I believe that Kyla Scanlon is one of the most talented all-around creators. She is transcending the assumptions about what people want, especially with things like short-form videos. Her TikToks are synthesized, thoughtful, and funny, setting a new bar for what people want in an information age. We talked about her journey growing up in Kentucky, writing online, hacking into the finance industry from a non-target school, and ultimately deciding to become self-employed with less than two years of work experience.
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What We Talked About
- Passion Crisis: Kyla defines a “passion crisis” as a situation where many young people don’t know what they truly care about. She decided to leave her job and shared the fear and vulnerability that came with it. She also talks about the criticism she faced and how she overcame self-doubt. For her, betting on oneself and the value of creative freedom is essential.
- Founding “Bread”: She talked about the evolution of her career path and the impact of her work on the economy. She shares how she creates short, informative videos and structures them like poems. Her financial education company, “Bread,” aims to gamify learning about finance.
- TikTok as Poetry: Kyla thinks it is important to people where they are in terms of learning styles and platforms. She emphasized the effectiveness of short-form video platforms like TikTok. She also talks about the stress and challenges she’s faced on her journey and seeks advice on stress management and self-confidence.
Kyla is a very successful TikTok creator (image source)
She alone made me rethink my perspective on short-form vertical video. It’s not that the format is bad, it’s that most people are unimaginative about its potential, especially in covering “serious” topics like finance.
If you’ve ever spent more than an hour learning about finance you really how much of the “news” coverage is absolute bullshit. “Stocks rise on oil news”, or “Stocks drop on President’s talk” really mean “these two things happened today and we needed to write something but ultimately, we don’t care about going deeper.”
Kyla goes deeper and in her explorations, she coined the term “vibecession” to describe the phenomenon of the last year of a tight labor market and strong household financial conditions with the fact that people actually felt miserable about it all.
I also just love the passion she has for what she’s doing.
Which is rare in today’s world. So many people all the way up to people like SBF ultimately don’t give a shit about what they do. The joy of learning, growing, or getting better has taken a backseat to money concerns.
I almost headed down that path too and I understand how alluring it is.
But this sucks and she writes about why this sucks in a recent issue:
Our passion crisis is broadly a function of tapping into the uncomfortable parts of ourselves – in order to find out what you love, you have to be vulnerable. You have to care – and caring itself is an act of rebellion in a world that seems to constantly want to put you down.
And it’s really beautiful to care – but man, it can be difficult. The act of being engaged in the world outside, of having art that is really your soul on a canvas, or perhaps in a song (or video) or maybe it’s a car that you’ve been fixing up, or maybe it’s that little plant on the windowsill – caring, at any level, is so deep, so raw, it was actually the original money
We talk about this all and also talk about how she thinks of designing her Reels and TikToks as poems, which she apparently has never revealed before.
Quotes From The Episode
- “Regret Minimization” 14:31: “I should take a leap. I can take a leap. Why wouldn’t I try this out? And it was a lot of regret minimization. So I was like, will I regret not doing this? And the answer was always yes. And so for me, I do think I have like more risk tolerance…I’m just used to taking risks. But I also think for me, it was like, I have to see I have if I live this life without ever knowing, like what I could have done. I’d be very sad “
- “Art About Finance” 29:02: “I never thought I would like video editing. But it’s actually really fun, and I also think not enough people make art about finance… I think like just creating pieces like almost satire comedy and other things like that around finance because that is also how people learn.”
- “Videos as Poems” 56:01: “I write them as poems. They’re structured as poems. They don’t sound like poetry but in terms of the beats and how it processes, they are.”
- Money and Morality” 1:00:00: “Money is not a moral compass. People get swayed by money in ways that are immoral.