The latest email from Blog Topics is on the subject of writing what you don’t know about. I couldn’t decipher from the Facebook Blog Topics group what that meant, and perhaps that’s intentional so we don’t get ahead of ourselves, but today’s email cleared it all up. Oh and if you didn’t know, Blog Topics is a subscription service that helps bloggers explore new topics and helps with suggestions on what you can blog about.
I wrote a ton of stuff over the weekend, all of which hasn’t been posted. Why didn’t I post it? Well that’s a good question because it’s good stuff. But sometimes I think my writing is too deep, trying to give to much thought into things when I shouldn’t spend so much time on it. It’s like I’m punishing myself because I spent hours upon hours on it.
It’s just that sometimes I can see connections to things that need explanation, like the recent SEO slander that Lisa Barone wrote about,
It’s hard to deny that one reason SEO has such a bad reputation is because of those who inaccurately report on it. When people spread false information, especially when it’s coming from large media outlets, it puts dings in our armor.
And the Marketing post from Fred Wilson which I first took offense to and later came to realize it was masterfully executed. (This is what I wrote a ton about, because I tied lots of stuff together between the two).
In Fred’s post he states:
I believe that marketing is what you do when your product or service sucks or when you make so much profit on every marginal customer that it would be crazy to not spend a bit of that profit acquiring more of them (coke, zynga, bud, viagra).
Those are both issues my mouth waters and my fingers start jonesin to hit the keyboard, and they did, but was it necessary? What did I gain from trying to decipher this stuff? Why do I feel I have enough to contribute a meaningful and insightful response? Then I realize that it’s probably going a bit beyond the scope of this blog, and hence I hesitate to post it.
The main focus of this blog is to publish information about how car dealers should have a blog and become part of the conversation. If I start writing about things that VC squabble over does that mean I don’t care enough about my core customer, no but I can see how that might mean less actionable posts.
But in the interests of exploring and learning new ways to write, I’m going to shift it a bit. Feel free to let me know if you have any objections.
What I Don’t Know – How To Figure it Out
There are tons of things I don’t know how to do. In fact, over the past few years, since late 2007 actually, I have been working on things I don’t know and figuring them out. I can tell you that doing this has its consequences, so use some caution if you try to venture out on your own.
There Is No GPS
If you are faced with something you don’t understand you can find just enough information online to become dangerous, so thats just what I did.
Need a website built, talk to local tech startups and ask them how.
Want to validate your idea, go talk to your ideal customer who you should have a mental image of.
Don’t think you can quit your job?
I’ll let you answer that one for yourself, because that is a big step. No handbook for losing your mind and jumping ship because you have a big idea, you either will or you won’t.
Your Own Path Is Paved in Gold
I don’t want to say that doing this is all roses, its not, its nuts. I couldn’t write it all down in a years worth of 700 word blog posts. If you go it alone you are gambling with everything and that is a very unsettling state of affairs.
What I do know is that not doing it would have been a boring life to me. I dive into my ideas, and try to sort out what is worth doing. I learned I can write, I love to learn – something my great grandmother told me – learn everything you can because they can’t take that away from you.
So I’ve been learning, like a madman. I help others learn by writing about it, giving my advice, and by creating my own internal GPS when it comes to all things internet related.
I have explored as deep into things as possible, most of the time I feel as though I’m constantly waiting for the web to catch up with the information I need.
Just Know When To Say When
Finally, I’ll say one thing about acquiring knowledge and being accountable with other things. The internet, is mostly navigated via a search engine only I don’t stay on the path. I can scan a page and pick up key things like an eagle scouting its prey.
Keep It Simple – Time Will Always Be Your Biggest Challenge
What I would like to warn you about, in regards to doing things that you don’t know, is that information as indexed on the web has no termination point so you are it.
Every webpage links to another, to another, to another. Google and the other search engines need it this way because they can’t leap off the path.
So when you venture off, don’t stay in research mode for too long, set limits. Only allow yourself a certain amount of “research time” because you’ll end up with more information than you can logically index and allocate towards your initiatives.
Learn to communicate what you are looking for, and ask yourself if you could cut down your research by entering the same query into Twitter with the hope that someone will reply. This is better, Google knows it and has tried to stay on top of it but reach out to people because they add context and experience where search only offers it bits and pieces.
Don’t be afraid to pay for others to do it for you. This is a big one. Because most things can be fleshed out we tend to over estimate our ability to handle them. Its the same concept as the old saying “your eyes are bigger than your stomach” – so don’t keep gathering stuff you can’t put into action. And those things you don’t need total control over find someone who can manage them.