Building in public

Why it's a super power and how to do it right.

I’m not going to make the argument that building in public is for everyone, it’s not. But I would argue that if done well, it can be a force multiplier for a startup.

  • We raised our $12.5M Series A in just 6 days

  • Our team has deep personal relationships with hundreds of our users online

  • We receive tons of qualified candidates for each new role we promote

  • I receive a dozen emails every day from funds who want to invest in beehiiv

  • I can seamlessly broadcast updates to thousands of current and potential users for free

  • Our team routinely receives and addresses invaluable real-time feedback

None of those things would be possible if I chose to build beehiiv in stealth.

I actually do the complete opposite — I’m an open book. I openly share everything we’re building and doing at the company to anyone who takes 2 seconds to follow me (Twitter / LinkedIn / Instagram).

I even shared materials from our most recent board meeting before the board even got a chance to see it.

This entire newsletter is actually built on the premise of sharing what I’m learning in real-time. So here’s my building in public newsletter about building in public…

Why does building in public work?

It’s human nature to want stories and follow narratives. It’s the reason we watch movies and read books. People want to follow people (not brands).

I think this tweet actually sums it up pretty well.

Just like any other form of content, it’s all about finding an audience and providing value or entertainment. For me personally…

  • Audience: anyone interested in startups, entrepreneurship, tech, or newsletters

  • Value: sharing real-time strategies, growth tactics, hiring practices, fundraising tips, and updates

New business applications and startup funding has been growing for decades.

And the appetite for startup related content is likely growing in lockstep too.

There's huge demand to learn from others to gain a competitive edge (or at least avoid common mistakes others have already made). 

Following those who are building in public offers a unique combination of entertainment via a new storyline, while also learning applicable lessons for your own life and business.

For me personally — whether you hope that we succeed or crash and burn… you can follow the narrative in real-time all while learning from our progress and mistakes.

Why audience matters.

Once again: people >> brands.

  • Kylie Cosmetics

  • Feastables by Mr. Beast

  • Skims by Kim Kardashian

  • Prime by Logan Paul

I’m not saying I’m 0.0001% as notable or influential as Kim Kardashian, but I’m trying.

There’s a reason these brands are competing head to head with the incumbents — they have massive advantages with free distribution. It’s a superpower to be able to broadcast to millions of potential customers for free.

I don’t have plans to release a sex tape anytime soon, so my best bet is continuing to create content about startups that others find valuable.

Building beehiiv literally provides me with an unlimited supply of content. Whether the results of an A/B test we ran on our landing pages, or some new hiring practice we put into place… sharing what we’re doing is so simple and enjoyable to me. Especially if it can help others.

Providing value → more engagement → more followers → more distribution.

And the more people I can reach, the more opportunities we have to win new users and scale the business.

The types of content I share…

I’d probably categorize the content I share into five main categories:

  • Company milestones

  • Product updates

  • My vision

  • Lifestyle

  • Promoting our users

Company milestones

Milestones act as a scorecard and help you gain credibility. If the company wasn’t doing well and growing, I don’t think anyone would want to follow my advice or strategies.

Product updates

One of our core competitive advantages at beehiiv is our ability to address customer needs and quickly ship new features. We release a handful of new features every week, of which I always share across social channels.

This accomplishes a few things:

  • It educates existing customers about new functionality.

  • It acts as marketing material to entice potential new customers to sign up.

  • It provides an opportunity to collect real-time feedback and gauge user sentiment.

I’ll also share smaller updates on the fly like this.

My vision

Being able to tell stories and actively engage others is a remarkably undervalued quality of most leaders. I do what I can to share my vision for the future and bring others along for the ride.


I’m using lifestyle as a broad term to categorize things I share that are a bit more tangential to the journey of building a company.

Whether half joking but entirely serious…

Or the worst experience of my life…

I don’t shy away from humanizing the journey. It’s all interconnected.

Promoting our users

I could sit here all day and talk about how great our product is, but I’d rather let our users do the talking. I routinely engage with all of our users and try to celebrate the wins alongside them.

Power in numbers.

There are several compounding benefits to building momentum on these social platforms. Outside of this newsletter, I primarily depend on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Whenever users share a milestone, like Eli’s above, or praise the product, I’m incredibly quick to engage and repost.

It seems benign, but if done consistently it accomplishes quite a few things:

  • It’s a positive feedback loop and directly acknowledges the user who went out of their way to post something positive

  • It’s free unbiased marketing directly from the peers of your target customers

  • Other users will see the CEO and brand accounts reposting these, which incentivizes them to also share their milestones

    • …which also get shared and reposted

    • …which begins to compound and build a narrative on these algorithmic feeds that everyone is using beehiiv and loving it

Free alpha.

By doing everything I’ve stated above in this post, myself along with most of the beehiiv team have made ourselves very available and very online.

Users know that we’re actively engaging with people on social channels, so they’re quick and comfortable to share feedback, feature requests, bugs, and other issues.

So many startups struggle to collect useful feedback from users in hopes to make their product better. We have the opposite problem — we receive an endless supply of feedback directly from our users each week, and can acknowledge them seamlessly and publicly online.


I mentioned at the top that we raised our Series A in just 6 days. I owe a lot of that to building in public (and investor updates, but that’s next week’s post).

Because I have been sharing our milestones, product launches, updates, and customer success stories so publicly online… anyone who’s been following along knows nearly everything about the trajectory of the business (and how I operate and think about things).

You can think of building in public as the top of funnel. Thousands of investors have followed the journey in real-time and have reached out via email. Once I made the decision to raise a Series A, I had an entire pipeline of “warm leads” to reach out to.

The same could be said for hiring. We’re able to fill positions very quickly with some of the most talented people in the world because many have been natively following along.

Not to mention the inbound for corporate partnerships, podcast interviews, sponsorships, events, and more.

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Some of my favorite content I found on the internet this week…

  • Elon Musk is also building in public, sharing that the first human who received a Neuralink implant is (allegedly) recovering well (Twitter)

  • My boy Austin Rief was on My First Million talking about bingo and meats (MFM)

  • Is Zyn the new Juul? Being a zynfluencer seems like a decent resume builder (NYT)

  • This is so dumb but I’m addicted to any sort of futuristic renderings 👇🏽

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