Minting

I’ve been hinting about minting.

TL:DRI’ve minted a new NFT collection!

As a community builder and hybridized translator of technology, I’m proud to be surrounded by remarkable artists and nerds you need to know. As trailblazers continue to push boundaries, the decentralized, community-driven aspects of blockchain technologies has me in a curious state of pure wonder.

To test a blockchain technology, Nathan T. Wright and I teamed up to learn through action. We decided to explore non-fungible tokens (“NFTs”) by creating a new NFT collection called Roasted Reflections!

This caffeinated collaboration commemorates one year of YDNTB and is dedicated to connecting entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, and community builders. Only 100 NFTs will be minted on OpenSea throughout the month of April. We’ve established two small, more exclusive categories of tokens that include bonus materials, VIP access, and tradable value. A third category has more NFTs minted as free airdrops for those who pickup the new YDNTB NFT Bundle to share.

This special NFT collection is now live, as the first NFT was minted on April 1st, 2022. This rare collectible comes with all sorts of perks and was appropriately titled, Hello World – #1, with a .412021 ETH price that pays homage to the 4/1/2021 publishing date for YDNTB. Two more tokens will be released into the RR collection each Wednesday until all 100 tokens have been minted!

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Did you catch the subtle hint for this emerging NFT project in Launch? This learning expedition was also the inspiration behind Perpetual.

What’s next? Watch your inbox for more details on this interactive NFT project, including a special invitation to a new Discord channel built for all of us to continue building together. My hope is that along with a fun way to collectively enjoy this digital treasure hunt, the Roasted Reflections NFT collection will be remembered as how my family and friends secured their very first NFT! In the meantime, here are a few of the lessons learned along the way.

– Humans enjoy collecting things together.
– Value is often based on supply, demand, and a sense of belonging.
– NFT minting creates a unique item connected to a smart contract.
– A smart contract for each NFT is then data stored on a blockchain.
– The first NFT was minted in 2014.
– Think less about how NFTs look or sound.
– NFTs represent ownership verified by data.
– These digital assets can also be used for various types of access.
– Categories in a collection provides scalability and diversifies value propositions.
– You need a digital wallet to receive, buy, or sell NFTs. (I use Coinbase)
OpenSea is the largest marketplace to learn, create, buy, and sell NFTs, but Coinbase NFT is coming soon.
– Floor price is the lowest priced NFT in a collection.
– Weekend minting is often less expensive.
– Computing power for the verification process creates a harmful environment impact that needs improvement.
– Successful NFT collections are community-driven.
– The most expensive NFT sold for $91.8M.
– Airdrop is a fancy term for giveaway.

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I can’t help but to think, perhaps the NES generation who grew up wasting all our allowance on sports cards as kids, was destined to bring this technology to life.

I thought NFTs were silly at first. Talking with others and thinking about smart contracts can transparently certify proof of ownership has made me think again.

In the future, perhaps NFTs (or similar blockchain technologies) will be applied to verify event tickets, legal documents, and personal property? What if a birth certificate came with it’s own NFT that had a smart contract secured to the same person’s death certificate? Weird stuff, eh! Tokenomics is still the wild west and NFTs are considered a speculative asset, but it’s fun exploring uncharted territory and it’ll be interesting to see if a community-driven NFT collection like Roasted Reflections allows more explorers to own a small piece of this new frontier.

Perpetual

It’s hard to stop anything that repeats so frequently it seems endless. There’s infinite ways perpetuity could be good or bad, but never ending happiness, trust, love, hard work, fun, generosity, action, wonder, and learning seem like safe bets.

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It’s not whether you know how, it’s whether you will.

Being inspired by so many remarkable people (like you), has instilled a lasting appreciation for consistency within the entrepreneurial lifestyle. Perpetual feels like a cousin to persistence, so without airdropping the final chapter, here’s a short excerpt from the closing moments of You Don’t Need This Book: Entrepreneurship in the Connected Era.

As entrepreneurs traverse through the unknown, setbacks are inevitable. Each conquered setback makes an entrepreneur more resilient. As resiliency bonds with experiential knowledge, focused determination makes setbacks less distracting. Eventually, setbacks become more like interesting challenges for problem-solving entrepreneurs. This hardened mindset welcomes endless suffering. Such willingness to suffer unlocks a key to entrepreneurship. Passion.

Passion fuels persistence, and persistence is a wild card. Passionate persistence combined with obsession, allows anyone to achieve entrepreneurial success.

You’ll build when others don’t. You’ll savor projects longer and you’ll fight through dips that made others quit. You’ll be comfortable with uncomfortable and you’ll enjoy making a ruckus every step of the way.

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Belief in one’s self is contagious.

Recording an Audiobook

I’m often asked about my journey as a first-time author.

How I Wrote YDNTB is a link I’m quick to share with those curiously navigating the fog of writing their own book. I’ve also began speaking with groups about how Pour Over Publishing was established to support this project.

With the audiobook for You Don’t Need This Book about to hit your ears, a similar rumination on how I planned, recorded, produced, and distributed my own audiobook is in order. Enjoy!

Planning

As Seth Godin mentions in his Advice For Authors, the cadence for an important project starts long before everyone first hears about it. Planning slows down early progress, but vision, preparation, and a willingness to rethink along the way provide value as pieces of a larger puzzle come together over time.

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Audiobooks unlocked my interest reading.

Establishing a strategic cadence for YDNTB was something I’m glad I thought about early on. I wasn’t sure how they were produced, but an audiobook was always going to be part of the YDNTB experience. The sturdy softcover and convenient eBook were launched first, but the time-release effect of a staggered distribution provides a fresh promotional boost, while inviting a wider audience of audiophiles into this exploration of entrepreneurship in the connected era.

Along with a thoughtful timeline, a planned cadence has allowed me to organize each of the individual variables into the overall equation. For example, the ISBN numbers, pricing, and distribution methods are different for each item, but work together at the same time.

Recording

When it was time to hit record, I wish it was as easy as grabbing the book, a cup of coffee, and just reading my heart out. There’s a lot you can do in “post”, which is jargon that describes all the work done to bring original media into a finished state, but quality audio is easier to work with. I thought about renting time in a professional studio. I also considered quiet booths at a local coworking space, but knowing the audiobook recording process was going to take longer than I thought, I decided to craft my own quiet place.

As seen in this YDNTB audiobook preview video, I found solace in the lower layer of my home and with a simple setup, I created a comfortable environment to narrate every word of my book.

Any decent microphone can work, but I used the Zoom H4N Pro Audio Recorder mounted in front of a small isolation shield with sound absorbent foam. A pop filter was then placed in front of the microphone to reduce the peaks as I spoke. To monitor the sound, I used a nice headset from my friends at Astro Gaming. This helped me stay in the zone, but also made sure unwanted noise didn’t sneak into the recording. This attention to detail led to the basement fridge getting unplugged, the HVAC being turned off, clock batteries being removed, and momentary pauses when planes flew overhead. Knowing I wanted to stand to project my voice as I narrated the book, I sat my laptop at eye level and used a silent mouse to scroll through the eBook. The result was a rich sound that listeners will appreciate without distraction.

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Brad Feld read his contribution for the YDNTB audiobook, so you’ll hear his voice within the Entrepreneurial Ecosystems section of the Community chapter!

One big surprise, was how exhausting it was to record an audiobook. I was naive to think I could stand up and read the entire thing in just a few settings. Audiobooks must be read word-for-word for whisper syncing and proper transcription. This meant misread words had to be identified (I clapped to create a spike in the audio waves) and re-read to perfection.

Along with eliminating audio-flavored typos, the inflections from the author are one of the best parts of audiobooks, so I wanted listeners to experience a similar satisfaction with the YDNTB audiobook. This translated the narration into more like an artistic performance! With BENergy poured into every word, a single chapter was usually the longest I’d last before my mind was mushy, my voice became scratchy, and my legs started to tremble. In an effort to make the entire audiobook sound even, I knew I wanted to capture everything within a short window of time, but recording all 37,456 words still took over a month to complete. Even with the extra time this process required, I had a lot of fun narrating my own book.

Production

With hours of recorded audio in place, the real work began.

To provide the most engaging experience for listeners, every sentence received treatment. This was painstaking, but the extra effort allowed me to remove outtakes and the distracting sound of me gasping for air. I also spent time listening to how everything sounded together. This often meant listening to the same sentence many times, which allowed me to optimize the flow felt between each syllable, word, sentence, paragraph, and section.

Attentively starring at audio waves and stitching what felt like endless audio into a polished audiobook was the definition of tedious. I have no idea how many hours were spent and if I have to do it again, I’ll probably hire out this production process. That said, I’m glad I took on the challenge. Like much of the YDNTB story, this was a test of skill, will, and endurance, but resulted in a relic I can be proud of for life.

As each word merged into sentences, paragraphs became sections. Sections connected into chapters and I eventually had the entire audiobook stitched together. I brought every element of the audiobook into a final round of editing to reduce any remaining echoes, peaks, and audible flaws. The complete audiobook clocks in at 5 hours, 30 minutes, and 13 seconds.

Distribution

With a piece of art ready to hear, it was important to make sure my audiobook was easy to find. Along with direct (pre)orders from the YDNTB page, I used the Amazon ACX platform to make sure this audiobook was optimized and available to download on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes.

I love how the audiobook fits into the YDNTB universe and I’m proud of how it turned out. I’d invite you to listen to the audiobook while holding a signed softcover for the ultimate experience. I can’t wait to hear what you think!

Content Creation

Over the next few weeks, we’ll explore six multimedia marketing skills to make students, entrepreneurs, side hustlers, and intrapreneurs dangerous.

Skill #1 – Writing
Skill #2 – Photography
Skill #3 – Videography
Skill #4 – Graphic Design
Skill #5 – Creativity
Skill #6 – Organization

Before we begin this series, which can also be found in You Don’t Need This Book, let’s start by examining the impact of content creation. When it comes to marketing, content is the currency used to earn attention. As attention is earned, content becomes the instrument to share stories with people who care.

Telling your story is easy, but doing so without becoming too self-serving takes practice. If your voice always sounds the same, it will pave a one-way street. Instead of always pushing content, curiously pull from your audience. Be inversely charismatic and socratic by asking sincere questions and leaning into motivational interviewing habits. Actively listen and interact within these absorbing conversations.

Don’t be afraid to spread the word, but limit your storytelling until it flows into the discussion. When your stories add value within the context of an existing conversation, your narrative will be more appetizing.

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Listening, sharing, and learning from stories is how humans communicate, work together, and evolve. When applied to marketing, the narratives we share connect us to people who help us succeed.

In the information age, content is available and consumed in infinite ways. This makes attention scarce, so stories wrapped around remarkable work becomes more important. Consistency is huge, but adjust content for environments that work in your industry. Aligned, yet diversified content will optimize how the world hears your story. Formulating a combination of text, graphics, photos, audio, and video will give you an edge. Consider what content gets noticed and compare that to how hard it is to produce. No matter where content lives, make it clear why consumers should care.

As content creation continues, encourage organic engagement that can translate into repeatable conversions. In the connected era, the easiest way to do this is online. The nice thing about digital content is that it’s used in so many ways, yet it’s the easiest to create. Even if it’s taking small steps at first, it’s worth learning how to create your own content. Multimedia marketers can forge content that is quick to digest and made to share. This allows ideas to spread. You win if people share your story, so let’s make it easy.

UP NEXT: Skill #1 – Writing

#GiveFirst

The energy of accelerating others is unmatched.

When talking with others, forget potential transactions. Instead start by focusing on how you can help. People gravitate toward those who choose genuine selflessness over their own interests.

Showing you care can be as easy as a quick thought to help someone else take their next step. Perhaps there’s a helpful introduction you can make? It can even be as simple as showing you care enough to listen.

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Early in my career I was told that everything felt like a one-way street with me. From then on, I made an effort to listen first and talk less. This is difficult when all you want to do is invite people to your next event or sell whatever it may be. Be willing to show up, stand out, and follow up to seal the deal, but pave two-way streets that allow your relationships to flourish by pulling as much as you push.

However you choose to contribute, the trick is not expecting anything in return. This benevolent attitude has been encapsulated in the hashtag #GiveFirst. Here is a Techstars podcast that explores this mindset. Brad Feld also wrote this book to highlight the #GiveFirst philosophy.

Maintaining a #GiveFirst mentality will spawn meaningful discussions faster and more often. This happens because without ulterior motives, you’re able to explore anything without remorse. Over time, this allows more meaningful connections to evolve, versus contacts without context. When you play the long game of investing in the success of others, the real fun begins.

Concerned you’ll never achieve your goals if you’re always trying to help others? Don’t be. If you relentlessly #GiveFirst, you will earn the attention of people eager to return the favor. You’ll also get asked about your own work more often. That’s when you spark intrigue by saying it’s a secret, before shifting the discussion back to them. They’ll laugh, love it, and come back for more.