Eli Rousso: Issue 0002

Weekly Update

Embarking on a mission to create the next generation design school: http://primitive.school/

What inspired you to make Primitive?

  1. My experience learning from the Internet. I had mentioned this in my previous newsletter, but most of my tactical design and coding knowledge came from online tutorials, like PSDTuts or YouTube. I’ll never forget this one video of someone building their site in Notepad.

  2. Frustrations and failure from working as an IRL instructor also inspired me to create Primitive. I taught a semester of Interaction Design at a top design school in New York City and it did not go well. I underestimated how much work and planning was required. I didn’t have enough time to prepare while maintaining a full time job. I told myself I could never teach again. But I reflected on the experience and learned my lesson. So this is round two for me.

  3. Stumbling across Visualize Value. VV really inspired me to get up and create something new. Whether it was the Instagram and Twitter accounts or just following along with Jack’s journey, VV reconnected me with with my creative side and inspired me to make another project.

    If you have time to consume, you have time to produce.
    June 17, 2020
  4. Subscribing to LOT: I’ve been lucky enough to call myself an early LOT subscriber. AND yes, you actually do get a tattoo machine with your subscription. I aspire for Primitive’s community to be as engaging and unique as theirs.

  5. Doing things the hard way: I want to learn more code. I want to be a better communicator. I want to try new things and grow. Primitive allows me to do all of that. At the end of the day, the Primitive experiment could blow up in my face, but I’ve already learned so much so quickly by just doing.

What tech powers Primitive?

Writing & Planning

  • Notion: I use this to capture notes, organize all thoughts, and plan out the week.

  • iA Writer: I use this as my bare-bones writing tool. I’ve used this app longer than Notion, and probably don’t really need it anymore, but I love the focus mode and typography so much.


  • Figma: I’ve designed everything from the visual identity, the look and feel, and supporting graphics with it.

  • Keynote: Keynote is one of my all-time favorite apps. I recently used it to create the Introduction lesson for SwiftUI for Designers.

Video Production

  • ScreenFlow: Again, awesome for screen captures and on-screen mouse and keyboard effects.

  • Adobe Premiere Pro: I needed a full-fledged editor and to be honest, I’m not sure I’ll stick with this one. It’s very clunky.

  • YouTube: Just for video hosting for now. It’s been easy and I haven’t had any issues so far, except for the confusing account management system.

Web Presence

  • Squarespace: I used this for the Primitive’s website. I also used them for acquiring the domain. I’m trying to stay as no-code as possible. But I’m not sure about this as a long term solution. Squarespace seems customizable enough and there are a lot of add-ons that make things like community and curriculum easy to build.

Community and Communication

I’m a little lost here.

  • Slack?

  • Mighty Networks?

  • Podia?

How has Primitive performed since its launch?

I launched Primitive on Twitter on May 25th, 2020. Here are the results:

Overall, I’m happy with the initial conversion rate. Obviously, things took a dive after the first tweet. I’m heads down on product quality right now before concerning myself with vanity metrics.

What did you do this week?

  • I wrote, recorded, edited, and privately published the first 3 introductory lessons of Primitive: SwiftUI for Designers. These quick lessons were very challenging to create, especially the first one. But now I feel more comfortable with the overall creation flow. I’ve developed a process by thinking through the goal of the lesson, writing a script backwards from that goal, and rehearsing the script over and over.

  • I created an animated identity intro with Principle.

  • I commissioned music for the animated identity intro.

What did you learn this week?

  • I really learned about the amount of work and process required for quality video content. It’s a lot. So, hats off to all the creators out there.

  • I learned some basics of Adobe Premiere Pro and Audition.

  • I learned more and more that learning is doing and doing is learning.

Primitive beta testing

  • I currently have 21 beta testers. You can still email me to join the Primitive Beta.

  • The 3 introductory lessons will be shared on Tuesday June 23, 2020. These lessons are very short and will get you up and running with Xcode.

  • A follow-up survey on the lessons will be sent out on Wednesday June 24, 2020.

  • More lessons will be sent out every week as I collect more feedback and we begin diving into the fun parts of SwiftUI.

Primitive Live

I got some feedback about live sessions and I really want to do these in tandem, async and sync, to continue experimenting. I would most likely focus on Product Design through exercises, group workshops, critiques, and guests. This tweet got me thinking:

Primitive Brand

I’ve also been playing around with some sticker concepts. Not sure if this is the right direction, but I’d like to roll out something tangible for this summer.


I’ve updated my routine template in Notion. I simplified the schedule by focusing on keystone habits and removing unnecessary tasks.


Have a question?

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That’s it!

Thanks for reading and see you next week.
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