Two years ago I began this blog. I love to write and was feeling like I finally had a 360-degree startup education, so I decided to starting writing about founder issues a few times a month. But in order to be consistent at something like a regular blog I knew that I'd need a very specific writing process.
To mark my 100th blog post I wanted to remind everyone of how I choose my topics each week. I hope that knowing my process will give you a greater appreciation and understanding of my posts.
My process for choosing to write about a topic is that each topic must meet all three of these criteria...
Criteria #1 - Startup founders are asking me about a specific issue. As part of running a startup hub, I meet with (on average) two new founders every day. So I'm hearing a bunch of founder issues constantly...specifically from first-time founders. This helps me keep an ear to the ground about what's on the mind of founders outside of major startup hubs and recognize common patterns.
Criteria #2 - I hear a podcast where an experienced founder is discussing that exact issue. I love podcasts and listen to a bunch of them. Startup podcasts fill-up most of my playlists, but I do my best to avoid general startup advice like "take risks" and "never give up." In today's content-heavy world there's no room for general advice. I've never calculated this, but I probably listen to twenty hours of podcasts to pull a 60-second clip on a particular topic. While some of my blog post titles might sound generic (eg "Remain true to your product vision"), I won't write about a topic unless I can contribute something unique.
Criteria #3 - I have personal experience with this issue. I could have founders asking me about something (criteria #1) and find a podcast on that topic (criteria #2), but never write about a topic because I haven't had personal experience with the issue. For all three criteria to line-up enough for me to blog about a topic, I need to also have some strong thoughts on a topic (usually through first-hand experience).
When all three of these criteria are met, I write about a topic.
And I do my best to walk through my thinking as clearly as I can...as if I were sitting in front of a founder and explaining all of my nuanced thoughts on that topic.
If you've read my blog for a while you'll also notice that my posts have gotten longer. I've evolved this way so that the full lesson can be read without having to listen to the podcast. The podcast is a bonus if founders want to dive deeper.
I really enjoy writing for this growing group and plan to keep it up for a very long time. All I'd ask in return is that - if you really enjoy a specific post - please forward it to one founder (or potential founder) who you think would find value in it. You never know when advice will have an impact on someone. FWIW here are the posts that I share with the most founders.
(photo of mug wall in coffeehouse at SDC)
Please let me and others know what you think about this topic
Email me privately at email@example.com or let's discuss publicly at @davempayne.