How I Plan To Build a Relationship with a Keynote Speaker

Read time: 4 minutes

Welcome to The Ascend Archives Tuesday Wednesday Tale, a weekly newsletter where I share a story about a transformation, revelation, or change in thinking that has helped improve an aspect of my life.

Listening for the Problem

While at my conference last week, I sat in on a fireside chat between Nathan Barry (CEO of Convertkit) and Jon Youshaei (Former executive at YouTube and Instagram).

The previous day, Jon had given a keynote speech to 300+ people. His presentation included tons of research and was well rehearsed. I was impressed by this polished guy I had never heard of.

But during the fireside chat, I got to know Jon as a person.

He shared his lessons learned working at top social media companies, why he decided to pursue a path as a creator, and what his focus was right now in his business. He took a deep dive into his decision to recently launch a newsletter.

This was music to my ears.

Quick side note: I learned a tip from Sahil Bloom that I use at every meetup, networking event, or phone call with someone new. Instead of asking someone, “What do you do?”, I ask them “What are you most excited about right now?” It avoids the awkward work question and allows them to take the question wherever they want.

I take this a step further by listening for and/or asking additional questions to figure out a problem or struggle they are experiencing related to “the thing” they are most excited about. It could be professionally, personally, health wise, or anything else. But once I hear their problem, I make a mental note and eventually an actual note of what they are working on and where they are struggling. That note is my golden ticket to follow up with that person whenever I want.

Back to the fireside chat…

At one point, Nathan asked the audience to give Jon tips on how to grow his newsletter. He has 5,000 subscribers with a goal of reaching 100,000 in a year from now. One guy raised his hand and said, “At the end of my podcast episodes, I offer my audience a PDF with key takeaways from the episode in exchange for their email address”.

Jon replies, “Really? Why would people want a summary of what they just listened to?”

He then polled the audience. “Who would download something like this after listening to podcast you enjoyed?”

90% of the room put their hands up.

Jon was shocked, “Wow, I never would have guessed that”. Then half joking he said, “If anyone knows someone good at summarizing information, send them my way”.

BINGO. A problem and solution was dropped in my lap. Summarizing key takeaways is what I do every Friday in this newsletter. I was the perfect man for the job.

Now, I could’ve sent Jon a nicely worded email thanking him for his great insights at the conference, linking to my newsletter, and offering to help him draft these key takeaway documents. Maybe I’d get a response, but probably not. Instead, I decided to pursue the same strategy that got me my first client: free work.

The MrBeast Interview

Jon was pumped about a recent interview he did with MrBeast (the most subscribed channel on YouTube with over 270 MILLION subscribers). It was a 90 minute exclusive where MrBeast announced a new company he was launching. This was the perfect video for my test case.

I only get one first impression with Jon so I didn’t want to half ass this.

I had never heard him on a podcast before so I decided to listen to it twice. First I listened while hiking and just jotting down a few notes on my phone. Second, I watched on YouTube while waiting at the airport. This time I took extensive notes. Then on the plane, I reviewed all the notes and distilled 16 key takeaways.

I’m good with the words, but not making them look good.

So I phoned a friend. I asked my roommate who is a product designer if he had any AI tools that could help turn my words into a graphic. He didn’t, but offered to make me a template using his company’s design software.

After one more round of refinement, I had my PDF.

Final Thoughts

There is a good chance Jon never responds. Or he doesn’t actually need this. Or it’s not valuable to him.

But ya never know.

Worst case?

I learned a few things from MrBeast, I got access to a cool template for the future, and I leveraged this as content for my newsletter.

Best case?

The possibilities are endless building a relationship with a guy who texts with MrBeast and Logan Paul.

Thank you for reading! As always please reply and let me know what resonated, what didn’t, or what you question. I love chatting about this stuff!