Discover more from Wes Kao's Newsletter
Welcome to Wes Kao's Newsletter
A weekly post for rigorous marketers, leaders, and builders
Welcome to my newsletter! Thanks for being here.
Each week, I’ll cover an idea that will help you build new products, influence others, and be a more effective operator. I’ll always aim to share practical advice rooted in my personal experience, but will experiment with different topics, lengths, and formats.
New issues will be published on Wednesday mornings at 8am ET (because I love a good alliteration re: Wes on Wednesdays).
If you have questions you think I can help with, let me know. I’ll keep it anonymous and share some suggestions in an upcoming newsletter.
Who is Wes?
A bit about me: I’m Wes Kao. For the past 15 years, I’ve been a 2x founder, marketer, operator, manager, and builder. Some highlights include:
Co-founded Maven, a platform for live online courses. We raised $25M from First Round and Andreessen Horowitz, and have served 15,000+ students and helped instructors earn $14M to date. In 2022, Maven was named the #1 most innovative education company by Fast Company.
Co-founded the altMBA with bestselling author Seth Godin. Launched in 2014, altMBA was one of the first successful online cohort-based courses. In the first 3 years, we served 2,000+ students in 45 countries and had a 96% completion rate.
Advised CEOs/founders of companies like Section, Outlier, Poo~Pourri, and Morning Brew.
My perspective is informed by being on both sides of various metaphorical tables:
I’ve been a manager and a direct report
I’ve been a founder and a team member
I’ve worked in corporate retail and in stores
I’ve been steamrolled and done the steamrolling
I’ve been in front of the camera and behind the scenes
I’ve been the consultant and the operator who executes after the consultant leaves
I’ve been the older and younger sibling (yes I’m a middle child, it explains a lot)
I believe being able to empathize with different actors with different incentives allows me to get buy-in, weigh potential options, and strategize to make the most of what I’m working with.
With this blog and newsletter, I hope to share what I've seen work well, so I can provoke your thinking and help you make better decisions about your work too.
Subscribe to get full access to the newsletter and archive. Never miss an update.
Sharpen your ability to execute
This newsletter draws from functions that have informed my experience, including marketing, product, communication, management, etc. It’s not any one of those things—it’s a hybrid. Some topics I’ll share about:
setting a high bar
framing your ideas
reducing cognitive load
marketing first principles
turning bugs into features
writing for modern readers
using messaging as a lever
improving your communication
developing your spiky point of view
building hype for your go-to-market
teaching your team to think rigorously
deconstructing the “why” so you can best decide what to do
…and anything else I think could be helpful for you.
This newsletter is for operators, leaders, doers
This is especially for you if:
You are working on a lean team punching above your weight class
You believe there’s no upper boundary to how good you can get
You have big ambitions, and want to sharpen your ability to execute
You want practical frameworks to apply on the ground in a fast-moving organization
It’s fun to be good at your job. I’m hoping this newsletter will help you get even better at what you do.
Thanks for being on this journey and learning together.