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The FORT with Chris Powers

Apr 15, 2021

Austin Rief is the Co-Founder & COO of Morning Brew, one of the largest business newsletters with over 2.5 million subscribers. 

On this episode, Austin and Chris discuss the journey to founding Morning Brew, how they were able to rapidly acquire subscribers, the process of being acquired by Business Insider, and how they develop content for their readers. They also discuss the current state of decentralization, the future of news and media consumption, BitClout, Austin's rolling fund, and more. Enjoy!

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(02:53) - Austin’s Background and What Led Him to Start Morning Brew

(04:26) - What was it about Market Corner that caught your eye?

(05:15) - What did you do to add value when you joined there?

(06:01) - Was there a moment in time where you decided investment banking was not the route for you?

(07:29) - When did you know that this had the potential to be a full-time business?

(09:41) - What was your pitch to investors?

(10:25) - How did you determine what content was important in the early days? 

(12:49) - What did you do with your capital? 

(14:40) - What was the most effective way to get subscribers for you and is it still the best way today?

(18:15) - Do you have any data as to how much of each newsletter your subscribers consume on each edition?

(19:32) - How have you thought about your sub-brews?

(21:40) - How do you know the content is staying at the same quality as you get more removed from the daily writing?

(23:07) - How do you hire great content writers?

(24:03) - How does the relationship between you and Alex help drive the business today?

(24:58) - How did the acquisition from Business Insider come about?

(25:56) - How long did the deal take from start to finish?

(26:35) - Was there ever a moment where you were mentally committed to selling the business and knew there was no going back? 

(27:52) - Did the acquisition change anything about your operation strategy?

(29:38) - Who were the hirers that were key in taking you to the next level?

(33:02) - Are you fully remote or will you become office-centric as we come out of the pandemic?

(38:30) - How do you think about delivering the truth and not just click-bait?

(44:09) - Have you experienced people coming to MB from these legacy media companies?

(44:57) - What’s your thesis on social capital transferring into financial capital?

(49:05) - What do you think about the de-centralization of the world with things like crypto and BitClout?

(51:45) - Do you think we’re headed toward government regulation as we see people like Elon being able to sway markets with a single tweet?

(53:33) - Was the removal of Donald Trump from the Internet a pivotal moment in this new world of decentralization?

(55:04) - What is the solution when you can’t actually get on the internet after being ‘removed’ at an AWS level?

(57:36) - Has anyone ever tried to cancel MB for something that was written?

(58:30) - How does your rolling fund work and how can people learn more about it?

(1:01:03) - Do you have a childhood experience that shaped who you are today?

(1:02:22) - Is there something that’s weighing heavily on your mind that a lot of other people aren’t thinking about?

(1:07:52) - What’s the best way for people to reach you?

Austin on Twitter

The FORT with Chris Powers is produced by Straight Up Podcasts