Recently, I suggested that a friend start blogging to aid his job search. Despite having 10 years of solid experience at a major investment bank, he’s had a tough time landing a good role after a move from NYC to LA. I explained that he could build a professional brand by blogging about interests germane to his next career move. For example, if he wanted to work in growth marketing at a marketplace start-up, he could compare and contrast the supply-side dynamics at Uber and Airbnb. Needless to say, my unsolicited advice was met with skepticism. He said that he didn’t love writing and wasn’t sure what he would write about. He perceived a low return on time invested and post views. He quipped that he could write for two plus hours only to have his mom be the sole click on his post.
While naysayers exist, I remain unbowed. Writing online, or blogging more colloquially, is a way to showcase an authentic portfolio of one’s thought processes and develop a system to hone unique ideas in a low-cost, scalable channel. Regular blogging can open doors in unexpected ways that are less likely to occur when compared to the time and effort of running to a networking event across town. Don’t take it from just me. Below, I reference two of my favorite writers who highlight the benefits of writing and address common sticking points.
David Perell writes online and teaches others his craft. He says:
It’s the best way to learn faster, build your resume, and find peers and collaborators who can create job and business opportunities for you.
Content builds on itself. It multiplies and compounds.
Day and night, your content searches the world for people and opportunities. Projects, mentors, speaking gigs, job offers, pitches, investment opportunities, interview requests, podcast appearances, and invitations to special events. It all starts with sharing ideas online.
For more inspiration, sign up for his Monday Musings Newsletter.
Andrew Chen, investor at Andreessen Horowitz, has similar views on the benefits of writing. In his post, 10 years of professional blogging – what I’ve learned, he explains:
Titles are 80% of the work, but you write it as the very last thing. It has to be a compelling opinion or important learning
There’s always room for high-quality thoughts/opinions. Venn diagram of people w/ knowledge and those we can communicate is tiny
Writing is the most scalable professional networking activity – stay home, don’t go to events/conferences, and just put ideas down
Focus on writing freq over anything else. Schedule it. Don’t worry about building an immediate audience. Focus on the intrinsic.
To develop the habit, put a calendar reminder each Sunday for 2 hours. Forced myself to stare at a blank text box and put something down
Most of my writing comes from talking/reading deciding I strongly agree or disagree. These opinions become titles. Titles become essays.
People are often obsessed with needing to write original ideas. Forget it. You’re a journalist with a day job in the tech industry
An email subscriber is worth 100x twitter or LinkedIn followers or whatever other stuff is out there. An email = a real channel
Publishing ideas, learnings, opinions, for years & years is a great way to give. And you’ll figure out how to capture value later
Andrew has many resources on his blog useful for anyone - not just an ex-Uber expert investor start a blog. Further reading, check out How to start a professional blog: 10 tips for new bloggers.
The best way to get started is to follow a few relatable bloggers, like Andrew Chen and David Perell, who discuss interesting ideas that are tangential to your interests. Writing well will always be hard, even for someone who endured the Great Books curriculum. Regularly reading prose is an excellent way to build a foundation for writing well, so I subscribe to The New Yorker (print is so easy on the eyes!). If you are looking to push your intellectual boundaries, make a career move, or simply meet others, I encourage you to start reading the works of David Perell and Andrew Chen. Take their advice and start small. Don’t worry about having a groundbreaking, paradigm shifting essay.