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You are more interesting than you think.

CJ Chilvers
CJ Chilvers
2 min read

I’m guessing you’re a generalist, because most people are.

But the online content-consumption machine seems to reward those who make their personalities all about one thing.

I believe that’s a distracting, unhelpful remnant of the first 29-ish years of the web — minus the first five years.

Why subtract the first five? That was the era of the generalist blogger on the web.

It wasn’t called blogging, yet. That would take a few more years. It was just a ritualistic practice of updating the index.html file on your website every morning with the cool links and ideas you found the day before in your explorations.

The trust was always about the person behind the index.html file, not the information itself. We gave that up in the years since. We put our trust in algorithms. Look how they've paid us back.

It's time to bring trust in individuals back.

Our role? Keep building up that trust by being real and providing value consistently. Post about whatever your generalist heart desires.

Will that go viral? Hell no.

That’s not where the value is. The value is in the daily practice that makes you a better creator and a trusted resource.

Something will resonate within that practice. That’s what will determine your “viral” product or service. Your practice is the backbone.

It could take 10 days or 10 years. You’ll never know until you start.

Can’t stick to the practice you want?

  • Add a constraint.
  • Don’t be precious.
  • Click publish.

And, as always, hit me up for pep talk. That’s why I’m here.

You’re Doing Email Marketing Wrong
I’m not a big fan of the typical “marketing email.” I don’t think it’s anywhere near as effective as content-based or relationship-based email marketing. But, it is the dominant form of email for business. Here’s how to do it right.

You are more interesting than you think.
When the life seems meaningless, it helps to remember that you are the author of the universe. That’s not a metaphor. There’s quantum physics involved.

Be everywhere. But be your best here.
Here’s why brands are turning to signature models, and why it’s important for your personal site, newsletter, and social media. Be everywhere. But be your best in one place.

Get to your cabin to escape cognitive capture.
Cal Newport has been on a roll lately with cabin-based productivity. I don’t know if I believe in all of it, but it’s so much fun to think about. His recent piece on the internet’s creative middle class is great too, but only focuses on original, negative argument against “1000 true fans,” not the optimistic argument against it.

Why digitize everything?
I love paper. So, it takes a very persuasive argument to get me to go all-digital. But, this changed my mind. Plus, if you feel overwhelmed by digitization projects, watch how the Smithsonian does it on an industrial scale.

Quotes 💬

“Be bored better.” — Brad Dowdy

“I’m a huge believer in less. Do fewer things. Work at a natural pace. Obsess over quality.” — Cal Newport summarizing his “slow productivity” philosophy and all of his books

“Writing is networking for introverts.” — Derek Sivers

“What is the ultimate quantification of success? For me, it’s not how much time you spend doing what you love. It’s how little time you spend doing what you hate.” — Casey Neistat via For the Interested

“Writing online is like going to the gym. You won't get any results in one day. You'll barely get results in two months. But if you stick with it for two years, the transformation will be massive. Keep going.” — Tim Stoddart

French Goodbyes 🍟

Last year, I posted that EVH Guitars should build guitar with a very specific design. I forgot about it. Exactly one year later, they have created the guitar as a limited edition. It pays to post — even for the most random ideas.