Zero to Acquisition

Guest Author: Robbie Crabtree

That looks so simple. I kept scrolling.

That looks so simple. I kept scrolling.

I bet I can do this. I kept scrolling.

Where can I learn how to do this?

I wanted thousands of likes for something that looked so simple.

Visualize Value perfectly summed up my favorite quote. “Make it simple, but significant.”

Don Draper said that and Jack Butcher lived it.

Each image left me feeling more and more in awe. So simple. So elegant. And most of all, significant. That’s the beauty in what Jack Butcher does but nothing prepared me for the ride that this Twitter feed would ultimately take me on.

In May I purchased Design Fundamentals. In June, I pre-ordered Build Once, Sell Twice. I had quickly realized in may after taking DF that while the images may be simple, they are not easy. My dreams of being a great visual designer were destroyed. I needed to figure out how Jack’s teaching could translate to my unique skill set.

How does a trial lawyer take these lessons and create something that people want?

That question kept me up at night. I would pull up Figma from time to time and test my skills. Every time left me with the same result.

I could hear Olivander from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone…“No, no definitely not.”

Each design felt like an abomination. Not worthy to be shown to the world. Not worthy of the lessons from Design Fundamentals.

Not worthy of Jack.

The announcement of Build Once, Sell Twice felt like a lifeboat to save me from the sinking ship. Covid had destroyed the trial lawyer economy. It’s impossible to try cases when the courts are shut down. Nearly a year has passed now without a single trial in Dallas.

Not only that but I knew I wanted more. I didn’t want to be just a trial lawyer. I wanted to be a creator, a founder, and so much more.

BOST showed me that I could.

As I watched the lessons I quickly thought of two things. First, it’s bloody brilliant. Second, I can do this.

What stood out to me the most is Jack’s background. He spent a decade working in the corporate and agency world. He built skills, expertise, and wisdom. He had made mistakes thinking that creating his own agency would make life better. But the hours, stress, and appeasing demanding clients had the opposite effect.

I felt this. I had opened my own law firm in May thinking that by running my own firm, life would be better. Except the same problems existed. Add into the mix the grind to get paid and it was not the life I envisioned.

Like Jack, I had made a mistake.

Lucky for me I could learn early. In July I opened BOST as soon as it launched. I started to see the parallels. I started to see the way forward.

Jack’s design experience equals my trial lawyer experience.

Jack’s skill of visual communication equals my skill of spoken communication.

And I had built what I needed to over 10 years of experience to get started. I saw the numbers VV did from DF and BOST.

Can I do a fraction of that business?

I believed that I could.

I started building.

As a speaker and a lawyer, I don’t like to recreate the wheel. We all borrow and mix from one another.

A quick look behind the curtain, most motions and documents that lawyers “create” are form templates that just take a bit of editing or revision. I never really enjoyed the legal writing side because it was boring to me. Largely for this reason. Control F and then replace.

But with this training, I knew what needed to be done. Execute on the playbook Jack had provided.

Build-in public. Use social proof. Create constraints. Interact with the audience and create a community. I saw all of these skills and took note.

All in all, I spent $300 on Visualize Value in 2020.

The first cohort of Performative Speaking led to a 100x ROI from those purchases. Pretty good return on investment by simply following the playbook.

It reminds me of that episode in How I Met Your Mother where Barney has his Playbook. One of them is called the Scuba Diver and it seems absolutely insane. Except it works. And his friends read through the design of the Scuba Diver and realize that he had followed the instructions perfectly in order to execute and succeed.

When I started trying to create Performative Speaking it seemed insane. An online course for public speaking.

My parents pushed back. My friends pushed back. Even people in the online education space pushed back because they thought that public speaking needed to be, well in public.

Maybe I was crazy. But I knew that I at least had an example.

That example and the constant support from Jack and Celia, along with the VV community kept me inspired and motivated each day.

And that led to what I believe is the first cohort-based course being acquired.

By following the playbook, I ran a successful Performative Speaking course. Attendance stayed high, improvements were made, and transformations happened across the entire student population. That momentum creates a flywheel.

People start talking. Twitter followers grow. Podcasts start asking for appearances.

And then one day a Slack message comes in that will change everything.

“Hey Robbie, you’re the guy who does public speaking in this space right?”

Erik Torenberg, the visionary founder behind On Deck asked me that question in December. It started a conversation.

Yes, that’s me, and here’s how it would work with On Deck was my response. I laid out my vision. I laid out how On Deck could execute things. Again, staying true to Jack’s example. Build-in public. Share the playbook.

Be confident that nobody can do it like me.

In talking with the team at On Deck it quickly became clear that this opportunity made too much sense for both of us. We came to an agreement and on December 30, 2020, we announced the news. That 100x ROI is now significantly higher. At the end of 2021, I fully expect that I will be able to say it is at least a 1000x ROI.

What a rocket ship.

In May I found Jack Butcher.

In July I found Build Once, Sell Twice.

In October I launched Performative Speaking.

In December I was the first cohort-based course to be acquired.

I had become a founder.

I had become an acquired founder.

I had become exactly what Jack showed me I could be.

On Deck Performative Speaking

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