On Saturday morning I was going through email and noticed the latest blog post from David Cummings...
Like many founders in Atlanta, I read almost every post from David. Besides finding personal nuggets that I've been able to use over the years, I've lost track of the number of founders who have emailed me links from his blog with some form of "pure gold" in the subject line.
So - much to my surprise - I read his 3,000th blog post that he's going to stop blogging daily (after eight years) to focus his writing in other ways. As someone who has enjoyed blogging over the past two years, I wanted to dedicate a post to thanking David for all that he's done and encouraging other experienced founders in Atlanta to consider giving back in a similar way.
A few thoughts I'd like to share...
David's writing was a big reason that I started blogging. I'm sure this was the last thing on his mind when he started, but these kinds of efforts have positive ripple effects that are impossible to predict at the start.
David has said it many times and I couldn't agree more...efforts to give back like this are as much for the community as they are personal. Like David, when I sit down with a topic to write, there's huge value in forcing myself to get my own thoughts organized. A few weeks ago I did a random google search for "how many words are in the average book?" The answer is 90,000. If each blog post is about 400 words then I've written a book with about 200 posts. This is totally doable after writing for a few years. In other words, after a few years of blogging you'd have a book-full of your best thinking about a topic.
Atlanta has a real opportunity be to a top startup town in the country. When I think of how that might occur, individual efforts from successful founders (like David's blog) are some of the most fundamental building blocks required from the outset. If you are a founder with your head down in your business it might be difficult to see, but it takes inclusive, founder-led efforts over decades to make real change. If you are a founder who has had some wins, please pitch in as much as you can. Investors, universities, big companies and well-meaning advisors can all help, but I believe that real change has to be founder-led because no one truly understands founders like other founders.
David and I both are involved in startup communities. One thing that you experience in a startup community - that you don't experience as a founder - is the volume and diversity of stuff constantly flowing your way from hundreds of startups on a monthly basis. As a founder working on one idea you get to see your team and maybe you advise a few other startups on the side, but you don't get this type of exposure. As a result of this, founders involved with startup communities develop the ability to pattern match. When I first started reading David's posts about half of them seemed like obvious advice...why would anyone need to know such basic stuff? What has occurred to me over the years - and is reflected in my writing - is that writing to help support an entire community means that the lessons need to be very focused and very clear. This can sometimes sound obvious to readers, but - working with hundreds of local founders - you'd be surprised at obvious lessons that get missed.
Please join me in thanking David for all that he's done for the Atlanta startup ecosystem. Atlanta is very fortunate to have him contributing in so many ways. Over the next few years I hope we see many more experienced founders pitch in like this.
Thanks to these folks for helping us all learn faster
David Cummings (@davidcummings)
Please let me and others know what you think about this topic
Email me privately at firstname.lastname@example.org or let's discuss publicly at @davempayne.
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