Learning Out Loud

📣 Introducing a new series for this newsletter; Learning Out Loud.

Most business stories are told in hindsight, which lends to a nicely edited story. The reality is much messier. Learning Out Loud is an unpolished look at building a business from day one.

Why Learning Out Loud?

  1. I hope to give other creators and entrepreneurs some ideas, examples, and confidence to build and share their own work.

  2. Ideas get better when shared. Inviting serendipity allows a project to transform into something more than I can imagine on my own.

Here is what you can expect:

  • My frameworks for picking and testing ideas

  • Tactics I use to build products quickly

  • Riding the struggle bus

  • What I learn and what I get wrong

  • Wherever your questions may lead

To be clear, none of this is to say you should follow what I do. I’m not here as an expert. I’m here as a fellow maker.

Let’s kick off Learning Out Loud with an introduction to West Slope Works.

What is West Slope Works?

A community for west slope job seekers to gain professional career transition support with an emphasis on high earning remote work.

Why West Slope Works?

Our rural communities do not create enough high wage jobs (demand) to keep up with talent (supply). As a result, we will need to support a large remote workforce in the fast growing digital economy.

There are many ways to solve for the challenges wrapped up in this statement. To help decide what to work on and how to design solutions, I use a few simple frameworks.

The Bird In Hand Framework

When selecting a new project, I use Bird In Hand to evaluate if, and how, I’m best positioned to execute quickly. In other words, I play to my strengths.

  • What I know—my experience, education, insights

  • Who I know—my social and professional networks

  • Who I am—how I work best and what I care most about

This might all seem obvious, but as someone who has been pitched hundreds of startups, I often hear ideas from entrepreneurs who have no unique leverage.

You don’t need to have a great Bird In Hand to succeed. I find the framework keeps me honest with evaluating when I should pursue something.

Without going into great detail, my WSW Bird In Hand looks something like this:

  1. I previously started a college-to-career digital skills program.

  2. I have a strong career/ed-tech network who will help me.

  3. Career transition + rural communities are deeply important to me.

Smallify Framework

As a personal preference, I work on projects that can follow a fast, low-cost build+learn process (unlike building a car company or starting a vineyard).

Smallify is about reducing idea complexity and time needed to execute.

Here is an example: My brother-in-law makes mouth watering BBQ. But instead of starting a restaurant (expensive + complex), he recently offered a monthly BBQ subscription, like a farm share. This allows him to build+learn quickly: test new recipes, test pricing, and navigate unexpected issues — all with low risk and expenses covered by subscribers.

Up next:

How I built and tested a landing page in five days.

Subscribe to follow along, ask questions, or tell me about what you are working on. 😀