Info Diet offers a peek into the personally curated feeds and media habits of the people shaping the future. In each installment, a different builder spends two days chronicling everything they read, follow, listen to, and watch in order to stay ahead of the curve. This time: Sean Kim, president and chief product officer at Kajabi, a platform for knowledge creators to publish, market, and sell online courses, live coaching, newsletters, and podcasts. Sean lives in Playa Vista, California.
Sunday, April 24
7 a.m.: I wake up to my daughter jumping up and down on my bed. After making her breakfast, I open WhatsApp to check out conversations in various chat groups, including some with thought-leaders I know professionally. In one group dedicated to product innovation, members include Sriram Krishnan (host of the Good Times Show), Madhu Muthukumar (CPO of Notion), and Andrew Chen (author of The Cold Start Problem).
Another WhatsApp group for Korean American executives focuses on leadership advice, investment opportunities, and generally helping the Korean American community. Members include business and tech leaders like Gary Kim (CEO of Karrot market), Dave and Charlotte Cho (co-founders of Soko Glam), Simon Yu (CEO of StormX), and Ikkjin Ahn (CEO of Moloco). Today someone shares a New York Times article called “The Tech Bubble That Never Burst,” which prompts a discussion about recent softness in startup valuations, and whether it’s finally time for the bubble to pop. Other members share related content, including a TechCrunch article about the shift in public market investors’ preference for profitability over growth, and an animated Youtube video in which Bridgewater founder Ray Dalio distills key points from his 2021 book, Principles for Dealing With the Changing World Order. The video is a little macro, but it’s fun to watch and the historical context is great.
9 a.m.: I read through newsletters from The New York Times and The Economic Times, my two main sources for daily news. I also regularly read the The Information’s Creator Economy Newsletter by Kaya Yurieff. The creator economy is such a quickly evolving space, and this newsletter is a good way to stay on top of trends, investment announcements, and interesting data. It alerts me to a new Linktree report that puts the estimated number of creators at 200 million, up from 50 million in 2020. Other notable stats from the report: 12% of creators do it full-time and earn over $50,000 a year, and 25% of creators say most of their income comes from websites or blogs. These numbers confirm my decision to join Kajabi (three months and counting), where we help the long tail of creators build businesses and earn meaningful income. More than 53,000 creators are on our platform, and they make $30,000 on average.
I find my way to an Information article about the startup founder Rosie Nguyen instigating a fight with Apple over its 30% tax on in-app purchases. Having worked on creator monetization at both TikTok and Kajabi, I know all too well how this story is going to end: There’s no avoiding the tax. (But I applaud her for trying!) The article also mentions that Patreon doesn’t pay the tax even though its creators sell services. I don’t fully understand why they’re the exception to the rule.
1 p.m.: Gotta get my TikTok fix. I open the app and scroll through my personalized feed of mostly edutainment. I see one of my favorite accounts, All-In Tok, pop up. It serves up clips from the All-In Podcast, hosted by four billionaire “besties” (Chamath Palihapitiya, Jason Calacanis, David Sacks, and David Friedber) who share opinions and predictions about tech, business, economic, politics, and social news. When one of their TikToks hooks me, I’ll go watch the full-length episode on Youtube. In this video, Chamath interviews Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong about the company’s mission to increase global economic freedom and the role crypto plays. I find their mission incredibly powerful. I make a mental note to watch the whole interview later.
Unsurprisingly, there are tons of videos about Elon Musk’s bid to take over Twitter — but nothing too original. I’m genuinely curious to see how he’ll improve moderation and remove bots, and where he’ll draw the line when it comes to “free speech.” He certainly has tough decisions ahead of him.
11 p.m.: I open TikTok again before bedtime and scroll for a bit. A fun account I follow is Just The Nobodys, a podcast hosted by two brothers that covers everything from out-there conspiracy theories to evidenced-based science to pop culture. Today they get into the link between personality type and preferred side of the bed. Apparently, creative minds like mine sleep on the left.
Monday, April 25
8:30 a.m.: I drive my daughter to preschool in Santa Monica. No info consumed on the way there. We opt for the soundtrack to Turning Red, her new favorite Disney movie, instead. On the way home, I usually listen to whatever my current book is on Audible. Right now, I’m in the middle of Amazon Unbound: Jeff Bezos and the Invention of a Global Empire. But today I listen to an article from Harvard Business Review about how the greatest predictor of leadership success is having a positive energy that uplifts people. Based on past experiences with my favorite managers, I partially agree. Having a strong team to start with also helps a leader thrive. I wonder how I can do more to apply this idea in my role at Kajabi.
7 p.m.: Non-stop meetings all day left no time to consume media aside from work emails. I open the anonymous work app Blind to get my fix of tech-industry intel on compensation, work culture, and rumored exits. But there’s more to Blind than gossip. It helps me understand what constitutes a competitive salary and whether we’re paying it. Tonight, there’s also an interesting thread started by a Twitter employee about this week’s big topic (Elon’s takeover, of course). Lots of tech people weigh in — employees from Meta, SpaceX, Google, Tesla, and Amazon debate the likely effect on attrition risk, among other things. In this case, unfiltered comments that reveal what employees really think prove to be a value-add.
8 p.m.: I check out a Stratechery article that a colleague dropped in a Slack channel where we share content with business relevance. It’s about Amazon’s new Buy with Prime initiative, which lets shoppers purchase directly from merchant websites while still getting Prime’s free shipping and fast delivery. It’s an interesting idea we’d discussed a while ago when I was on the Prime team. I ping my old manager and we laugh about it. Glad to see this go live.
11 p.m.: Last TikTok session of the day. After just enough mindless scrolling, I go to sleep (on the left side, of course).
Get Sean’s Info Diet
- “The Tech Bubble That Never Burst,” by Erin Griffith and Taylor Johnston [NYT]
- “For the First Time in Four Years, Profitability Beats Growth,” by Jeremy Abelson and Jacob Sonnenberg [TechCrunch]
- “The 2022 Creator Report,” by Linktree
- “She Has Always Played Life on Hard Mode: A Female Founder on Battling Poverty, Online Harassers and Tim Cook,” by Margaux MacColl [The Information]
- Amazon Unbound: Jeff Bezos and the Invention of a Global Empire, by Brad Stone
- “Elon Musk and Remote Work at Twitter,” by anonymous tech workers [Blind]
- “Beyond Aggregation: Amazon as a Service,” by Ben Thompson [Stratechery]
- “The Best Leaders Have a Contagious Positive Energy,” by Emma Seppala and Kim Cameron [HBR]
- “Principles for Dealing With the Changing World Order,” by Ray Dalio [Youtube]
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Technology, innovation, and the future, as told by those building it.
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