his darlings.
Like you said, that’s a Dan that happens. And then in the media it’s like, yeah, this is only a two year old company and it’s valued at $500 million. And you are thinking in your mind like, Oh, that’s so early. Like it’s a two-year-old company, but maybe. He has been working on that idea.
He has been failing on an, a bunch of ideas for maybe five years or 10 years. So you don’t get to like read the stories of the struggles of the people and the failures of these people. You only get to read the stories when they are on top of the pedestal, and they have a billion dollar valuation. So we want this podcast to be a place where like, people get to know the stories of people when they were nothing.
And also like, what are the hacks that they use to go from like zero to, at a place where they are today.
Diego: [00:56:46] Speaking of failure to close off this kind of sounds like to end on a negative note, but on the positive question after that, don’t worry that note your personal story, your personal journey so far starting early 2020 with the TikTok and then moving to Substack.
Is there a favorite, I guess. That you’d consider kind of a failure, production or newsletter that you wrote that you’d like to direct people to still relate and see that progress reflect to your current production.
Abhishek: [00:57:25] Yeah. Go to the first, like edition of the newsletter and go to the latest one. Good. At the first like podcast episode, go to the latest one.
You will see all the difference that I won’t even have to tell you what those differences are, what you will see. You will notice all of these differences that are out there. And if you need more time, maybe good to my newsletter and my podcast, six months down the line, I can bet you. They will be two or three X better.
Awesome. And where can they find where can people find it? We’ll link this in the show notes later on, but if you could speak it out. Yeah. Yep. So for podcast again, it’s on all the major podcast platforms, Apple, Google, Spotify, it’s called Steal My Marketing the TikTok page is Steal My Marketing and the Substack is stealmymarkeing.substack.com
Diego: [00:58:16] awesome. Did you have still have a positive question Jean-luc
Jean-luc: [00:58:21] yeah, I, I do wanna, you know, it’s, it’s, I mean, I basically ended it on a positive note already. I do. I do also want to know, because we haven’t talked about the personal side, so I try to find you on LinkedIn. And I found out that your name is quite common, actually more common than I thought.
So, so I wanna, I wanna. Because we have a lot of people that are from Suriname. I think that’s, that’s where we’re from. So the most listeners that are listening now are from Suriname and there is this, I wouldn’t say a stigma, but we tend to like, look within the borders of our country. And like, if we’re the best in our country, it’s fine.
We’re the best it’s like, Ooh, okay. And there, unless you’re like a top athlete that starts competing on a regional level, goes to the Caribbean championships, goes to the South American championships goes globally to fully understand that if you’re number one in your country, you’re probably number two or maybe number eight in your region and maybe number 52 in a world or even 3052 in the world.
So what I do want to ask from you is like why did you decide to go to the UK and why? If, if you, if people would ask you going from your home country to another country, especially a European country or the U S why do you think that experience is important to do somewhere in your lifetime? Right.
Abhishek: [00:59:59] Yeah. So coming to the UK was actually not my decision. I was working for an Indian software MNC and the job got transferred, but looking back, like if, if I was in India a year back and I knew that these things could happen in the UK, I would pay money to come here because just getting exposed to like, you will see this running theme and most of the successful entrepreneur’s life, where they have traveled the world early on in their journey.
And. In my particular case when I came to the UK in India. And again, it might be true for your country as well. There are not a lot of these clubs and events happening around entrepreneurship, especially if you’re from small towns and coming to UK, like being really close to London, I was exposed to all these events and clubs and there’s this particular club called the Weekend Club that I’m a part of.
I started attending those sessions every single Saturday, where you would have a bunch of founders talking about the problems that they have and the things that they be working on. And all of them are working. Part-time on their projects, which is why it’s called the weekend club. And I started participating in that overtime.
I started hosting the European sessions and. Like once he started to connect with all these people, I realized that I’m a part of this club. All these people are doing something. Maybe I should do something. So like that was also a trigger with the social media page because like, I can jump, I could jump on a call every Saturday and say, yeah, I have a social media page.
It’s not lying. I’m just looking for an idea. And so that happened once I had confidence with hosting people, I knew that I could also like do the podcast because it’s more like once you get into this habit of speaking a little bit, you can also like talk to other people in the podcast. So that was one transition.
Once I did that, I talked to such it, and then I joined On Deck. I’ve, I’m learning a bunch of stuff from there, but it’s not like I did not know all these things that I would do like a year back. But over time, once you like climb one ladder, you know what the next step is going to be. It is difficult for you and me to see three steps above, but you can see the next step.
And so it’s more like climbing one step at a time.
Diego: [01:02:03] Thanks for sharing that and yeah, building that momentum with that being said, Abhishek. Thank you. Thank you so much for joining us on this social convo. We tried to keep it casual, but I think you from the, some of the comments you got you’ve dropped some pretty awesome nuggets for the listeners.
We’ll see if we can snip a dose out for some short TikTok videos thanks Diego. And this was awesome. Awesome. Yeah. With that being said guys, the episode will be released on Saturdays and the podcasting platforms and you can follow Abhishek on TikTok steal my marketing and check them out on Twitter as well.
We’ll put the links down below or in the description and in the post. Cause he is. His name is pretty common. So no worries. Actually, my Twitter handle like the name I have here. Yeah. Don’t worry about it. If you guys need to get connected, we’ll sort it out. With that being said Jean-luc, roll us out.
Jean-luc: [01:03:11] Yes. We’re running out. I want to give two quick shout outs. One to Marvin. Thank you for joining in. He’s a likes to tell us interesting subject and thanks for the conversation. And Marlon was finally at Marlon is finally sold. He’s downloading TikTok this episode was legendary people was Social Confoes see you next Tuesday. Thanks for joining again. Bye-bye