Blogging vs. Building


“The more you blog, the less you are building”

Hiten Shah recently shared these words with me on MessageMe:

The more you blog, the less you are building.

I’m currently parked at blogging HQ, Philz Coffee, writing. I write frequently, dedicating 1-3 hours every day and publishing up to three posts each week (I have a dozen unpublished essays finished in my “queue”). Many people have asked why I spend so much time writing, sometimes criticizing this daily routine and questioning its value.

To Blog or Not to Blog

Recently there’s been a surge of debate in the startup community on the value of blogging[1], kicked off by this tweet by Keith Rabois:

https://twitter.com/rabois/statuses/397075060499812352

I disagree with Keith’s hyperbolic statement — I can name several successful founders that blog regularly[2] — however, there is some truth to his argument. For 95% of us, blogging is very time-consuming. The attention it brings is also distracting, as one’s Twitter stream and email inbox flood with ego-boosting appreciation.

Blogging takes focus away from other things, including your startup. As Nabeel Hyatt points out, many founders ebb and flow in this blogging routine. Take Ev Williams as an example. When his new startup, Medium, first launched, he regularly published on the new platform but in recent months he’s remained largely silent. Why? Probably to focus on Medium.

Why I Write

I write for many reasons. I get tremendous intrinsic and extrinsic value from it. This daily habit helps me hone an important soft skill: communication. My writing abilities have improved, as evident by the embarrassment I feel reading blog posts I wrote six months ago.

Blogging is a joy. I use it as a vehicle to explore product design, deconstructing the psychology and growth tactics used in many of today’s most successful consumer products.

In doing so, I have built an audience of interested startup enthusiasts, providing me a platform of followers for experimentation and distribution of new startup ideas. Most people start marketing after they conceive of a startup idea or release a product. In reality, marketing can begin before a startup’s inception.

But what’s most rewarding is the feedback and appreciation I receive from readers. Not to sound egotistical, but several founders have informed me that something I wrote, provided them with new perspectives, sometimes changing the way they build their startup and even their own life.

I Won’t Always Blog This Much

But like Ev, I won’t always blog this often. I’m currently in-between roles, exploring opportunities for my next full-time, all-in startup adventure. I blog for the reasons above but it’s also strategic.

Blogging has opened several opportunities to meet amazing entrepreneurs, advise startups, and job offers. Blogging is the new resume — amplifying one’s experience, talent, and way of thinking in a more scaleable way than one-on-one communications. Fortunately, I’m in a position to invest in my blog without sacrificing focus in building a startup.

For now.


[1]: Many other bloggers have weighed in on this topic:

[2]: Here are a few founders I respect that actively blog:

Subscribe to follow my blog or say hello on Twitter (@rrhoover).

This essay was inspired by this week’s Startup Edition, “Why do you write?”. Visit Startup Edition to read more responses from other entrepreneurs.

Further Reading

Blogging is the New Resume

 — Blogging is an effective way to illustrate expertise, personality, and most importantly, thought process.

Written by

Co-Creator of Product Hunt. Creator of Startup Edition. Instructor at Tradecraft. More at http://ryanhoover.me. Follow at @rrhoover.

View story at Medium.com

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