BB: All right. So, Doomberg, this is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I’ve been a fan of your reading or your writing. And I shot you a DM, and I didn’t think I’d hear back, because I think your last time I checked, close to 140,000 followers. And lo and behold, you responded very quickly. I mean, more quickly than someone with 20,000 or 10,000 followers.
I never thought in three years, since starting this podcast, I’d be chatting with a cartoon chicken, but here I am. So the first thing I want to know, though, is what’s the story behind Doomberg? What’s the story behind the chicken? And how did this whole business side hustle start?
DOOMBERG: Yeah, so, first of all, Brandon, great to be with you and appreciate the invitation. And our responsiveness on Twitter is one of our tricks, of course, which we can talk about later. One of the secrets, I guess, to the success we’ve been able to enjoy. So it might be useful if I give you a bit of background, I guess, to set the table.
Doomberg is a very small team of former industry executives from the commodity sector. We have decades of experience in that sector. I myself am a trained scientist and was a professional scientist and then a leader of scientists. And in my career, one of the things that made me stand out was my ability to write about complex topics in a way that could have non scientific, but financially professional sort of people understand it. And that sort of was a catalyst for my career.
So that was always fun. I always enjoyed writing about science to non-scientific professionals, especially from the financial lens. And so why would something be worthy of an investment versus something else? It’s a classic question that people who invest in commodities and use science as at least a partial guide for those investments, having somebody who can distill that complexity for them turned out to be very useful. So that led to a good career for me. And ultimately, though, as anybody who has climbed the corporate ladder can attest, the higher you go, the more your job becomes about paperwork and firing people, to put it bluntly. And neither of those two things are particularly fun, no matter how lucrative the job becomes financially.
And so, several years ago, a few of us decided to leave the financial world and start our own consulting practice. We catered to C-suite executives and wealthy family offices that we had come to know over the decades and built up a very nice business. And then COVID hit. And like many small business owners, COVID hit us pretty hard. And we had to decide what to do. Do we fold up shop? Do we go back and get a “real job” again? Or do we pivot our business and stay at it? Hunker down and get through the pandemic and create a new line of business. Because obviously, when covered, hit consulting is one of the dials that publicly traded companies can very quickly turn down.
And so we decided to pivot and we launched a new line, catered toward people who were creating content and selling it into Wall Street. It was a nice niche for us. We know how to run and improve businesses. And so we decided to learn that vertical, as we might call it, and we had some success and we had some very good clients. And we ultimately rebuilt our consulting practice to above where it was precoded. And in so doing, we were inspired by one of our clients to have a crack at doing this ourselves. It’s clearly working. We enjoyed what we were potentially good at. And so ultimately, we decided the old adage is those who can do and those who can’t teach. As sort of consultants, your professional teachers, we decided to prove that we could, quote, unquote, do it. And we used all of the principles that we have in our consulting practice to build Doomberg from scratch in 16 months. And it’s been a success beyond all possible. Wild imaginations.
BB: Yeah, like you said, from zero to 16 months, you’ve gone from zero to 140,000 followers on Twitter. You have hundreds of thousands of readers on substance, and the growth is just mind boggling. I think at one point in your July report just on how the business of Doomberg was performing, you were growing. I think it was your Twitter profile or maybe your substance, but it was 20% a month, which is just pretty ridiculous.
But what’s the story behind the name and then what’s the story behind the chicken?
DOOMBERG: Yeah, so when we decided that we wanted to create a business from scratch, taking our writing, building an audience, and then ultimately creating a subscription based business, we decided, hey, we don’t really have social media footprints. And so we didn’t have, like, a pre-existing brand or name recognition. And so the first rule of marketing, and we have strong marketing on our team the first rule of marketing is you can’t be remembered if you don’t stand out. And so we decided to create the Green Chicken and Bloomberg as brands Bloomberg.
So we’re huge fans of the Bloomberg terminal. We pride ourselves on being a walking commercial for Bloomberg, and we found ourselves doom scrolling a lot. People who achieved some success in life spend a lot of time worrying about losing it. And I think that’s pretty common. And so the name Doomberg was conceived, but really, we should probably talk about the way in which we either improve or build businesses.
Yeah, we have a systematic technique that we’ve used. A lot of people think this is sort of overnight or fluke or there’s some gimmicks. You can program success. It requires a lot of effort and a good program.
So the methodology we use to build Bloomberg is the same one that we leverage to build our consulting practice around, which is the following every business can be described through the lens of what we call the five pillars. And the five pillars are an excellent way to frame a business and it’s also an excellent way to build and or improve one. And I’ll name what those five pillars are, and then I’ll give you a one sentence summary of each of those five pillars. And then we could take the discussion in any direction that you like. So perfect.
The five pillars of any business are brand channel, technology demand creation and operations. And I’ll give you the one set summary for each of those. So brand is the gut feeling that you induce in your ideal clients when they interact with your product.
Channel is the corridor in which you bump into people who are authorized to pay you.
Technology is all of the digits and software and other tools that you need to operate your business.
Domain creation, which is the hardest part for most content creators, is expressing your brand ambition through multiple channels in order to drive people to interact with your product.
And then the final one is operations, which is everything that goes into running the business and most importantly, the production of the product.
And so for each of those five pillars, we have sort of a one page summary before we started. And then most importantly, we layer over the top of those five pillars an authentic mindset of continuous improvements. So the strategic documents that capture our intent across those five pillars are living documents. And at least once a week we sit down as a team and spend a half hour going over the analytics. And what went well, what didn’t go well, what can we do more of? What should we do less of? This experiment didn’t work. This experiment succeeded beyond our magic, beyond what we thought possible.
And so if you mix in a sort of an authentic mindset of continuous improvement over those five pillars, and then you just pour a lot of effort. We say when people ask us how to replicate this, first of all, it has to be your passion. Because the amount of work that you have to put into it to be successful is the type of work that cannot be done unless you’re truly passionate about it.
For me, for example, writing these pieces doesn’t feel like work. We have a ratio that we measure, which is what we get to have to ratio. So how much of our day is spent doing things we get to do and how much of our day is spent doing things we have to do. And we try to drive as low as possible. And so I get to write these pieces. We famously don’t take any meetings. The only meetings I have on my calendar now are podcast appearances like this, which I’m happy to do. I get to do them. I enjoy talking to other content creators, and I enjoy talking about the things we’re writing about, or in this case, talking about the manner in which we went about the task of building Doomberg. So happy to take any of those five pillars in as much depth as you would like.
BB: Yeah, I think we start with brand, just because that one is most applicable to probably anybody listening to this, whether they’re an investor or a content creator, trying to define what their brand means and then tangentially trying to create the ideal customer.
So, for instance, way back in the day, I used to work at LuluLemon, and I worked retail there, and they kept repeating this mantra like, this is our ideal customer. Like, this is what she looks like, this is how much money she makes. This is what she wears, blah, blah, blah, and your business and Doomberg. And really, any successful business has this one customer, one ideal customer mindset. And what does that look like for Doomberg?
DOOMBERG: Yes. So it’s a great point. We should start by saying that most people don’t understand Brand, but it sounds like Lululemon intimately did, which is not surprising given the Brand success.
Brand is the gut feeling you induce in your ideal clients when they interact with your product. And you cannot anticipate and control what that gut feeling is unless you first understand who your ideal clients are. Right?
So, like your former employer, before launching Doomberg, we made character sketches, literally biographies of fake people that we thought would capture the essence of our ideal clients. And in so doing and reaching out to people that sort of met those characteristics and doing some on the ground sort of gorilla marketing, we found that most of them either had a Bloomberg terminal, even if they weren’t working at a firm, they were willing to pay for it out of pocket. And it’s expensive to have a Bloomberg, or they worked at a company that has one and they love it, or they used to have one and they miss it. It kept coming up in our voice of customer pre marketing calls, and so we decided to orient around.
That’s where the name Doomberg is sort of it captures perfectly. Like you’re an investor who is doom scrolling, and you love your Bloomberg Journal. And we think of ourselves as a walking commercial for the Bloomberg brand and product. It’s a really fantastic product. We love it. We couldn’t live without it. Even at our lowest moments. At the depths of the COVID crisis, there were many expenses that we sort of tightened up a little bit, but we never even once thought about canceling our Bloomberg terminal.
That’s how strong a moat the technology has. That’s sort of the ideal customer. And then the gut feeling that we induce in them is something we’ve given a lot of thought to. We decided on the following. When our ideal clients get an email from us with our next piece, the gut feeling they get when they see it is, OOH, I get to read that back to the whole get to have to, which is such an important part of our lives. And we subscribe to many content creators. And when a content creator on YouTube posts a new video and I say, oh, I get to watch that, that’s the brand.
That’s the gut feeling we wish to induce in our deal clients. And then we settled on the following three characteristics of each of our pieces, hoping that if we executed against those characteristics, we would indeed induce that gut feeling in our ideal clients.
And those are as follows: we shall be provocative without being polarizing. We shall be funny without being silly, and we shall teach without being self intelligent. And as we write and edit these pieces, we’re always asking ourselves, is that funny or is that silly? Is that provocative or is that polarizing? Does that cross the line? Is it polarizing? And this section here, is that a little self indulgent? Or can we assume that the reader knows what you’re trying to teach here in this paragraph? Right?
If you get a Doomberg piece and you have been provoked into thinking about something from a different angle, you’ve had at least one chuckle and you’ve learned something, then we have achieved our brand ambition. And so it permeates everything we do. It permeates our Twitter account. It permeates our writing and our editing and all aspects of the Doomberg brand.
BB: Do you have a sort of checklist when you go through and actually write these pieces to make sure that you’re hitting on each of those points? Because I would find it difficult if there’s not some sort of, like, pilot’s checklist to go back and say, okay, is that funny? Is that informative? Do we teach? And so just to kind of systematize your writing, is there like a checklist, like a five point, ten point checklist?
DOOMBERG: Yes. So this kind of pivots over to the operations part of our business, and we have actually a 25 point checklist for each of our pieces. The first one is, is the title Great? We spend a lot of time thinking about titles. In fact, that phrase ‘is the title great?’ Is taped to the lamp that sits over my writing desk. What is the opening quote? What’s the opening story, if we’re going to have one? All of those things.
And then it’s first draft, first edit, second draft, second edit. Run it through grammarly, third draft, third edit, final edit. Are we going to have anybody read it that we trust in advance? What’s the social preview look like? What are the charts that we need? Are they on brand? We have a color scheme, a font scheme that is consistent with the brand.
So, yeah, we have a very disciplined that sort of captures the second of the filler’s operations. We have a very disciplined approach to all aspects of our business. So like you mentioned early on, you reach out to us, boom. We responded right away. Every single email gets responded to immediately. We take pride in our customer service.
Every customer issue is resolved, refunds, no questions asked. We want to have all aspects of our business be consistent with the brand. So the gut feeling we induced in you when you reached out to us on what you thought was a long shot is now a more pronounced relationship between us. Because a few days later, here we are recording a podcast. And so same with DMs.
Look, we don’t respond to the trolls or the bots or the spam DMs. We get plenty of allegedly Chinese ladies DMing us with various crypto scams. A genuine person, especially if somebody’s a subscriber. Every customer is precious to us now that we’ve gone fully paid and we have a motto like show up number, go up and repeat. We’re willing to put in the effort because this is the work of our lives. And one of our other models is if it can be measured, it can be optimized. And so that’s sort of branded operations. urg
BB: When you get to today where you are with Doomberg and looking back at kind of the early pieces, what were some of the early struggles you guys had with creating content, sharing it, trying to grow this? Because, like I said, from zero to 16 months, it looks like this overnight success. But I’m sure there’s been struggles along the way. There’s been pieces that haven’t hit, and there’s been moments where you’ve had to maybe morph your checklist, more of how you view your customer. Walk us through some of those early struggles, if there were any.
DOOMBERG: Yeah, so I would say if you have a genuine mindset of continuous improvement, there’s no such thing as a struggle. There’s only an opportunity to observe data and improve.
And so when a piece didn’t hit, we ask ourselves why. Maybe we published at the wrong time of day on the wrong day of the week. Maybe the piece wasn’t quite as good or as in depth as we thought it was. Maybe our audience just doesn’t care about that. You build up a brand over time and we find out like it’s just a fact that our energy pieces do best. But we don’t like to only write about energy. We like to show a little range. And even the piece you described from our July, we put these monthly pieces out in the beginning called The Work of My Life, where we would be totally authentic with our growing audience about our intent to make this a business and to give them the key metrics of success and to make them feel part of the journey.
And that was all part of the brand ambition of having a highly engaged set of ideal customers that are cheering on your success. And so I wouldn’t say that we have any struggles because we have this discipline process around making sure everything we do fits the brand ambition. We have very few missteps I would characterize. We had many examples of where things didn’t go quite as well as we thought and we wondered Why? But that’s different than, oh, we have a crisis and we screwed up, or we have a tweet that went viral for all the wrong reasons. Or we have a piece that we had a huge mistake in, and now what do we do?
The biggest struggles we’ve had have been when we’ve written critically about cryptocurrencies and our comments section got spammed by a bunch of pro-crypto people. And the pieces that we wrote about crypto weren’t actually all that critical. They were just more pointing out some of the flaws and the anticipated government response to it. But that was a challenge. I would say the biggest one, in hindsight, is just dealing with hundreds and hundreds of nasty trollish comments in the comments section of our substantial.
And that actually led to a really great idea and a great insight, which is, once we went paid, only paying subscribers can comment, and only paying subscribers can see the comment. And look, if you want to troll us and you’re willing to pay us, then by all means, go ahead. It’s a whole different story to receive criticism from somebody who’s paying to critique you. Yes, again, no real challenges. A lot of fun. It’s been a blast. That’s the most important part. I wake up every day looking forward to attacking it. And that’s so different than when I was an executive. How many people do I have to let go this week? It’s always restructuring and cost savings and paper pushing and useless meetings and unnecessary training and worthless travel. We take no meetings now. We have achieved personal sovereignty, which is really amazing. And I’m sure we’ll get into sort of plans for the business later.
But our objective all along was never to make the most amount of money. The objective was to make more than enough money doing only what you love, which we think is a much better definition of rich than the number of digits that are on some electronic balance that you pull up on the screen.
BB: I like that a lot. You mentioned how much time you spend on titles, and this is something that fascinates me as an online writer myself, trying to concoct the perfect title. And if I find that I’m spending any longer than 30 seconds to a minute on a title, intuitively, it feels like I’m wasting time. But from what it sounds like, that is definitely the wrong way to look at titles and naming titles. So why have you guys put such an emphasis on figuring out the quote unquote perfect title?
DOOMBERG: We don’t begin to write a piece about the perfect title. In fact, we can’t. And so I might spend a day on a title wow. While I’m ruminating inside my head about what the flow of the piece should be. And then once you have the perfect title, we’ve had a range of titles. Some of them are great, some of them flops, but that is a really important premium.
Once I have the title and then the opening quote, we always have a nice opening quote. It kind of frames the piece, and then the piece actually sometimes just writes itself, and people love a good title. Again, back to this whole operation and overnight, quote, unquote success. All aspects of the piece we think a lot about.
So, like, in the latest piece we put out, which was on AMC Entertainment and this crazy special dividend, we made a silly diagram. And we think very hard about what the caption for that diagram is, because it matters. And so we made this silly diagram that explains the split and under it, it says, a very sophisticated diagram. Doomberg that is a joke, right? And it says on the diagram, not drawn to scale. Mustcreditdumburg subject.com is if anyone is going to use this silly diagram. But that’s the level of optimization that we try to pour into every piece.
And look, we’re not perfect, but people see that. They see the relentless attention to detail and desire for improved customer experience, and they get behind creators who do that. We try really hard not to have typos. When they’re brought to our attention, we correct them immediately.
Again, a title is so important, when people see the title in their inbox, it determines whether they’re going to click on it or not. So, yes, this is for us, a huge deal, and again, we can tell is the total greatest the question, because right now I’m writing a piece on nuclear and on Chris Keefer and his colleagues efforts to try to save the Pickering nuclear power plant. Don’t yet have a title that I love, and it’s been hard to write the piece. I have a good title, but I don’t have a great title yet. And that piece might be delayed a day because I’m still trying to find the perfect title. And that’s okay because we don’t publish on a fixed schedule.
This is the other really important thing. We try hard not to put out garbage just as filler, right? I could publish ten pieces a month if I didn’t care about quality. Care of a quality limits us to somewhere between six to eight, which I think is still plenty prolific. But our ideal clients, the moment we violate the brand and vision of I get to read that by just putting out a piece for the sake of it, then brand takes a long time to build and a moment to destroy.
And so we would much rather wait a day, two days, three days to put out a better piece than rushing out a piece for the sake of meeting some self imposed internal deadline for publishing. Some people need a deadline. We’re the opposite. We would much rather focus on quality, which we think is more consistent with the brand expectation of our ideal clients.
BB: I think the deadline, those self imposed deadlines is both part some people need the deadline to finish the job. But another part of it is, especially if you have paid subscribers and people are giving up their dollars to consume your content, there’s this drive and almost this desire, like, I have to give them as much content value as possible.
And I know that that’s clearly something that you disagree with. And it could be dangerous, right? Because then you fall victim to producing poor quality content. But if I’m looking at just going through your archive here, because we’re a paid subscriber, by the way, so I enjoy reading your pieces, but it’s like every five days or so that you release a piece. Just totally rough ballpark.
And then when I look at your titles, one thing that I noticed is I think the longest title is between six to seven words, and Word would include or something like that. But normally they’re two to four words. It’s fascinating. And whether that’s deliberate or whether that’s just the end result of you trying to come up with the best title possible is something I noticed.
DOOMBERG: So a couple of points. You said something really important, you probably didn’t even hear it. When you have a deadline, you pivot to have to. I have to finish this piece by 10:00 A.m., and nothing great comes out of having to. Getting to is the key. That’s the whole experiment. That’s the whole point of Bloomberg and the business we’ve built together as a team. We don’t have that. It ends up being we put out a piece every four to five days. Sometimes a little more often.
I think the longest we’ve gone is six days between pieces. So that’s just because of the creative process. I have three pieces in my head right now, and so if I wanted to, I mean, I could crank. But I like spacing them out, thinking about them, making them great. Anytime we finish a piece, we give a full day for editing. That’s another really important thing. The editor in chief of Bloomberg is an outstanding editor. This is their passion. They themselves are excellent writers in their own right. And our objective with the editing process is to turn a good piece into a great piece.
To your question about titles, one of the phrases that we have, and we have many phrases, is that anybody could say a lot with a lot of words. It takes skill to say a lot with a few words. And so it’s not just the title. You have to understand as well that we try to match the title with the social. Preview. And one of our philosophies is everything is done in house. If we have a skill that we need and we don’t know how to do it, we pay somebody double to teach us. And so we do all our own charting, all our own editing, all our own photoshopping. And the thumbnail works with the title in a way that causes people to click. Yeah, the thumbnails are great. And so, again, this is all part of the brand. If it can be measured, it can be optimized. The thumbnails have gotten better, the titles have gotten better. They’re not always 100%, but this is, again, part of our continuous improvement.
If I propose a title and my editor doesn’t like it, there’s no hesitation to say, that title is shit. What are you doing? Do better. That title is not great. Do better. And so we have that freedom to be sort of as authentic as we can about the shared desire to put out as good a product as possible. Look, it’s not perfect. There is no perfect piece. We have a drive to delight our ideal clients and so every little aspect to make an inside joke.
One time we had a picture of John Kerry in a piece where we were kind of ripping him, and in the caption we just said noted scientist John Kerry, even though he’s the opposite of a scientist. Right? But people love that, like the inside joke that makes them feel heightened with the brand, intimate with the brand. So that’s the whole strategy.
BB: When you’re writing a piece, do you finish, get to the end and think to yourself like, all right, this is going to be a really good one. This one’s going to go viral. And I’m looking at some of your top pieces. We’ve got Farmers On the Brink that’s got over 1600 likes. Wide Awake, close to 3000 likes, and on the Cusp of an economic Singularity, close to 1500 likes. When you’re writing these new ones, so let’s say you’ve got three in your head, like you said, do you ever get to the end and you’re like, you know what? This one has the chance to be one of my best. And then, if so, what are some common characteristics of pieces that have crossed the chasm into virality where others haven’t?
DOOMBERG: It’s a great question. So I would say it’s like Sophie’s Choice. Which one of my pieces are my favorite? We would never publish a piece unless we’re super proud of it and we think it has a chance to go viral. But there’s also no doubt that some pieces you just know are going to go viral. What makes for a piece that goes viral is an interesting question.
And if we knew what the formula was, we’d be wealthier than we are. You’d have hundreds and hundreds of thousands, not thousands and thousands. Yeah, I mean, our average piece gets read about 100,000 times, which is pretty cool. Because most people just reading the previews now, because we’ve put most of it behind the payroll, but actually writing to the preview cut off is a new aspect. Now that we’re paid, we need the introductions to be juicy enough for people to want to click at the bottom and say, you know what? I need to finish this article.
And so that’s a new dimension that got worked into our operations. What makes a piece go viral? It has to capture the zeitgeist of the moment. So the piece that went viral, Wide Awake, captures this sort of creeping censorship that many people are angry about. And the thought that our government, who are led by unscientific, inexperienced, arrogant, no nothings, are dictating to us how the world should work, and they’re wrong. And then because they’re wrong, they sort of double down.
And then the temptation to censor people is irresistible. And one of the things we focus a lot on is sort of what is the phrase and the social preview, and that can be separate from what’s in the article. I believe just from memory that Wide Awake, which was our last piece, super viral, the phrase was, the temptation to cancel people instead of ideas is irresistible.
And something like that, and I’m not catching it correctly. We also decided to make that free for everybody because we thought it was an important enough piece, because everyone got to the end. That’s why we have almost 3000 likes on it. That was a good piece. That piece I knew was likely. Well, we thought it might be controversial because people don’t like to have the uncomfortable aspects of their totalitarian instincts point out to them. But if you don’t stop now, if you don’t point it out now, if you don’t get in the arena and fight for freedom of speech now, you’re going to lose it. I think that captured a vein, especially in our ideal clients who mostly just want to be left alone from the government. So it is what it is.
BB: So let’s press into this writing, really get into like the soup to nuts. And I might nerd out just because I’m a writer and I love chatting with other writers and picking apart their processes and best practices when it comes to the actual job to be done of writing. Walk us through that entire process.
And we can even start with Idea Generation and how you create a backlog of ideas, or if there is even a backlog, and if you put any emphasis on, hey, I have one idea that’s going out this week, and I’d like to have five or six that I’m thinking about for the months ahead. So from Idea Generation process to that first draft, walk us through that process.
DOOMBERG: Yeah. So we spend a lot of time on Twitter, which we can talk about when we get to domain creation, because Twitter is key to our success in this enterprise. So far. And one of my skills is pattern recognition.
And so no creator creates in a vacuum everybody’s building off of somebody else’s idea or connecting to seemingly unrelated ideas. What makes a great piece is you connect something in people’s minds in a way that makes them think differently. That whole teacher part of our brain ambition. So the first thing we do when we have an idea, sort of what is the one set in summary of the piece. And that’s often becomes sort of a social preview. And when I say social preview, like when we tweet a piece, it’s the text that comes up under the picture that describes what’s in it.
Then I’m a big believer and I sort of stole this from Talk like Ted Buck when I was an executive. You eventually become basically just professional public speakers. At some point. You spend more time talking in front of employees than you do doing. And so I got good at public speaking and was trained. And the company sends you to various gurus. One of the things that I learned by reading the book Talk Like Ted was start with a story, and most of our pieces start with a story.
And we came up with a hypothesis that if it works well for a spoken presentation, it captures the audience’s attention. It’s different, it’s unique, it should work for a substack. And so our pieces that do well often have a very enticing story at the beginning. And of course, it’s necessary that the story map into the main point you’re trying to make. And so from story goes transition. What’s the transition paragraph? Now that transition paragraph usually precedes the cut off the page and then there’s the bring home the message part, which is sort of the heart of the piece, maybe 50% of the piece. And then when you finish it, how are you tied back to the opening story? So that’s the arc of a piece.
And once I have that arc in my mind, sometimes I write it down, oftentimes I don’t. You then just set up the task of writing. And if we’re going to publish at the Keynes, we do it’s roughly one single space page of writing a day. That’s sort of the output. And so I sort of have a mental model of have I written at least a page today?
But it will go in phases, like I really need to get the story down right and I know what I’m going to say later. So what aspects of the story am I going to highlight up front then? How do I transition it so it’s not so abrupt, but it’s smooth? And then what are the key points I want to make? And then how are we going to close this thing? How are we going to bring this home? There’s a certain length of piece that’s ideal, and for us it’s like four single space pages in Word. We’ve gone longer than that. Some have read five and a half, some have been shorter. Three, four is about ideal for our ideal clients, reading four pages worth of text is about the limits of their attention span.
If you can hook them in with a great story, keep them interested with a great transition, deliver the promised goods and then wrap it up tightly, that’s what makes for a great piece for us. And so that’s how we do it.
BB: So it’s roughly, give or take, 2000 words, which again, in the online writing game, there’s this allure and maybe we can stretch this out. It’s not just online writing, but in the world of finance, I found there’s this allure of writing more, writing longer pieces almost as a compensation for either your lack of knowledge or just your insecurity about what you do or do not know. And in finance in particular and investing, like if I have an investment idea or the best investment ideas that I read, they tend to be like two to three pages max.
And some of the worst ideas that I’ve read, or some of the most complex and just confusing ideas are the ones that take ten to 15 to 20 pages to kind of explain. But again, it goes back to this writing online and publishing idea where if people are paying for your content, there might be something in the back of your head that says, hey, you have to give them more, you have to write more. You’re charging X amount of dollars for this content. So therefore you must write not 2000 words, but 4000 words. I don’t know if this is something you struggle with, but I’m just trying to get at what I think others, myself included, kind of feel it’s like the devil and the angel on each side of your shoulder.
DOOMBERG: So two ways to answer this question and both are important. As I think I said earlier, anybody could say a lot with a lot of words. And we have discovered through our own marketing and trial and error that our ideal clients like the fact that we respect their time and we don’t beat around the bush. If these pieces are good, they’re entertaining, they’re tight, they’re really well edited. And that’s a subliminal message to them that we have something for them to read, that they’ll enjoy, but we’re not going to take up all of their day. And then the second part is in a conversion from free to paid.
The vast majority of people will never pay for content and this is something that content creators sometimes struggle with. But we knew in advance, because of our experience helping other content creators run their businesses better. Using the five pillars that I described earlier, most people won’t ever pay you and that’s fine. That’s just part of the business. Somewhere between ten and 8% to 15% of the people who would read you for free might someday pay you.
Those are just sort of broad numbers that we have seen from talking to dozens and dozens of content creators who are willing to share data with us. Interestingly, most of those people who do pay you pay you because they want you to succeed. And they don’t actually mind if they’re getting something more for their money. They have to get something that the free people aren’t, which is why we have the bulk of our pieces beyond the paywall. And all of our pieces are beyond the paywall after the previews. But if we didn’t write a piece for a week because we quote unquote vacation, most people would stay with you because they’re subscribing, because they like you and they want you to succeed.
Now, them liking you and wanting you to succeed has to flow from the fact that they’ve enjoyed interacting with your product, that you have induced the proper gut feeling, which then ultimately, over the long run, induces brand loyalty. So this desire to sort of give more because now they’re paying is something we resisted. And the length of our pieces is the exact same, and the publication cadence of our pieces is the exact same, and the topics are roughly similar. These people have decided, through interacting with your product, that they like you and they like what you write, and they would like for you to succeed. It’s not a transaction that your subscribers are calculating on that present value on, if that makes any sense.
BB: Yeah, I got you.
DOOMBERG: And by the way, those are our ideal clients, people who would think that. And so getting as many of those types of people versus the types of people who are counting the words and saying that you’re not giving enough for the money and then unsubscribing, those aren’t our ideal clients. And so here’s your refund. Yeah. And so if you can get enough of your ideal clients to pay you because they want you to succeed and they like you, it relieves the pressure of feeling as though you have to give more now because they’re paying.
BB: Yeah, no, that makes sense. When you shift from that first draft to the editing process, what are some things that you’re routinely trying to cut? And the reason why I say cut is because I think the best edited pieces and really the best written pieces you mentioned it are tight, and it cuts out a lot of fat, whether that’s words, sentences, redundant phrases, things like that. What are some of the common things that get just removed on the chopping block during that editing process?
DOOMBERG: So this is the fascinating part that we’ve developed over time. My editor in chief is so good, by the time I hand over the piece, I’m done with the piece. And so I have 100% trust and almost to the frustration of the editor, I’m literally working on the next piece already. And so it’s just so flawless. We’ve built over 130 pieces into this.
Now, you got a cadence, you get a path, and it’s not like other than maybe like a spot check for scientific interpretation or to make sure the true meaning was preserved. There’s just very little friction in our editing process. The moment I hand that piece over, I’m right in the next one. And one of the hardest parts for me, frankly, in part of our work process is getting into the comments section for pieces that are already published and interacting with our subscribers, which I try to do, but it’s the closest thing to I have to that still remains in my personal schedule because I’m already thinking about the next piece.
As much as I love our subscribers, and once I get in and I start going back and forth on the comments, which is something we committed to doing as part of our offering, it does feel like slightly have to for me because I would rather be spending that time writing the next piece.
One of the biggest pieces of advice I could give any aspiring content creator who is writing is get a great editor. And you can’t be your own editor. You need to have somebody that you trust, who’s super talented, that you can hand the piece over to and know that it’s going to come back better than when you gave it.
BB: So once you finish that first draft, do you touch the piece at all, or do you just send it to the editor?
DOOMBERG: The editor finishes up, and then some part of your process, somebody, whether it’s yourself, someone on your team, actually loads it up to Substack and publishes it. I don’t touch it. It’s a nice system. It’s a great system. I mean, once I hand over the piece, if I haven’t already got the pictures or charts done that the piece needs, I’ll do that. And then my editor is also an outstanding Photoshopper, and so they do the thumbnails and anything that needs photoshopping in the piece, I do the charts either Bloomberg or Excel. But then, yeah, literally, I might give it a read before pressing publish the next morning and maybe a word tweak or two.
By and large, it’s just the way we decided to work once I’m onto the next story, that the last piece doesn’t even exist. You know what I mean? At the rate at which we’re publishing, I can’t be thinking about the last piece and writing the next piece.
BB: I like that. And does your editor ever come back and say, hey, I’ve noticed these trends, or, hey, I’ve noticed that you’ve maybe fallen behind in some sort of quality aspect? Or is it just your editor’s? Like, oh, I have to do a little bit more work this week, or I have to do a little bit less because this piece is a little polished. Do you have any feedback loops on improving the craft?
DOOMBERG: Yeah, we have at least three pieces that we’ve written that the editor basically canceled. This is garbage. We’re not publishing this. Wow, that doesn’t sound fun. It’s fine, actually. Now back to the whole point about authentic, continuous improvement. If you don’t have the types of relationships with your partners where a piece that shouldn’t be published just gets written and doesn’t get published.
That’s happened two or three times, mostly early, several occasions, where the piece was radically changed and the flow and order were changed and parts of the pieces were moved around for better flow. But that’s not my expertise, right? If you have a world class editor, let them edit it. It’s not that complicated. Don’t take it personally because you have a shared objective to make as good a piece as possible. By and large. Now, our system is such that we talk as I’m writing and we talk about the flow. And I’ll often sort of, during the creative process, read a paragraph or too aloud and get their feelings as to whether that’s too provocative or too polarizing and not provocative and things like that.
But now we’ve gotten to the point where very rarely does a piece get bounced or totally sort of recast. But absolutely. Again, if you have a world class editor, let them add it.
BB: How did you find this world class editor?
DOOMBERG: They were our partner in the firm. Well, there you go. We still have our consulting business. We’ve stopped taking new clients, but we have clients that we love and that are good value for time and that we’ve done a lot of work with over the years and stood by us during covet. And so we still have that.
But right now we’re turning away all new clients because we’ve got to focus on growing Doomberg. But, yeah, it’s sort of the convergence of I love writing and a partner in our consulting firm loves editing. And so the two of us do the bulk of the production.
BB: Do you think having a continuous stream of income from this other consulting business, do you think that took some pressure off of needing to scale Doomberg to some sort of arbitrary profitability figure or revenue figure to either provide for yourselves, your partners, your families, and just kind of going back to trading? Right. Like some of the best full time traders, their advice is have a job, have another source of income so you don’t feel the need to try to be this uber successful, uber profitable trader to pay your bills and feed your family.
DOOMBERG: This is just no doubt excuse me, the baseline sort of the bat. Now, your best alternative to negotiate agreement for us was pretty good. That allowed us to do one thing, for example, which was to ignore substance advice about turning the payroll on early. Yeah, we stayed free for a year. We were able to stay free for a year and build up an audience and build up a brand and continuously improve our product before we started charging people, which we think explains why we’ve had such a high conversion rate from free to paid.
And when we went behind the paywall, we had already built over 40,000 free emails, which was a great foundation to convert into Paid. And we’ve been able to continue to grow that free email list, but not at the rate that we had before. Twitter is growing faster now because it’s all free. But yeah, there’s no question that having that foundation as a backstop and in fact, we could have continued to grow that business. It’s just not the type of work we love doing. This is the type of work we love doing. And so it was a calculated risk. There was an economic cost to opportunity, cost to building Doomberg. We could have been out getting more clients and growing the business, and we decided to put all that on hold early. But yeah, there’s no question that sort of a free call option in building Bloomberg, or cheap call option, I should say.
It wasn’t free, but having that backstop and knowing that we could always turn that back up and put more effort into client acquisition and things like that was always there. The real sacrifice for us was during COVID, where we decided to build up the consulting side of the business that led to Doomberg.
BB: Do you look back at how you started Doomberg? Is there anything that you would do differently? Knowing what you know now about the growth and about these different Target customers, is there anything you would have done differently or maybe stuff you would have leaned into more?
DOOMBERG: It took us about six weeks to truly dial in what our intent was on Twitter, which is not a very long time, and we probably would have started doing podcasts sooner. Podcasts are a great way to get your brand out, a great way to get to know other content creators and to have them support your work. We have this philosophy again, we have this philosophy of giving in our professional lives. So our view is that the NPV of giving is infinite.
And so we just give, give, give. And sometimes money shows up and sometimes it doesn’t. And sometimes people take advantage of your giving, and sometimes you give to somebody in an unexpected way that comes back to you handsomely, and it’s just a better way to live.
And so we’re always trying to retweet other content creators going on podcasts, no matter the size of the audience. And our belief is that if you do enough giving and you’re authentic about it and you enjoy it, that you can very easily surf the sea of abundance. Not to sound too cheesy, but we learned this from Grant Williams, who’s a fantastic content creator and a big supporter of ours. We owe a lot to Grant Visa v. Dunburg, and he does the same thing like, he’s just such a nice person and always giving.
And look, when people burn you and they say nasty things about you, you can just mute them. It doesn’t mean you have to keep giving to those people. There’s always going to be people who are jealous of success, no matter how large or small the success might be. And it’s okay once you know that somebody is never going to reciprocate. You don’t begrudge the fact that you gave. You learn something about that person, and that’s okay. And you don’t give for the direct back and forth. You give for the integral, the sea of abundance.
Like, we’ve created so many good friends in the last 16 months building Bloomberg using this approach that we have a list of pro tier subscribers who pay more for extra access to the team and a monthly webinar. That list would be an amazing thing to go. Seller consulting services, too, if we ever so choose. We won’t because it’s not what we want to do, but it’s a very valuable list of people who have self identified as your biggest fans. If you just live that way and you have the patience to do so long enough and you have income coming in, as you mentioned, and not everybody does, then you could be in a position to achieve personal sovereignty.
And that’s what, thankfully, we have so far knock on wood, would have been able to do with Dumbark.
BB: This is a great segue into the demand creation side of your business, and we’ve touched mostly so far about the supply side and writing and thinking about ideas and publishing and what that looks like and the whole editing process.
Now we’re getting into demand creation, which a lot of content creators struggle with and struggle to find how to grow your reach, how to create virality within posts and to put your pieces in the right channels to propagate potential virality. And Twitter for you is really that platform to disperse your content and to really jumpstart this demand aggregation. So walk us through your approach to Twitter, and I’ll kick it off with a part of the piece in your July report, I believe, breaking down your Twitter usage. And it was basically three key points that I took away is the first, you tweet 20 to 30 times a day, which again, sounds like a lot. The second is you post long threads on a weekly basis. And then the third is you participate in Twitter spaces when and where allowed. So if you just want to expand on those three tenants for us.
DOOMBERG: Well, let’s take a step back. We settled on what we call a magic metric for our business, and I’ll reveal what that is in a bit. But before I do it, I want to explain the backdrop.
One of the ways that you can create demand is simply buy ads, right? So you can develop an ad budget and crack the Facebook ad game. And what are you doing when you buy an ad? Now this works for many people, right? You could literally just systematize that you’re going to spend $10,000 a month on ads and the payback period on 10,000 is, let’s say 60 days if you’re lucky. And then as your business grows, you can put more and more into ads. What do you do when you buy an ad?
Well, if it’s done well and the ad is crafted well, and you’ve taught the Facebook algorithm how to place that ad in front of your ideal customer, you’re basically buying an impression. And the flow of impression to money looks like this. You generate an impression which triggers an engagement, which triggers a click, which triggers somebody to subscribe. Okay? You don’t need to pay for impressions.
Twitter, which is the least poorest run of the social media platforms by mile, gives you the opportunity to generate your own impressions for free. And so most content creators fail in their use of Twitter because they view it as an outlet for their product, as a distribution outlet, hey, I wrote the substance, I’m going to post it to Twitter. And that alone is going to cause people to come on over to my substance doesn’t work. We view Twitter as a separate outlet for our content. As a standalone product, we always envision that Twitter would be our free offering.
And so our objective became make at Doomberg, t a must follow Twitter account. And how do you do that? Like everything else. Like you want to produce good product on a daily basis. That is funny, that is provocative, and that teaches. And so our magic metric, one that we focused on early on and one that we consistently think about is Twitter impressions per day. That’s the straw that stirs the whole drink. And so here’s how, like a proper marketing funnel works. In our case, we have, let’s say, tree nodes. Node one is a Twitter follower, node two is a free email subscriber.
And then node three is a paying subscriber. How do you sort of bring people along that funnel? So first of all, you have to make your Twitter account and must follow. And so that’s a whole separate project and analysis and study and how do other people do it and borrow from them and learn from them? But here’s how the funnel works. At each node, you must create overwhelming value relative to the cost. So the cost of somebody following on Twitter is literally just a click.
And so that’s a pretty easy bar to jump over. As content creator, the second thing you have to do is occasionally remind people that there’s more value at the node to the right. And then third, and most importantly, you have to make it easy for them to go there. So if you’re constantly doing that, creating value relative to the cost, highlighting that there’s more value over here, And giving them specific and easy instructions to go there, then you have a winning funnel. And so Twitter impressions per day.
Right now we’re over a million. Every 10 seconds, the green chicken flashed in front of somebody’s eyeballs. That’s incredible. How much would it cost us in Facebook ads to generate a million impressions with 3% engagement? Like, we have on average for our tweets. So that means I’ll pull up numbers because of it, but you can follow it to it as a very good analytics dashboard.
So in the month of July, we had let me pull up the number, I think it’s 5 million, but I just need from my Twitter page yeah, we had over 5 million profile visits to our home page on Twitter. Wow. And on our home page on Twitter, the link that it sends people to is to our about page, which describes our offering and our prices. Because one of the frustrating parts about substation is people don’t know how much things cost and what they get for it. That’s kind of like one of the things that Substack isn’t very good at. So we give it to them. Here’s the link. Go find out what Doomberg is all about, what it costs. Here are some free examples, et cetera. And so impressions you could buy them that we think violates our brand ambition.
We’ve been pitched by people who specialize in advertising for a living, and we’ve decided not to go that route. Using the power of our Twitter account to generate our own impressions for free in a way that we can totally control the brand experience is a far superior way for us to create demand for the product. But anytime we analyze somebody’s content business, we could tell immediately where the funnel breaks. Never reminding people that you have something to the right is failure mode, making it hard for people to go there. Failure mode. Doing it too often, failure mode.
And one of the things we’ve learned is that even when you do that, there has to be a morsel of value for your followers. A little joke, a little something, a nice picture, a sense of humor that’s consistent with the brand so that it doesn’t feel like they’re being sold to they’re being reminded that they’re not being sold. And the moment you start selling, like, for example, never offer a discount. We would rather comp a student who can’t afford it genuinely than give somebody a discount because it’s inconsistent with the brand. Like when I see content creators advertising discounts or giveaways or things like that, it just might work for them. It feels cheesy for us, it feels off brand for us. And so we just don’t do it.
Our paying customers know that they will be protected in the sense that they won’t feel like a sucker for having paid full price when we’re out discounting everyday.
BB: Yeah, I’m just going through your Twitter right now, I also think one of the great things about your Twitter account is, again, you’ve just got that green little chicken. And it’s one of those things where if I’m scrolling through my feed and I just see this green chicken, like, first thing I think it’s like, oh, it’s Doomberg. I know exactly who that is. And then when I click on your profile right at the top, it’s Doomberg.substack.com, and it’s just right there, but I’m scrolling through it.
And a lot of your stuff is either like quotes, retweets, just kind of some thoughts you have, and then you’ll link out to every new piece. But it’s not this, like you said, it’s not this in your face, like, oh, subscribe to Doomberg today. Make sure you subscribe. Click here to subscribe. It’s just you providing value and then creating that demand.
DOOMBERG: So if you look at our pinned tweet right now, if you have it up.
BB: Yes, I do. It’s a very special dividend. That’s a great thumbnail, by the way.
DOOMBERG: Well, there you go. This is the social preview, right? Yeah. Let’s look at that tweet, right? The title a very special dividend. It’s a great title. That meme. We basically took Adam Aaron’s head and put it over Gerald Pal on the Money printer and then took the words AP.
If you know the story, you know exactly what this piece is about. And then under Social Preview, it reads, as long as there is fresh money to be heaved into the zombie company’s furnace, we can’t be anywhere near a market bottom. That’s a great little hook right now, what it doesn’t say is only for subscribers.
And if you subscribe, you’ll get this great piece. It’s just the piece with a great title and a great thumbnail, and it’s very easy to click on that thumbnail and get directed to our substance. And then if you’re not a subscriber and you get hooked by the introduction and you get down to the point where we put it behind the table for paying subscribers, next thing you know, we’ve beat that churn for the day, right?
DOOMBERG: The content creation business is all about staying ahead of churn. And so we’ve built up over time and track monthly our impressions. Our magic metric is Twitter impressions per day. Now, if we lost our Twitter account or Elon buys Twitter and turns it into a place we no longer want to be, or pick your favorite, whatever, we would still continue to succeed in our business. We would find other ways.
But right now, we have a way that works. And the old investing motto is let your winners run. So it’s working for us. We’re going to let our winter run. And so, in fact, our whole strategy right now is we’re not going to do anything but tweet and write pieces for a year. We’re not going to consider diversifying. We’re not going to think about other product lines. We’re not going to think about anything other than create great pieces for a year and see how far we could push this.
But that Pin tweet captures the essence of our Twitter strategy. It’s not a commercial, it’s content that’s valuable and you can just click it. So it’s there relative to the cost of following us. Our account is good and then occasionally we remind people that there’s more value to the right and we make it very easy for them to go there and that’s it. And then our expression is show up, number. Go up and repeat. Show up every day, create every day, write every day, make the number go up every day and integrate it over enough time. If you can do that, you will have a critical mass of a good business.
BB: Someone commented on a very special dividend post and just said Paywall and you responded with Bummer.
DOOMBERG: Yeah. One of the fun parts about Twitter is we like to mess with the trolls a little bit and in fact the tagline Totally agree doesn’t mean what you think it does. Anytime somebody really trolls us on Twitter and the algorithm puts it in front of me in an effort to make me angry, we just respond Totally agree.
So if you search Totally Agree from Bloomberg Tea, you’ll see all kinds of great interactions with trolls. We have a coffee mug that says Totally agree on it. That’s of an inside joke for a long time with our Followers.
BB: What’s your strategy around and this is stepping back away from the content aggregation on Twitter and really diving into how you think about the world and view the world through your lens and then how you express those views. In markets, do you take any positions, whether long or short, based on things you write or theses you have? And if so, what does that look like?
DOOMBERG So we don’t. And we disclose this at every opportunity, especially when we’re writing about individual stocks. So we have a unique financial strategy, which is we earn money in Fiat, we save money by buying real assets and we invest privately where we can positively impact the outcome.
Sort of sweat alpha, as you might describe it. So can we bring skills to bear, contacts, et cetera, in a private enterprise where we know the leadership team, they know us, and we can, through selective investment and participation in the success of that entity, create better value than we’re comfortable risking in the public market. So as I sit here today, I personally have $0 invested in the stock market.
I have private investments, we own real stuff and then we have cash and we spend most of our time growing doombird, which is sort of earning in fiat, part of that equation. And so it just frees you up. If I was a short seller in AMC Entertainment, I wouldn’t feel comfortable writing that piece, even though you can disclose it and people do that all the time. I think it just slightly discredits you if you have a financial position in the outcome of what you’re writing. Others do it differently. But for our brand and look, the trolls of AMC don’t believe us. Oh, you must be short and blah, blah, blah. We just wouldn’t do that. And I don’t care what the trolls think. They’re not our ideal clients, let’s put it that way.
Occasionally you may have had a position in, say, a commodity, but I mean, nobody writing about a commodity is going to affect the price of a commodity. But single stocks are very different. I don’t think we’ve ever written about a company where we had a position in the stock and certainly don’t intend to.
BB: That’s one of the things I like about Edwin Dorsey is he doesn’t take active short positions. And I think that becomes more important the larger his impact becomes as a writer. I mean, you saw it with Roblox was the big one for me, where he published that report.
I don’t know if it was pre market or during the trading day, but Roblox, which is a multi billion dollar company, traded down on the news pretty severely and it’s like, damn, that’s a big responsibility. I get why someone like Edwin just says, you know what, I’m just not going to take a position.
And there’s people that are pro that, people that are against that, but think I it’s just a great way to ensure objectivity when you’re writing and just focus on the actual craft and focus on the content that you’re making.
DOOMBERG: Well, to take it a step further, we don’t accept ads or sponsors, so we are 100% subscriber supported, which again, gives us a bit of editorial freedom that we might otherwise even subconsciously not have. As much as we love all of our subscribers, no individual subscriber can materially affect our business.
BB: Well, that’s good.
And so if somebody doesn’t like a piece we wrote, all right, here’s your refund. Thank you for being a subscriber. And that’s it. And we’ve done that. Like, there are some pieces we’ve written that some people disagree with and we just write them a very polite note and issue them a refund and thank them for their interest in Doomberg and move on.
Because ultimately, if you see that royal controlled and we think that runs against the brand ambition. Our ideal clients want to know what our authentic opinions are, not what opinions are shaped by outside money that they’re unaware of.
BB: Have you thought about creating some sort of like Doomberg VC where I know you said you had some public or some private investments and maybe leveraging Doomberg and creating that brand and creating a venture brand around whatever you consider tangible assets and interesting investments on the private side?
DOOMBERG: No is the answer. And again, back to another comment, which is our objective is not to make the most amount of money it’s to make more than enough money doing only what we love. Shepherding other people’s investments and being responsible for the financial outcome of them is not something that we think is a great use of our time. We normally participate in other people’s deals.
We learn over the years how best to sort of navigate the private markets. The private markets aren’t for everybody. There’s a lot of sharks out there, there’s a lot of we’ve been stolen from. Everybody makes all the same early mistakes.
Over time, you get a sense for which projects you want to be part of, and then also the easiest bit in DC is to just give some money back to somebody who made you a lot of money already. They say the easiest fundraisers are the CEOs with successful exits under their belts. And so it’s just not worth it. It would distract from the writing.
It’s a full time job, it’s a job we love, and I wouldn’t want to be associated with aggregating other people’s money and deploying it without giving that the full time job. And so it’s not a way that we intend to leverage the brand, that’s for sure.
BB: One of the topics you write consistently on, and this goes back to your personal and professional background, is energy markets and just energy infrastructure on a global spectrum. And I tweeted out before we actually recorded the podcast, I think it was yesterday, I said, hey, is there any questions I should ask Doomberg? And someone commented was at Ezekiel, and I think this is a really good question. He said, Is there any country or countries that we could consider benchmark in terms of energy policy? Difficult to believe that absolutely every country is doing bad on that flank.
DOOMBERG: Thanks. Yeah, I would get even more narrow, and I would go to a province, and I would go into the province of Ontario, which is the subject of the next piece that we’re writing about that I’m struggling with. The title ontario, in many ways is a showcase for how you can decarbonize your energy sector and not negatively impact the standard of living.
Many people don’t know this, but Ontario has completely eliminated coal from its grid, and they have something like 80 plus percent of their energy coming from either nuclear or renewable hydro, and the rest is sort of some solar, wind and some natural gas. Now that’s in jeopardy as environmentalists are revoking around and trying to get nuclear power shut down, and trying to overload the grid with intermittent power like solar and especially wind. But by and large, Ontario radically reduced the carbon intensity of the energy sector while growing its economy and running a classic first world, well educated, high employment economy.
The power of nuclear is key. There is a solution to the global warming crisis, the climate crisis as it may be called. That solution exists. It requires no technical inventions, and Ontario proves it. It can be done. And it’s not a whole lot of nuclear power. It’s a minimal amount of waste. And anybody who says nuclear waste is a problem is either a victim of propaganda or knowing purveyor of it. And so this is all solved. All it requires is political will and ambition. And I would point people to the story of Ontario.
And the subject of our piece is, again, Dr. Chris Keefer and his team’s effort to try to save one of the reactors that scheduled to come offline in 2025, the Pickering Nuclear reactor in Pickering, Ontario. But yeah, the province of Ontario has done it. It is done. It’s solvable. They have effectively radically reduced their carbon intensity of their economy while maintaining a very vibrant one for their people.
BB: I might ask what might be considered a pretty dumb question, but I’m well outside my circle of competence here when it comes to energy markets and all of that nuclear and everything like that. Why is there such a pushback on nuclear from the Green Environmentalist Party campaign, whatever you want to call it? And then two, why is much of that pushback than being filtered into things like wind and solar? What about wind and solar is so appealing to the Green Environmental Party as opposed to nuclear?
DOOMBERG: So let’s take the first part of the question first, and this is the subject of our next piece, and it’s going to be a controversial one, but if you read the history of the environmental movement in the US, it has a rather unfortunate Malthusian pessimism embedded in it.
So for those listeners who may not know, Robert Malthus was an economist from the late 17, 100, early 18 hundreds, and he wrote a rather unfortunate book on population control. And Malthusianism is sort of an oak growth of eugenics. And people believe that we need to have less people on the planet because they believe pessimistically that humans cannot adapt.
And Malthus himself was a big proponent of both birth control and allowing higher mortality rates, which we described in the piece as a euphemism that can only be written or can only be penned from the comfort of a university campus. So they are fundamentally, primarily concerned with population control. And in fact, we quote one of the early heroes of the environmental movement in the US. Stating something to the effect of unleashing abundant energy now would be akin to giving an idiot child a machine gun.
They were anti human.
And it’s very easy once you sort of fall into the Malthusian mindset, once you think there’s too many people on the planet. It’s a very short step to doing all kinds of vastly things in the name of protecting the planet. And that one need not be a deep student of history to know what I’m talking about. And it’s even easier if those people don’t look like you and they live in a far off land.
And we found some pretty ugly stuff when we did our primary research on this, and we’ll see how much of it makes it into the piece, but it’s jarring just how openly anti human the early opponents of nuclear power were. One can’t understand the history and the evolution of even the regulatory environment in the US. Without first understanding and appreciating that. And it’s time we call bullshit on that. And it’s time that we stop and it’s time to say, look, Ontario approved it. It can be done.
We can support the population we have on the planet without ruining the planet. And here’s how the fascination with wind and solar, we believe, is because they know it won’t work if they don’t want it to work. If they wanted it to work, we’d be doing nuclear. Yeah. And so that’s going to be the thrust of the piece. And the title we’re struggling with is the current working title is Malfusian Malarkey. It’s a good title. We’ll see if it starts.
BB: Do you ever just become so frustrated with the order of things in the world, or the disorder of things in the world, and the seeming lack of common sense about solving problems that not that it almost becomes unbearable, but you almost lose your mind. Even I don’t even know what the word is, but just seeing how something like this, like Ontario, knowing it works, knowing that it can be replicable, and then seeing all this energy, all this money, all this time spent into things like wind and solar, it must be just frustrating to read about it and then write about it constantly.
DOOMBERG: Yeah, well, I’d say there is a place for solar and more energy hits the planet. The Earth is not a closed system. More energy hits the planet from the sun every day than we could ever hope to need by several orders of magnitude.
And so if I had a partition between wind and solar, we would say that continuing to invest in the development of new technologies in the solar space is still very much justifiable. The answer is, now that we have an outlet to express our views, we are comforted by the fact that which would have frustrated us in the past just becomes great fodder for another piece.
We’re never going to run out of stuff to write about, and that’s a great consolation price for us personally. Of course we’re frustrated by what we see, and that frustration comes out in our writing. Some of our pieces are pretty biting, but we capture the indignance that our readers have when they see idiotic politicians making mistakes.
And so to the extent that John Kerry is still a thing, we’re never going to run out of what to write about. And so that’s a pretty good consolation price.
BB: Yeah, it’s almost like a catch 22, right? If politicians and the world starts getting an order, you might have less things to write about and maybe with more chaos more idea generation comes up.
DOOMBERG: Yeah, but although, to be fair, we would trade Doomberg for a better planet.
BB: Yeah, 100%. That was just a little tongue in cheek when you’re a long Idiocy number go up. Yeah, it’s a good point. We’re coming up to the end of our kind of discussion here, and I know your time is incredibly valuable. And once again, thank you so much for coming on. When we look at Doomberg today versus where you want Doomberg to be tomorrow and whatever that tomorrow means, maybe over the next three to five years, I want to go to a snippet of your Twitch Master essay and use it as a springboard for this discussion.
And in that essay, you wrote, quote, in our own small way, we have tried to do the same thing with the evolving nature of financial analysis and commentary. The traditional research houses and old school media outlets are being disrupted by the rapid fire nature of Twitter and plug and play publishing sites like Substack, and we have dedicated our professional lives to capitalizing on these trends. And so when you look out over the next, however long, three to five years, what are some ways or some trends that you’re trying either to capture or trends that you’re trying on for size to see if this is where you want Doomberg to go? And then what do you hope Doomberg as a business looks like in the future? So this answer may disappoint you.
DOOMBERG: We have decided proactively to not think about such questions for at least a year. Our objective is heads down write content six to eight times a month between now and June 30, 2023, at which point all potential other options, if we do that right, become more valuable. And if we start thinking about those other options too soon, it could erode the brand before we’ve enjoyed as much success as possible.
And so, on purpose, we’ve been approached to potentially write a book on building Doomberg or all kinds of people approach us with various business propositions. At one point, we thought about maybe could we develop a public speaking arm of this and have Doomberg remotely, as the animated green chicken, gives professional presentations?
We’re doing none of that. We shut everything down and said we are going to write great pieces that are tightly edited and well produced between now and June 30, 2023, at which point we’ll put the pencil down for a day and think about what we want to do three to five years from now.
The old adage and investing is let your winners run. And a big mistake, we believe, would be becoming distracted from the essence of what made Doomberg successful so far, in an effort to sort of grab more, we’re just going to keep running great pieces and see where it goes. And that’s the plan. And we’re not running out of things to write about. It’s not any less fun than it has been. We really love it. It’s been great for our families. It’s the thing I’m most proud of in my career. And so there’s no need to change.
If it’s going well, just keep doing, show up number, go up and repeat. And we’re going to do that every day between now and June 30, 2023, at which point, if we so choose, because this is, again, a test of our individual sovereignty, we could just keep going, or we could grow and expand and go from there.
Going too soon, we think, would be a mistake. Managing success and enjoying it is just as hard as getting the success in the first place. And we have a specific desire to enjoy the fruits of this labor, to keep producing for our loyal customers, to keep learning, to keep improving, keep helping, keep giving, just live, just enjoy. Attack each day with positivity and enthusiasm and keep going. It’s fun.
So why would I stop? This is a dream job. This is truly, as we say in the piece, we’re blessed to have discovered what it is we’re supposed to be doing. There’s no need to change. Just keep doing that. Do what you were supposed to do, and this is what we were supposed to do. So that’s our plan.
BB: Man, I love that I have nothing to add. I think that was beautifully said. And I think it’s important to just re emphasize the fact that you’re really focusing on one thing and doing that one thing really well. And if the publishing world and the online writing game has shown me anything, it’s that as easy as it is to plug and play, it’s also very easy to switch consoles and to swap out games and to play as many games as possible.
And I love the fact that you’re just playing one game on one system and you’re having as much fun doing it as possible and you don’t see the need or the desire to switch consoles or to swap out one game for another game.
And I think it shows through in your writing and in your content, and clearly it’s shown in the growth of your business. You’re obviously doing a lot of things right. And I hope that we, throughout this hour, I hope that we were able to expose kind of all of the ways in which you have created what you’ve created today. And obviously it’s no overnight success. And so I appreciate you coming on the show and I appreciate you breaking this down.
For someone like myself who’s an online writer, who wants to grow, who wants to reach the successes that you have, it’s inspiring. And so I just appreciate you taking the time to kind of outline your game plan and blueprint for us.
DOOMBERG: Yes, it was a lot of fun. Look forward to coming back anytime, and if we can help you in your journey, we have this relationship now and please feel free to reach out, but it was really enjoyable and I appreciate the opportunity.
BB: Thank you. Yeah. And I’ve got two more questions for you that I ask everybody. First one, where can people go to find out more about you? I think this one’s obvious on Twitter and substack.
DOOMBERG: Yeah, Doombergt on Twitter. The letter T is in team and then Doomberg subsequent.com. Those are the two only places if somebody is saying that we have a discord room or don’t fall for scams.
One of the problems with getting a big Twitter account is there’s fake accounts, and we would never DM anybody about crypto. And then the last question. Go ahead now. Those are the two places to find us.
BB: The last question I ask everybody, Doomberg, is if you could have dinner with one person from the past or the present, who would it be and why?
DOOMBERG: That’s a tough one. I would have to say I would like to have dinner with David Einhorn.
BB: We have never had that person.
DOOMBERG: He’s a hedge fund manager that I respect a lot, that I sort of know from a distance. He has a really sharp mind. I like his sort of personal ethos. And that’ll probably happen someday, knock on wood. But if you just pushed me, if I had to have dinner with somebody on Friday, I would like to have dinner with David Einhorn.
BB: I love it.
DOOMBERG: David Einhorn was the one who gave us the idea to develop the consulting aspect of our practice that helps content creators. So it was a phone conversation with him almost two years ago now, more than two years ago now.
That was the catalyst that sparked the change in our consulting business that led to the practice of helping content creators that ultimately led to Dunburg. And so that’s probably why he jumped into my head, because he’s a key. It was very helpful to give me a half hour of his time on the phone to pick his brain as to how we should reconstitute our consulting business.
And he came up with the idea of this army of people selling into Wall Street that we could probably help their businesses would not be run better. And that was really sort of a turning point in our personal journey. And so it’d be nice to have dinner with David Einhorn and share the success that that conversation ultimately sparked, which he probably has forgotten about, but we certainly haven’t.
BB: I would love to get Einhorn on the podcast. That would be a bucket list one right there. If anybody knows how to reach him, that would be incredible. This has been a great episode. I’d love to have you on again, maybe at 240,000 followers, and you’re making 25 million a year on Doomberg, and you’re taking over the world and playing for keeps.
Thanks so much for coming on, I appreciate it.
DOOMBERG: Thank you. It’s been great.