May 29, 2020

Learn in Public, Fanatically

Wit Sumathavanit @witsuma

Inspired by Patrick OShaughnessy’s advice for young people starting out their life’s journey. I expand these into how these concepts inform my path below. Original Tweet

Learn in Public
The mantra that many internet entrepreneurs subscribe. Learn in public. Build in public. We’ve been influenced by seeing these first hand. Check on Twitter. Read a few blog posts. Browse Indie Hackers. We see some people are doing so. It seems like public note-taking, a number of people do have public notebooks. They call those digital gardens. For some it’s even more personal, like a journal that’s public. Reading them sometimes we feel like intruding into someone’s very private life and they chose to keep their heart open.

For me though it’s still very tender. Before all this I’ve been a private introverted person highly comfortable alone and don’t even use social media. Even to be sharing on the internet like this is a new experience. What difference this makes remain to be seen. Everyday I’m learning new things. I don’t know where all or any of them leads.

Find Something & Know It Better Than Anyone
As someone who’s actually been practicing calm and peace it sure sounds weird to see people suggest obsession to guide life’s direction. No particular topic jumped out at me yet. Internet entrepreneurship is a lifestyle and economic choice for me. Here’s another angle Patrick might not have considered. Internet entrepreneurship can help a lot of people along the way and in the process. Doing that can be lead by compassion and we can pass that along in whatever we do.

The point on better than anyone. Good enough is powerful and is closer to complete beginner than many of us realise. Then get better at that everyday. My writing’s nothing spectacular. Starting about a month ago I’ve been writing everyday. It’s good enough for me. The path to the best is a long one, and staying as the best is highly competitive. Knowing where good enough might be the key to live a balanced life with inner peace.

Share Everything You Learn Along the Way
I see people mentioning “imposter’s syndrome” on the internet and it seems to be common enough topic. This hasn’t occurred to me. Outside of the internet it seemed we need to be the notable ones to be found and teach. Online though I’ve found many founders just sharing. They don’t wait to be the best. They don’t even seem to wait to be the average yet! Their struggles and failings are shared. Their triumph and successes are shared. Many people have written blog posts after they have researched a topic for a week.

This is powerful. The many unknown people who together made Wikipedia are not the best people in that field. The blog posts we read were made by people like us. We can find more to learn. We already know more than enough in many topics to help people not there yet. Someone that made $1 online has something to tell. People who have been doing online business for 1 month has something to share. Even people who haven’t started are not excluded!

At depth, start building something
Another tricky one on the list. Once deep enough is an assurance and a trap. There’ve been people who learned to much knowledge that’s not backed by experience. In those situations the knowledge is blocking time to execute and learn from real practice. At absolute zero though one cannot build anything yet. So build early. I started this blog a month ago. First ever blog for me that’s maintained longer than a few days. Didn’t have to go very deep. Posting on Indie Hackers. That first tweet. Good to scope out the land a bit. More than that is putting things off. Start building. Ship.

Make something to sell early
I started off with numerous products ideas and drafts. Those are not fired up these days. The learning depth is uncertain for products for me. I’ve just productised a service that I can do and put it on Gumroad. It might lead somewhere or nowhere. I need to keep making things and I want more ideas for those next week. Putting something for sale is the real validation on these ideas. We can put that off for a long time and let them live in our fantasy. The only people who can decide on “good enough” is a paying customer.

Follow my public learning on Twitter: @WitSuma
Originally from my blog: Builders' Sun

  1. 1

    Great post! Where I'm having the most difficulty is on Twitter. I feel (probably wrongly) that everything has been said/is being said and that there isn't much I can contribute.

    I guess I'll need to find my own, unique twist and perspective on building in public like you suggested.

    Thanks for writing this! :)

    1. 1

      Hi there. This sounds like the "imposter syndrome" above. The thing is, your experiences and skills so far in life has contributed to your current worldview. Nobody else has that. So just start commenting whatever feels like it.

      The worst thing you can do is to do nothing. Ignore opportunities.
      Second worst thing is to try to sound smart on Twitter.

      Best wishes :)

      1. 2

        Yes that makes sense, unless someone has been living in my shadow my whole life... Thanks for the response!

  2. 1

    This is a great reminder, thanks for sharing @witsuma. Certainly backs ups the trend of 'Building in the Open' we see at the moment!

    1. 2

      It's interesting that even with this acceptance of "building in the open" movement. There's still so much in the dark. Some are profitable in private niches and too busy to be broadcasting. Many though are people just like us lurking. For years and years.

      1. 2

        This is true. I think there is definitely an element of being too busy to be broadcasting, especially in the early stages for bootstrapped founders. It can be hard enough to get traction without the added work of broadcasting the journey. However, I think that many are now beginning to realize that 'broadcasting as a content strategy' is a way to help get initial interest, customers and traction.