Andrew Chen is one of my favorite tech/marketing bloggers. His blog is an endless source of knowledge for anyone who works in business today. He focuses on growth and digital marketing at startups but to be honest, some of his posts that felt futuristic 10 years ago are now the reality of any entrepreneur or intrapreneur. I found his writings in 2010 because I was desperately looking for a framework for my thesis on mobile marketing. His thoughts on mobile (as a personal device and a marketing tool) were much more developed than anything I found in the literature. I came back often to his writings, for his thoughts on emails, social, mobile, commerce, but also for his reflections on work in general.
He says he is blogging professionally. And I like that. Because when you read his lessons from 10 years of blogging, you realize that he's not blogging on top of his work – blogging is also his work. Here are the highlights from a recent article where he reflects on 10 years of blogging professionally and draws the most important lessons:
- Titles are 80% of the work, but you write it as the very last thing. It has to be a compelling opinion or important learning
- There’s always room for high-quality thoughts/opinions. Venn diagram of people w/ knowledge and those we can communicate is tiny
- Writing is the most scalable professional networking activity – stay home, don’t go to events/conferences, and just put ideas down
- Think of your writing on the same timescale as your career. Write on a multi-decade timeframe. This means, don’t just pub on Quora/Medium
- Focus on writing freq over anything else. Schedule it. Don’t worry about building an immediate audience. Focus on the intrinsic.
- To develop the habit, put a calendar reminder each Sunday for 2 hours. Forced myself to stare at a blank text box and put something down
- Most of my writing comes from talking/reading deciding I strongly agree or disagree. These opinions become titles. Titles become essays.
- People are often obsessed with needing to write original ideas. Forget it. You’re a journalist with a day job in the tech industry
- An email subscriber is worth 100x twitter or LinkedIn followers or whatever other stuff is out there. An email = a real channel
- I started writing while working at a VC. They asked, “Why give away ideas? That’s your edge.” Ironic that VCs blog/tweet all day now ;)
- Publishing ideas, learnings, opinions, for years & years is a great way to give. And you’ll figure out how to capture value later