A marketing nightmare
of my own creation
I can remember my excitement and optimism. I can remember the urge to tell everyone I knew about how it could change the way we transact, collaborate, and take control of our data. I can remember feeling like I was peeking into the future.
A little over a year ago was the first time I wrote about my involvement in the crypto/web3 space. At the time, it felt risky to write about since up until then I had been positioning myself as a memoir-style writer, someone who writes “personal, vulnerable, and sometimes funny stories” as I put it. Sure, crypto can be divisive and some people can have strong opinions about it. I wasn’t worried about that, though. Instead, my initial reluctance to write about it was more about that positioning.
I thought, “I’m supposed to be the vulnerable stories guy, not the ‘here are my thoughts on crypto’ guy.”
But the more I thought about it, the more I rejected the idea of having to fit into some sort of creative box.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve considered changing the tagline to this newsletter, which is currently “Memoir-style stories with a dash of advice column.” I like that line and I think I mostly deliver that type of writing. It also wouldn’t make sense to change it to “Memoir-style stories with a dash of advice column, oh and also sometimes I just rant about recent things that have happened to me, and then there are the times when I write about work stuff too. Please subscribe!”
It’s like what Walt Whitman wrote way back in 1855, “I contain multitudes”. We all do, really.
But the internet—and particularly social media—rewards finding—and ultimately exploiting—your niche. I know I could grow my audience quicker if I stayed in one lane. If I doubled down and just wrote crypto content, for example. But I enjoy the freedom of being able to throw a dumb joke out there, followed by a thread about NFTs, then followed by a post about being a parent to a daughter with cerebral palsy.
How the hell do I position that? Like, is it “Follow me for some laughs, nuanced thoughts, and the occasional cry?”
Yet, despite this marketer’s nightmare of my own creation, my audience still grows.
Am I defying the odds?
Nah, I think it’s more about my honesty. Part of being vulnerable online is putting it ALL out there. Maybe this makes my “brand” confusing. I don’t really care. People are drawn to people who aren’t afraid to take risks. Not picking a niche to focus on is a risk. But I’d rather have all of you here who really care about my creative work than a bunch of followers who are just looking for me to provide value or whatever.
Or, as the influential startup investor and entrepreneur Paul Graham put it:
“It’s better to have 100 people that love you than a million people that just sort of like you. Find 100 people that love you.”
I’ll keep on writing whatever comes to mind. I like our weekly gathering here. I feel like I’ve already won, in a sense. And I like the freedom I have to write whatever I want to write.
I hope it inspires you too.
Thanks for reading Just Enough to Get Me in Trouble. Subscribe for free to receive new posts about whatever I think of each week.
Speaking of crypto/web3 stuff, we’re launching this awesome FREE Intro to Web3 cohort-based course at Invisible College.
If you’re curious about web3 and want to understand it more without breaking the bank, this is the course for you. You’ll learn about the basics of web3, as well as all the acronyms like DeFi (decentralized finance), NFTs (non-fungible tokens), and DAOs (decentralized autonomous organizations).
The deadline to apply is the end-of-day (Pacific Time) this Sunday (i.e. tomorrow).
Hope to see some of you there!
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