Writing

I’ve been writing a lot more lately and am starting to enjoy the process just a little bit. The more I do it, the better I feel about what I actually write. It helps too that I’m starting to get a little bit of feedback from friends and others I talk with, though I have no goal of building a big community or ever blogging for a living. Most of all, I think the act of writing and publishing is helpful to clarify and refine my thinking. And I get the benefits of slowly but surely improving as a writer.

I can’t imagine writing for a large, demanding audience. The more I think about it, the more I see a disconnect between what I thought I wanted and what I would actually be happy with. When I started a blog (not this one, but one on another domain 2 years ago), I had visions of writing for thousands of people and becoming a thought-leader in the collegiate education space. Now, after actually writing and not just dreaming, I realize that type of audience brings wtih it a great deal of pressure. There are things that I would struggle to write about with a large audience that I’m willing to discuss here. Even outside of writing, I have come to realize this

So many times I’ve thought about how amazing it would be to sell a company for millions of dollars, or be recognized as a thought leader in an industry. While making my first hire this week, she made a comment that I was obviously involved in startups for the money. I don’t know (since I don’t have money!), but I don’t think money is a strong motivator right now. It would be nice, but with it comes pressure. Making millions at this age only means my next thing has to be bigger – where does it stop? If I didn’t succeed with whatever I did next, I would be a failure. Thanks to philosophy and some really smart, humble people who are willing to work with me, I can’t see the goal of being a milliionaire mattering very much anymore.

As I’m learning and developing, the one thing I’m realizing is that change is a constant, and is happening faster now than ever before. Companies are just now switching from expensive hosted software to cloud-based solutions – how much faster will they make the switch between cloud software providers in the future? How does this affect corporate sales teams? What about accountants and community pharmacists standing behind the counters counting pills? How do they fit in as things rapidly change? As the world changes more rapidly, the most attractive solution I’ve encountered is to hone your thinking and your network. Change is inevitable, but clear long-term thinking is always in demand. I spoke with someone who worked at Amazon a few years ago, and he mentioned how Bezos was negotiating with publishers for full text rights of their books in order to access Amazon’s print on demand services. The publishers gave in easily – after all, there were no options outside of physical printing. Bezos negotiated for the long term, and in these contracts managed to gain the rights to the content even after Amazon began offering digital content. This was a large part of the reason why Amazon was able to launch the Kindle with such a large library of titles – Bezos played a long term game the publishing comapnies weren’t prepared for.

I’m starting to shift my writing style after reading Paul Graham’s post on writing. I find the less I try to prove a point in my writing the more I can write, learn and explore. And in this process, hopefully become a better thinker, writer, and individual.

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