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Make&Market Issue One: Permissionless Apprenticeship

Imagine having some of the largest, most influential Twitter accounts sharing your content - giving you the same massive reach as they have. Even if you just have a few hundred followers, your tweets will end up in front of tens of thousands.


Permissionless Apprenticeship.

The phrase was recently coined by Jack Butcher, after a conversation with Matthew Kobach. In its original meaning, it is a way to "catch the attention" of someone you admire.

You do this by "becoming their intern" by re-working their original content and presenting it to your audience. 

Jack Butcher Jack Butcher
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If you want to catch the attention of someone you admire, give yourself a job working for them.

84 See jackbutcher's other Tweets

In a growth marketing context, it can be a powerful way to make influential people with a large following give you access to their audience - by sharing the content you create about them.

A well-used tactic for growing a blog or podcast is to interview people with an already large audience - and ask them to share the interview when it is published.

This is similar - only you don't ask for permission to interview them first. You take something they've already said or done - and "upgrade" it. 

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The Goal

To get a person with a large audience retweet something you've created to their audience.

The Tactic

Upgrade a thought or piece of content by repurposing it and adding value to it. Then post it and tag the original author. 

"Be their intern. Don’t need to apply. Don’t even need to ask. Just start doing stuff for them."  - Matthew Kobach

1. Look for:

  • Large accounts (10k+)
  • With an audience similar to the one you want
  • That retweet regularly

2. Add them to a private list and go through it regularly

3. Look for tweets/content that you could upgrade and add value to

4. Publish when they are online (turn on notifications for the account) and tag them

You can upgrade their content by:

Make&Market Issue One: Permissionless Apprenticeship
The Success Stories

The Naked Poet, an illustrator from rural India, compiled the knowledge in 5 tweet threads from Naval into five infographics. 

Naval retweeted it, making it visible to his almost 900k followers, which led to 500k impressions and over 1300 new followers

Justin Mikolay 💻 Justin Mikolay 💻
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In the past six months @david_perell has tweeted 3,000 times. I combined all of them together and distilled the c…

1533 See jmikolay's other Tweets

Justin Mikolay analyzes most "recent" tweets from prolific thought-leaders and compiles it into succinct Twitter threads.

The thread about David Perell was distilled from 3000 tweets and was retweeted over 300 times.

Together with two other threads, he got 1.2 million impressions.

For my first 5 tweets on Make&Market, I managed to get 4 of the original "authors" to retweet them, which led to more retweets. 

The tweet about James Clear reached 160 retweets, the one about Shopify's CEO Tobi Lütke over 70 and Sahil Lavingia (Gumroad founder) 52 retweets.

This led to the account growing from 0 to 400 followers within a week.

Stewart Hillhouse "upgraded" Matthew Kobachs tweet within 5 minutes after it being published.

It earned him over 13 000 impressions and 30 new followers. He combined it with another tactic - monetizing on the momentum from a freshly published tweet from a large account.

The Science

🧪 We are going towards a more and more permissionless world.

🧪 We love talking about ourselves. It gives us the same buzz as food, sex, and drugs. Sharing what someone else said about us makes it possible to talk about yourself without coming off as a narcissist.

🧪 We tend to follow the crowd. When a lot of people (or one very influential thought leader) share something, the chance that you do the same increase.

The Pitfalls

💩 Justin Mikolay observed that it takes a lot of work to add value to already valuable collections/timelines:

"When you cook with quality ingredients, you can end up with a great dish, but there’s more risk in robbing the ingredients of their flavor than there is an opportunity to try to make them better. As Dan Barber says, 'It has to add up to something larger than a plate of food.'"  - Justin Mikolay

💩 Make sure you don't come off as needy. As soon as it feels like you are fishing for a retweet, it won't happen. Your content needs to contribute to the conversation.

The Tools

Canva for visualizing stuff

Loom for recording videos/keynotes

Bannerbear for automated image creation

FlatIcon for free icons/visuals

Biteable for editing videos

The Key Take-aways
Make&Market Issue One: Permissionless Apprenticeship

🧨 The more followers the influencer have the less chance of getting retweeted. More people tag, quote, and reply to them, which makes it necessary to create more impressive content to "wow" them - or even making them see notice it.

"I'd say 85% is preparation & the rest 15% is luck (the influencer retweeting)." - The Naked Poet

"Find a way to contribute to the conversation and make the original poster look good – I’ve heard from others who have a large following that people try to use this technique on them. The problem they find (and why they don’t re-tweet their posts) is because they aren’t contributing anything new to the conversation. So if you’re going to give this a try, be sure to add your unique lens, not just comment “Great post”, or the like." - Stewart Hillhouse

The PS.

This email took more than 12 hours to research and put together. If you enjoyed it, I would be super thankful if you would retweet the tweet with the same content :)

Jens Lennartsson

Solrosgatan 17C, Göteborg

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