The Week Of Expanding Perceptions, Niche Research, and Incredible Food

This Week:

  • My final days at the co-living hotel, was it worth it?
  • The rocky start to the hostel I moved to this week.
  • The unbelievable food I’ve been finding in Kuala Lumpur.

January 2024

Su M T W Th F S

Where In The World Was I?

  • 🇲🇾 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Metrics From The Week

Final Days At Komune Living

I finally used the rooftop pool!

I took a little rest/recharge break last Sunday, swam in the pool, sat on the chairs, and looked out at the skyline and thought.

Another morning I decided to pull off the gas a bit on the niche research (more on that below) and went to a coffee shop at a mall instead.

On my walk back from the mall I passed a big group of school kids sitting on the steps eating lunch, hanging out. They all waved hi and reached their hands out to give me high fives 😄

And on my last night I went to a different business district/center/area for dinner and stumbled into this random market.

Expanding My Perceptions Of Reality

I got curious one day and tried get “cultured” by ChatGPT (aka “learning,” lol). I’ve seen so many women wearing hijabs here and was trying to learn what they were, why they wore them, etc.

And I went down a little rabbit hole learning about the Islamic religion, the values, and how the differences in religious cultures have produced different cultural and social values.

It was actually fascinating.

I don’t consider myself particularly religious but it was just really interesting to learn about.

It was actually this lecture series on the psychological interpretation of the Bible that was (and still is) the most influential thing that’s opened my mind to learning more about religion.

So with that context, I just found it really interesting how the people here simply value different things (I learned ~60% of Malaysians in Kuala Lumpur are Muslim). I think what makes it so interesting and real to me is that I’m here in it. It’s no longer “the people over there” if I were still in the U.S., it’s the coffee shop barista I get my coffee from, the metro driver, and the Porsche driver that drives by.

I talked about this in a video. I tried to walk a fairly “politically correct” line so unfortunately it wasn’t as interesting as I would’ve liked it to be, but here are some more thoughts:

One of the biggest insights here is that travel has completely opened up my eyes to the world. I don’t even do “local” and “cultural” activities. I’ve just been simply existing in different places and even that has actually changed how I see people, the U.S., and the world.

Maybe for a variety of reasons, but having grown up in the U.S. and pretty much barely traveled outside of it, I more or less had this perception that the U.S. was the center of the universe. I just didn’t really every think about other cultures or places. Maybe that’s obvious, but I never thought about that either.

But having met so many people from different countries and just existed in different places, my perception has changed. I mean at the end of the day, these cities are all kinda the same. There’s cars, public transit, people go to work, they eat at restaurants, they drink coffee, they run in parks, they go to school.

My “weighting” of attention towards the U.S. has lessened. Having been to a handful of other cities and countries, I’m actually more intrigued as to how and why the U.S. basically leads the globe (money, economy, etc.). Like sure I can understand the underlying influences, but it just doesn’t feel like it out here.

I dunno, I tried my best to articulate my thoughts here, but there’s still a lot of uncovering to do.

Bottom line, I’m incredibly grateful to be able to travel to these other countries because it’s been expanding my perception of people and the world. There’s so much more life out there.

Onto The Next

I wrapped up my thoughts on staying at Komune Living in this video.

I think if I can sum up some of the main points:

  • I thought I needed a co-working space, but I didn’t need it as much as I thought
  • I thought I needed to be next to an Anytime Fitness but the gym was way better than I expected
  • I think I can find cheaper places to live but still get maintain a similar amount of work, focus, and mental/physical health

There was a lot more nuance (and interesting notes 😅) in the video.

It started as an experiment and I’d say it was worth it! Onto the next experiment.

Back To Hostel Life

After lots of searching I found a hostel that was 1. near healthy food restaurants 2. somewhat near a gym and 3. had a place to work.

I was hopeful!

And then I became less hopeful after the first night…

I think this story is better told via video than text, lol:

BUT he left the next day so we’re good, 👌 my sleep has since improved 😂

Business Progress Update

I’m still very much in the idea/research/niche/opportunity identification phase. I feel like I’ve been here the past 4 months 😅

Essentially this is what I’m tangibly looking for:

  • A niche
  • A target customer
  • An idea on how I can uniquely provide value to that target customer/solve a specific problem
  • This idea should have a clear path to automation

I’ve been looking at lead generation, influencer marketing, marketing for dental practices, problems for digital nomads, travel, coffee shops, private communities, and digital analytics.

I finally stepped away from ChatGPT this week (for at least a day, lol) and dove into subreddits. I came across r/influencermarketing and actually was impressed by the problems, validation, and opportunities I found. It felt like they were endless. When I looked at subreddits for travel blogging and dental marketing I did NOT see the same kind of validation.

It was really refreshing to see real pain points, real problems be validated by people NOT in the context of me trying to parse out information from people or in any kind of “business idea” context.

I looked deeper at a bunch of the opportunities I found from my reddit search and narrowed in on one in particular, focusing in on the due diligence and vetting process of influencer marketing.

I found a potential gap or opportunity, I just don’t know if 1. that’s a result of not knowing enough 2. if anyone’s willing to pay for it and 3. if I can actually execute on it.

So this is the process I’m following as I continue with this hypothesis:

  • Craft hypothesis
  • Rough check: can it be automated/scaled?
  • Preliminary market research – does the problem exist?
  • Refine niche – who exactly is the target customer?
  • [Currently here] Competitive analysis – clearly see where my product stands out from the rest
  • Define value prop and differentiator – decide EXACTLY what value I’m specifically offering
  • Ensure technical validation – can I actually reasonably achieve the promise?
  • Create landing page – highlights pain points, benefits, differentiators
  • Run ads
  • Assess results – qualitative feedback, emails, nurture leads

I came across a reddit commenter in r/SaaS who said he’s built multiple SaaS products and his process is always: hypothesis, build landing page for early access, run ads, have people either sign up or answer specific questions, nurture leads. I figure maybe this is a better process to follow here than trying to do cold reach outs to my target customer like the travel blogger research.

So hey, we’ll see where it goes.

My biggest concern here is ending up trying to build something that I’m just not that interested in. I’m trying to either find some overlap with my interests, or figure out how to just learn to enjoy and GET interested in this process.

The whole “solve a problem that you have” is great and all, and I do that constantly, I just haven’t tried monetizing anything there. The problem I see here is that I don’t think that solving any of the problems that I have will get me to building the type of automated SaaS business that I’m looking for… And I’m not quite sure how to reconcile that.

Naturally there’s no rule book for me to follow (that I know of). Some people say follow your passion, some say solve problems that you have, some say build something that’s separate from your passion…

And the kicker? Everyone’s right.

Notable Content From The Week

Practical Tools To Hack Your Brain For Success – Dr Andrew Huberman (4K) (from Chris Williamson) – chock full of interesting ways to improve your health and life with science.

Men Should Stay Single for Longer Part 2 (from 1M) – He believes in a +/- 10 year age gap in marriage. I’m not 100% convinced from the examples, but I’m definitely opening up to this perspective. I’ve never really thought about this life/dating strategy before, I’ve only known what I’ve known, so I’ve been appreciating the new perspectives. It’s interesting that GaryVee is potentially in the mix here now…

Double Down on Masculinity the Woke Era is Ending (from 1M) – I know nothing about movies, but apparently the Barbie movie and Mean Girls came out recently? The idea here is that over the next 5-10 years, the money will flow back to movies like these and media basically controls the cultural narrative. “Follow the money” as they say. Who knows, speculation, but I did find it an interesting perspective.

Alex Hormozi Explains How to be Both Successful AND Happy (from Mozi Media; a clip from Chris Williamson x Alex Hormozi podcast) – People superimposing their world views onto others… 1000%

The Food… The FOOD.

The food here is actually insane. I mean, I kind of intentionally picked this hostel location because it was next to these healthy food restaurants, I just wasn’t expecting them to be this good.

I’ve been eating at Agrain and La Juiceria Superfoods. Both of them list the calorie count for each menu item and La Juiceria even shows you the macro breakdown for each menu item 🥹

  • Each bowl above was between $4-$6 is between 400 and 800 calories, the oatmeal 500cal was $4.50, the 22oz smoothie 500cal was also about $4.50

My brain still hasn’t fully understood the fact that I can eat high quality, delicious, healthy, clean, filling food, for reasonable prices. It just doesn’t make sense. I feel so lucky and grateful to be here.

The closest thing I can think of in the U.S. is Chipotle. Last year I would frequently get a solid portion/bowl of food that’s pretty high quality clean food, for $12-$13. CHEAP as they say. And that’s excluding chips and guac, otherwise more like $14-$17. (I just realized I have so many Chipotle bowl pictures on my blog here lol, Feb 19th 2023, Apr 23rd 2023, May 14th 2023)

This has absolutely become one of my core criteria for where I look for a place to stay. Fortunately there are a lot of places like this here and they also deliver. I actually don’t know how it can get better than this…

Other Food From The Week

I went out to a cafe after my coffee shop mall morning. Questionable meal choice for lunch, lol, but it was delicious:


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