iterate like a startup

“When an idea is served up from behind the scenes, the neural circuitry has been working on the problems for hours or days or years, consolidating information and trying out new combinations. But you merely take credit without further wonderment at the vast, hidden political machinery behind the scenes.”

David Eagleman, Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain

All the talk about not wanting to share your ideas because people are being afraid someone will steal their idea is arrogance. People think they’re a lot more original than they actually are. If an idea is posted in the forest and no one sees it, did you even post it? Additionally, quality is subjective. People misprice value all the time. So who’s to say you aren’t mispricing the value of your own content? What’s crap to you might be insightful to someone else. Everything is relative.

Also you can create a private twitter account or a subscriber only patreon or substack. You could even make it only visible to people with the link, to share with close friends.

People who wait until the thing is perfect to share it have the wrong goal. They are afraid of being seen as a low quality creator.

If you know about the compound effect, you know how powerful iteration is. Writing compounds. You do it once, hit publish, and 3 years later someone could discover you through that piece.

People ask Michael Neilsen how he writes such eloquent, thoughtful, thought provoking essays. it’s just iteration.

The best way to advertise your thing is to make another one. If you don’t have a following yet or are beginning a new craft, you should focus first on volume. This is absolutely a marketing strategy. The days of the siloed perfectionist creator are over. Anyone who chooses that path is limiting their own reach and muting their own voice. Attention is a zero sum game and there is more content to consume than we could ever. Which is a perfect reason to summarize/curate content by the way. I can say from experience the feedback from making myself vulnerable with high frequency output of music and writing has been overwhelmingly positive.

Treat your craft like a startup. Iterate. A/B test parts of your process. If I showed you the original logos and apps for companies like Uber Cab, Airbnb, etc, you might be surprised.

Here are some examples. Think of every logo you’ve never seen as a previous version of your output. The fact that you’ve never seen some of these logos shows how people won’t see some of your earlier work. That 2010 Instagram logo is just like my first three weeks or first 21 tracks of gpplsDaily. Have you ever been the first person in your network to discover an artist? And as they get more popular, your friends listen to their newer projects, but they’re not familiar with the artist’s older work. It’s a similar situation.

Iterating like a startup is vital to your growth as a creative and to understanding your audience. Process over product. I don’t care if I write a horrible song or an atrocious newsletter piece. Not every idea I have is a banger. But I still want to improve today. So I create that output regardless. You don’t have to share it. But I remind you of the value of feedback loops as shown in Gary Vee’s content model and David Perell’s content triangle.