Austin Rief ☕️ Profile picture
cofounder @MorningBrew I run a rolling fund. Become an LP: Sign up for my newsletter about raising a rolling fund:
Jay Sanchez Profile picture ✌🏻Jara Skrabalek Profile picture 2 added to My Authors
6 Jan
1/ "Why didn't @morningbrew raise VC money?" is a question I answer a lot.

So I thought I'd answer it here for everyone.

This is why we didn't raise VC money, and what I learned about raising capital.

2/ Morning Brew started as a college side project in 2015.

In 2015, media was BOOMING.

Here were some headlines from the time.
3/ We had very well known media execs (whom you would know by name) telling @businessbarista and I that we *need* to raise capital.

They insist we raised $10s of millions of dollars to "pivot to video".

We had no idea what we'd even do with $10s of millions.
Read 14 tweets
30 Dec 20
1/ One of my 2020 New Year's resolutions was to share more about what I've learned.

I've written dozens of threads on everything from hiring to paid acquisition.

Here are a few of my favorite 2020 threads. Enjoy!
Read 6 tweets
28 Dec 20
1/ When @morningbrew began spending money on paid acquisition in 2018, 2 small insights exploded our growth ~10x in a year.

Small insights can have a huge impact.

Here is what we learned.
2/ The first insight was that the best way to grow a specific medium was to get promoted on that medium.

If you are a podcast, cross-promote with podcasts.

If you are a newsletter, cross-promote with other newsletters.
3/ We found that readers we acquired from ads in other newsletters were >2x as engaged as readers we got from Facebook or referrals.

Noticing this, we bought ads in every newsletter that would let us.

These ads were incredible effective in acquiring quality readers.
Read 16 tweets
17 Dec 20
1/ "What I've learned" meta-thread

I enjoy posting content on running a business, leadership and what I've learned along the way.

I will continue to add as I share more. Feel free to share with others!
2/ A thread on how we got our first 10k subs
2/ A thread on the best job pitch I ever received.
Read 12 tweets
16 Dec 20
1/ In the early days of @morningbrew, we launched a college ambassador program.

This "Brew-bassador program" was the main catalyst in our early growth to 100k subscribers.

Here is how we ran it and what we learned.

2/ As I said in this thread, the program started organically.

@businessbarista and I went from class to class at Michigan pitching @morningbrew.

We'd pitch the Brew, pass around a piece of paper, and people would give us their email.

Pretty simple.

3/ This was very effective.

We had thousands of University of Michigan students reading within months.

We thought that if we could scale this to other colleges, it could be a huge growth driver.
Read 15 tweets
12 Dec 20
1/ I often get asked how @MorningBrew got its first 10k subscribers. So, I’m just going to share some thoughts here:

2/ I joined @businessbarista in 2014 to transform a PDF attachment with 250 readers into a media business.

We had 0 money to spend on marketing, so we had to get creative.

We had to (quote @paulg) do things that don't scale.
3/ We were students at the University of Michigan at the time, and knew many business lectures had 400+ students.

We spent weeks asking professors if we could speak in their econ/accounting/finance 101 classes.
Read 13 tweets
5 Dec 20
1/ New founders spend too much time trying to emulate mature companies they admire, and not enough time learning what those companies did in the early days.

Understanding the journey is more important than knowing where they are today.
(cont.) This leads to an immense lack of focus.

The mature company is most likely doing 10-100x what they did in the early days.
This is a top 5 mistake I see in early stage companies.

"But company X has 5 revenue steams"... yes, company X also has 100 people, $50m in funding, and is best in class at their core function.
Read 4 tweets
29 Nov 20
1/ I have spent the last few months reworking my schedule to spend my time more intentionally.

With a little bit of trial and error, I have come across a few tactics that have helped me spend my work days more effectively.

2/ "No meeting Mondays".

Having no meetings on Mondays allows me to spend the full day on my deepest work for the week.

I tend to get more done on Mondays than the rest of the week combined.

Accomplishing the most important tasks of the week keeps stress levels low.
3/ No morning meetings.

I set aside time each morning for 4 things:

- Reading
- Thinking
- Putting out the fires that inevitably arise
- Planning for the rest of the day.
Read 7 tweets
21 Nov 20
I am still stunned by founder dilution in capital intensive startups.

DoorDash CEO Tony Xu owns only 4.4% of the business.
Stop commenting: “it’s still a lot of money”.


That. Isn’t. The. Point.
Read 4 tweets
28 Oct 20
Last week I got the best cold outreach message I've ever received.

It led to a job interview in 72 hours.

Here's the story (thread)
2/ Last Tuesday I got a DM, which led to this viral tweet.

3/ That tweet lead to him writing this newsletter in less than 8 hours... by himself! Super impressive just to be able to create this in 8 hours. And it was good!…
Read 7 tweets
1 Sep 20
1/ Last week @morningbrew hit 1 million unique daily opens.

We did it through:

- Incredible content
- Intense Focus
- A few marketing insights
- A little help from Jeff Bezos

Here is how we did it (thread)
2/ To start, our writers are absolutely incredible.

@Neal_Freyman is our content anchor, leading an incredibly talented team.

None of this growth would have happened if we didn't have the best content.
3/ Our content insight was simple

Create an email that was meant to be read *in email*

In 2015, almost every publisher @BUSlNESSBARISTA and I studied used email to drive traffic to their site.

We thought this is somewhere we could create a differentiated product - and we did
Read 15 tweets
16 Jun 20
1/ Running a small bootstrapped startup requires you to find arbitrage in hiring.

The only way for us to succeed was finding talent that the market was undervaluing.

At @MorningBrew, we looked for the most curious people we could possibly find.
2/We didn’t have the capital or prestige to hire “A players”

Therefore we searched for ppl who had taught themselves something from scratch — People who had learned how to code on their own, or who had multiple self-taught skills, even if those skills were irrelevant to the job
3/ this led to a small group of ppl who were willing to do whatever it took to succeed

They may spend a weekend on YouTube learning salesforce, or go the extra mile to ensure our newsletter looked perfect.

I call these people grinders. Every startup needs grinders to succeed
Read 4 tweets
6 Jun 20
What's the future of Peloton?

@howardlindzon has me thinking. Could Peloton become a clothing company A media company? I think both are very possible.

Currently Peloton only makes ~1% from branded apparel and 0% from media revenue.

I expect that to change drastically.
That is such a compelling ad proposition.

Complete attention on a screen for 20-60 minutes. You can't get that anywhere else.

And the customer is VERY valuable.
. @profgalloway speaks about Peloton's gross margins. Imagine when they add an ads business on top of this. Margins go through the roof.
Read 4 tweets
10 May 20
If you aren't the best in the world at what you write about, you should not have a strictly paid newsletter.

You are better off using a newsletter as your top of funnel to drive people to other monetization opportunities.
1/n Clearly this was more controversial than I thought, so let me clarify my thoughts:
2/ First, let me start off with what i am NOT saying:

I am not saying if your content is not good enough for people to pay for it, you should not write on the internet. In fact, I am a huge proponent of the opposite. Write! Content is incredibly powerful.
Read 12 tweets
14 Apr 20
1/ Exciting news: We hit 2 million subscribers!

Within 2 weeks of reaching our fifth birthday and 14 months after hitting 1 million, we hit 2 million.

A little history lesson and reflection on @MorningBrew 👇
2/ My cofounder @BUSlNESSBARISTA and I started Morning Brew five years ago with a simple idea—to make business news more interesting for young people.

People wanted something better to keep them informed, so he created a daily newsletter that later became Morning Brew.
3/ We began with two guiding principles:

1. We wanted to write our newsletters in a conversational tone.
2. We wanted to write for intellectually curious readers.

Turns out, that was a pretty good recipe.
Read 10 tweets