Founder-Freelancer-Coach-Creator? Plus My Reading List

“The more identities a man has, the more they express the person they conceal.”

― John le Carré, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Hey, just quick heads up, I’m branching out a bit on topics here beyond just brand/attention – to topics on digital business building or relevant areas that come up in conversation with founders/creators I speak with.

I appreciate you hanging with me and understand if that’s not for you.

Why? I realize that I’m weird in that I…

A: Started/ran a remote, global company since 2013, grew it to $2M+ in revenue with a team of ~2 people. My co-founder lives in New Zealand and I was in Ohio. We literally met online. It’s the only “job” I ever really had, and we made up a lot of our own non-conventional ways of doing things…

B: Now I Consult and Coach founders who are also remote, early-stage, and looking to scale. Because I never worked anywhere, I believe this is a blessing and curse. The blessing is I think I add new perspectives and sometimes am not trapped by convention. The curse is I don’t know much about working at big organizations… or what the word “Scrum” means.

I also feel like I worked through many challenging cycles of remote/global creative work in the years prior to this whole shift.

C: Personally I am no longer in any one category… Founder? Consultant? Coach? Freelancer? Creator?

I think this will shift to more and more people becoming “Full Stack” in whatever role they are in. You might have a side project. You might even have a Rolling Fund, but you fill other roles too.

So I’ll share things that I think are for those types of people. For people who are looking to build their career in multiple roles, often at one time.

I think this is the new norm.

We are in the great migration to the internet.

It only accelerates from here…

Telegram Reading List + Recent Reads

I keep a weekly Telegram channel that I publish what I’m reading to. It’s one thing that people have actually asked me to charge for, which I was kind of stunned by.

So, I might charge for it. Basically I consume everything and them am verrry picky about what I share. But that means you get a channel directly to reads/media that I find most interesting.

Still free for now, but here is the channel:

Here are some recent reads:

  1. Squad Wealth

  2. The Potential for Slow Fashion

  3. Scarcity Status versus Abundance Status

  4. Are business models the new frontier for innovation?

  5. Taiwan is now Arrakis

Join Telegram Channel

Hey, what’s up it’s David. I love brand communication and helping founders grow. I founded Death to Stock and help organize Jacuzzi Club. etc. etc.

Pay Attention to What You Share

How the Social Dilemma Begins with Us.

It’s easy to get stuck thinking about a message that you need to force yourself to rank in the feed. 

What should I say? What can I do to promote myself? What can I share to earn attention?

Of course, there are tricks; like the Thumbnail card on Youtube, like the latest style of Tweet thread, and the Instagram story format that leads to more engagement. 

These things work, but then they change…

What stays the same is the privilege that we have to connect with someone else. 

It’s funny, you can use those tricks in two ways, with varying degrees of success. 

Because in one instance people feel your earnest attempt to reach out and touch them with a message, a lesson, some new piece of information that they delight in…

And the other instance they feel that you seek some type of manipulation, that there is a vacancy behind the message. 

Like junk food, you consumed it, but it doesn’t make you feel full. 

In the attention economy we have infinite choice for where to spend our time and attention. 

If people choose to spend some of it with you,  I hope you choose to create and risk connecting. Choosing the path that thoughtfully was crafted to delight or connect. 

 Not to be “authentic” and not for “followers and fans” – but because each subscriber, even if there are 10 in total, is another human on the other side. 

Those messages ripple out and shape how others see and what they care about or spend their valuable time on.

If you’ve seen “The Social Dilemma” on Netflix you’ll understand that the algorithms are an intermediary that reflects and amplifies what we consume. 

But if we create, and consume, with that holistic attitude we’ll see a different type of message become amplified.

It won’t fix the world, but it can grow and shape your circle.

And literally, what you put out, will come back to you…

So pay attention to what you share.

Hey, what’s up it’s David. I love brand communication and helping founders grow. I founded Death to Stock and help organize Jacuzzi Club. etc. etc.

Conversations, Spotify, Circle, etc.

Hey, what’s up it’s David. I love brand communication and helping founders grow. I founded Death to Stock and help organize Jacuzzi Club. etc. etc.

This week I’m recording more episodes for my show where I chat with Internet creators about how they’re building a brand and community around what they do. I spoke with my friend Adrian from The Proof, Ben Tossell who I work with at Makerpad plus a few other shows are up.

This latest episode is with Anna Gát from the Interintellect which is a community for intellectuals.

You can listen here

You can also listen on Spotify

Her model is really unique in that there are global online salons you can attend each month – and those who host are both members and they get paid to lead the conversation. I have yet to attend but plan to soon.

Spotify Podcasting

Notice that I link these separate.

Also, Spotify doesn’t embed yet into Substack, and I see why. Substack is going after a similar market with its own podcasting tools built into the newsletter.

These days I’m more keen on sharing links to Spotify.

I’m loving their new podcast playlist feature and I think it’s the future of podcast discovery.

Basically you can now get a “discover weekly” version for podcasts which you subscribe to.

I think podcast discovery is massively broken and that playlists will be successful in surfacing what’s new and suggesting podcasts that I might not know about.

Spotify knows everything about your music preferences. I am willing to bet and hoping it will do the same for audio in general, which is a massive market and opportunity.

I’m trying something new and launching a Circle forum community for readers of my Caffeine newsletter.

I want to use this space to share more about what I’m seeing, and even some personal updates. And Caffeine is more specifically for helping others understand their own ideas, how to package and share them, and how to continue to grow in their career. This mirrors some of the coaching work I do with founders and teams.

Here is a bit more about it:

It's tough to try something new. 

You think you're going to get to it but you never seem to be able to.

You hear a voice down there somewhere urging you forward but yet you retreat. 

All of the fears that come with putting your ideas out there into the world stem from being afraid to be seen, as you are.

So often we're stuck pretending and that leaves us stuck in two worlds...

The internal – where we know who we are, what we're after, and we're grounded in our own presence.


The external – where we try and achieve, we perform, but not for the results we want. For the results we think OTHERS want…

That's why I'm going to be leading us through a series of new group experiments, each designed to help you develop internal clarityby taking you through micro-experiments and micro-risks aimed only at helping become more of who you are.

This is for you if:

  • You're one part business drive, one part grounded in the longer journey of your life.

  • You work better in beautiful spaces.

  • Your hobby grounds you (even if you don't get to it enough).

  • You wish to contribute more to the conversation.

Register interest here: 

Apply to Join Caffeine Circle Community

Communities still are a very hot topic right now.

Here is a post or to read: The Social Architecture of Impactful Communities

Running a Paid Membership Program from Craig Mod.

Last, I first heard Ana Andjelic speak on Clubhouse. Then I started reading more of her work. She has an amazing Substack called The Sociology of Business which I recommend here:

Have a great Friday,

I’m David, thanks for your attention. Hit reply to chat more about your brand or community or anything else that you’ve got questions about.

🏴 Refreshing media for those who care enough to be different –  Death to the Stock Photo (Join 500k subs)

New Brand Obsession: Haeckles

Hey, what’s up it’s David. I love brand communication and helping founders grow. I started Death to Stock and help organize Jacuzzi Club.

One thing I like to share is the brands that I crush on. I find that having a healthy dose of excitement as a fan helps train your eye, keep you humble and hungry. It reminds me of when famous people meet each other and still freak out, like an actor meeting a rockstar and being star-struck. Not that I’m famous, or an actor.

I’ve done it before talking about Endel or Mineral.

Today I want to point out another brand that’s on my mind.

Not that they will be globally dominant but instead that they carry some magic to them that’s worth being in awe of.

Haeckles –

Haeckels utilises its coastal location to harvest and distil seaweed, ocean mud and marine minerals in its home and body products.

Brand Story:

Haeckels was founded in 2012 by volunteer beach warden and coastal enthusiast Dom Bridges. Disillusioned by the production ethos of many larger skin care companies Dom wanted to create simple hand crafted products that showcased the surrounding coasts natural ingredients in the hope that the products themselves would then promote Margates heritage of healthy coastal living. When Haeckels was just starting out Dom would collect seaweed and local botanicals along the Margate coast and bring them bring back to his family kitchen to experiment. Dom’s wife Jo soon said it was time to get a proper Lab and turn a passion into a business as every saucepan in the kitchen was starting to smell like a skin care product. Taking his wifes advice he acquired the Lab on Cliff Terrace in 2013 where more product formulas were developed to complete the range.


Eco-Focused Product Development

Kelp bio-ferment:

Grown to order bio-restore membrane eye-masks.

Well here’s the thing. Usually, we’d say why we make it, but this is different because we grow it.

It’s not a new concept. In fact, it’s one of the oldest concepts out there. Growing just the right amount; some years you’d have a bumper harvest, other years you wouldn’t. But you’d never end up taking too much from mother Earth.

Bio-degradable Mycelium Grown Candle Packaging

Once the whole mould has turned white it means that the Mycelium has fully encompassed the form and is acting like glue.

They built a community owned Sauna that lives on the beach.

Funded via Patreon.

Visit Haeckles Site

Haeckle’s is showing that the way forward, like any luxury brand, is multi-sensory.

They infuse sustainability and craftsmanship and have a deep anchor to their purpose and their materials.

They include the community in their experiments and open their doors for new people to come and discover what they’ve found…

This wasn’t planned: it arose from a desire to share Haeckels with other people; to enthuse them about the health-giving properties of the sea; to raise awareness about natural products that are every bit as effective as chemical-derived alternatives.

Seaweed hydrates; it’s rich with valuable vitamins, minerals and amino acids; it’s anti-bacterial, skin rebuilding and anti-inflammatory; it’s all-natural, and all around us. Under licence, we harvest it by hand from the beach just steps away from our shop.

Share Art $ Attention

🏴 Refreshing media for those who care enough to be different –  Death to the Stock Photo (500k subs)

  • A chat room for the hottest brands around the globe –  Jacuzzi Club

  • Check out what I’m reading – A$A Reading List on Telegram.

  • Created the Mystery USB (sold out in a day)

  • Crowdfunded a Road Trip around the U.S. (2x)

Speaking the "Language" of Distribution Channels


How do you identify and select the right distribution channel for your message?

1/ Every Distribution channel has a “language” that it speaks which is hardcoded by features (think Instagram Square, Twitter 180 characters) and then emergent via users breaking those features (think uploading cropped IG photos, Tweet Threads, cashtags etc.)

2/ When you’re early to a new network, start by being as mimetic as possible. Play by the rules and speak the language of the culture.

3/ The longer the channel has been around, the more you need to break and stretch the medium to stand out.

4/ As an example – Tesla put cars in the Mall and let you preorder them in a waitlist – breaking free from Dealerships to engage in a new distribution channel that benefits consumers. They also shot them in space (hey, no-competition).

5/ Three flavors of consumer attention:

  • Discovery (I want to be surprised! Think: Pinterest)

  • Intent (I know what I want! Think: Google)

  • Curation (A mix of the two, I elect YOU to help me select). Know which one you are for people and if you’re using the distribution network as intended.

I’m David, and you can check out some of my work – Hit reply to chat more about your brand or community or anything else that you’ve got questions about.

  • Refreshing media for those who care enough to be different –  Death to the Stock Photo (500k subs)

  • A chat room for the hottest brands around the globe –  Jacuzzi Club

  • Check out what I’m reading – A$A Reading List on Telegram.

  • Created the Mystery USB (sold out in a day)

  • Crowdfunded a Road Trip around the U.S. (2x)

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