Stacking the Bricks Podcast EP12 - "I'm shipping ebombs, now what?" - From Pain to Product with Nick Piegari
43 min

In this episode…

Click here to watch the video of the ebomb that you hear in the intro of this episode ->

ebomb, n -
our special 30x500 term for "actionable educational content marketing". Yeah, cuz that's a mouthful. So drop a knowledge bomb on 'em. Ebomb 'em.

Sooo… you've got some Sales Safari data, you've got some quality ebombs under your belt, now what?

  • How big should your ebombs be?
  • What if it feels like you're exhausting a small watering hole?
  • How do you go from ebombing to a product?
  • What thing should you try, if your ebombs aren't getting great traffic or signups?
  • What's the best way to open up (and sell) a (free) ebomb?
  • When's the right time to start on the product, anyway?
  • Ummm soooo… if you hear things over and over in the watering holes, what do you do with it?
  • What if the pros in your audience… uh… aren't in love with you?
  • How is it actually kind of magical and productive to be annoying?

These are all topics we talk about in our newest "Pain to Product" coaching session with Nick Piegari from Fixing Your Video. Since taking 30x500, he's been doing Sales Safari and using the results to create great video ebombs!

He actually made us a special "pop-up-video" version, just for you, that includes all of the elements of Sales Safari that went into creating the ebomb – pains, dreams, fixes, worldviews, and more. P.S. VH1 please don't sue us, or Nick.

If you remember back to our last coaching session with our friend Amanda (not a 30x500 student… yet?), we worked with her at the very beginning of the 30x500 process. Nick's further along — by a lot! — so we can dig into the meatier issues that you'll need to tackle once you're in motion.


Alex Hillman Alex Hillman: What’s up brick stackers! Welcome back to another episode of Stacking the Bricks. I’m your host, Alex Hillman and today we’ve got another awesome episode for you!

This is another one of those coaching call episodes, where Amy and I get together with one of our 30x500 alumni to find out how they’re doing, what they’re doing well and what they’re struggling with and then we try and talk them through some of the next steps.

Today’s episode is with 30x500 alum, Nick Piegari. Before I introduce Nick, I’m actually gonna play a little clip for you to sort of let Nick introduce himself.

Nick Piegari: If you need bright, soft, inexpensive light, you probably know how much of a pain these can be. They tip over easily. They get in your way. And they’re fragile!

Yet, you don’t want to get rid of them because they’re so soft and bright and cheap, but there must be some other option. So today we’re going to go shopping for lighting in a rather unexpected place.

Chinese lanterns – which in the film industry are often called China balls – are a videographer’s best friend. They’re just as soft as softboxes. They can hang from the ceiling, which means they won’t tip over. And best of all, they’re cheap! You can get really serious about them.

Head on over to Filmtools and check out their substantial collection. They even make them in a faux silk, which you can hang outside. Seriously, I did this for Christmas one year. Just as long as you use a compact fluorescent with a decent color rating and not one of the 500-watt bulbs used by gaffers, you shouldn’t have to worry about things catching on fire.

If you’re tall like me and you worry that you’ll just be bumping into them, the pancake version should also work well. If you want to have some control over the direction of the light, a common trick is to cover one side with black felt.

And if you’re looking for something that’s light and compact while traveling, well, I can’t think of anything better than this. Honestly, I don’t know why I didn’t think about using Chinese lanterns a long time ago. I’m about to go relight our whole studio with them. But until I do, if you’d like to receive more video tips like this one, we’d love it if you’d sign up for our newsletter! That’s all for now. Thanks for watching!

Alex Hillman Alex Hillman: If you’re listening in the podcast version, you’ve just listened to what’s actually a video. I’d recommend going over to the show notes where we’ve included not just the video version of that, but a pop-up video version of that, that Nick annotated to show all of the elements of ebombs that we teach in 30x500 and how he applied to them to create this incredible how-to video, and actually lots more how-to videos that he’s using to build his audience.

In today’s episode, we’re going to be talking about Nick’s ebomb strategy and some of the things that he’s going to need to improve moving forward.

We talk about his Safari strategy and how getting locked into just one watering hole is limiting what he understands about his audience. And finally, and maybe most importantly, we talk about making the shift from shipping ebombs – like the one you just heard – to building an actual product, and the work that Nick is going to need to do to make that shift. Tons of amazing, actionable advice in this episode.

These coaching calls are always a blast and I really hope you enjoy it. Let’s get on with the show!

Nick Piegari: Alright, so my name is Nick Piegari. I’ve been a videographer pretty much forever. It all kind of started back when I read the Blacksmiths are Better than You post, and I had just read the book Mindset by Carol Dweck. Reading that blog post was kind of like, “Wow! This is all about the growth mindset” and that led me into business endeavors. That sort of became the future for me. So, you guys were kind of an inspiration in that sense.

Amy Hoy Amy Hoy: Were you employed? Did you have a job as a videographer?

Nick Piegari: Yes and I still do actually. I took the 30x500 bootcamp in November of 2013 and learned a lot. The main thing that kind of stuck out in my mind as this giant to-do was the ebombs, because I make content – that’s what I do, it’s what I’ve always done. I did a lot of research, hit the ground running and just started making a whole bunch of stuff. And that’s kind of where I am today. Making a lot of ebombs, a lot of marketing and not really sure when is the right time to step into actually making product? Should I wait until my audience’s sizable, so to speak? I just don’t know what that size would be.

Amy Hoy Amy Hoy: For those listening along at home, Nick has a website, where he’s posting his video ebombs, which are what we call educational content marketing that produces a result, because that’s just way too many words! And they’re awesome! If you do video or audio, you should definitely check them out.

How many videos do you have on there? How many ebombs have you produced so far?

Nick Piegari: I’m about up to, I want to say about 15.

Alex Hillman Alex Hillman: Yeah.

Nick Piegari: I started last year. I made them way too big, I think. I waited until my friends were around to help me and you know, that can be great, but they’re not always available. It’s great when they are around, they’re a huge help. It got to the point where I was making them by myself, kind of had a little, I guess, epiphany at some point. I just thought, I need to focus on one thing to say per episode, and that seems to have been more successful. Like if it’s one little piece of gear they can buy or one little thing that can do different, that seems to be the way that helped.

That seems to be the thing that helps people the most.

Alex Hillman Alex Hillman: Nick, how is that a departure from what you were used to doing? You said that you’ve been making content for a long time. That’s really your bread and butter. So, it sounds like your natural tendency was to create something that was sort of the content equivalent of full featured, if you will?

Nick Piegari: Yeah. Kind of, almost like television. More like television than anything that would work well for the web. Really, it’s almost like my earlier stuff could be little tiny products in it of themselves, almost of that scale, maybe.

Amy Hoy Amy Hoy: Have you by any chance, re-watched the ebomb videos from the bootcamp?

Nick Piegari: I have actually!

Amy Hoy Amy Hoy: Yeah. We were like, don’t just write “How to pick color”, don’t write “How to pick color for your living room”, but get extremely specific.

Ebombs are the most effective when they are extremely crispy, which is the word for such detail that it can’t be confused for anything else.

Nick Piegari: Right.

Amy Hoy Amy Hoy: So that makes complete sense. I mean, everyone, I think in a way we can tell them up and down the block what to do, but you really sort of have to learn it for yourself. The cycle you’re going through that you just described, is totally normal. We see people do it all the time. There’s a difference between audience members who want to know everything and people who want to just solve a problem and move forward.

Alex Hillman Alex Hillman: So you did the homework, the Sales Safari research to figure out what potential ebombs to create. You had actually sent over recently to us, an example of one of your ebombs, we’ll link that in the show notes, because I think what you did that was so brilliant for people to be able to watch, as you did like a popup videos version of your own ebomb. It was really amazing to see, to look at something that any of us could see any day and you very intentionally picked each part to be in the ebomb for a reason, I think there’s a really valuable lesson in that. I’m curious what you’ve seen as a response to your ebombs. How are people receiving them? What are people saying? Are they working? And how do you know?

Nick Piegari: It’s kind of mixed. The Chinese lantern video was the biggest hit so far that got me like, I don’t know, about 20 or so newsletter subscriptions – which is pretty cool! The others it’s mixed. Like the one I did about using recording voiceovers in your car did okay. The one I did about making your own voiceover box out of a cardboard box, that did pretty well too. And the Chinese lantern one did well.

I’m trying to kind of pare down to what makes them work? What makes them attention-getting and helpful? And what about them does not? I’m trying to kind of figure out is this a big enough pain? Am I influenced by too much of my own, like what I think people should be learning or is it what will actually help them? I’m just trying to kind of get down to trying to kind of reverse engineer my own stuff that I’m doing.

Amy Hoy Amy Hoy: As someone who went and watched all your videos, many of your videos kill a pain, but you don’t make it explicit that it kills the pain before you get into the video, if that makes sense.

So it’s, “How to build a voiceover box”. That’s a solution. That’s a fix. That’s the end of the process. I have already had to want to build a voiceover box – or just be generally curious to click on that. If you instead attack a pain and make a title with the pain and make it clear that this is a pain killer, I think that that would help. But, it’s content like yours, you say, “Okay, well this video got me 20 signups.” Well, economically speaking, that’s a terrible deal. However, your challenge will be to re-promote these videos so that they are evergreen. Video is especially good for that. I would set up some blog verticals, whatever you do so that it’s like different types of problems. So you want to be really, quick narrow, “Here’s the pain!”, and then you say “Here’s how to fix it” and to make sure it’s easily findable.

Alex Hillman Alex Hillman: I think that going back to the conversation you and I had before this call about the fact that I was complaining about a sound in the background at my house. Well, what did you say to me?

Nick Piegari: I think I said, “Yeah, I’ve seen that all over the research I’ve done. Everyone complains about noise in the background.”

Alex Hillman Alex Hillman: Okay. So that’s a clue. So things like that in terms of what Amy’s talking about, organizing and re-promoting the material that you make, that’s evergreen.

Organizing it by the stuff that you see most often being asked for, I mean, you can even think about – and I don’t have a concrete example of this for your material – but I’m sure there are how-to’s and tips and tricks you can give that solve more than one discrete problem? You can attach the same video to a different title and a different introduction that helps somebody understand, “Oh yeah, he’s talking about my problem”, by the way, my video on how to use Chinese lanterns for lighting is one way to solve that.

Nick Piegari: So like make a blog post that introduces the pain in a new way and then leads to something I’ve already made? Sort of like that?

Amy Hoy Amy Hoy: Yeah. You could even take the same core part of the video and record different introductions to it. The CTA; the call to action to sign-up free mailing list was in the video, right?

Nick Piegari: Yes.

Amy Hoy Amy Hoy: Do you also have it elsewhere? Like in the blog posts?

Nick Piegari: Sometimes, but I haven’t been very consistent about that.

Amy Hoy Amy Hoy: Yeah. Be consistent about that.

Nick Piegari: Okay.

Amy Hoy Amy Hoy: We doubled our list in the past year because we put CTA’s on every page. It’s stupid that we went this far without doing it!

Alex Hillman Alex Hillman: There’s a couple of easy ways to do that. You’ve got a WordPress powered site, right?

Nick Piegari: Yes

Amy Hoy Amy Hoy: Yeah. We use Post Snippets.

Alex Hillman Alex Hillman: Post Snippets is one that’s pretty handy. It lets you basically create a short code and so we have actually multiple short codes with different targeted calls to action for people that would sign up. Amy generally does the hard work of tying the fix of the blog post itself into that call to action. So for us, if it’s a bootstrapping specific, or a brick stacking specific concept, we then want to lead people towards our 7-step bootstrapping email sequence. And so each one gets its own sort of unique tie-in – it’s really just a couple of sentences, but the call to action itself is replicated by the short code. Another thing you can do is – and I’ll have to link to this in the show notes because I don’t remember the name of it, but there’s a plugin that lets you create a little, like slide up box so that when someone scrolls past a certain point that a box will slide up from the bottom and say, “Hey, here’s where you can sign up for the next video” or the next information and things like that. And it doesn’t show up unless they’ve gotten far enough down the page where it sort of indicates that they’re interested, they’ve read that far.

Nick Piegari: That’s like kind of a “Don’t show me a newsletter sign-up before I have decided I love you!”

Alex Hillman Alex Hillman: Bingo!

Amy Hoy Amy Hoy: Exactly. But you don’t at the same time, want people to miss out because you don’t make it super obvious that they should sign up.

Alex Hillman Alex Hillman: Right.

Amy Hoy Amy Hoy: Because you make good content and…ugh, I hate that word – content. You make great ebombs that really can help people and so it’s good news with capital letters. It’s GOOD NEWS. They should want to get it in their inbox. So, you want to help them get that in their inbox because it will help them more.

Alex Hillman Alex Hillman: I have another question for you, Nick. How are you promoting the ebombs themselves? How are you getting them out there?

Nick Piegari: That is actually a thing I know I need to work on because, kind of my main jam nowadays has been over at the Wistia community.

Everyone there is awesome. They kind of share that kind of a worldview that it’s good to make – for one thing, they’re very value business oriented because it’s video for business and they also kind of have worldviews that are more in line with my own. They’re not all about, “Oh, every problem needs to be fixed using a new piece of gear.”

I am not a big fan of that, for instance. So what I’ve been doing and I’ve kind of felt a sort of kinship with people in that community, so that’s where most of my efforts have gone and I am appreciated for it.

Alex Hillman Alex Hillman: The thing that I love about what you just described is that it’s a style of narrowing. The fact that you’ve chosen an audience, not just video producers like yourself – and professional video producers so there’s a business mindset, but the fact that you’ve used a worldview and a set of values to narrow that further and say, I know who I’m talking to. These are people that I’m most comfortable talking to, and these are people that I can help the most. I’m wondering – and it sounds like you said most of your focus is going in on that Wistia community themselves. Have you started exploring other ones yet?

Nick Piegari: Maybe I’d just been spoiled by that one, but it’s seems to be kind of hard to find good ones. I don’t even know if I need to find good ones.

I’m probably just doing it wrong.

Alex Hillman Alex Hillman: Well, one thing that I think – and this is something, an experiment that I’ve been doing myself – with actually a subreddit for podcasts, because while we’ve been doing this show and the coworking weekly show that I do as well, I’ve been learning a ton. I’ve been lurking there to learn, but I’ve also recently learned some things that relate to questions that people are constantly posing about promotion and the effects of new and noteworthy in the app store and things like that.

So, I posted a couple of things to be helpful and brought my worldview into the room and one thing that I noticed was that at least a handful of people that I had not seen speak up before, so other lurkers jumped into the conversation. So this isn’t a guaranteed approach, but if you know there are places where conversations are happening, but the obvious and evident conversation is not the one that is necessarily the one that is most resonant with you, try starting that conversation. It might not work, but you also don’t lose anything for trying if you’re coming in to be genuinely helpful answering questions to say, “Yeah, you could buy a new piece of gear, but here’s a way to do it with this sort of DIY technique or whatever it is.”

See if people respond. The only way to know if people respond or not is to put something out there. But it’s one of the things that we talk about in the bootcamp is looking for not just what’s being said, but what’s not being said. And if that particular worldview is not evident, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not present. It just might mean that it’s not happening on the surface and you can help bring it to the surface.

Hacker News is a great example for those of you that are out there listening. Hacker News’ lurking audience is so much more valuable than the audience that posts anything.

Amy Hoy Amy Hoy: Yeah. With the exception of like five popular posters, everyone who posts on Hacker News is terrible, but there’s a lot of people who lurk there because there’s literally nowhere else for them to go.

Alex Hillman Alex Hillman: If you come in with the spirit of generosity and helpfulness that you do, naturally, and again, see if people show up and try that in a couple of watering holes and see what bubbles up. It might take a little time. Might take a couple of posts. You don’t have to invest a ton of time in it, or even a ton of effort, but a little bit to say, “Are these other watering holes, are there other lurkers like myself with this worldview where we can help each other out?” and then, you know, and you can potentially even follow them to other watering holes as well.

Amy Hoy Amy Hoy: You’re going to be the piece of grit in the oyster around which a pearl will form. So, pearls come basically when the oyster gets something stuck in its teeth and it’s like, I can’t get rid of this so I’m going to create some valuable material around it for some reason.

Alex Hillman Alex Hillman: Okay.

Amy Hoy Amy Hoy: I guess if you don’t watch the Discovery Channel it’s less obvious!

Alex Hillman Alex Hillman: Nature is a funny, funny, funny creature. This is true in many communities. If there is action and activity, the ability for one person to be a positive source, it’s an attractive thing. And I don’t mean attractive, like pretty, I mean it will generate attraction towards you. You will stand out. And that’s a great way to start not just improving things for yourself but improving things for that watering hole. It’s not your job to make that watering hole better, but the watering hole will be better for it.

Amy Hoy Amy Hoy: You will encourage people to come out of the woodwork who might be there already, but you wouldn’t know it because they don’t participate. There’s another thing you should think about in terms of watering holes, where do, for example, the podcast people hang out? Well, they don’t all hang out together in podcast forums necessarily, and I’m sure the same is true with video. A lot of podcasters hang out in watering holes that are specific to their podcasting genre.

So you’ll find a lot of startup podcasters, such as they are, hanging out in the startup forums versus the podcast forums. They might be both, but you need to go to where their main interest lies.

Alex Hillman Alex Hillman: However, I think the point there being yet another opportunity to narrow the people who are the sole marketing person at their company, who’s been tasked with shooting a video and they’re like, “Oh, what do I do?”

Nick Piegari: Yeah, that is about half of my audience so it seems. It’s like between that and kind of solo business owners who want to hire a videographer, but just aren’t in a situation where they can, so they have to do it themselves.

Alex Hillman Alex Hillman: That’s awesome! So picking – this is where you can start using some of the advanced search box in whatever forums you’re looking, going to the marketing forums, the business forums and things like that and searching them within them for people posting about video related questions.

Nick Piegari: Yeah. I have searched a lot of kind of unrelated forums for “video”, just the word “video” to see what comes up and that’s been helpful. I haven’t taken that seriously yet, that’s all.

It’s just kind of muscle memory. I know how to make stuff. So that’s what I do and I don’t spend as much time improving it in part, because it’s totally new to me and it’s, you know, kind of uncomfortable. That’s just something I have to work at.

Amy Hoy Amy Hoy: Doing the things that are new to you, so you can get good at them and be comfortable at them is one of the core skills of actually producing products and whatnot. It’s not doing the easy thing, but doing the thing that you know you need to do.

So let me give you that little ‘Blacksmiths are Better at Startups than You’ pep talk right there.

Alex Hillman Alex Hillman: The other thing is, you doing that search going into those forums that are again, more business-oriented or marketing-oriented, whatever it is and searching just the word ‘video’. ‘Video’ is not super-duper specific. There’s a couple of like easy modifiers you could throw in there. You could search for ‘video and help’ or ‘video and suggestions’ or ‘video and tips.’

Amy Hoy Amy Hoy: Or problem, ‘video and problem.’

Alex Hillman Alex Hillman: Yeah, that’s going to catch people in those moments where they’re posting, like their struggle, which is exactly what you’re looking for and you can find more of that.

It sounds like where you’re at right now is you know that you need to do a little more diligent work in getting outside of your most comfortable happy place to hang out, which is the Wistia forums. Doesn’t mean you need to leave them behind, of course.

The truth is, is that you know over time, as you bump into other forums and you do find people that are lurking there going, “Man, I wish there was someone helpful, that would show up for a change.” And here comes Nick and he’s always got the best advice. And once in a while you link over to one of your ebombs that you posted on the Wistia forum, you can actually start attracting some of those great people that haven’t found the Wistia forum, over to Wistia where you are a king among kings in a measure of helpfulness, right? And they’re like, “Wow, not only is Nick helpful at this place where I bumped into him, but back on his home turf, everyone really respects him.”

Nick Piegari: Kind of a social proof thing.

Alex Hillman Alex Hillman: Yeah, yeah. So that’s another way to use sort of the social equity and relationships and support that you’re building in that Wistia community, to bring more great people to that community, which is a great thing.

Nick Piegari: Oh, they’d love me for it!

Alex Hillman Alex Hillman: Exactly. But also reinforce “Nick is trustworthy. Nick knows his stuff and Nick can help me.”

Amy Hoy Amy Hoy: One more thought for the ebombs, and then I think we just start talking about product. Final thought about ebombs, I watched all of your ebombs and none of them are like, “Here’s how you do your very first video.”

Alex Hillman Alex Hillman: Yes.

Amy Hoy Amy Hoy: It’s always like, I already know I have a lighting problem, therefore, I look at the China lantern video. I already know that I have an echo problem, therefore, I look at the voice box video. Although you don’t spell that out, you don’t say “Bad lighting looks like this and bad lighting is caused by X” or like, “Is your lighting terrible?”

“Do you look sick? Is it distracting from your message?” I don’t know. You don’t do any of that pain part of the pitch that we teach.

Nick Piegari: Well, sometimes I do.

Amy Hoy Amy Hoy: I missed it, but you are working on very downstream problems. Now I’m not telling you what to do because I don’t Safari your audience. I haven’t been researching your audience, but I know that from my own experience, that there’s a lot more to do before someone’s like, “No, I need to improve my lighting.”

Nick Piegari: Right. Okay.

Amy Hoy Amy Hoy: So that’s entirely possible. Something like that could help you loop people in. I mean, you want to see if people are asking those questions or sometimes you can ascertain pain just from the results of what people are doing, even if they aren’t specifically asking for help. There’s a lot of really bad video out there. And you could do a thing where you critique video, like in a friendly way and then say, “All right, I see these issues and here’s how to fix them easily and cheaply.”

Nick Piegari: Like, “This is what bad looks like.”

Amy Hoy Amy Hoy: Yeah. But you don’t want to be mean about it. You want to be helpful because it’d be like, “Hey, you made your first video. Great! It’s a lot of work. You have to learn a lot of stuff. Here’s three things that could make this video better without having to go to film school or spend a thousand dollars.”

Alex Hillman Alex Hillman: So let’s shift gears a little bit into the product discussion and you’re going to do more of this work to tighten up your ebomb strategy; more of what you’re already doing, a few new techniques, but where do you start making the shift into products? And how do you know which of these things is even going to lead to a product? You had started touching on this a little bit before, where are you now? Where is your apprehension? Do you see a path and just aren’t sure? Or is it like you’re at a fork in the road? There’s a thousand different ways to go?

Nick Piegari: It’s mostly that one, I think. It’s just there are so many little pains. Small, but strong pains and it’s hard to – I don’t know – choose one or decide which is strongest or which one I should do first. Sort of that, almost kind of like decision paralysis.

Amy Hoy Amy Hoy: What does your Safari research tell you?

Nick Piegari: Hmm all kinds of things. It’s just I guess, maybe it’s because I have been focused on just the individual ebombs that I’d never taken a look at the big picture.

Amy Hoy Amy Hoy: That’s kind of the feeling I get. To create a product, what you need to do is you need to build up enough research and experience from paying attention to the audience, that some trends and themes jump out at you. It’s like an emergent property. You want to have enough research that, I mean, it doesn’t always know about it at first, maybe you need to let it stew a little while and come back to it and then you go, “Oh!”

Alex Hillman Alex Hillman: Uh, huh.

Amy Hoy Amy Hoy: When we created 30x500 or Thomas and I created JavaScript Performance Rocks! we had seen these problems everywhere and not everyone even knew that they were problems. The things that they were doing to manage these problems were absurd. The things people were doing to try to…webpage performance; no one ever talked about how to tune their Java script. It was always about assets, but people really read the books and they recommended it, but they still had problems and so on and so forth. So we’re like, why doesn’t somebody write a book on JavaScript performance? No one was doing it. So we did it.

Nick Piegari: So it sounds like a key thing there is to find a gap or there really needs to be a product but isn’t.

Amy Hoy Amy Hoy: Not necessarily, people get obsessed with finding an unmarked slot. It’s not necessary. Products create more pain because no product can solve everything – like can openers. A can opener is really very concrete, physical thing.

You would think that one product would rule them all. It’s not true. There’s like 50 different can openers for different problems. There’s electric can openers, there’s arthritis-friendly can openers, there’s childproof can openers, there’s can openers that don’t leave a sharp edge, blahblahblahblahblah. It’s can openers, and they all seem to sell pretty well.

Pain – and sometimes it’s not like “I have a problem with X”. Sometimes it’s all the things they’re doing around it, that aren’t solving it. You can know it by its coping strategies, but you want to have it, eventually, if you build up enough paying attention and Safari research stuff, it will start jumping out at you.

Nick Piegari: Yeah. One thing I’ve wondered is like a lot of people are doing this because their bosses say, “We need to do video marketing but we can’t afford a video guy. You’re doing video” and I’ve always kind of wondered why that dynamic exists. How can people prove that video is valuable? That is perhaps a big trend I’ve spotted.

Alex Hillman Alex Hillman: The question would be, what are the specific pains that that person is going through? Is it that they’re like you were, just starting to sort of point to justifying the value? That can be tricky because it’s so unique to the person that they’ve been asked to do the work on behalf of. You’re sort of disconnected from that person.

Amy Hoy Amy Hoy: But let’s be clear here, you aren’t trying to enforce the value of video because their boss or whoever, maybe it’s them. It’s like, “We know we need to do video, but…” I don’t know why you don’t have a blog post that says, “My boss says we need to do video, but we can’t hire a video guy.”

Alex Hillman Alex Hillman: Now what?

Amy Hoy Amy Hoy: Now what? Yeah.

Alex Hillman Alex Hillman: And then take them through step-by-step the answer to ‘now what?’; one of the things that we talked about in the coaching call with Amanda was the fact that she took a series of steps, that individually those steps can be found as how-to’s and turning it into a path to walk down with the least amount of ways to veer off from it.

If the starting point is “My boss told me that we need to do a video”, take them through a process, a series of questions they need to ask themselves. Decisions are gonna need to make and help them make those decisions more easily. Help them feel more confident. Those are all things that you’ve been through it a thousand times and more. It’s very easy for you to take for granted the person who’s in that and going, “Oh man, the worst thing that could happen is I screw this up.”

So one of the things just to turn this into something tactical that you can do – and I’m not sure what the last time you’ve done it is – is to carve out some time and go through the Safari research that you’ve done so far and actually spend some time reviewing it.

It can be so easy to just like be out there, lurking with intent is effectively what a large part of Safari is. Add to that a layer of intentional note taking. But the thing that a lot of times we forget to do is go back and look at our notes. And go back and organize those notes and treat it a little bit like – the metaphor we use in class of the serial killer wall. So lay it all out and it may mean taking some of the stuff out of a text file, if that’s how you’re writing it, rewriting it by hand, there’s a ton of value in transcribing, just because you’re hand writing it makes the information register in your brain in a different way. That’s actual brain science, actual brain science.

Nick Piegari: I have in the background of some of my videos, I had the giant chalkboard wall and I’ll put notes up there. Maybe this is a backdrop, but I should take advantage of that and write stuff on that wall.

Amy Hoy Amy Hoy: Absolutely.

Alex Hillman Alex Hillman: Yeah and not just write stuff on the wall, but I would say just carving out a session – and it doesn’t need to be a lot of time. Like this could be 20 or 30 minutes for you to go through your notes. realize that, “Wow, there’s a cluster of things that keep showing up. These things that didn’t seem related at the time when I spotted them, maybe are a little more related than I thought they were.” That kind of clustering, that kind of swirling that it’s tough to see while you’re actively on Safari, looking at the individual data points, that’s when, when Amy was talking about before about that sort of emergent property of the Safari process, that’s what that is.

On one hand it’s volume. So you just need enough. On the other hand, it’s taking the step back from it, looking at it with fresh eyes and it’s different from the ebomb approach. The ebomb approach is very tactical about helping many people as a proxy through a problem. Ebombs generally don’t address patterns by virtue of what they do, remember, you know, the difference between the epic ebomb and the narrow focused, fix-one-thing ebomb. Ebombs don’t address patterns; products generally address pain as pattern.

Step one I would say is giving yourself that time to dig into what you’ve already gathered, look for that stuff and whatever you do find it may not be complete. You might not find the answer you’re looking for, but very likely to find some clues about where you can go look.

The same way we were talking before about searching for ‘video + help’, ‘video+ stuck’ or ‘problem’ or whatever it is. Start using some of the keywords that are emergent in your existing Safari and other variations on it. Basically, treat them like clues to go searching even deeper and that’ll help you find potentially some blind spots because you’re used to searching for it in your language, in your terms, sort of you’re looking for what you expect to find versus sort of letting the information come to you. That’s probably the hardest thing to describe in the Safari process is the difference between looking for something and looking in a way that lets information come to you.

I don’t know if we have a better way of describing it than that, but let’s remember we say Safari never ends. It’s an infinite loop. So taking the output of your Safari data and sort of putting it back into the Safari process is, I believe, hands down the best way to find things that you didn’t know you were looking for.

Amy Hoy Amy Hoy: I, like many people, have tried a bunch of different creative hobbies to have something to do that’s not on the computer, because everything that I do is on the computer. So, I finally found one that I really like, weaving of all things. Who knows why that is? I really like it.

So, I have been a mad woman searching for and pinning tutorials, inspiration pieces that I like and such, so I can build up my taste and also how I can learn to do different things.

An ebomb would be “Here’s how to solve this one problem”. Like “Here’s how to take you or weaving off the loom and insert a stick into it, to hold it up”, there’s like eight different ways to finish your weaving. I wouldn’t have known this before I started searching, but there’s no end-to-end tutorial that’s any good.

All of the end-to-end tutorials that are like, ebombs leave out so much as you discover as you work through them. And you’re like, what do I do now? Meanwhile, there’s pages about specific stitches and things like that and then there are workshops and classes, and I am really – now that I finished my first weaving and it’s not terrible and I still want to do it – which is the litmus test for me if I want to do it after I’ve done one thing, I’m going to go and spend $200 or $300 on a video class on weaving.

Granted, I have more disposable income than the average person, but what I want is a guided process from someone who knows what they’re doing, not me having 15 different techniques pinned to my board and having to put them all mentally together because that’s actually a lot of work.

I’m going to go – virtually speaking – to a workshop and someone is going to lead me down all the things I need to know or do in order. And they flow from each other. And so all of the project examples will be the same project, so that I don’t have to like, “Well now is how does this fit on my loom” or whatever. That is well worth it to me as a busy professional and these women, mostly, and a few men, seem to be doing well with their, “I make weavings and I teach people how to weave business.”

Alex Hillman Alex Hillman: The key here I would say is the realization that when you’re someone who is a practitioner, you’re the person who does the thing professionally, you do it day in, day out. By virtue of doing that, here’s something in you that makes you – whether it’s curiosity, motivation, whatever you want to call it – to want to fill in those gaps and improve your craft.

The realization needs to be that you’re in the vast minority of people who like finding the hidden steps and filling them in. For most people, when they run into a hidden step, it’s like, “Well, screw that guy. He left out an important step!” It’s a moment of frustration and anxiety where I feel like any work I’ve done up to this point is in jeopardy.

To take a page out of, out of Kathy Sierra’s repertoire and someone that we look up to and admire so much, it’s that you think through each step of the way, what it’s going to take to have the person feel like a badass; feel really confident and say, “I can do this” and it’s step-by-step approach that allows that to happen. You’ve got to really put yourself in their shoes and think, what do I do automatically? What did I figure out the hard way? What do I know needs to happen that most people don’t.

Amy Hoy Amy Hoy: So example, the Wistia video about filming with your iPhone is really inspirational, but doesn’t show you how to do it. So like, “You can do with your iPhone” and then you have to figure out what apps to use. I wouldn’t search for apps to use, and I wasn’t sure what apps you used, so I just gave up

Alex Hillman Alex Hillman: And then how to configure them. They talk about “Have control over your white balance”. “Okay, that’s great. Now that I’ve got control over it, how do I do it?” There’s those little layers of detail that you can take a great ebomb – the fact that it looked like you’re building a repertoire of ebombs around setting up sort of a DIY studio setup – a portable DIY studio setup if you’re going in that direction.

Nick Piegari: So what I was thinking about l the green screen one, I made the ebomb on everyone just hates green screen so much because it always turns out terrible. So I’m like, well, there are some things you can do to make it not suck. I actually called it Green Screen That Doesn’t Suck – how to do it. I gave just some basic steps that could certainly be fleshed out.

Amy Hoy Amy Hoy: Actual pains. X that doesn’t suck isn’t a pain.

Alex Hillman Alex Hillman: The alternative approach, since we’re talking about what not to do, here’s what you what’s better is what are the things that causes a green screen to suck? Something sucking is not specific. Something not sucking is equally unspecific.

In terms of product approach and how to turn that corner from making ebombs into product, I think where you will be best suited is to, rather than just Safari your way into an unknown distance, take a moment to look at where you are.

It sounds like you know more than you give yourself credit for. It sounds like you have more evidence than you realize you do. I would look for some of the standout patterns in what you already see and invest some time in doing more Safari, sort of like a recursive Safari on those problems.

Green screens are a great example we were just talking about; go out and find a collection of the most specific problems, the problem use cases, the situations, the elements, what is the sort of territory around green screens and their usage that you can learn what people do want to do, or trying to do, struggling to do.

The green screens are just one example, of course, but you can do that and I think that what you’re going to find is that emergence, that the evidence will start telling you there’s enough here that I can take somebody through from where they are today, to producing a valuable result. I think that’s the difference when you’re talking about product it’s you want to help them produce a valuable result.

Amy Hoy Amy Hoy: With as little stress as possible. What Alex was saying earlier about people who like to figure stuff out versus people who just need to do something – that’s really important. Like, I can be a person who loves to figure things out in my domain, but I don’t want to be figuring everything out while I’m weaving because the whole point I’m doing it is to relax.

Somebody whose job is not video, but they’ve been tasked with doing video, they don’t want to dig into it, mostly they want to do their job. They want to get something done. They want results. So every question, every decision point, every unknown point is a pain to them and you want to remove that burden from them as much as possible. And that is the difference between a product and an ebomb. It’s framework versus a specific, very specific fix.

Alex Hillman Alex Hillman: Was this helpful for you, Nick?

Nick Piegari: It was, yes.

Alex Hillman Alex Hillman: Okay, great. I’m really looking forward to seeing you being able to apply this stuff, so I hope you’ll be able to share some of the upcoming results.

In the show notes for today, I’m going to link to the ebomb that you shared with us with the popup video, obviously we’ll link to your site as well.

Is there anywhere else that people can be following along and seeing your progress while you’re moving?

Nick Piegari: I’m on Twitter, @fixingyourvideo is my handle. Kind of new at Twitter, honestly, so I think it’s called a handle! Any kind of spur of the moment fixes that I’m discovering, I’ll post it there, like if you want to make your Chinese lantern brighter, here’s this cool little one socket to four socket adapter I found. Little tiny, tiny, tiny, tiny fixes.

Amy Hoy Amy Hoy: And if you set your Chinese lantern on fire, because you put too many bulbs in it?

Nick Piegari: Right, of course! Yeah.

Alex Hillman Alex Hillman: Cool Nick. All right. Well, Get to it. We’ll check in with you in a few weeks and see how things are going and thanks for being willing to come on the show today and work through this live. That’s really, really cool of you.

Nick Piegari: You’re quite welcome. I guess I’ll see you guys over in The Forge pretty soon too.

Alex Hillman Alex Hillman: Yes!

Nick Piegari: I’m sure I’ll have a lot more stupid questions going forward.

So yeah.

Amy Hoy Amy Hoy: Not stupid!

Alex Hillman Alex Hillman: It’s actually part of the reason that doing these coaching calls is so exciting for us is I think people hear in their own head much like, it sounds like you are now that “I’m stuck on this, I’m struggling with this and for all of these reasons, then I’m the only one.” And it’s simply, it’s not true.

The truth about the series and why we’re so excited to share it is because so many people are going through the same, selling themselves short, not realizing what they actually have.

Amy Hoy Amy Hoy: Only doing what’s easy as a way to avoid feeling like they don’t know what they’re doing.

Alex Hillman Alex Hillman: So for all the folks that are out there listening and hearing you talk through this and saying, “I got this far, but now what?” they’ll realize that they’re not alone and that they also have more than they gave themselves credit for. Hopefully if we’ve done a good job, they’ll have a little bit more confidence to move forward, which is ultimately the goal of what we want to do here.

All right, Nick. Well, good luck and we will speak to you very soon!

Nick Piegari: All right

Amy Hoy Amy Hoy: Later.

Alex Hillman Alex Hillman: All right. Take care, my friend.

Latest Stacking The Bricks Episodes