Sharing Fiction

Week Three: All Quiet on the Western Front

See all the weekly standups here.

Going into this week, I had assumed that it would be a waste of my time given the current environment (quarantine) to reach out to new businesses. I realized later into the week that it was actually just fear preventing me from acting.

Why? Well…

Making Stuff People Want

I despise sales tactics, and people who make me believe that I need their product. Some common tactics you’ll see utilized are:

  2. Emotional Testimonials (THIS X CHANGED MY LIFE; NOW I MAKE $1000000/day AND ALL MY FRIENDS THINK IM DOPE)

I was pretty bummed out by this. Are all sales just a veiled form of manipulation? It leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

And besides, wouldn’t these tactics come back to eventually bite the salesperson in the ass? If they can’t deliver what they preach, people will catch on. And when they do, no amount of clever tongue and cheek can clear a shattered reputation.

Fortunately, the universe provided me pretty solid free mentorship in the form of books, YouTube videos, and podcasts. I listened to a great podcast by Seth Godin, and reread Zero to One by Peter Theil.

The overlap in their advice is simply this:

“focus on supplying a remarkable product, and helping an insanely small group of people.”

As for myself, most of the messages (cold emails & such) I’ve sent out thus far haven’t been returned, meaning that I didn’t offer something remarkable enough, or I didn’t deliver it to the correct group of people.

After thinking on how to remedy this I came up with three strategies I may use to find clients:

  1. Continue sending cold Looms and emails to different companies, or Instagram DMs where appropriate. Cast a wide net.
    • Pros: I’m letting people who may have never considered the value of AR filters for marketing. AR is a new discipline, and it’s a fact that many are simply unaware of its existence.
    • Cons: I’m shooting in the dark and bothering people who may not want to be bothered/have other, more important, things going on.
  2. Create filters that I think could be useful to them before I make contact, send them an example link, and see if they’re interested.
    • Pros: I come in with a “warm” offering. People can click a link to see the “magic” of AR immediately on their own devices.
    • Cons: Time investment is a big risk. In between research, ideation, design, and development, I could send out multiple emails to different people during the same time period.
  3. Following the Seth Godin model, create free material that potential can use and genuinely benefits them. Cast a wide helpful net, and eventually some will come back with the intent to purchase the value offered.
    • Pros: Fun to do, less physically demanding than pre-making filters.
    • Cons: Still technically guesswork. I’m creating content that could be helpful to my clients, but that still assumes that businesses out there are eager and willing to build their own AR experiences.

That’s a lot of shares! Neat.

In other, unrelated news, I woke up on Monday to find that one of my filters had spiked in usage by a lot. In one day, I got 15k impressions on it.

15k impressions on the Spark AR Hub

The filter that got a ton of views. You can try it yourself here:

Why? I’m not sure but I think some video game influencer on Instagram used it, and their followers all did as well. Unfortunately, that information is not easily accessible.

So, how do I feel? The day of, I was pretty excited. It’s really fun to see big numbers. Later that same day though, I remembered numbers on their own don’t mean anything. The world keeps turning, and you gotta keep showing up. Being in the spotlight is only as valuable as the work that you put in while you were in the dark.

AR Learnings

  • [sparkar] The HeadOccluder and BustOccluder files can be downloaded from the “necktie” template. I moved them to my global assets folder and have used them in three projects now. (thanks Catalyst!)
  • [sparkar] I tried to create one of the strands of the headdress in the picture below in Spark and copy it hundreds of times around a face mesh. Unfortunately, this proved to be very difficult, since each object decided to maintain its own geometry. For my fellow non 3D Designers out there, check Sketchfab before you commit to a project.
    Awaken My Love Album art

    A phenomenal album, and really hard to create in 3D

  • [sparkar] You can restart a Spark animation when the user hits record. Game changer! That said, it doesn’t work to well with sounds linked up to animation (creates some weird overlapping sound effects), so use with caution.
    The Video Recording Patch Editor Workflow

    You can use the Patch Editor to reset filter animations when the user hits the record button

A-Ha Business Moments

  • Writer’s block is bullshit. Sometimes we make bad quality stuff. We don’t expect our plumbers to act only on inspiration, so neither should you. Just continue to show up. (thought initially expressed by Seth Godin in this podcast, paraphrased by me)
  • “If I were another person, why would I share this?”
  • Remarkability !== Highest Quality. I’ll leave the proof to you.


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Thanks for reading, stay safe out there.