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Meet the Founder of the World's Fastest Growing AI Newsletter

The reasons behind the re-brand and hot startup ideas in the branding space to check out for your next name change

儭 Welcome back to Napkin Notes: the startup newsletter that feels like the first sip of coffee you take on Saturday morning.

Warm, calming and full of flavour. So even if you lost your top customer or got in a tussle w/ your co-founder, were still there for you holding your hand every step of the way.. Deep breath in... deep breath out... ahhhhhh.

Lets dive in.

Todays Menu

  • News round-up

  • AMA with the Founder of the fastest-growing AI newsletter

  • Startup ideas to build this weekend

  • Xs of the week (that sounds hella weird)

News Round-Up: Ubers finally cashflow positive. Barbenheimer box office stays strong. Tesla had a cover-up. Metas pulling news in Canada. NATO raised 1 billion for a fund thatll invest in startups. There was a big Superconductor breakthrough from LK-99. UFO reports are grabbing Nasa's interest. Its the first Friday of August which means were keeping today short so you WFH folks can drive out to the cottage early (we wont taddle).

In other fun news: our CEO had their baby this week.

So todays newsletter may get a little crazy. Q for the readers: how many days should our CEO get off work to celebrate?

How many days off work should our CEO get for having a baby?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

Thats enough of a preface, now were moving straight to the end.

Ask Me Anything with Rowan Cheung, the Founder of the Fastest-Growing AI Newsletter

Forget the summer swimming pool, today were diving into a chat with Rowan Cheung, the founder of The Rundown.

Whats The Rundown? Its the fastest-growing AI newsletter in the world.

Dont worry, we hear you in the back, Nick. Thats a fair question. For those that couldnt hear him, Nick said Everyone and their dog has an AI newsletter. What makes this guy any different?

Well, Nick:

  • 儭 hes averaging ~2500 new subscribers per day

  • he just shared a photo of passing 250,000 subs in 7 months

  • he builds in public and consumes AI 12 hours per day

  • Has a 42% open rate and an 8.1% click-through

In other words, hes what you could call a Mr. Napkin-Notes Nice Guy

Enough soup and bread, lets get to the main course.

Our Q&A With Rowan Cheung:

  • 儭 Q: Give us a 30-sec intro of who you are, your 9-5 job and what youre most excited about this year.

  • I'm Rowan Cheung, AI addict and founder of The Rundown, a newsletter that's grown to over 250k subscribers in 7 months.

  • I'm doing this full-time now, I guess you could say it's my 9-9 job now since I'm pushing nearly 12-hour days aiming to become the AI education and news hub of the internet

  • I'm very excited about the developments in the AI x healthcare industry, fitness, autonomous vehicles, and of course, having my own digitalized personal assistant. I'm absolutely fascinated by the pace of AI and the rapid speed of developments coming out (which is why I originally started a newsletter to kind of, ramble my excitement).

  • 儭 Q: How do you prep, write and publish your newsletter each day? Is it a mix of web 2 and web 3 tools?

  • 儭 A: its pretty old-fashioned. I don't use AI to write my newsletter because

    • A) there's a risk of hallucinations (which can lead to misinformation)

    • B) AI produces really bulky, unreadable copy, and

    • C) I just like the human touch

  • 儭 A: Occasionally if I'm stuck with writer's block, I copy what I've written, and I ask ChatGPT (GPT-4) to "Make this easier to read" or "Turn this into bullet points."

  • 儭 A: For research tools, I use:

    • feedly.com

    • Twitter

    • As well as several "Influencer programs" with major tech companies, which give me big news drops a little earlier than publicly available.

Since I promised to get you to the cottage on time, Im leaving out a couple more answers. To read Rowans full writing process, click below.

  • 儭 Q: What business verticals have the biggest disruption coming?

  • 儭 A: There's a ton of room right now to build within the AI productivity tools niche, AI Characters, and AI education (which is what I'm building since I'm not the most technical).

  • 儭 Q: How do people get started building in this AI gold rush? 5-10 fav tools/places to learn?

  • 儭 A: Honestly, there's a ton of free information available right now on YouTube and Twitter. Start learning, testing tools, engaging with the community in the comments and DMs, and it will lead you to places you never could've imagined. Other than that (shameful plug) I post all the most important up-to-date news and tools in my newsletter, as well as Supertools- my AI tool database, where I post all of the most useful AI tools that are actually useful. If I were to pick my top most actually used AI tools right now, they would be ChatGPT and Perplexity for chatbots, Midjourney, Firefly (specifically Photoshop generative fill) for design, My Mind, Vimcal for productivity, Wondercraft, and Adobe podcast for podcast creation.

  • 儭 Q: Most lucrative opportunities? Best moats to build OpenAIs next feature doesnt wipe out your startup idea?

  • 儭 A: I think the most important thing to make sure OpenAI doesn't wipe your idea is to build something with a super strong user base that keeps people hooked to your product. What Character AI has done in terms of retention is honestly shocking, and is what anyone should strive for. But in the end, no one knows where we will be in the next couple of years, let alone the next decade. Jaspar AI, one of the largest AI startups in the world has been cutting staff amidst this AI hype cycle, which shows that there's always significant risk.

  • 儭 Q: If you werent doing this Newsletter, what AI app/startup would you spin up today?

  • 儭 A: Good question, I would try to target the AI education sector. There's just so much noise, too much, and I've noticed it overwhelms beginners when entering the space. I would target education in terms of where to start, how to actually apply AI tools, how to build AI products, how to integrate AI into your business, etc.

  • 儭 Q: Best way for readers to contact you?

  • 儭 A: My DMs on Twitter are always open to anyone looking for help getting started in AI, as well as giving you my honest take on any potential startup ideas. I try my best to respond to everyone.

3 Startup Ideas to Build This Weekend

  • The elevator pitch: a unique content-sharing platform for the 25 million knowledge workers

  • Shared on bulletpitchs group

  • The Founder is X-McKinsey and X-Google

  • Timely startup idea to scale

  • Progress updates show theyre on a growth tear

  • ComplyDog now has dozens of paying customers and the founders looking for a marketing partner they can pay via revenue share. If you know someone thatd be interested and has the bandwidth to scale this product, email [email protected]

Got a better startup idea than these 3? Prove it hot shot. Tap that button below.

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