Notes on Why You Should Become Internet Famous, by Patrick McKenzie and David Perell

  • Overview: [[David Perrell]] and [[Patrick MacKenzie]] discuss various topics related to writing and promoting yourself online.
  • 4:45 You should think about how your writing is framed online if you are looking for it to be used to promote your commercial work. “Blogging” has a poor brand within many high status employers, whereas “memos” and “essays” do not. Try to categorize your writing as these things rather than a blog post. These small changes can make a big difference. Don’t call it a “blog”, don’t put a date on it if it’s not stuff that will decay in importance in 48 hours, choose to write about things that will stay relevant, etc. #blogging #promotion #Portfolio
  • 9:00 Try to create a tighter brand for your writing. Find a niche and try to focus on that, although experimenting isn’t that bad an idea, at least at first. Good to also think about your interests that happen to be booming in the economy (for example, [[Patrick MacKenzie]] focused on the intersection of [[marketing]] and [[engineering]]). #branding #niche
  • 13:00 Even if absolutely no-one reads your essay, it’s still worth writing it because it produces an asset you can use. For example, you could use it as a proof of work to a future employer and that would make it a tremendous ROI. Don’t feel like you have to have a big audience before [[writing]].
  • 15:00 find where people you are writing for hang out. Hang out there, and gradually inject your stuff in there. Gradually, and in an authentic way, introduce your thoughts into people’s with large following’s posts. Some people don’t get annoyed by this – some people with large followings actively signal boost.
  • 23:40 Benefits of long-form [[writing]]. A lot of the common advice about writing short-form on the internet comes from people with certain incentives for following that model (e.g. [[BuzzFeed]]). You really need to understand your personal [[goals]] and what the incentive structure are for achieving that goal.
  • 28:30 As soon as you put something on a dashboard, people start to change their behaviour based on what’s on that dashboard. So – be careful of what you put on [[dashboards]]. #KPIs #metrics
  • 30:00 Discusses the so-called “death of blogs”. [[Patrick MacKenzie]] points out that people that wrote blogs back in 2010 are still around, but now they have moved on to incredible titles, like CEO or Senior Staff Engineer at Google. As a result, they no longer blog or call themselves bloggers. #blogging
  • 37:20 [[Patrick MacKenzie]] is a fan of [[Ramit Sethi]], he is one of his favourite marketers and knows how to do the internet well.
  • 38:00 Discussion of recommendations for email lists. Email is something you can own – it’s difficult to take that away from you. There’s also something powerful that someone put up their hand and said “yes, I want to hear, in my inbox, what you are talking about”. It’s also less “risky”, since no-one forwards a newsletter for someone else to dunk on it (unlike what happens on Twitter). #[[Email Lists]] #Independence #control
  • 43:00 What makes an idea worth publishing?
  • 47:00 What do the best marketers miss?
  • 49:00 Culture of [[Stripe]] and how they maintain a high level of craft. Are [[craft]] and [[metrics]] somehow opposed or a different language? Incentives matter – if you incentivize shipping the best version of something, that’s what you get. If you incentivize always meeting deadlines, that’s what you get. #incentives
  • 54:35 What does making writing at [[Stripe]] do for the company? 99% of their word count is internal. Some companies in hyper [[Growth]] mode are doubling their number of employees each year. As long as that continues, over half of your staff have less than 1 year experience with the company. Big problem is spinning people up to speed and getting them into the culture – “[[democracy of the dead]]” – people who were there before can have tremendous impact by producing highly leveraged artifacts, like written documents. Writing helps transfer knowledge #[[Corporate Knowledge]] #[[Organizational Memory]] #leverage
  • 1:00:00 When should you go to market after building an audience? [[Writing]] and developing an audience first before developing software is valuable because you build a list of people ready to buy. You also learn more about how to build a great product by writing deeply about it. The MVP for sellable word products is much lower bar than [[MVP]] for software. #[[Audience Building]]
  • 1:07:30 What is a small software business that you admire? How do they use online writing and content to grow and validate the business? There are tens of thousands of profitable, successful software / SAS business that you’ve never heard of. It will be boring, very successful, and will be sold, and hardly anyone that isn’t a customer or an employee will be aware of it. E.g. Moraware which provides software for kitchen counter installation companies.
  • 1:14:00 What is the 1 thing you think the [[US]] should import from Japanese [[culture]]? [[Earnestness]] and [[optimism]] of ones [[work]]. A non-ironic embrace of loving what you do. There’s a lot of [[cynicism]] in the US. “Choose to do what you love” is bad advice. Better advice is “Learn to love what you do”. #Japan #happiness
  • 1:18:30 How did you go from being a kid with “I want to be a baseball player” type interests to who you are now – an expert in niche SAS? People underestimate the ability they have to change, particularly the way they think. [[Stripe]] hires for people that are ambitious and optimist. Hanging around people like that makes you more ambitious and optimistic! #Ambition #optimism
  • 1:23:00 The amount of luck you have in life is how much value you create times how many people you tell about it. Explain what you mean by that. It’s a mistake to think that if you just do great work, you’ll be recognized for that. It’s a key professional skill and you should probably get good at it. #luck #marketing
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