Buying and selling digital assets with Richard Patey

Join Chris and Richard Patey as they discuss how they buy and sell websites, email newsletters, domains, and other digital assets.

In this video, they cover:

  • The best places to buy and sell digital assets
  • Tips for getting started buying and selling digital assets
  • Future market trends and valuations

About Chris & Richard

  • Richard is the founder of WebsiteInvesting, a popular newsletter covering buying and selling digital assets. Richard has bought and sold mutliple digital assets over the past decade.
  • Chris is the founder of GrowthList and creator of Profitable Newsletters. Chris has also bought and sold multiple online digital assets over the past decade.

Getting fit in 20 days

After a few months in Europe eating too many pastries and too much cheese, the inevitable happened; I gained weight!

Over 20 days, I set out to combine 3 weight-loss tactics I’ve used in the past into one strict routine:

  • Run twice per day
  • Fast for 16-18 hours per day
  • No carbs or sugar for 20 days straight

I had never tried running twice per day before and never tried doing all 3 of the above together before. It turned out to be a grueling challenge!

On day 20 I had lost a total of 6cm around my waist. While I wish I had lost more, I know a huge part of the reason was continuing to drink wine with my evening meals.

I also went from struggling to finish a 1km run to finishing my first 10km run in years.

But the biggest takeaway from this experiment was how mentally fit I feel right now. I feel sharper than I ever have before, and I’m also a lot more productive.

And I’m addicted. I have no plans to stop fasting daily, eliminating carbs/sugar from my diet (although I will introduce a cheat day once per week) and I will continue to run or go on long walks every day.

All in all, it was a great way to get myself back to being healthy again.

Lessons learned

1. Running twice per day is a terrible idea. It turns out your legs need time to recover between runs (doh!), especially if you’re not used to running regularly. I now give my legs at least a couple of days before 5km-10km runs.

2. My daily food/drink diary (below) highlighted how much alcohol I consume. This is the first time I’ve written down what I drink on a daily basis and it has highlighted I drink too much. It’s something I need to work on. Everyone who has a nightcap should try writing down what they drink over a week.

3. No carb/sugar meals can be delicious. I’ve cooked and eaten some of the best meals of my life over the past 20 days that are really easy to make. Let me know if I should post some recipes!

4. Cheat day is important. We don’t allow our kids to eat sugar in the week and traditionally the whole family indulges on treats during the weekends – starting with pancakes for breakfast on Saturday morning. I really missed joining in and from here on out, I will enjoy a cheat day on the weekends.

5. Food preparation is key. The diet was the biggest challenge for me in this experiment, and looking back, every time I messed up it was due to not being prepared and knowing what I was going to eat next. Therefore, planning out what’s for lunch/dinner over the next 2-3 days is key to continue eating healthily.

The diet

There is a lot of cross over between no/slow-carb, keto/no carb, and lots of different variations. What I mean by “no carbs or sugar” is carbs and sugar in the form of bread, pasta, rice, desserts, cakes, cookies, and candy. Basically all the good stuff in life 😉

Almost all my meals in this experiment consisted of protein (lamb/beef/chicken/pork/fish) with vegetables – either cooked or in salad form, and often spiced up for maximum flavor.

From time to time I did add legumes, eggs, and fruit.


Day #1

AM run: 0.97 KM, 6:41, 6:50/KM
Lunch: Chicken with soy, ginger and garlic served with stem broccoli, bell peppers
Snack: Bannana
PM run: 0.96 KM, 7:07, 7:23/KM
Dinner: Steak, sauteed spinach with garlic and chili
Drinks: Black coffee, Water, 1x Gin and tonic, 2x glasses of red wine

Notes: Running today was brutal as I haven’t run in months and it was really cold out. Legs are sore. No problems with the diet apart from regret having the Gin and tonic (I did have diet tonic). I’m excited to perform better tomorrow.

Day #2

AM run: 2.54 KM, 20:01, 7:52/KM
Lunch: Chicken marinated in Thai green curry paste and, grilled and topped with peanuts, simple salad with lime dressing
Snack: Handful of raisins
PM run: 3.69 KM, 1:01:21, 16:37/KM
Dinner: Fish (cod), Asian slaw
Drinks: Black coffee, Water, 2x glasses of white wine, 2 pours of bourbon

Notes: The day started out strong with both my fasting and an early 2.5km morning run, but come noon, my 1yo had had an allergic reaction to some food. He is fine now, but this did through the whole family of our normal routines. So instead of heading out for an afternoon run by myself, I took my 4yo out for some fresh air where we walked 3.6km in the fields. Back at it tomorrow!

Day #3

AM run: 2.00 KM, 16:10, 8:03/KM
Lunch: Chicken marinated in Thai green curry paste, grilled jalapeno peppers
Snack: Nothing
PM run: 1.05 KM, 08:45, 08:20/KM
Dinner: Fish (cod), sauteed spinach with garlic and chili
Drinks: Black coffee, Water, 2x glasses of red wine, 2 pours of bourbon

Notes: Getting out for the afternoon run was a real struggle (lots on with work), but once completed, it felt amazing!

Day #4

AM run: 2.01 KM, 15:22, 7:38/KM
Lunch: Chicken salad
Snack: Nothing
PM run: 2.11 KM, 17:18, 08:10/KM
Dinner: Roast lamb with chickpeas
Drinks: Black coffee, Water, 4x glasses of red wine

Notes: I moved my afternoon run forward from around 5pm to 2.30pm and this made a huge improvement to the rest of my day (it meant I was not constantly thinking about it). Also, from now on – I will leave out the wine due to the sugar content in it.

Day #5

AM run: 2.14 KM, 16:23, 7:38/KM
Lunch: Stir-fried lamb with garlic, peppers and onions
Snack: Handful of raisins
PM run: 1.20 KM, 11:54, 09:53/KM
Dinner: Chicken with broccoli, cauliflower and marinara sauce
Drinks: Black coffee, Water, 4x pours of bourbon

Notes: The afternoon run was a real struggle as my legs stiffed up from the morning run. On the plus side, my waist is getting noticeably smaller.

Day #6

AM run: 1.16 KM, 8:44, 7:30/KM
Lunch: Chicken and veg stir-fry
Snack: Sausage roll
PM run: n/a
Dinner: Steak with mixed veg
Drinks: Black coffee, Water, 4 glasses of red wine, 1x whiskey sour, 3x pours of bourbon

Notes: After my morning run, I decided to give my legs a rest for a couple of days as they are so stiff and I know I’ll compromise them if I don’t allow them to recover properly. As for the wine, the plan was to have just a glass with my steak but before I knew it, I was having fun with the whole family, was in the moment, and drank a few glasses more. No regrets.

Day #7

AM run: n/a
Lunch: Steak and onions
Snack: 2 lemon cookies
PM run walk: 6.5KM
Dinner: Chicken and salad
Drinks: Black coffee, Water, 1 glass of white wine

Notes: Enjoyed a 6.5km walk with the family. Feels great giving my legs a rest. Regret eating 1 of the 2 freshly baked lemon cookies my son baked this afternoon. All in all, a bad weekend I know I need to make up for this week.

Day #8

AM run: n/a
Lunch: Grilled chicken
Snack: Nothing
PM run walk: 6.5KM
Dinner: Steak with vegetable bake
Drinks: Black coffee, Water, 2x pours of bourbon

Notes: I really missed running today!

Day #9

AM run: n/a
Lunch: Grilled chicken and salad
Snack: Nothing
PM run: 5 KM, 34:10, 06:49/KM
Dinner: Lamb chops with vegetables
Drinks: Black coffee, Water, 2x glasses of wine, 4x pours of bourbon

Notes: After giving my legs a rest I felt great running today and was happy to complete my first 5k run of the year at a respectable pace. If there’s one thing we can take away from this experiment, it’s the importance of giving your legs time to recover.

Day #10

AM run: n/a
Lunch: Vegetable stir-fry
Snack: Handful of almonds
PM run walk: 6.5KM
Dinner: Bunless burgers with beetroot salad
Drinks: Black coffee, Water, 2x glasses of red wine

Notes: Halfway point! I feel smaller than I did 10 days ago and have lost 4cm on my waist so far. I feel much healthier and fasting has become the norm now (no more hunger pains in the morning). For the remaining 10 days, I’m really going to try cutting out my nightcaps to see what effect will have (I’m guessing, a lot). I’m also really looking forward to my run tomorrow.

Day #11

AM run: 6.08KM, 54.43, 132m elev gain
Lunch: Fish (cod) and salad
Snack: n/a
PM run: n/a
Dinner: Pork and vegetable stir-fry
Drinks: Black coffee, Water, half a glass of pineapple juice

Notes: Went on what was probably the most difficult and beautiful runs of my life today. Feeling very grateful and fortunate.

Day #12

AM run: n/a
Lunch: Vegetable soup
Snack: n/a
PM run walk: 6.5KM
Dinner: Steak with bean salad
Drinks: Black coffee, Water, 4 glasses of red wine

Notes: It’s fair to say I like wine more than I do this experiment.

Day #13

AM run: n/a
Lunch: Chicken with tomato salad
Snack: Handful of mixed nuts
PM run walk: 6.5KM
Dinner: Pork with tenderstem broccoli
Drinks: Black coffee, Water, 1 gin and tonic

Notes: I had planned to run today but my legs are still feeling a little sore from Thursday’s run, but damn I’m so eager to get back out there tomorrow!

Day #14

AM run: 5 KM, 38:53, 7:46/KM
Lunch: Steak and grilled asparagus
Snack: Handful of mixed nuts
PM run: n/a
Dinner: Lamb chops and grilled peppers
Drinks: Black coffee, Water, 2 glasses of red wine

Notes: Was great to get back to running today!

Day #15

AM run: n/a
Lunch: Steak with salad
Snack: n/a
PM run walk: 6.5KM
Dinner: Bunless burgers with green bean salad
Drinks: Black coffee, Water, 3 pours of bourbon

Notes: Rest day. Seriously craving carbs now.

Day #16

AM run: n/a
Lunch: Steak with peppers
Snack: Handful of nuts
PM run walk: 6.5KM
Dinner: Roasted eggplant with 6 peices of Sushi
Drinks: Black coffee, Water, 2 gin and tonics

Notes: First time eating carbs in this experiment.

Day #17

AM run: n/a
Lunch: Steak with peppers
Snack: Handful of nuts
PM run walk: 6.5KM
Dinner: 3 slices of pizza
Drinks: Black coffee, Water, 4 glasses of red wine

Notes: 2 diet fucks-ups in a row. Feel really disapointed in myself.

Day #18

AM run: n/a
Lunch: Half a chicken sandwhich
Snack: Handful of nuts, fruit
PM run: n/a
Dinner: 3 slices of pizza
Drinks: Black coffee, Water, 4 glasses of red wine

Notes: 2 diet fucks-ups in a row. Feel really disapointed in myself.

Day #19

AM run: 10 KM, 1.14:00, 7:28/KM
Lunch: Roast chicken with vegetables
Snack: n/a
PM run walk: 6.5KM
Dinner: BBQ ribs
Drinks: Black coffee, Water, 2 glasses of red wine

Notes: The 10km run destroyed me but I’m so glad I did it.

I launched 20 newsletters in 20 days – here’s what I learned

Please note: This is a draft that I’m still updating.

My new course, Profitable Newsletters, that helps people start and grow a profitable email newsletter (now that I’ve built and sold 2) is now live.

To have ‘skin in the game’, I wanted to review all of the ‘hosted’ newsletter tools out there, and on 14th April, I announced on Twitter I’d launch 20 newsleters in 20 days.

TL;DR

I haven’t split tested email delivery yet, but these are my recommendations so far.

If you plan on setting up a newsletter and charging your readers, i.e a paid newsletter, I would recommend either using Substack or WordPress (or an alternative CMS) with Memberspace.

Substack is easily the easiest way to set up a paid newsletter, and they allow you to integrate a Stripe account to accept payments. Substack doesn’t charge any fees, but they do take 10% from your paid subscriptions, on top of Stripe’s 2.9% fees.

If you want more control of the look and feel of your newsletter and website, and want to create something along the lines of Stratechery, I would use WordPress with MemberSpace. Memberspace costs from $25 plus 4% of your paid subscriptions, on top of Stripe’s 2.9% fees. By the way; Stratechery uses Memberful, which is similar to Memeberspace, but they charge an extra 0.9% on transaction fees.

For a free newsletter (that’s supported by sponsorships, for example), I would recommend either ConvertKit or EmailOctopus.

Both are really easy to set up and have good support, but ConvertKit has the advantage of offering some really great landing page designs you can use while EmailOctopus does not. This means ConvertKit is slightly better suited for those who have no technical experience and want everything under one roof.

On the other hand, EmailOctopus has a bigger free plan allowing you to email your first 2,500 subscribers for free, while ConvertKit’s free plan is limited to 1,000 subscribers. EmailOctopus is also a fair bit cheaper when you grow your newsletter into thousands of subscribers.

If you plan to use EmailOctopus (or are not happy with ConvertKit’s landing pages), I would check out Carrd. They have some really impressive landing pages you can easily edit and plans start at just $19/yr, which is a steal. Carrd makes it super easy to integrate either EmailOctopus or ConvertKit sign-up forms into your landing pages.


The plan was simple (so I thought!); launch 20 newsletters in 20 days to find out which service people should use for their new newsletter.

I’m splitting this guide into 4 sections;

  • Setup – looks at how easy it is to get set up, quality of landing pages, support etc.
  • Editor – compares the different plain text and HTML email editors
  • Delivery – do some newsletter software products offer better email delivery than others?
  • Conclusion – my thoughts on the best software for different types of newsletters from this research

Here are the tools I tested:


Setting up 20 newsletters

Looking back I probably didn’t need to launch 20 newsletters, but it did allow me to test out a lot of different software and combinations of software (landing pages and email delivery tools) and I do plan to use the 20 newsletters in a new experiment later (more on that soon).

With that said, here are the newsletters I set up, along with honest feedback based on my personal experiences I had with each of the different tools I tested with.

Newsletter #1 – AppleNewsletter.com

The first newsletter will curate the best 5-10 news pieces covering Apple as a company, and it’s products every week.

The landing page was coded in HTML/CSS and is integrated with Mailchimp for email delivery.

I guess you could say this is the defacto setup for many newsletters out there. HTML landing pages are very customizable, load fast and MailChimp offers a generous free tier – allowing you to email your first 2,000 email subscribers for free.

I have been using MailChimp for a long time and over recent years it’s become very bloated, to a point that it’s no longer fun to use to send a simple newsletter.

Newsletter #2 – LastMinuteSponsorships.com

This newsletter will allow independent creators (think podcasters, newsletter writers, event organizers etc.) find brands who can step in to buy their last-minute sponsorship inventory.

I used ConvertKit for both the landing page and the email delivery.

All was great until I couldn’t find a way to remove the “Powered by ConvertKit” link. In fact, I spent over an hour trying to remove it… that’s almost longer than it took me to make the landing page!

Edit: Nathan, the CEO of ConvertKit, confirmed on Twitter that this was a bug which has now been fixed.

Other than that, I was very impressed with how quick and easy it was setting up a landing page with ConvertKit – and they have some really well designed options you can edit.

Newsletter #3 – FinTechCompanies.com

The third newsletter will curate the best news covering the new wave of tech companies disrupting the finance sector.

The landing page was built using HTML/CSS, and I used ConvertKit for email editing and delivery. As I designed and coded the HTML/CSS myself, it took a lot longer to set this up compared to the other newsletters on this list (I don’t call myself a developer).

Newsletter #4 – VettedWriters.com

The idea behind this newsletter is that every week I’ll work with a few content writers looking for work (with paid projects) – and highlight the best ones I find on this newsletter.

With many writers getting laid off right now, I thought this could be a great chance to highlight their skills to other business owners.

I used Carrd to setup the landing page and it was such a pleasure to use. In fact, it’s one of the few pieces of software I’ve used in the past 12 months that was perfect from start to finish.

Newsletter #5 – WineWeekly.co

A subject close to my heart! This newsletter will feature news, interviews, and more with sustainable wine producers.

I set up this newsletter with Carrd and ConvertKit again to make sure the previous newsletter set up wasn’t a fluke – but nope, the experience using both was flawless once again.

Newsletter #6 – CannabisNewsletter.co

This newsletter will interview people that are revolutionizing the cannabis industry as we know it today.

I ran out of time this day so I went with the reliable setup I had used the day before; Carrd for the landing page and ConvertKit for the email delivery.

Newsletter #7 – AviationWeekly.co

This newsletter will curate the best news from commercial aviation each week.

I set this up using Revue which I was excited to test out (I hear they have the best newsletter editor in town), but unfortunately, I was hit with a whole host of issues.

First, I had trouble setting up a custom domain. All other platforms I tested had clear documentation and provided IP addresses on how to set a custom domain up, but Revue didn’t and I was pulling my hair out.

Second, I wasn’t able to save the edits I was making to my landing page (like uploading a profile picture, for example). It constantly timed out, like there was a bug on the page.

Third, my account verification took longer than 2 days to go through (it was only verified once I got in touch with them). While this isn’t such a big issue, it did get me to question whether anyone was in the office (and what would happen if I encountered a bigger problem down the road).

Fourth, and this was my biggest issue; double opt-in confirmation emails were going straight into the “Promotions” folder in GMail. While I’m cool with companies requiring us to use double opt-in, they should at least have the option to send the double opt-in emails using plain text so there’s a high chance new subscribers see the email and can confirm their subscription.

Revue felt so buggy and support was slow that I actually asked the CEO if he was still actively working on the product. And after spending 2 days trying to navigate through Revue issues, I decided to transfer the newsletter to yes, you guessed it – Carrd and ConvertKit:

Newsletter #8 – 20Newsletters.com

On Twitter, Brendan Tully requested a newsletter that offered updates on the newsletters I’m creating here.

I thought it was a great idea so now every month on the 1st of each month, we’ll share a Google doc with the latest figures along with results to the experiments we plan to conduct.

I used Substack for the newsletter – as they focus on editorial type of newsletters – and I was instantly impressed with the backend UX and onboarding (it looks simple but it just works).

The only negative with Substack was not being able to use a custom domain, but I was able to set up a simple 301 redirect meaning visitors going to 20Newsletters.com would be forwarded to the correct Substack URL.

Newsletter #9 – BetterParents.co

I love finding new research and educational toys that will a) give my young kids a great start and b) make me a better parent – so I knew I wanted to create a newsletter that other parents could share and learn from.

I set this newsletter up using MailChimp as I wanted to test out MailChimp’s landing pages.

At first sight, MailChimp’s landing pages are not the greatest designed landing pages out there, but they are certainly an improvement on their main website template they offer.

After digging in, and asking on Twitter, it came to my surprise that it’s not possible to use one of their landing page designs on a root domain. Instead, you are forced to use their main website template which as you can see above, is pretty darn hideous.

MailChimp is easily the biggest company in the newsletter space and as mentioned above, it saddens me to see how bloated they have gotten over recent years.

Newsletter #10 – NextGuest.io

This newsletter will feature experts that are currently free to do interviews.

I built this using Carrd and Getresponse. This is the first time I’ve used Getresponse and I was really impressed with their onboarding and UX on the backend. They also have some really well-designed landing pages you can use.

Newsletter #11 – EComWeekly.co

This newsletter will interview the most interesting people working in e-commerce.

I tried to set this up with MailerLite but I never received the email I needed to confirm my account. I spent an hour on this, tweeted at them on Twitter, and sent them an email. Days later and I still haven’t received a helpful response (they did respond to my tweet on Twitter saying I should email them – which I had done).

With no care to follow-up or investigate, it’s fair to say MailerLite had the worst support out of all the tools I tested.

Newsletter #12 – AdTechWeekly.co

This newsletter will interview interesting people working in online advertising.

I set this up with EmailOctopus and the onboarding was very easy and straightforward. My account was also verified and approved within a few hours – which is always comforting to see.

EmailOctopus’s generous free plan of 2,500 subscribers, compared to ConvertKit’s 500, means EmailOctopus has now become my go-to service to collect and send emails to subscribers.

Newsletter #13 – BioTechWeekly.co

This newsletter will interview the smartest minds working in Biotechnology.

I used Carrd for the landing page and EmailOcotopus for email delivery.

Newsletter #14 – AgriTechWeekly.co

This newsletter will interview the smartest minds transforming agriculture.

I used Carrd for the landing page and EmailOcotopus for email delivery.

Newsletter #15 – BridgeZero.com

BridgeZero will be the only paid newsletter I start from this experiment, which will interview interesting startups that are raising their seed round.

As I had already tested Substack above, I was interested to check Ghost out – which like Substack, offers fully integrated paid newsletter memberships.

The setup took longer than any other products I tested on this list and I’d go to say it would help if you have a little experience setting up a CMS (to be fair – they are a CMS first and only recently added subscriptions/newsletter support).

After download and uploading a compatible theme to manage subscribers, and a few back and forths with their supper friendly support, I did manage to get the site live.

I inquired if it was possible to edit the home page – to have more of a landing page type feel to introduce the newsletter properly (which would be really handy with little content when starting out), which I was told:

For your second question, it is possible to have a landing page with a signup form on the homepage. To achieve this, I’d recommend creating a custom home page template within your theme. We have a tutorial here that can walk you through how to get something like that setup.

In the end, I come to the conclusion Ghost is a great option if their design/themes fit with the type of newsletter you want to create or have the technical chops to create and edit your own.

Please note: After testing out ghost, I did move the domain to Substack as it’s a better fit for this newsletter.


Let’s recap the different products I tested setting up the 20 newsletters above:

  • ConvertKit – Slick onboarding, easy to use, with great landing page designs
  • Getresponse – Slick onboarding and easy to use
  • EmailOctopus – Slick onboarding and easy to use
  • Substack – Slick onboarding and easy to use + can leverage network effect
  • Carrd – Stunning landing pages that are easy to edit
  • MailChimp – Poor design options, very bloated
  • Revue – Too many small issues to deal with
  • MailerLite – Couldn’t get setup and support didn’t get back to me

Who has the best newsletter editor?

I will not be testing Revue (too many problems), MailerLite (no support) or MailChimp (too bloated). This leaves ConvertKit, Getresponse, Substack, Ghost and EmailOctopus to test.

EmailOctopus

At the time of writing, EmailOctopus has 31 pre-designed templates you can edit with drag and drop, and they also offer a plain text option.

There are no complaints about the plain text editor:

Editing a pre-designed template was really easy with a lot of options to customize:

I loved their preview tool so you can see how your email will display on web and mobile:

Conclusion: There was nothing ground-breaking about editing a newsletter with EmailOctopus, but what they do offer, is solid. 4/5

ConvertKit

ConvertKit is well known for making automated emails easy to set up (I use this for my other businesses and it is world-class), but today I’m just going to focus on the editor part for sending a simple email newsletter.

This is their plain text legacy editor. You’ll notice you can easily split test the subject line which is a great feature.

Using their legacy editor, I wasn’t able to do any simple styling – like having an image aligned to the left of some text:

ConvertKit’s new editor looks much nicer:

But I still wasn’t able to insert and align an image to the left of the text (image wouldn’t even appear).

Conclusion: ConvertKit’s is a solid option if you plan to use plain text emails, and not a great option if you’re looking to format your emails with images etc. 2/5

Getresponse

Getresponse has a seriously large collection of well-designed email templates to choose from:

But sadly, it looks like Getresponse doesn’t offer plain text emails. From this page:

In the new editor the Plain-text version is generated automatically based on your HTML message.

Let’s take a look at their HTML email editor instead:

The editor is good, but if I had to be picky, I’d say it felt a little dated and clunky. I did found EmailOctopus’ HTML email editor slightly easier and more enjoyable to use.

Conclusion: Lots of pre-designed templates to choose from. The editor felt a little clunky. No plain text email option (that I could find). 2.5/5

Substack

Substack is a little unique in that its main focus is allowing independent writers to easily create editorial (i.e text-based) newsletters (so this wouldn’t be a good option if you need HTML email newsletters).

They also allow writers to easily setup paid subscription plans via Stripe – meaning writers can charge their readers, say, $5 per month, to access gated content.

Substack is one of 2 platforms I will be testing in this test that offers integrated payments (the other is Ghost).

Here’s what their editor looks like:

With no distractions, lots of white space, and even down to the font Substack uses – their editor is truly is a pleasure to write on.

Conclusion: A great canvas to write on. 4.5/5

2019 Year in Review

TDLR: Moved to Bangkok, had a second son, failed to sell CryptoWeekly, found product-market fit at GrowthList, had lots of fun in Japan

We moved back to Bangkok at the beginning of the year to have our second child at the same hospital (and with the same doctor) we had our first child at in Bangkok. It was a smart move as the hospital and doctor are both first class. All things went really well and we welcomed little Oscar into the world at the beginning of April – which was easily the highlight of the year.

During this time we put my older boy into a great pre-school which he has really enjoyed. The initial goal was to let him finish before moving back to Europe, but sadly the pollution in Bangkok is getting worse – to a point where it’s affecting our health, and thus we have decided to leave early. The next few months will be busy with another big move.

In other personal news, I stopped smoking cigarettes after smoking a box per day since I was 14. It feels amazing to finally get rid of this nasty habit. Alan Carr’s ‘How to Stop Smoking‘ book really helped.

I quit Facebook and got rid of my iPhone and use phones/tablets way less than I did before. With less screen time on all my devices now, I have way more time to dedicate to my family which has been fantastic.

I also rediscovered fasting and now fast for 16 hours most days of the week, and try to fit in a few 24-hour fasts per month. This not only helps with weight control but also clarity of the mind.

So all in all, I feel I’ve made huge progress on my health and where I spend my time this year.

Work

I spent the first few months of the year trying to find someone to take over CryptoWeekly without success. I am now in the process of going out again to try and find a company that can take it over.

From day one I started CW to learn how crypto works, but now I feel I’ve learned as much as I can, I want to pass it onto someone else with more enthusiasm. CW makes decent money via sponsorships and CryptoList sales, so I’m eager to watch someone take CW to the next level.

As outlined in my 2018 review, I wanted to focus 2019 on building GrowthList up after neglecting it for a few years, and that is exactly what I did.

I tried multiple variations of the product (in startup world these are called pivots); from selling limited quantities of smaller lists to selling unlimited quantities of bigger lists – and nothing really stuck.

In total, I launched 26 new reports without much success (i.e – success in where I could support a family of 4) and 3 months ago I decided to try one last product variation before calling it a day.

I ‘pivoted’ GrowthList to offer a report of every startup that is getting funded right now, priced at just $49 (previously these reports cost $299 each). So far growth has been great and I’m so glad all this testing has finally paid off. GrowthList is where I’ll spend my efforts for the foreseeable future.

I also launched a few side projects earlier in the year that I have since paused while I focus all my efforts on GrowthList. These included Cosana, NewKeys and DailyNames.

Travel

Traveling with my boy who is getting older is so much more fun, and as we didn’t travel as much this year thanks to pregnancy and school schedules, we plan to do a lot more of it in 2020.

Trips this year included some Thai beach time, a few family visits to Ubon, a great time in Hong Kong and 2 separate trips to Japan; Osaka and Sapporo.

Goals for 2020

I completed all my goals from last year apart from starting a podcast – which I still want to do and will make this a goal for 2020.

I’m not going to add any new goals this year as I’m at a point in my life where I’m pretty happy doing what I’m doing. I enjoy updating GrowthList, I enjoy spending lots of time with my kids, and I enjoy traveling. Lot’s more of those and I’m one happy guy!

Building small, profitable and remote tech companies at KintuLabs

Earlier today on Twitter I shared the criteria we have set (not in stone) for building small, profitable and remote startups at KintuLabs:

  • Does it solve a problem we have?
  • Can we build and ship within 1-2 weeks? (we’ll expand this later)
  • Can it be managed by 1-2 people?
  • Can it generate revenue in the first 1-2 months?
  • Can it generate $100k+/yr?
  • Do we know how we can onboard new customers?

I want to expand on these a little in the hopes it’ll help other people considering starting a small, profitable and remote tech company.

Let’s jump in…

Does it solve a problem we have?

My most successful products have always come from working on a product, experiencing a problem, and going on to create a new product to solve that problem.

Here’s how this has worked for me:

I created FoundersGrid (acquired) as there was a lot of content around tech and startups, but no one was curating the very best reads every week.

I created GrowthList as I started building lists of fast-growing startups I could email to see if they wanted to sponsor the FoundersGrid newsletter. It turned out my friends wanted copies of the lists for their own outreach efforts, hence a new business was born.

I created CryptoWeekly when we started adding a lot more crypto/blockchain pieces to the FoundersGrid newsletter – so it made sense to create a new newsletter just for crypto
(which consequently went on to make $350k in its first year).

I created CryptoList as we needed a list of crypto companies we could reach out to about sponsoring the CryptoWeekly newsletter.

I created NewKeys as I wanted an overview of what properties are available to purchase all around the world in the $75-$100k price range, along with the key details of what’s required for a foreign national to purchase a property in each location.

I created Cosana as finding reliable remote contractors to manage the above businesses was becoming a real pain. Now anyone can access a database of fully-vetted remote contractors whenever they need some help.

I created DailyNames as finding great affordable domain names has always been time-consuming as most domains on marketplaces are overpriced and there’s so much crap to filter through.

So yeah, I’m a firm believer in creating products that solve your own pain points first.

And as we are happy to generate $100k-$500k/yr with each new product we create, we do not need the whole world to like or want our products.

Fun fact; at $299 per quarter for CryptoList, we needed to find 83 customers who also value the product as much as we do to pass $100k/yr.

Can we build and ship within 1-2 weeks? (we’ll expand this later)

Right now I’m kind of blessed I have enough product ideas that don’t involve code – which is what makes a lot of product development cycles time intensive.

If I look at what we really do across our current product line, it’s we save people and businesses time. All our products take an insane amount of hours to put together, but that’s our business; we are good at saving businesses/people time.

But I’ve noticed with my list of “ideas” that some products will take much longer to launch than others – so it’s important as a young bootstrapped startup that we focus on building the products we can get launched quickly first.

Can it be managed by 1-2 people?

As we are not shooting for ‘world domination’ with our companies. The end-goal is to have each company serve 100-300 paying customers with just 2 employees – ala Instagram when they sold to Facebook for $1 billion with 13 people.

By the end of the year, I’d like each company to have one person focused on product and operations, and the other focused on sales and marketing. As we don’t rely on code for our products (yet), I think this small combo will work really well.

Please note: due to resources – we do not currently have this setup – but it’s our goal to have this setup by the end of the year.

Can it generate revenue in the first 1-2 months?

As bootstrappers, this means everything to me. If we can’t cover overhead costs within 1-2 months, it makes sense to allocate our resources into products where we can.

Can it generate $100k+/yr?

I believe most good products can. It’s more of a question of knowing how to get the product in front of the right customers – even if this does take a while.

Do we know how we can onboard new customers?

The list of user acquisition channels is immense right now – and each new product will respond differently to different channels. More on this on another post!

2018 Year in Review

This year has been pretty special. My family and I traveled extensively. We finally sorted out homes in Barcelona and Bangkok after traveling for 14+ years non-stop. Our boy started school, and we found out we are having another kiddo early next year.

I also sold FoundersGrid and went all in on crypto projects (as I said I would in my 2017 review) – which has been an interesting, educational, and sometimes scary, ride.

Here’s a look at what I acomplished with work, my travels, my fave restaurants and goals for 2019:

Work

  • I sent out 74 CryptoWeekly newsletters
  • Published 26 in-depth guides here on my blog
  • Built and launched Crypto100 with Crypto.com (the 2019 edition has been built – currently looking for a partner)
  • Traded crypto (which I’ll share details on another day)
  • Invested in 1 startup that will be launching in January
  • Built, launched and sold hundreds of copies of CryptoList
  • Built and launched CryptoDomains with BrandBucket
  • Sold FoundersGrid
  • Hosted 3 Newsletter Workshops (I’m hosting another one in Jan)
  • Built and launched AsiaTechNews and AsiaTechList
  • Consulted with 15+ crypto clients on their marketing strategies
  • Built and launched CryptoTracker with some awesome partners including ADconity, LocalEthereum, Heat Wallet, CXO and Gem
  • Built and launched CryptoFirst with Crypto.com
  • Built BitcoinPredictions that I’ve yet to launch
  • Built and launched LamboIndex
  • Built FlyContinents which allows you to search for the cheapest flights when flying from one contitent to another (it’s a bit buggy – need to find a better API)
  • Started building a SaaS platform in the crypto space which I’ve since paused pending better market conditions
  • Rebranded GrowthList which will be my sole focus for 2019

Travel

  • Spain – Barcelona, Mulaga, Zaragoza, San Sebastian, Bilbao
  • Italy – Florence, Siena, San Gimignano, Chianti, Cinque Terre, Pisa, Genoa, Rome
  • Thailand – Bangkok, Ubon Ratchathani
  • Malta
  • Monaco
  • Istanbul
  • Budapest
  • Lisbon
  • Vienna
  • Hong Kong
  • London
  • Dubai

Best Restaurants

The very best restaurants I visited this year:

Best hotels

Goals

2018 goals were:

  • Get a family home, school and a small office set up in Barcelona
  • Solely focus on crypto (both trading and CryptoWeekly)
  • Find really smart people to work with and learn from

I’m pretty stocked I completed all 3 goals I set for myself.

My goals for 2019 are:

  • Rein back work – I haven’t stopped this year and I’m seriously feeling burned out. Would be nice to take a whole month off when our new kiddo arrives.
  • I want to do more for those in need – not just financially, but with a hands-on approuch
  • Start a podcast interviewing people from all walks of life (not just business). Would be cool to set up a low-cost studio anyone could come in and use

How was 2018 for you?

What’s happening at Ethereum?

Like the rest of the crypto markets, Ethereum has had a wild year. As the price of one ether has whipsawed between highs of $1,389 and lows of just $87 over the course of 2018, the platform’s developer community has continued to quietly build out more Dapps and use cases for the network. But even so, there are storm clouds on the horizon in the near term, as development teams continue to face scalability challenges and some of the biggest Ethereum projects encounter serious operational headwinds.

One of the most prolific contributors to the Ethereum ecosystem to date is ConsenSys, best described as a kind of app studio for crypto – and Ethereum in particular. But a recent report from Forbes has revealed that the business, despite being well-funded, is burning through nearly $100M per year, with no profitability in sight.

Yesterday, ConsenSys confirmed that it would be laying off 13% of its staff across all of its startups, contributing to a broader concern that mass layoffs could begin hitting other businesses in crypto during an extended bear market.

Ethereum’s development ecosystem is facing challenges, too. Development on plasma (once heralded as a short-term fix for Ethereum’s scaling woes) has slowed in favor of zk-snarks, a form of cryptography also used by Zcash that can aggregate transactions into batches, rather than processing them one at a time. The platform’s relative centralization remains a concern as well – and this has led to projects like slow.trade launching, which aim to make Ethereum’s original vision of decentralization a reality.

Despite these headwinds, it isn’t all doom and gloom in the Ethereum community these days. Many developers are already working on building the next generation of the platform – one such example is the Turbo Geth project, which is aiming to transform the way Ethereum clients handle storage. Efforts like these are continuing to gain traction, and the continued focus on scalability issues means that a solution could be coming as early as next year.

Istanbul

I recently spent a week in Istanbul, my 2nd visit this year.

Istanbul is a vibrant city which I really enjoy hanging out in to eat and work. The coffee shop culture is growing fast. The local cuisine is varied and delicious. The locals are very friendly. And due to the Turkish Lira weakening this year, it’s never been a better time to visit.

Here are my travel notes:

  • I like to stay near Taksim Square – the vibrant shopping area surrounded by restaurants, coffee shops, and bars. The InterContinental in the area is a great choice to base yourself.
  • Dinner at Zübeyir Ocakbaşı is a must (bookings needed) – it’s one of my top 5 restaurants and I always try to dine here twice on each trip (yes, it’s that good)
  • Talking of food, other good spots I enjoy include Ciya (good home-cooking, very inexpensive), Mikla (rated one of the best 50 restaurants in the world) and brunch at the Four Seasons for a blow out at the weekend
  • Get lost exploring the Grand Bazaar – one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world
  • Take a ferry ride. Each trip will set you back less than $1 and you’ll be guaranteed great views no matter what direction you head in
  • Enjoy a sundowner overlooking the Bosphorus. The bar at the top of the Conrad hotel offer’s excellent views
  • Uber is the easiest way to get around town – including to/from the airport. Not only are they always big vans with nice spacious seats, but they are crazy cheap too!

I’m now back in Bangkok for the winter. Hit me up if you pass through!

Is the ICO party over?

After a record-breaking year of more than $5.5B in funding last year, many saw a bright future for ICOs. And when looking at the raw numbers, it’s tempting to think that’s still the case. This year’s ICO funding has already surpassed $10B, in a significant increase over last year’s total, and new token projects continue to launch every day.

But storm clouds are on the horizon for ICOs – securities regulators have been cracking down in recent months (four more ICOs were shut down in the US just yesterday), and regulatory pressure has forced many token projects to look elsewhere for funding.

In the third quarter of this year, ICOs raised just $1.8B – a dramatic decline from Q2 of this year, which saw more than $8B in funding raised. This regulatory pressure, combined with an overall downturn in the crypto markets, has left investors reluctant to invest in ICOs with poor prospects of a healthy return.

But is the ICO party really over for good, or will other funding methods take its place in the blockchain industry? It seems likely that for the time being, venture capital and private equity firms will pick up the slack where ICOs left off.

As ICO funding for crypto projects has continued to decrease in recent months, VC funding for those projects has only been increasing. In fact, a recent report from Outer Ventures found that VC investments in the crypto sector rose from $900 million in 2017, to more than $2.85 billion this year. This influx of VC funding is helping blockchain projects continue to build even as ICO funding slows, which should be encouraging for crypto founders.

Still, the Securities and Exchange Commission remains focused on regulating ICOs, and the regulatory body maintains that the funding mechanism won’t be going away anytime soon. This week, the regulatory body created an ICO guide for investors that outlines how ICOs are presently regulated, and how to handle risk and unregistered offerings when assessing investment opportunities.

After much uncertainty, the SEC has finally confirmed that ICOs are indeed securities, and this is also reflected in its latest update. The site also provides updates on the latest regulatory activity around ICOs, which should prove useful for token projects considering launching an ICO of their own.

Recent events have made it clear that the ICO party isn’t dead yet – it’s just moved locations. While the verdict is still out on how ICO fundraising will evolve in the future, for now at least, venture capital seems set to become more prevalent than token sales for at least the next few quarters.

Understanding the Bitcoin Cash hash war

Bitcoin Cash has undergone a hard fork this week after unresolved deliberations on a number of key upgrades, and tensions are running high.

Two of the largest Bitcoin Cash implementations (Bitcoin ABC and Bitcoin SV) are at odds over which features to include, and as a result, a “hash war” has broken out.

Bitcoin SV is led by Craig Wright (of nChain fame), while Bitcoin ABC is supported by the controversial crypto influencer Roger Ver. Both implementations are incompatible with each other, which means that in theory, only one can continue to be the “real” Bitcoin Cash.

A hash war consists of two competing sides that are boosting their computing power in a bid to gain increased influence (and show support for) a preferred implementation, with mining power being used as a weapon to potentially kill off another blockchain.

This is done using a pooling of hash power resources, which are the total computing resources assembled by a group of miners in the interest of keeping a blockchain secure.

If either side has more than 51% of the hashing power in Bitcoin Cash, the dominating side would in theory be able to launch debilitating attacks on the smaller chain. This represents a troubling turn of events for a community that’s been equal parts competitive and collaborative in recent years.

Perhaps most important here is that neither side has implemented replay protection in the lead-up to the hash war. Replay protection is what allows traders to safely spend their funds when a fork takes place, and without it, any hard fork can quickly become a dangerous proposition.

A lack of replay protection means that both chains intent to keep boosting their hash rate until the other loses, with the victor becoming the “one true chain” for Bitcoin Cash traders. Crypto investors on the losing side stand to lose a lot of money, and that’s part of what makes this war amidst a hard fork so risky.

On the exchanges front, most are already listing both Bitcoin Cash hard forks as trading pairs. Some (such as Poloniex) have suspended Bitcoin Cash trading altogether until the outcome is confirmed.

With a number of attacks that can be launched, both sides seem willing to fight to the death for the right to control Bitcoin Cash’s future. While it seems likely ABC will emerge as the victor in this hash war, SV could still execute an attack to destroy ABC.

Both blockchains are being pushed to their limits, and it’s a great way for the crypto community to see the pros and cons of each. To follow the hash war live, check out Hashware Live or read this primer on the battle.