Finally Playing in the Sandbox

Connor Borrego

July 12, 2023

Wow, that week flew by, and it feels nice to be on the other side of starting to write again. It’s something I surely wouldn’t feel comfortable doing without all the wonderful team members who have recently come on board to help start spinning this flywheel a little faster.

In the last 24 hours, we closed one deal with a potential upsell on the way. Additionally, we have a second contract ready to go out the door today. And finally, the news we were teasing last week: our biggest win to date. We have won a grant from UMKC’s respected Digital Sandbox program.

With the $20k award, we will be building our self-serve AI-powered ad platform. This platform is estimated to reduce the amount of time it takes to service our existing agency customers by nearly 80% compared to our current service. It will also allow us to unlock more room for growth!

Our excitement only continues to grow, and for that, Playhaus wants to give a special shout-out to Jim Starcev of KC Digital Drive and Mark Calhoun of MSBDC for sharing their minds and networks with us. Thank you both!

*if you need a refresher, we’ve been on a mission to build a smart wallet for digital identity since October 2020, because, especially in the age of AI, we believe people should have full ownership over their data & digital breadcrumb trail.


    • SOLANA +12.55% | $21.61

    • BITCOIN -0.76% | $30,369.90

    • CHAINLINK -0.17% | $6.23

    • ETHEREUM -3.82% | $1,871.68

      (Price changes reflect past 7 days as of 7.12.23 @ 4:20 PM EST.)

The playBASKET is a group of cryptocurrencies, commodities, & securities that Connor hand selects for reasons he may or may not expound upon in an ad hoc manner via this newsletter.

Digital ID - The Real Crypto GTM

Maybe it’s because I’ve been heads down on client project work, sales calls, content creation, and grant writing, but I have no idea what’s going on in Web3 this week. Is there something about liquidity issues on major platforms?

Truthfully, I’ve lost track of most of the DeFi sector during this chilly winter, and I’ve always viewed it as the wrong tree in the forest for choosing a go-to-market entry point. It’s already highly regulated, bro.

Anyways, my lighthearted thesis has always been that AI is the cookie monster, your data is his cookies, and crypto technologies are the cookie jar that will let internet users choose whether or not they want to feed the Nestle-crazed fiend.

they’ve got the juice

And in a world of possibilities, the current one feels intent on handing the keys over to SAMA, the cheerless leader who controls World Coin & ChatGPT. We’ve long been the opposite of stans.

I go on this rant a little bit because people often have trouble understanding our project in the context of the existing Web3 conversation and the current public understanding. It’s seen as an emerging financial property with dubious clientele. Well, here’s a Venn Diagram I’ve been using to make it clearer.

And this isn’t just a buzz problem because it touches on “reputation, accountability, privacy, and censorship” – words our geriatric leaders have no context for in the 21st century. What Playhaus is proposing would directly address these issues while unlocking real financial value by building essentially data warehouses for consumers. We’re starting with content creators because their existing digital footprint is most similar to a media brand and shares the same monetization options as well.

I’m not saying that DeFi isn’t valuable, but the people attracted to its value proposition and the way they represent the community online have been far from positive for the overall image of Web3. By using this technology to create a giant unregulated internet casino, they might have ruined and weaponized the very tool that can help preserve freedoms online and offline. This technology has the potential to return trust to the very institutions that have lost it from public systems into tools auditable by the public. Anyways, rant over. Maybe I’ll do a better job researching next week.

playhaus BTS

new logo incoming

We’ve already shared most of the exciting updates at the beginning, but we have a quiet announcement reserved for our true fans. Our web3 MVP will be released in mid-next month. As we mentioned before, the project was accepted to the Solana Accelerator, and we are currently navigating the grant funding process with their Managing Director, Donny.

If you want to stay closely involved and perhaps help us spread the word, collect an NFT, or start earning tokens, the best place to be, aside from this newsletter, is inside our community Discord. We are soft re-launching it today!

Now, let’s dive deeper into this week’s stats. We’ll explore our sales strategy and the trailing three months’ CRM KPIs. And here’s a shameless plug: if your business spends more than $25k a month on advertising, we are confident that we can make your budget go 30-90% further. So, feel free to chirp this message like a reply-guy.

playhaus April 2023 - June 2023

For much of the last two years, we’ve operated as a sales team of one—me. As the owner and operator wearing many hats, I am incredibly grateful for the strong network of entrepreneurs surrounding me, offering various project opportunities. Special thanks to Arbor Growth PartnersWalk on Holdings, two fantastic agencies that provide next-level services in content creation and ads management that garner my utmost respect.

Now, let’s address the growth that isn’t adequately reflected in the chart above. Towards the end of last year, we began ramping up our sales efforts by bringing Solomon on board. His role involved refining our messaging and focusing specifically on developing the advertising agency aspect of our business. This strategic move resulted in the deal we closed today, with a promising upsell opportunity. Additionally, we’ve been fortunate to welcome another key member to our sales team—a new strategic sales partner local to Kansas City, who played a direct role in securing our latest advertising client, whose contract is about to be finalized.

These sales wins were the outcome of direct cold outreach efforts, including attending several conferences for book publishers and engaging in direct messages. This week, we’ve also relaunched our less tailored email marketing funnels, ensuring that various customer personas are guided through messaging sequences tailored to their specific value propositions and concerns. This aspect is particularly meaningful to me, as my professional career began with mass email business development work at an AdTech company. Therefore, I’d like to give a shout-out to our rock star COO, Carla, for taking charge of this initiative and successfully organizing our first team all-hands meeting.

… as you can see, it’s been a long week. Anyways, ciao for now.


KANSAS CITY FRIENDS – Please join Connor for a presentation on Digital Identity 6pm, 7/18/2023 @ Ocean & Sea [5602 Johnson Dr, Mission, KS 66202] for NFT__Central’s monthly web3 meet-up

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