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How to turn a beautiful life experience into hustle culture ad copy.

Three months ago an app I made received a buyout offer for 10% equity in the company making the purchase. The deal would require my co-founder to work for them for 2 years.

Recently, that company was acquired. Our payout? $1 million, maybe more.

But, we said NO.

My co-founder would be stuck in a job where he would not thrive for TWO YEARS. He’s a young man, two years would equate to 10% of his entire life.

He is an astonishingly masterful salesman, not even for his age, but in general. Being stuck in one company would stifle him.

So, what did we do after hearing the news? We high-fived each other. Why? Our cash-out from the deal was much more valuable for us.

Value that is eternal, not fleeting like money. He honored his soul, and I honored his choice. We did not waiver then and we do not regret now.

Why is it that the feeds in my social media communities are filled with people going viral touting easy money? Without proper context, most people would think our touting is insane or some humble-brag ploy.

The former may be true, but for this reason: We drew a line in the sand for anyone who wants to truly know us in future dealings. We do not sell what is eternal — time spent, family, friends, brotherhood.

We are patient because we have faith that our creator — whatever that creator may be to you — will provide us the prosperity we seek without compromise.

We chose happiness and life. What greater gift than to have your happiness affirmed by missing out on a life-changing amount of money and not even batting an eye?

Meta Commentary

My hope is this post can take a genuinely beautiful moment in both life and business and twist it into something with an asterisk. You may have seen posts like this on Facebook or other social media. A tale of perceived success, grit, and the underdog winning in an unexpected way. And now you are hearing about it. To what end?

To buy something, of course. And what are you buying? Most times, a course, of course. This ad copy is ultimately selling a story. The story sells the course and the course rarely has any value. The value was in the story.

It reminds me of when my mom would justify giving more money to a homeless man than the average homeless man. He would weave an intricate story for her and she would pay them for taking the time to do so. When you buy these courses, you are compensating people for their time putting that story in front of you because anything after that does not yield any further value in the transaction after reading the ad copy.

The Asterisk

So, what is my asterisk? I am trying to make connections with people. I want to be able to reach into a pool of like-minded people and provide them with something, whether they pay me or not. I’m not selling anything now, but I may in the future. If you feel like we jive, give me a follow or sign up to my newsletter on this website to keep up with all the weird stuff that will pop up in your feed/inbox.

I try to provide high value thoughts, software, jokes, memes, designs, and more. If I start spamming low-value stuff, consider giving me a chance and call me out on it before unsubscribing. Constructive criticism will be met with gratitude. I want to provide value for you, not my ego. I am still learning how to identify the difference, still identifying how to best serve.

P.S. — No, I’m not actually selling a course, and yes, the story at the beginning was 100% true.

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Do you enjoy my mindless, self-indulgent ramblings?

First off, there’s what is wrong with you?! Read my other stuff, it’s much more useful and optimistic.

Secondly, I will only enable your masochism to a certain extent. As such, I will send updates that I am completely convinced will be valuable to you. I respect your time by respecting my time. I don’t send frivolous bullshit.


Sorry, sorry! I just thought since you've been on this site for longer than average, you might hear me out?

Why do you do this to me, Ian...

Okay, okay, I'll be quick! I have a newsletter to keep you up-to-date on my content and projects. If my stuff tickles your pickle, help us both out by subscribing!

Also, I don't do anything shady or aggressive with your email address. I'll only send you the good stuff and won't share your email with any person/provider that isn't working for me to serve you better.

'Serve me better.' What deliciously vague jargon. Is this where you pretend to be me and you make me respond with a contrived form of consent because you're bold enough to assume this cute little chat interface gimmick is enough to actually get me to sign up?

Ummm... uhhh... ahh... Sign up and get exclusive discounts and early access!!!! Come ooooon! Induced scarcity is fun!

...alright, well, I'll leave it up to you.

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