Smaller Ideas

I’m fascinated by people and companies who benefit from good content creation to support non-content business objectives:


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  • Fred Wilson, Chris Dixon, and Mark Suster have materially changed the trajectory of their career by embracing blogging.
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  • Venturehacks and Tim Ferriss created great evergreen content and collected niche audiences of the impressive people.
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  • Mint.com leveraged blog content + SEO to drive user adoption (sold to Intuit, 170 million).
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  • Ramit Sethi and others do an incredible job of writing and sending email (and getting people to signup for emails).
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All the blogs above are entities with clear revenue-generating goals, which means they must nail both content and distribution strategies.  My blog doesn’t have such a purpose now, so I don’t have to think as hard about distribution.  I get benefit from blogging (see why I blog), but the primary goal is self-improvement and self-training. Basically I find that sharing my ideas in public makes it easier to:

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  1. Define my ideas more concretely
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  3. Reference my ideas in a scalable manner
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  5. Remember ideas later
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The person who accomplishes this best, to my knowledge, is Ben Casnocha. He always shares interesting notes, on diverse topics, in manageable chunks — and he’s a more interesting person for it. I bet if you asked Ben, the discipline of posting frequent, keeps him sharp when he’s consuming content.  It certainly helps me be an active listener if I think I’ll have to recap or explain something.

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In the interest of sharing more ideas, faster, I’m going to steal a post format from Ben.  Basically, I’m going to aim for shorter posts that describe more condensed amounts of thinking.  I will then close out that post and if there are any fascinating little idea treats that are worth sharing, I’ll attach them after 3 hash-tags at the bottom of the post. Observe…

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###  Treats ###

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*  I respect Caterina Fake (co-founder of Flickr and Hunch) a lot. Her blog is an infrequently updated must read. I recently tweeted that I thought Hunch was the most important longterm information base.  I discovered yesterday that Caterina Fake retweeted it.  Around the same time I tweeted a product idea for Quora. Charlie Cheever responded.  This is a one-time interaction with someone who might be fascinating to have a coffee with at some point, and it happens 1-3 times a month. I’m curious how to turn these interactions into something where I can open the door to further interaction and allow both them and I to judge whether there might be mutual value in connecting any further.  I have some theories I’ll be testing (offering to expand on initial idea in a 5-10min phone call, ask for email to follow-up with concise expansion of idea, ask for reaction to another idea I post on twitter or on my blog), but I’m open to suggestions.

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* I’m interested in content marketing that allows for reader response, because I think it’s the best (read: fastest, cheapest, most effective) way of establishing credibility/thought-leadership in a field.  It’s unique in that it creates a relationship with the consumer of information and allows them to feel connected with you and the topic. That relationship is the key thing missing from most other markers of credibility (tv/print interviews, book writing, etc).

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* I’m surprised blog tools don’t exist that integrate “activity elsewhere” into an appended item to your blog post. Would be fairly simple to aggregate a friend-feed style feed at the bottom of a post, time date it to include only the info since your last post, and create both a contextual record attached to the post and a database record allowing you to own (or at least recreate) all the data you’re publishing/sharing on social services.

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Image: USGS - public domain
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