Blogging vs. Building
Hiten Shah recently shared these words with me on MessageMe:
The more you blog, the less you are building.
I’m currently parked at blogging HQ, Philz Coffee, writing. I write frequently, dedicating 1-3 hours every day and publishing up to three posts each week (I have a dozen unpublished essays finished in my “queue”). Many people have asked why I spend so much time writing, sometimes criticizing this daily routine and questioning its value.
To Blog or Not to Blog
Recently there’s been a surge of debate in the startup community on the value of blogging, kicked off by this tweet by Keith Rabois:
@hunterwalk @AlexBangash I don’t know of a single successful CEO or entrepreneur who blogs regularly.— Keith Rabois (@rabois) November 3, 2013
I disagree with Keith’s hyperbolic statement - I can name several successful founders that blog regularly - however, there is some truth to his argument. For 95% of us, blogging is very time-consuming. The attention it brings is also distracting, as one’s Twitter stream and email inbox flood with ego-boosting appreciation.
Blogging takes focus away from other things, including your startup. As Nabeel Hyatt points out, many founders ebb and flow in this blogging routine. Take Ev Williams as an example. When his new startup, Medium, first launched, he regularly published on the new platform but in recent months he’s remained largely silent. Why? Probably to focus on Medium.
Why I Write
I write for many reasons. I get tremendous intrinsic and extrinsic value from it. This daily habit helps me hone an important soft skill: communication. My writing abilities have improved, as evident by the embarrassment I feel reading blog posts I wrote six months ago.
Blogging is a joy. I use it as a vehicle to explore product design, deconstructing the psychology and growth tactics used in many of today’s most successful consumer products.
In doing so, I have built an audience of interested startup enthusiasts, providing me a platform of followers for experimentation and distribution of new startup ideas. Most people start marketing after they conceive of a startup idea or release a product. In reality, marketing can begin before a startup’s inception.
But what’s most rewarding is the feedback and appreciation I receive from readers. Not to sound egotistical, but several founders have informed me that something I wrote, provided them with new perspectives, sometimes changing the way they build their startup and even their own life.
I Won’t Always Blog This Much
But like Ev, I won’t always blog this often. I’m currently in-between roles, exploring opportunities for my next full-time, all-in startup adventure. I blog for the reasons above but it’s also strategic.
Blogging has opened several opportunities to meet amazing entrepreneurs, advise startups, and job offers. Blogging is the new resume - amplifying one’s experience, talent, and way of thinking in a more scaleable way than one-on-one communications. Fortunately, I’m in a position to invest in my blog without sacrificing focus in building a startup.
: Many other bloggers have weighed in on this topic:
Successful Entrepreneurs Do Not Blog? - Mark Birch
Should entrepreneurs blog? - Chris Yeh
All Entrepreneurs Should Blog - William Mougayar
: Here are a few founders I respect that actively blog:
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This essay was inspired by this week’s Startup Edition, “Why do you write?”. Visit Startup Edition to read more responses from other entrepreneurs.