Three Wins.

Three Wins.

Three-minute read. Or less.

Welcome to another edition of Three Wins, where I walk you through my process of launching an online course in 2024. I will share my wins and, because this is real life, my mistakes. I want to make this useful.

Even if you are NOT launching anything.

Today, I want to talk about the mistakes I made before launching. My intention going forward is to go to the next level. To stop dabbling.

 This is why I am doing all this.


  1. Not spending enough time on what matters.


This week, I spent an entire day just on the Table of Contents of the book I am writing. Why? Because that determines the success of the book. Before I write, I must decide what is to be written.

It was hard. It made my brain hurt. But it decided the structure of the book.

I am now clear on what needs to be written. How it builds on each bit. I can now zoom out and know how to make each point add to the next one. 

-      I used to write the table of contents after it was written.

-      I spent little time on it.

-      The T.O.C is the blueprint. It must be clear. And be descriptive.

First Draft.

The aim here is to improve the book before it is written.

-      Doing the book is to clarify my thinking for the online course.

-      The aim of the beta workshops is to make the online course as useful as I can.

-      When I finally launch the online course, I will not be guessing if it was useful.


I will be sharing the Table of Contents on Useful Books next week. I expect it to change a good deal with the feedback loop from the community.

The ‘Before’ you launch is where success is decided.


 That is my big reframe.

 A win.

  1. I spent another day on this.


The book title. And its subhead. I expect to spend many more days on it. I am not there yet. But I did invent a new word. I was inspired by Freakonomics, and on a run around the farm, a word popped into my head.

My way is to write everything all down and judge it later.

But know this: People do judge a book by its cover.

Especially the promise it makes to you.

My framework is taken from Snow Leopard.


  1. Non-obvious title.
  2. Obvious subhead.




  1. Obvious title.
  2. Non-obvious subhead.

To get attention, the power of the counterintuitive is something we need to pay attention to.

If you increase your counter-intuitiveness score rating to your idea, and it holds water, you will attract outsized attention.

 A win.

  1. Teach Frameworks.


I know I have been guilty of this in the past, where I chuck a ton of ideas at people, and I hope some stick. I am learning that teaching is a particular skill.

Frameworks make complex things simple. And, importantly, actionable.

For example, a framework from today could be:


  1. 50% of the time must go on book title and subhead.
  2. 30% of the time on the Table of Contents.
  3. 20% of the time on writing the book.


I am not saying that is the correct maths, but this is what most authors do.


  1. 90% of the time writing the book.
  2. 7% of the time on the title.
  3. 3% of the time on Table of Contents.


I would guess that 80% of the success of a book comes from its title and subhead. And it will be its counter-intuitiveness, that is the driver of most of that. Yet, it will be lucky to get 10% of the writer’s time. You get my point.

 A win.

I hope this was useful.

Talk next week.

Have a good switch-off this weekend. 


On Tuesday, I am doing Beta 2 of the 3-Hour Newsletter Academy. I am enjoying the chance to improve it each time. I will let you know how it goes.


David Hieatt

David Hieatt

Bankrupt at 16. Thrown out of college at 18. Joined Saatchi + Saatchi at 21. Started howies in 1995. Sold it to Timberland. Left. Started The Do Lectures. Started Hiut Denim Co.

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