Tagwriting

What happens when you write 11,000 blog posts?

You get fat. That’s the worst thing. I’ve watched every single one of the writers I’ve grown up with — with a few very rare exceptions — get fat. It’s actually quite funny. Look for old videos of me. I was once a calm, skinny early 30-something and now I look like a nervous beluga. There is nothing healthy about this lifestyle. Either accept that or get out now. You can exercise but unless you’re an ectomorph or willing to run more than you write then you’re stuck. You can quit and start surfing and get skinny again,
but this requires you live in Hawaii.

You learn how to write fast. I can put up a blog post in five minutes. I’m not proud. I’ve been sprinting so long that writing anything longer than 1,000 words is an odd feeling. To be a true long-form writer you have to produce, edit, and revise for hours. I learned that blogging ruins long-form when I wrote my books, most notably Marie Antoinette’s Watch. I could not hold a thread and my writing, while dense, was imperfect. I didn’t have the discipline necessary to write long. Here’s hoping I can get it back. Treasure it if you have it, even if it won’t make you any money.

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The Plateau

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We are now in an era of technological stagnation, a true plateau. The last time this happened — between 1990 and 2000 — we lived in a world that changed little over a decade with incremental and short-sighted technological improvements standing in for real change. The current stagnation began in about 2008 and I expect it will end in five years.

I realize this is a lot to swallow but consider the facts: between 1990s and 2000 little changed. The Web, which was in its infancy, was still considered a plaything or snake oil by an important subset of the technologically savvy and Bill Gates didn’t get publicly bullish on the Internet until 1997. The browser was an enemy and most businesses fell back to Lotus Notes and private networks in an effort to keep their employees from potentially using company time to connect their business to the world. Linux was a plaything and open source was a haven for zealots and the socially awkward.

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Guts

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I’ve written about startups for a decade. I’ve interviewed founders, spoke at conferences, and flapped my gums about best ways forward and how silly/cool a product was. What I didn’t know, and what I know now, is that I wasn’t giving startup founders their due.

In short, I didn’t see two things: the fire in their bellies when it came to their idea and the fire in their bodies that was slowly burning them down. Just as the drive forward immolates you from the inside the same drive immolates our physical body. Dreaming up a business is often as easy as sitting down at a table and starting to think. Bringing a startup to life is akin to entering some sort of maniacal roller-coaster of your own devising. Finding an equilibrium is the hardest thing an entrepreneur can do and finding true calm comes only with practice.

I’m getting there, but it’s hard.

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