The Hardest Part is Reaching Escape Velocity

Abhi Chand
July 7, 2023

Do you know what the following 3 things all have in common?

  1. Flying a kite
  2. Launching a rocket into outer space, and
  3. Building a brand from scratch

Any guesses?

The one thing they all have in common is:

The hardest part of doing any of these things is the beginning phase.

It takes a LOT of effort to get a kite off the ground…

…but once it’s soaring through the sky, floating in the wind, all you have to do is hold the string to keep it flying.

After a point, it just flies itself.

Rockets have to reach escape velocity just to get escape the Earth’s gravitational pull.

If they don’t, they will fall back down to Earth.

But once they escape Earth’s gravitational pull…

…they can pretty much float forever throughout the cosmos, with practically zero effort required.

And the hardest part about building a brand from scratch is also what comes first.

Getting people to pay attention to you when they don’t know who you are.

When they don’t know what you do, or what you’re capable of doing.

And they don’t know why they should listen to you.

You’re not Andrew Huberman, Alex Hormozi, or Joe Rogan, or… anyone.

You’re a nobody.

So why should anyone care about what you’re saying?

That’s perhaps the biggest obstacle to overcome in the beginning stages.

Because once a brand is going, it pretty much runs on its own after a certain point doesn’t it?

The guys I mentioned above don’t have to worry about “how do I get people to listen to me?”

They just put out their content and have a massive following that will listen to anything they put out.

But believe it or not, these guys also started somewhere.

They also had to learn how to overcome the hurdles of gaining attention, traction, and building an audience.

For example:

Alex Hormozi did his podcast The Game for 6 years and never missed a weekly episode before he earned his notoriety online.

Joe Rogan started doing podcasts in 2009 and never stopped.

AND has a work ethic of a monster!

I’m not familiar with Andrew Huberman’s story, but I would assume he probably also went through…

A Period of Consistent Action Without Much Results.

It’s this period where you need every advantage you can get.

It’s also in the same timeframe where most people give up.

And with everyone and their mom, their cats, dogs, and hamsters now trying to build brands and audiences online…

…the sheer volume of content uploaded to the internet every day is unimaginable.

A quick Google Search says 3.7m new videos are uploaded to YouTube every day

271,330 hours of video content.

It’s safe to say that you can’t compete on volume.

“Post 5 times a day!” lol

5 out of 3,700,000 videos?

No chance.

That’s not the path to winning at the content game for sure.

So what is then?

From what I have learned up until now, it is:

Working With the Platform.

How do we do that?

The same way we win at any game.

By knowing how to play the game.

And for that we need to know the rules.

The queen can move in any direction and like any piece except the horse.

The horse has an advantage over the most powerful piece on the board.

To win at chess, we need to know how to play.

So how do we “play” the Content Game?

First: understand its rules.

The platform is there to give us the opportunity to build our brands, businesses, following, etc.

Anyone can play the game.

Everyone has a fair chance.

It doesn’t owe us any more than that.

Once we’re playing the game, we gotta figure out what are its rules.

Now the rules for winning at this game are undisclosed.

Like life, we have to figure it out along the way.

The next best thing is to look at others who have done what we want to do and learn from them.

And the people who have done this seem to understand the following two things:

  1. Make great content that brings value to people, and
  2. Keep what the platform wants in mind.

The first part is often easy.

We know how to help our target audience.

We know that we can help them.

And that if the could just watch our videos… we know for a fact that they will love them!

But that doesn’t end up happening.


I believe it’s because of the 2nd thing mentioned above.

Think of it in terms of:


What are our incentives to create content?

  1. Build a brand
  2. Grow a business
  3. Make money

What are the platform’s incentives for showing our content?

  1. People watching = ad revenue for platform
  2. Increased user base
  3. Make money

We want people to get off the platform (eventually) and do business with us.

The platform wants people to watch more videos, for longer.

The question becomes: how do we align both our incentives?

First and foremost, the platform is not going to change.

So changing anything on that end is out the question.

The only other option remaining is for us align our incentives with the platform’s incentives.

And there is one important overlap here.

The platform has the audience we want.

And it decides who gets to see our videos, and when.

It does this decision-making by using what we all know and love:

The Algorithm

It gets a bad rap and pretty much is seen as a 'sentient being' that showers some with kindness and others with cruelty.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news but… this isn’t true.

For a moment here, I am going to speak to you as a computer scientist, not a marketer.

From my understanding: an algorithm is a set of instructions designed to achieve a specific outcome.

It’s like hiring someone to do a job, except the person you hired is a software program.

What makes these software programs impressive is that the best algorithms don’t need to be programmed with “here’s how to do a task”…

Instead, they are programmed to figure out the most efficient way to do their task.

This programming is based on a certain set of rules.

If we see the algorithm as just another employee of the platform…

…it’s job is to make sure people stay on the platform and watch more content.

Because that’s what makes money for the platform.

Technically, the algorithm’s job is to get increasingly better at:

a) Retaining people on the platform, and more importantly

b) Make more money for the platform.

Just like a restaurant.

You always want to go back to a good restaurant, never a bad one.


Because you enjoyed the food, the atmosphere, etc.

And when you return, the restaurant makes more money from you.

The restaurant is incentivized to do everything it can do retain you as a customer.

Same thing with the platforms.

Except, instead of food, they use videos to cater to their people.

And the videos that get more people to watch for longer, make more money for the platform.

That’s how we get people like MrBeast.

People who take it to the nth degree and create a spectacle every time.

This is an exploitation of a loophole right now.

No matter how big the spectacle, people eventually get tired of it and move on.

Just look at what happened to Marvel Studios.

They dominated since 2008 to 2019 with the Infinity Saga.

Now their strategy of increasing spectacle isn’t reaping the same level of rewards.

So exploiting a loophole is also not a viable way to compete on these platforms.

So what do you do instead?

Look at what videos get traction.

Try and understand why they get traction.

And, most importantly, how does the algorithm know which videos to pick up for traction?

What do these videos have in common?

How are they made?

What is their structure?

Structure is Just As Important as Substance

With 3.7 million videos uploaded every day, I’m sure the algorithm figured out a long time that it can’t show every single video to people online.

There’s just too many of them.

So it must have had to come up with a way to test which videos people want to watch, and therefore stay on the platform longer.

And the most natural way to figure that out would be to check for:

  1. 1
    Do people skip the video in the first few seconds of watching it?
  2. 2
    If yes, don’t recommend video to others.
  3. 3
    If no, how long do they watch before clicking off?
  4. 4
    What is the average view duration?
  5. 5
    Did people engage with the video? Did they like and comment?
  6. 6
    Is there another video that’s doing better than this one?
  7. 7
    If yes, show that video to the next viewer instead.

Now I don’t know if this is exactly what the algorithm does, but it does seem like a logical set of questions to ask.

Most people are stuck on the very first point.

People keep skipping the video in the first few seconds of watching it.

To be fair, this is where I’m stuck as well but here’s…

How I’m Solving the “Nobody’s Watching My Videos” Problem.

If nobody’s watching my video, this means that the premise of the video is not enticing enough for the viewer to stay.

Aka the hook isn’t strong enough to keep people watching.

Technically, the rest of the video doesn’t matter if the first 3 seconds can’t hold our viewer.

It’s sad, but true.

No matter how great our content is, it doesn’t matter if nobody’s watching.

Therefore, content’s first job is to be watched.

If it doesn’t get watched, it can’t make money for either us or the platform.

That’s a lose-lose situation.

What we want to get to is the win-win situation where we both benefit.

For that our content needs to be watched.

And for that to happen, we need to be able to hook people in the first 3-5 seconds of our videos.

So that’s what I’m working on now.

How I’m Creating Better Hooks

I understand that whether my video takes off or not largely depends on the first 3-5 seconds of my video.

Obviously, the content of my video has to match the hook.

I can’t say “I gave a homeless man $50M dollars” in the hook but have my video be about creating landing pages and marketing lol.

The viewer would be confused and never come back.

So the option that remains is to make what I have appealing.

  • You can do this with analogies.
  • With examples that raise curiosity.
  • Overlapping with things people are already interested in.

And tie this in seamlessly to my own content.

Then check if viewership increased or not.

Some examples of hooks that I’m testing:

  1. Here’s what the Pilsburry doughboy and Jeff Bezos have in common
  2. Did you know the average Bugatti Veyron owner owns 84 cars, 3 private jets, and a yatcht before buying their first $2.5M Veyron?
  3. Here are All The Jobs that AI will Replace

Time will tell if these hooks perform better…

…but they are the first hurdle to overcome if I’m going to win at the content game.

The hardest part is always the beginning phase.

Because we have the least amount of information for what needs to be done right, and in what order.

In my opinion, Step 1 is getting better writing hooks.

I will update you next time on how my new hooks perform.



Abhi Chand

About the author

Abhi is super passionate about business and marketing. He loves hitting the gym and working out while also being a bit of a nerd. But the best thing he likes to do is help people win big!

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