A growth masterclass with Judd Legum of Popular Information

  • Popular Information is my full-time job. I don’t do anything else that generates income. I just write my newsletter. At the beginning, it was a leap of faith. It worked out [for me] in a short amount of time. . . I had no idea how well it was going to go. I had no existing email list. [3:00]

  • I was worried about wiring about politics. Some other newsletters like Sinocism and Stratechery can be written off as business expenses. Both of those cover topics where there is some money to be made. They [the subscribers] can pick up one insight and it would pay for the subscription costs 100 times over. I wasn’t providing that because I talk about politics. So I was worried nobody would pay. [4:35]

  • I knew that I could find interesting things to write about that other people were focused on. But I was very concerned and worried that no one would want to pay for that. [7:09]

  • [Before turning on the option of a paid version] I was able to build my free list to around 20,000. [10:03]

  • Lean into your core strength: My core strength is the ability to do deep-dive research quickly. [14:17]

  • People will pay for information not available elsewhere. [15:23]

  • Something I didn’t anticipate: I thought the paywall motivated people [to upgrade to paid subscriptions]. But for most people that is not it. For most people, they support because what you are producing they really value and they want to be a part of it. [16:11]

  • Most people do not want more email. But if you create a different value proposition and create something you can’t get anywhere else they will support things they value. It’s the value, not the frequency. [25:47]

  • If you create something and just wait for something to happen - I can tell you nothing will happen- you have to work on it [getting the word out]. [30:03]

  • Think of it this way: You’ve got two jobs. 1) Writing the newsletter. 2) You are the chief marketing officer / hype person. [30:29]

  • What do you think of the advantages of twitter threads instead of one-off tweets? I think there are a lot of advantages. Social media is a brawl for people’s attention. Threads send more content into the ring. You have a better chance of capturing what is interesting about your newsletter in a thread than a single tweet. Creating a popular thread is more likely to get you more followers than an individual tweet. [32:31]

  • Full podcast here.