i got gamecube controllers in the trunk

i love justin bieber

Hey guys whats up. Going full focus mode to write this email. That means double noise-cancelling. AirPods Pro + Bose QC 35 II. Hell yah. Lets do this.

The song of the week is DREAMLAND DESTINY by ITSOKTOCRY. This song is a freaking banger its been on repeat the whole week for me.

Inventing on Principle

There are very few videos and books out there that cause a massive shift in the way I think about life, technology, and business.

I saw one this morning that definitely did that for me.

I’ll just link it. I’m still processing it and will likely watch it a few more times.

Instead of watching Star Wars, Game of Thrones, or whatever else the plebs are watching nowadays, spend 50 minutes watching this.

Zip

Zip had a good week.

  • Brought in new revenue.

  • Talked to nearly 20 customers/potential users. I’ve started getting people phone numbers to call/text them directly. Every morning I usually spend 2-3 hours on the phone now. Talking to users is crazy important as anyone will tell you.

  • Set up a homeschool in Georgia for a Mom and her two kids aged 8 and 10.

  • Wrote curriculum for one of my customers in Texas. Yes, I am writing curriculum. Pre-K curriculum, to be exact. Basically, every week I get on a call with the Mom, talk to her about whats going well and what isn’t, and craft a new curriculum every week custom for her child. Been reading a lot about child psychology to help me with this. Here’s a snippet:

  • Spent a lot more time learning Google Ads (ty David for your help). I still suck and plan on spending 1-2 hours a day next week. I actually accidentally spent $100 this week so that sucks.

  • My Facebook is still banned. If you know anyone on the ads teams at Facebook please help me out here. Basically, I made a bunch of fake accounts and FB isn’t letting me make accounts anymore no matter what I do. And, I need an FB account to use the ads product.

  • Designed/coded/shipped v0.1 of ZipRegister, a product that lets anyone create a homeschool in a few clicks :). Charging $45 per year for it at the moment. I change pricing like every day, though. Sometimes its $9 a month. Sometimes it’s $70 per year. I mess around with pricing nearly everyday to kinda feel it out and see how different potential customers react. I’m liking $45 per year for ZipRegister.

I think a big problem with Zip right now is understanding the type of customer to go after. There are a lot of different segments. Some include:

  • Parents who want to start homeschooling ASAP but have no idea what their doing. These parents aren’t ready to put in the work.

  • Parents who wanna start in Fall 2020.

  • Parents who have a 4 year old who are curious to start because “good” pre-k’s and kindergartens are extremely expensive and aren’t actually that great. These parents are ready to put in the work.

  • Many many more. These are the top three, though.

Generally, you want to follow the money/need. In this case, it’s parents who want to start ASAP and have no idea what their doing. But, they are difficult to close because they want something more than what Zip offers. They want to start their homeschool and put their kid in an online public school which only certain states offer. I also really don’t vibe with the idea of online public school. I think its wack. The magic of homeschooling is the ability to do whatever you want.

In an ideal world, Zip is a full-stack homeschool solution. Registration, grading, curriculum, local events with other Zip homeschoolers, everything. The full package. The worlds first decentralized school that is infinitely scalable.

But…that’s a few years out… what to do right this moment?

I need to think more.

I’m hanging out with my friend Furqan tomorrow to discuss more. I’ve been sorta stuck in my head for the whole day and still don’t have a decent path forward for next week I’m happy with.

Usually what I’ll do is plan my week out on Saturday (today). And I will not start doing work until I have clear goals. If you’re doing work w/o clear goals, you will get rekt.

A short story.

Almost none of you may know this about me, but, I was supposed to be a film maker. Until one day a police officer dragged me out of my first period highschool class because the school’s administration thought I was potential school shooter.

When I was in elementary school, I started vlogging. I vividly remember when I stumbled upon YouTube in 2006. I was 10. I fell in love with the idea that I could make videos and put them up for others to see. I started making vlogs immediately. When I told my Dad I was going to put them up on “the internet”, he didn’t let me because he didn’t feel it was right for a 9 year old to be putting his face out there for the world to see. This was also when pedophiles were running rampant online, so who could blame my Dad for saying no.

And I still remember what happened next. A few weeks later, my uncle (shout out to my boy Asad Chachu) was visiting and I told him all about my videos. I hooked up my camera to the family room TV and showed him my best vlogs and skits I made. He was impressed and he convinced my Dad to let me put them on YouTube.

Fast forward from 9 years old to 16. I had gotten pretty damn good at script writing, directing, and editing everything from skits to short films. The majority of my videos were comedy action videos. The videos had a lot of guns, gore, and violence.

My YouTube channel had around 40,000 subscribers (which in 2012 was insane), 100s of videos, and everyone in school knew me as “farza” as in “farzatv” (the name of my channel). I’d go to my local gym and people would recognize me. It was dope.

Then, in the 10th grade I was in English class. The class I hated most. We were reading Shakespeare or something and I decided to make a drawing of a stick figure shooting up a bunch of other stick figures. It was a bloody scene, with red pen and all. Then, I put the URL to my YouTube channel at the bottom. I left this in class by accident.

My teacher found it and reported me.

The next day a police officer comes to my 1st period class and says “We’re looking for Farzain.” The officer marches me to the main office where the school’s administration was huddled around a screen. What was on the screen? Well, my latest YouTube video, of course, where I repeatedly shot my friend Junaid in the head multiple times. At this point, I was really good at special effects so it looked insanely real. His brains were literally splattering all over the place. The first thing I said was, “Junaid is alive, he’s in 1st period, this is just special effects”. They didn’t listen to a word I said. They basically told me they found the drawing and my YT channel and were extremely concerned and started asking me if I had access to a real gun.

Of course, I didn’t.

Eventually, they realized I was just a kid with a 4.0 GPA w/ an interest in the world of action videos.

I still remember my principal looking me right in the eyes and tell me, “You need to be more careful about what you put out in the world this could really hurt your college applications”.

(yes, ms. principal, a YouTube channel w/ 40K subscribers and millions of views was going to hurt my chances of getting into a top college).

Then, they called my parents and told them everything. They also tell my parents that I should delete my entire channel to be “safe”.

Out of dumb fear, stress, and confusion I went home and immediately deleted every single video. I still remember when I was doing it. Checking the checkbox next to every single video and hitting the big “Delete” button at the top.

10 minutes after I did this, I remembered I had formatted by computer 3 weeks before and was planning to backup my channel, bud hadn’t gotten the chance. Over 100 videos, gone forever.

I remember crying a lot after that.

After all, that was my life’s work which I just deleted.

Anyways, that’s the story.

I had fully planned on going to film school before this. That was the dream. But, after this moment I completely dropped the idea.

By the time I got to college, I had no idea what the fuck I was doing.

2 years into being a computer science major (literally picked it randomly) I had no idea what was going on. I could barely write and compile a Java program on my own. That’s right. 2 years in. It was a mess. How I got out of the mess is a story on its own.

Instead of being the startup techie you know me as today, I would have been working on films in Hollywood. But that one moment messed me a up a lot for many years after.

You can check out some of the videos that made it through the purge on my channel here.

I wanted to tell this story for two reasons:

  1. If I was homeschooled, I could have done whatever I wanted with no authority over my head telling me what to do. I would have had more time to perfect my craft while still learning about other required subjects. Woulda been nice if ZipHomeschool existed, right :)?

  2. In 2020, I’ll be making content again. I have a lot of ideas. One of my 2020 goals is to increase my personal audience. The main way I’ll be doing this is by building Zip and making it huge. The other way is by making content which is something I left behind many years ago and want to return to. Stay tuned :).

See yah.