farza hops out the whip and slaps optimus prime

its farza its farza its farza its farza its farza

Hey everyone.

Farza here.

Here is a picture of me squatting on a skateboard holding Optimus Prime to prove it.

I’m using Substack to send this email now because last week I tried to send the email via Gmail like I normally do but it fucked up and said I BCC’d to many people. So, that’s cool. Glad my trash letter has been growing slowly every week enough to break Gmail :). 

I also really really really like Substack so I’m happy to support them.

Anyways, a lot of you didn’t get my email last week and some of you did. So here’s what I’m going to do. Thats right lads. You get 2 of my blockbuster emails - IN ONE. Wow. That’s a deal. IAmReallyHappy4URightNow.

But yah. Pick one. Or read both. Idc man. 

Also, pls sign up for the beta of our new app that helps you share memes here. Yes, seriously.

Also, my roommate/coworker/friend Damian bought a toaster oven and I’m irate.

Farza, wtf have you been doing lately?

A lot.

So much. 

Where to start.

Okay so rewind 2.5 weeks ago.

I had gotten done with a bunch of user interviews about this thing we’re making called Kanga2. Basically, Kanga2 is an aggregator for gaming content. You tell it all the different games, teams, and content creators you love - and it will create your personal frontpage of gaming. It does this by pulling from Twitter, Reddit, YouTube, Twitch, and other relevant gaming sites. It’ll figure out what’s good related to the stuff you love, and drop it all in one spot for you. 

As I spoke to users, I never told them what we were building. I just asked them about their life in general to try and sniff out if Kanga2 could solve a problem for them or fit into their lives somehow. 

  • What kind of content are you watching lately?

  • How do you find that content? 

  • Do you share stuff with your friends? What kind of stuff?

  • How do you share stuff with your friends?

Pretty much all my user interviews became these really freeform conversations simply talking about the user’s life and current habits. What I found was pretty interesting:

  • Each user had their own framework for finding gaming content. Some depended solely on the YouTube homepage. Some had “trained” their Twitter feeds to be really good at showing them specific types of content. Some had 5-10 content creators bookmarked where they’d regularly check back 1-by-1 for new content every few days.

  • Everyone was into more than just games. They were into things like politics, memes, music, new podcasts, etc. Each user had a framework for finding the latest content for their interests ex. news articles, the latest memes, the latest interview w/ their favorite musician, etc. 

  • Everyone was extremely into sharing stuff with their friends. For some, it was almost as if they were browsing content just to share it with their friends.

  • Everyone was sharing stuff across multiple platforms like WhatsApp, iMessage, Discord, Snapchat, etc. 

  • Almost everyone was sharing the same content with multiple parties across platforms (ex. A group chat on Messenger, an individual on iMessage, etc).

Interesting. 

So at this point I came up with a few thoughts:

  1. Finding good content for all your different interests is hard and requires a decent amount of work and searching. Can we build a generalized aggregator for the topics people love? For example, if you love Kanye, League of Legends, and Obama - can we figure out the most relevant content for those topics across the internet right now and display it for you in a friendly way? Sounds hard af but…maybe?

  2. Sharing content with friends is hard because of how fragmented the world of messaging is. If you want to share a link with two groups chats on Messenger + WhatsApp and one friend on Snapchat - that’s a massive pain. Most users said they wouldn’t put in the activation to send it to everyone they wanted to unless it was really important because it’s just an annoying process to copy/paste a link across like 3-5 messaging apps.

This wasn’t stuff I really came up with myself. This was just stuff users were telling me. That’s all the users job is. To tell you and inspire you to explore new avenues in your brain.

These conversations did make me more more confident in Kanga2. People seemed to be tired of spending hours searching for new/good content related to the games they loved. If we could actually building a good aggregator it’d be interesting to see if people actually used it.

But. People were not only trying to find content. They were also sharing it. And they were having a tough time doing that. Here’s an interesting survey we ran as well.

This gave me an idea for a whole new product. A place where people could share and browse content with individual friends/groups in a really lightweight way. I just called it Kanga3. Here’s the tiny pitch deck I made talking about what it’s all about. I think it does a pretty aight job at explaining it.

I talked Kanga3 through with the team and we all felt it would be worth working on. But, we were already building Kanag2. What to do!!!!???!?!?!?!?!

We decided to work on both in parallel. Me and Alvin (our mobile expert) would bang out an MVP for Kanga3 over the next 2 weeks and the rest of the team would wrap up Kanga2 over the next 2 weeks so we could release it to a larger audience. 

That was two weeks ago :).

So, yah, most of my life has just been deep in the code working in React Native and Go - creating a social network based around sharing content. It’s been intense.

Me and Alvin worked like absolute mad lads and actually managed to bang out the MVP for Kanga3 in 2 weeks. We’re putting the final touches on it now and going to start handing it out to friends on Monday. If you want access, make sure to fill out the form here. And with Kanga2, that team hit also hit the goal and are looking to give it to way more people this week :).

NOW. ARMED WITH TWO PRETTY OKAY MVPS.

WE WILL GO OUT INTO THE WILD.

TEST OUR IDEAS. TALK TO USERS. AND FIGURE OUT IF THE PRODUCTS ARE TRASH.

HOPEFULLY AT LEAST ONE WORKS. OR BOTH. IF NOT. WELL.

IDK MAN I GUESS WE’LL BUILD SOME B2B SAAS.

LOL.

Yung Zuck (Last week’s email)

I like analyzing companies. It’s really fun. One of my favorite things to do is just talk about random companies and why they suck or why they’re awesome. 

For this email, I want to talk about a company I’m currently a fan of. It’s not going to be a billion dollar biz, but, it probably makes wayyyyyyyyyyyyy more $ than the majority of startups in Silicon Valley. It’s definitely worth analyzing.

Photo of Cranberry - Long Island City, NY, United States

My local grocery store. But, this is a special kind of store. 

I’m actually currently chilling here at my local grocery store. The grocery store also has a: sushi bar, smoothie station, salad bar, coffee bar, fresh to-order Korean food, American style breakfast, fresh Chinese food, a meat deli, and custom sandwich station where you can order like 40 different types of wraps. It is actual insanity. And somehow, it works so well. 

Look for yourself. Just scroll for like 10 seconds and be amazed lmaooo.

https://www.yelp.com/menu/cranberry-long-island-city

These sorta “all-in-one” stores are pretty common in New York. There is just so much foot traffic passing by every minute and you sorta want to open up your funnel as much as possible and give people a reason to come in + buy something.

The first couple times I came to the store I was buying coffee and egg sandwiches. When that got old I started buying some of their wraps. When that got old I started buying their smoothies. And this just keeps on going. The store gives me a very strong reason to keep coming back. I know I can always come in, buy something random, and be moderately happy with my decision. Like, shit, sometimes I just go there for fun.

I’ve been thinking a lot of the economics behind the store as well. How the hell can you maintain such an insane offering and stay profitable? 

The store only has like 3-10 people working there at any given moment. I’ve only see a max of 10 concurrent workers at peek lunch rush hours. I’m here right now and there is only one cashier and two cooks.

The store is still serving everything they normally do. The cooks are familiar with all the equipment and dishes. So, on a Saturday morning when traffic is low - I can still order random shit from the menu like a smoothie, a Spanish egg wrap, or some Korean bibibamp and they’ll make it for me.

That’s the key. The ability to maintain a high # of options while keeping operating costs nearly the same. The only overhead they have is keeping the food fresh. But, the fact is, a lot of their menu has options that share the same perishable ingredients (like chicken, bread, tomatoes, etc) - so that isn’t even that big of an issue. 

Like - yes they sell smoothies, but they also sell fruit in general. So to sell smoothies all they had to do was buy a blender, create a smoothie menu, and use the fruit they were already selling. Bam. You now sell smoothies. Genius.

I also like the store because it’s run by some random group of old Asian women who are homies w/ each other. They’re always super nice. I know it sounds dumb but going to a place where you can easily buy a cheap sandwich, be greeted happily by a cashier, pay, and get out is pretty hard to find. It’s just a really consistent experience. 

I actually think a lot of tech startups can learn from “boring” businesses like these and the laws of basic business where income - operating costs = profit. Everyone is trying to be like young Zuck where they just want to “hit massive scale and win big” but don’t even think through all the events that need to happen in order to “win big”.