💎 The best personal monopoly I've ever seen

Dear friends, founders, and people who miss the simpler days… back when the floor was lava and the roof was being raised.

Today’s story is about Kevin Van Trump. You’ve probably never heard of him, but here’s 3 things you need to know:

  • He writes a newsletter for farmers that makes $20M+/year

  • He created FarmCon, a huge conference for thousands of farmers

  • He’s built a personal monopoly in his niche

OK - the story starts with me landing in Kansas (and it’s freezing). I’m here to speak at a Farming conference (called FarmCon).

Why am I, a non-farmer, talking at FarmCon? Unclear, but I’m rolling with it.

I was expecting to see:

  • Tons of plaid

  • Endless overalls

  • Chicken Fried Chicken

  • Trucker Hats

  • A few glances like “why are you here, tech bro?”

Instead, what I got was a business education worth its weight in gold.

Let me explain.

Surprise #1 - Farmers are rich.

I don’t know why, but I always thought of farmers as blue collar, laborer types.

That’s only sorta true. They do work hard, and do manual labor, but don’t get it twisted, they are smart business minds and they are loaded.

They wear Rolexes, drive $100,000 souped-up trucks, and talk like Wall Street hedge fund guys when it comes to trading crop futures & options.

Surprise #2 - The farmers have a leader

And his name is Kevin Van Trump.

He’s been writing a farming newsletter called the Van Trump Report for nearly 20 years.

He writes it by himself. By hand. Every night. And hasn’t missed a day in 20 years.

It’s like ~2 pages of info and 10 pages of memes. I love it, and I’m not even a farmer.

There are no ads.

He charges a $1,000 per year subscription, and I’m pretty sure he’s making $25-$30M a year off the newsletter.

Forget Morning Brew, this guy might be the most impressive “newsletter-preneur” and nobody in our game has heard of him.

Surprise #3 - The industry needed Swag

Kevin Van Trump’s son (Jordan) saw a gap in the market to provide high quality swag to agriculture companies.

So he created “Ag Swag”. They make hats, shirts, vests, etc.. for huge companies like John Deere.

I don’t know the exact numbers, but I’m pretty sure this thing generates tens of millions in revenue, and is profitable.

Surprise #4 - Getting out of the bubble helps

I spend most of my time in Silicon Valley, surrounded by tech nerds like me.

But going to a farming conference in Kansas was a “shake up the snow globe” moment, where I added all kinds of new inputs into my brain.

The result was a new business with a farm inspired name (Milk Road). It was a newsletter (like the Van Trump Report), but for the crypto industry.

Fast forward 1 year - Milk Road was the #1 crypto newsletter in the world, with over 250,000 readers, and we sold the business to a private buyer for millions of dollars.

But that’s a story for another day…

I’ll leave you with a few nuggets of Wisdom from Kevin Van Trump:

On hiring:

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