Books to read in 2018

Check these great lists out if you need help deciding what to read this year:

  • Barack Obama shares a list of his favorite books that he read in 2017.
  • Jason Zook has just launched a great list of books he read in 2017 with emoji ratings.
  • If you haven’t seen Derek Sivers excellent “Book Notes”, you can do so here and is highly recommended.
  • And no list of lists of good books to read is complete without recommending Ryan Holiday’s “Reading List“.
  • Don’t want to read a book? Check out this great Mark Cuban interview with Kyle Bass discussing A.I, wealth management, cryptocurrencies and more.

Happy reading,

Chris

P.S – There’s still a few hours left to register for the NewsletterWorkshop (session one starts in a few hours)!

2017 Year in Review

2017 was all about gearing up to settle down after 12 years of full-time travel. This has been stressful for me personally for a long time – both with getting ready to settle down mentally after moving around when and where I want for so long, but also sorting out the visa aspects, which to be honest, has been a total nightmare (thanks, Spanish embassy!).

But as of today, I’m 100% ready and dare I say it, I’m now really excited about settling down. We arrive in Barcelona on the 25th January and we’re ready for apartment viewings which we already have lined up. I can’t wait to settle into our first family home – and have a small office nearby.

If you visit BCN anytime soon, be sure to drop me an email.

As for work, I had many ups and downs, but I’m happy with how the year has ended with a clear path of spending next year solely focused on cryptocurrencies (more of that below).

Let’s take a look at what I got accomplished:

FoundersGrid

I sent out 89 editions of the FoundersGrid newsletter in 2017, grew the subscriber count by 900 subscribers (which is a little disappointing), changed the site design and email format, and sold almost every sponsorship opening.

GrowthList

I changed the GrowthList design way too many times in 2017 which looking back was a total time sink. Not recommended. Sales were down compared to 2016, but GrowthList sales still represented my largest source of income in 2017.

Mastermind Group

I started the year with a small paid mastermind group, but I ended up liking the guys I was talking with every week so much, I dropped the fee’s and we transition from a weekly Skype call to communicating in a Facebook messenger group. There are now 15 or so of us bouncing ideas around with each other every day. If you don’t have your own mastermind group, I highly recommend setting one up.

A WordPress theme and a WordPress plugin

I launched a premium WordPress theme called Plex and a WordPress plugin called ExiPop, which is an exit-intent plugin that leverages testimonials. Sales with both were not so good – mainly due to a lack of marketing (if you’re interested in taking these over, please reach out to me).

Facebook Ads

The one new skill I picked up and really honed in on in 2017 was getting heaps and bounds better at setting up and monetizing Facebook Ads (mainly for GrowthList). I’ve since scaled back Facebook Ads but I’m glad I put the hours into learning how Facebook’s ad manager works.

BlackFridayTech

48 hours before Black Friday was due to arrive I mentioned in my mastermind group that someone should create a curated list of the best Black Friday deals in tech. With the help of 2 others from the group, we managed to get the site ready in time and over 8,000 people used the site the following day. Andrew, one of the guys who I built the site with, has a good recap of how the project went down.

CryptoWeekly

In late October I launched CryptoWeekly, a new weekly newsletter focused on decentralized technologies, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The feedback over the past few months has been amazing and new subscriber growth is steady and consistent. If there’s just one project I could take away from this list into 2018, it’s CryptoWeekly.

Crypto100

I spent the majority of December on Crypto100, a curated list of the 100 most influential people in crypto. I plan to launch it next week.

NewsletterWorkshop

Updating my newsletters have literally changed my life. Both have allowed me to network with so many smart people, make enough money to travel around the world with my family and sending every edition brings a huge sense of achievement over me.

I have advised a few startups on their newsletters in the past privately, and I wanted to extend this to others, hence is why I created NewsletterWorkshop. It’s a 3-week live training program covering everything I know (I plan to be totally candid) about setting up, curating, growing and making money from a newsletter.

Travel

While we traveled extensively in 2017, it feels like a lot less than we traveled in 2016. When we were not traveling, we were either based in Bangkok or Ubon Ratchathani.

Here’s what 2017’s travel schedule looked like:

  • Tokyo x 3
  • London x 3
  • Saigon x 2
  • Hong Kong x 2
  • Barcelona x 2
  • Chiang Mai x 1
  • San Sabastian x 1
  • Paris x 1
  • Mallorca x 1
  • Copenhagen x 1

Goals for 2018

The goals for 2018 are fairly simple:

  1. Get a family home, school and a small office set up in Barcelona
  2. Rein back my current projects so I can solely focus on crypto (both trading and CryptoWeekly)
  3. Find really smart people to work with and learn from

How did 2017 work out for you? Let me know on Twitter.

Notes from attending the Blockchain World Conference in Bangkok

I’m not overly keen on attending events, but I had the opportunity to attend the Blockchain World Conference in Bangkok this week, and I’m so glad I did.

I learned heaps. In fact, I walked away from the event feeling I have so much more to learn about the crypto world – especially around other coins, security, and legislation.

Here are a few notes I scribbled down throughout the sessions:

  • An interesting way to evaluate ICO’s is following the 4 T’s: Timeline, Team, Token and Technology (not necessarily in that order).
  • A company that has held an ICO can currently sell the company and its assets without the need to sell the “ICO assets” due to little governance, which is worrying for many.
  • Many speakers agreed that Gibraltar, Austria, and Switzerland are the best countries to setup Crypto companies right now.
  • One speaker had the opinion Bitcoin would see a huge surge in March due to Chinese New Year.
  • Another speaker had the opinion that more VC’s would be pushing their portfolio companies to launch an ICO, mainly for faster liquidity for the VC’s.
  • Governance was a huge topic at the event, with many agreeing A.I will have a huge play over the next few years.
  • I personally learned more about NEO thanks to Da Hongfei speaking at the event, which on paper has some clear benefits over Ethereum.
  • I also came across the Blockfolio app as a result of attending, which I’m really impressed with.

40 Ways To Live A Full Life

I really enjoyed reading this list form Ryan Holiday this morning.

2 points out of the list that really hit home:

Have a Kid
I used to see people in restaurants with kids and sort of pity them. The other day I was in a restaurant with my kid, having a great time and then I realized: Shit, these people have been having all the fun. I was the one being an idiot. Obviously I would like to live until I’m 90 so I can spend as many years as possible with my son, but as Paul Kalanithi says in When Breath Becomes Air, every minute you do have is a blessing and comfort.

It’s true. Having my son literally made my life 100x better in every sense.

A To-Do List Every Day
Every day have a to-do list. Even on the weekends. Not because it’s about drowning yourself in work, but so you can always be moving forward. Check the stuff off, don’t wing it. Use Tim Ferriss’s question: “If this were the only thing I accomplished today, would I be satisfied with my day?”

Something I have been doing for 10+ years now, and it makes me smile when I witness my wife write down her to-do’s – something she never used to do before we met. A to-do list makes such a difference.

50 Cryptocurrency Projects Disrupting The Blockchain Ecosystem

The cryptocurrency world has evolved massively over the past few years, transforming itself from a Bitcoin-driven ecosystem into a diverse collection of currencies and technologies that offer the potential to change how we live our lives and do business.

With the huge amount of attention cryptocurrencies have received in 2016 and 2017, it’s no surprise that plenty of new startups have appeared aiming to capitalize on the potential that blockchain offers.

Below, I’ve listed 50 of the most interesting, popular and exciting cryptocurrency projects and companies that are currently disrupting the blockchain ecosystem, from established currencies to technology companies offering crypto-related services, up-and-coming currencies and more.

Please note: I update CryptoWeekly, a weekly newsletter with a carefully hand-curated list of the best crypto news and resources.

If you don’t want to miss out on what’s happening in the bitcoin/crypto/blockchain ecosystem, feel free to subscribe (it’s free, and you can always unsubscribe with one click).

Continue Reading »

CryptoWeekly

Over the past 6-12 months I’ve been including more and more news/resources covering cryptocurrencies and the technology behind it (blockchain) in the FoundersGrid newsletter.

While this is cool for some, I understand those who subscribe to FoundersGrid are signing up for content covering startups and a wider range of tech subjects.

Having been conscious of this recently, I’ve been holding a lot of good crypto content back, but as I’m becoming more and more interested in these new technologies, it’s finally time to do something about it.

Enter CryptoWeekly

The logical step is to create a separate newsletter that solely focuses on decentralized technologies, bitcoin, ethereum and more.

It’s a topic I find fascinating and I’m super excited to be sending out the first edition on Friday. If you want to signup, you can do so on the site: CryptoWeekly.

Starting FoundersGrid 3-4 years ago is easily one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I hope in 3 years I’ll say the same thing about CryptoWeekly.

Momentum App

Last week I was scanning Twitter and noticed Fred Rivett, founder of UserCompass, had posted a screenshot of an app he is using to track his daily to-do list:

I downloaded the Momentum app to check it out, and I’ve got to say, I’m really impressed. The UX is great and it’s easy to use.

You can track 3 habits/to-do’s for free, with the option to upgrade to track unlimited habits (plus a few other additional features, like syncing with their Mac App) for $15 per year.

I strongly believe good habit forming is key to your success, and if you need an easy way to keep track of your progress, I’d recommend checking out Momentum.

How I would launch a new product online with a $10k marketing budget

I’ve been working online long enough to know product ideas are fairly cheap. The tricky part of building a sustainable online business for me, and many others, boils down to 2 things:

  1. Sticking with the same product/vision long enough
  2. Making money to sustain yourself and the business

Thankfully the 2 problems above can often be solved once you have found product/market fit and have some happy paying customers. Once you’ve solved this, you transition your thinking into how to scale to more paying customers.

So how do you find product/market fit and some happy paying customers?

You launch, test and measure results.

And boy does this get a lot easier if you have a marketing budget that allows you to split test different user acquisition channels fast.

The question; “how would you launch a product with a $10k marketing budget” is one of my faves I like to ask founders and entrepreneurs I hang out with.

I always get a wide variety of ideas and strategies which are almost never the same from person to person, which makes for an interesting conversation.

*Obviously, the user acquisition channels will vary largely depending on the product and target market.

How I would launch a new product online with a $10k marketing budget

The first thing I would invest in would be a great domain name (.co and .io TLD’s are fine, especially in B2B), a pro designed landing page with clear messaging outlining the core value proposition, and a clear CTA.

If you can edit HTML/CSS, I’d buy and edit a template. If you’re not great at writing copy, I’d spend a couple of weeks researching this to figure it out.

With a pro designed landing page and systems set up to convert visitors into customers (i.e, onboarding calls, email funnels), I’d then invest the remaining budget (sub $500-$1,000) into driving targeted visitors to the landing page.

Here’s how I’d personally do it in 2017/2018:

1. Viral blog content – especially the kind that will get shared within your industry (i.e lists)

2. Newsletter sponsorships – they can be a really cost-effective way to reach your target audience in quantity quickly

I’d invest $4,000 into both viral content and newsletter sponsorships and then wait to track the results. Once the data is in I’d then invest the remaining budget into the channel that performed the best.

Yesterday I asked my followers on Twitter how they would launch a new product with a $10k budget and got some interesting ideas:

Closing thoughts:

  1. If you’re launching a new product, I think the aim should be driving targetted visitors in quantity quickly. This is why I’d personally avoid link building, SEO etc. which takes some time to build momentum.
  2. I’d focus on 2 channels, maybe 3 channels max. This will allow you to compare the results to find the channel that drives the best results (allowing you to scale that particular channel).
  3. Don’t forget the free channels available to you: Email outreach, getting press, ProductHunt, Twitter search, Quora, Reddit, Facebook Groups, publishing interviews, etc.
  4. I deliberately left out Facebook advertising as I think this channel works best once you have solid numbers to work with (but make sure to install your Facebook pixel before launching to track visitors for when you do start to experiment with FB ads)

Next time your with an entrepreneur, ask them, how would you launch a new product online with a $10k marketing budget?

3 Weeks in London

I’ve just landed in Bangkok, Thailand, having just spent 3 weeks in London visiting family. These are our last trips before we settle down in Barcelona.

Some highlights:

1. I opened up bank accounts with Revolut and Monzo – a couple of new emerging digital banking apps. Both blew me away in terms of how easy it is to set up the accounts, although I prefer Monzo’s user onboarding a little more.

2. I managed to catch up with Ben, founder of Missinglettr and Jake, founder of HelpDocs, after following these guys on Twitter for a few years. Both really smart guys. We had dinner at Goodman, which is one of my favorite restaurants in London (highly recommended if you like steak).

3. A couple of other great restaurants that really impressed me were Barrafina (Spanish) and El Pastor (Mexican). If you want to travel a little outside of London, The Bell Inn country pub, which is located where my family lives, serves some of the best British food around.

4. Uber. I’ve used Uber in over 10 countries and Uber drivers in London are by far the most professional I’ve encountered. A stark contrast to Uber drivers in Bangkok who don’t know where they’re going and often don’t care for their cars. I really hope Uber wins their appeal against Transport for London’s decision not to renew its private hire license, as I think the utility really does shine in London.

Putting GrowthList sales on hold for a while

There were a few reasons I’ve decided to put GrowthList sales on hold for a while:

1. I’ve been updating and promoting GrowthList for over 2 years now, and to be honest, I’m a little burned out from working on the same product for so long.

2. Over the past few weeks, I haven’t stopped thinking about a couple of other products I want to launch and knowing Dec/Jan are slow months with B2B products, it made total sense to take some time out to work on these things now.

3. One of the products I’ll be launching will rely on monthly recurring revenue, which presents a wide range of additional skills (churn etc.) I’m excited to learn about.

4. I wanted to see if GrowthList sales would spike if I announced I was closing the product for a while. It worked. Sales spiked through the roof.

This now has me thinking about an alternative way to sell digital products online: instead of the products always being available to purchase, would opening up sales for 1-2 weeks every quarter generate more sales?