This Is The Reason I Started Writing On Medium

I’m often asked where do I get the motivation from to write and publish an article almost everyday on Medium. Below I share some insights on how I started writing, the importance of a niche, and how the internet can be leveraged.

Introduction

You will find the DNA of Naval Ravikant throughout this short article. I’m not sure why I cannot stop listening to him speak…and why I can listen to sections over and over again and receive fresh insights…

Maybe it is because I see him as a true master in the art of living, he makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he’s always doing both. (adapted quote of James A. Michener)

“Inspiration is perishable-act on it immediately.”
~Naval Ravikant

Develop Specific Knowledge

Often competition is a zero-sum game, with ever rising table stakes. The best way to succeed is to escape competition via authenticity. To develop a specific knowledge that not many people have. Developing this knowledge is sure to lead to being authentic and subsequently redefining the rules of the game.

“Escape competition through authenticity”
~Naval Ravikant

When I joined the third startup in my career, I was catapulted into the chatbot development world. Having worked for a number of years on VoiceXML, Speech Synthesis and ASR helped considerably.

Often what is experienced as serendipity at the moment, looking back seems like carefully aligned and sequenced events.

I remember how lost I was in the chatbot world at first, but I also realised that I am finding myself on the edge of knowledge.

At that moment there were lots of scientific papers, marketing material and to a certain extent tutorials. But practical real-world experience insights were lacking.

The quickest way for me to develop knowledge was to build working prototypes, while iterating and building the prototype out, enhancing the fidelity of the demo.

Make Your Knowledge Known

I’m not a statistician, mathematician or exceptional developer, but I soon realised I’m starting to gather wider market insights and platform knowledge. And I also realised that this knowledge has value to some and making it available can be of service to the community.

The next logical step was to write about what I did, advantages I saw, disadvantages and more. As my material expanded, I could start comparing different frameworks based on my practical experience.

“Figure out what product you can provide and then figure out how to scale it”
~Naval Ravikant

I knew that for me personally, the best approach would be to rather write as apposed to making videos, and for a brief moment I was considering to try and monetise my content. But I was not known, and had no leverage.

Considering the SEO prowess of Medium, it was the logical next step to fork out the monthly subscription to publish on Medium and make the content freely available.

Please consider subscribing to notifications…and get an email whenever I publish a new article.

The SEO of Medium did generate considerable traffic, especially when I published articles on new and niche technologies.

Unfortunately it is not possible to monetise via Medium from South Africa, but I still felt the benefit was there. I was making my knowledge known and good things were bound to come from that.

Mastery, Autonomy & Purpose

Exploring, fuelling curiosity, building, learning and writing about it became liberating. It was something I was doing for myself and for no other tangible reason. But the sense of mastery, autonomy and purpose were tangible.

“To the experts, what looks like hard work from the outside, is play from the inside.”
~Naval Ravikant

I found that writing on Medium, and posting links on Twitter and LinkedIn were the most efficient. I was not marketing myself, or being pushy…I was just putting my writing out there.

The World Is An Efficient Place

The world is an efficient place, it does not need me, my writing or insights. I found the best approach is not to wait for appreciation or acknowledgement, but create a constant torrent of content on a specific subject.

“So, what the internet does is allows any niche obsession,”
~Naval Ravikant

Because the internet is such a big place, a niche obsession can reach a large audience and it is possible to create a readership by leveraging that niche. If you try and be everything to everyone, sooner or later you will be mistaken for the wrong person.

But this will not be the case if you stick to exploring and showcasing your specific knowledge. You are sure to attract people to whom it is of great value.

Lastly

As you grow, it becomes more important on what you work on and with who you work.

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Being part of the right team and working on the right problems is an avenue to fast-track learning and exposure to new ideas. And this is the next challenge I’m facing.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/cobusgreyling

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Cobus Greyling

Cobus Greyling

Chief Evangelist @ HumanFirst. I explore and write about all things at the intersection of AI and language; NLP/NLU/LLM, Chat/Voicebots, CCAI. www.humanfirst.ai