While I’m convinced that remixed content is largely a waste of time for writers and readers, it’s a free world out there. Do whatever makes you happy. If you focus on remixed or “curated” content I’ll probably not follow you on Twitter or read your blog, but there’s no reason why you should care about that. Ultimately, it’s your own responsibility to decide how you spend your time and what kind of content you consume.
Creative nonfiction pioneer John McPhee distilled decades of experience and first-hand learnings in a series of essays. (The best of them are now available in a book called “Draft No. 4”.) A savvy entrepreneur repackages the advice in a $1000+ cohort-based course. Someone takes the course and summarizes what he learned. People on Twitter start creating threads summarizing the student’s summaries. At some point, the guy who summarized the student’s summaries will get invited to a podcast to summarize his summary of the student’s summary.
Their goal is to become entrepreneurs. But instead of building products, they create content. Or even worse, they do research and take courses on how to create content. But this doesn’t bring them one inch closer to their goal. It’s just a form of procrastination.
While charging money for something you created is scary, there is almost zero risk in putting out free content. And if you’re just remixing other people’s content, the intellectual risk is effectively zero. After all, you can always reply “hey, don’t shoot the messenger”.
Aspiring entrepreneurs are not just wasting a lot of time but also lots of money this way. They spend thousands of dollars on courses that teach them how to remix other people’s content more effectively. They buy the latest hyped-up courses that teach them how to craft more effective tweets, blog posts and Youtube videos.
What I’m saying is that too many beginners have their priorities backwards and fall into the “build an audience!” trap.
A high-quality audience is an endless source of opportunities. A low quality one is at most a Ponzi scheme. Many people learn this the hard way. They get lured by the promise that they’ll be able to create content effortlessly and build an audience this way. This is exactly what beginners want to hear and hence what gurus are preaching. “Everything is a remix”. So just progressively summarize a bunch of books and then start sharing pieces you remixed from your summaries.
Students of these courses spent months recording videos and writing thousands of words only to discover that they never said anything meaningful.
Publishing content online is the best way to become visible so that opportunities can find you. But please don’t try to improve your ability to come up with interesting things by reading and connecting ideas just so that you have something to write about.
Glasp is a social web highlighter that people can highlight and organize quotes and thoughts from the web, and access other like-minded people’s learning.