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This month I experimented with promoting Kinopio by actively reaching out to newsletter writers, bloggers, youtubers, and podcasters whose work I like, and who've been interested in creative software or thinking tools. The recipients ranged from newer individuals to big established influencers. The plan was that I'd tell them about Kinopio, they'd check it out and if they liked it, would share it with their audience.

I spent days writing individual emails to about 30 people, but I didn't get a single response back.

There's a couple ways to interpret this:

  1. Maybe they read the emails, checked out Kinopio, and thought it sucked
  2. Maybe they get so much email that they ignored it (I only contacted people who publicly published their contact info and invited correspondence)
  3. Maybe they haven't gotten to it yet

But regardless, I think the only take away is to not do direct outreach anymore, it's proven to be a waste of time.

The best results I've got so far were with people finding it themselves and telling others about it – as unknowable as that process is. Also posting on hackernews myself was surprisingly successful.

(I'm still interested in doing podcasts though, it's a fun medium that I have experience both hosting and being on. But the ineffectiveness of reaching out to people directly, dissuades me from reaching out.)

So there's that failure, but on the other hand, it means more time to do what I like: building new features, improvements, and drawing more frames.

Outreach doesn't work

It's about time for me to form a legal company. My plan right now is to make an nyc LLC, probably using https://www.zenbusiness.com . Anyone have any advice or feelings about forming an LLC?

I looked into Stripe Atlas, but it's really expensive and seems v tailored to silicon VC style companies. Also I don't like how they open a business bank account for you, I want to make my own biz account at my current bank (TD).

There's like additional factors for me to consider like not being a USA citizen, but being Canadian (a country w a tax treaty with USA), and charing users in USD, I think it'd still be an advantage to have an american company. Having ownership of a american company also opens me up for a much less annoying to get business visa (E type).

Based on some rough research at https://kinopio.club/-bizness-incorporation-naonms93q6fJNE7N0vwJI

legal entity formation planning
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Today I launched Kinopio on ProductHunt. I thought it was a big deal so I spent 2-3 days on getting it just right. Based everything on the instructions in their blog post.

When it released I also tweeted about it and a bunch of people graciously took the time to upvote it and comment. I'm super grateful for that.

However, PH hid the post which meant no one else could see it with no indication. This, as I discovered, is par for the course.

TIL: PH isn't a meritocracy based on upvotes. Apparently, posts have to be approved to be shown. But how, why, and when a post is allowed is deliberately kept secret (2015 source, looks like they haven't gotten more transparent since then).

The only thing worse than gatekeepers, is secret gatekeepers. In the shadows is where quid pro quo, privileged silicon valley in-groups, and payola lurk. It's not a good feeling to learn that yet again some of us aren't running the same race as everyone else.

We're asked to trust these things that don't trust us back.

(I might expand on all this in a blog post if there's interest)

shadowy gatekeepers
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The next round of kinopio updates are gonna be a bit more delayed than I'd like, my visa is expiring soon so I've got to move back to Toronto, Canada.

On some bright-side I'll have a cleaner sense on what effect (if any) my last blog post had on kinopio usage. Either way, I'm pretty happy with how that post turned out actually – https://pketh.org/how-kinopio-is-made.html) .

Bureaucracy and borders remain a lifelong thorn in my side, but in the 6~ years I've been here I've met some cool ppl here, a few friends-for-life (even if it's gonna have to be over videochat for a while), some new mentors, some people I thought were mentors and turned out to be disappointments (although you can learn just as much from that), and possibly-most-importantly found my voice talking to a global audience. Thank you all. We'll see each other again someday I'm sure.

In truth I'm looking forward to living in Toronto again for the vibe, but also because little things like not feeling invited to live in a place silently weighs upon ones soul.

(Also if you live in Toronto reach out, I'd love to hear from you and cuz I don't know what neighborhood I should live in yet)

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after an afternoon of trapping, and killing, and disposing of mice, and scrubbing.. so much scrubbing. I had really enlightening chat about marketing with Fred (https://twitter.com/f), formerly the 1st employee of techCrunch.

I think there were a lot of gems that we recorded, which he'll probably release later. But the thing I'm really lingering on is that Kinopio is for visual thinkers. It's obvious in a way, it's such a visual tool, but I was struggling with how to explain the tool and who that description should speak to.

Functionally, Kinopio is designed to be used horizontally. You can use it for planning a vacation or planning your next developer sprint. I didn't want to narrow it's focus to just developers, or designers, or whatever.

But "Visual Thinkers" really works, and it distinguishes Kinopio from other 'tools for thought' like Roam which are pitched a bit more cerebrally.

"For Visual Thinkers and Sharers"
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