Josh Pitzalis

Learning Log

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Expertise

How do you start writing about something and become an authority on a topic when you don’t have any experience or qualifications?

Here’s a simple 5 step framework that helped me 👇

Step 1: Read one book a week 📚

I’m doing courses rather than books at the moment. I’d like to get back into reading though. Just bought a @blinkist membership to figure out which books are worth reading before committing to them.

Step 2: Summarise what you learn ✍️

Write one blog post a week outlining exactly what you learned from the previous week’s book. These summaries don’t have to be public, but you have to write them.

Step 3: Start helping people ❤️

Find questions people have about your topic in online forums, chat channels, on Twitter, Reddit, etc, and use what you’ve learned from your summaries to answer people’s questions. Don’t pretend to be an expert, credit your sources.

Step 4: Share...

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What do you tweet about every day?

Lately, I’ve been approaching “marketing” as a series of small, meaningful updates about the work I’m doing.

The result has been that marketing is no longer some extra thing I have to carve out time for.

Here’s how the approach works + some examples to get you started 👇

Dan wrote a wicked post on the Ilo blog about the importance of tweeting every day.

He says a little genuine interaction every day, delivered consistently over time, is enough to grow a Twitter audience (and it’s what’s worked for him).

One of the responses to this article was, “what are you supposed to tweet about every day?”

I can relate 🤔

Dan shared 6 useful suggestions for things to tweet about in the post.

Last week @arvidkahl also dropped a fantastic selection of build-in-public prompts for founders, broken down by the stage of your journey

I’ve built on these resources and put together a list of...

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How do you make 💰 writing about stuff you ❤️?

Tom Hirst wrote a great little tweet that resonated with me…

This captures the essence of what good marketing is all about for me.

Shitty marketing is all about “Here’s why you should buy our stuff.” 💩 It’s uncomfortable. It’s forced and out of place.

Nobody wants to be ‘marketed’ to.

People care about their problems.

Good marketing is about helping people deal with their problems.

If whatever you’re selling solves a real problem then the transition to buying it will feel natural.

Great marketers build up a wicked understanding of the problem space. They understand where people are coming from and why they’re struggling with things. They can usually articulate someone’s problem much better than they could themselves.

They know what the recurring threads of discussion are in their space. Who...

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It’s not about audiences, it’s about problems.

I’m a bit confused about who I’m writing for or what I’m writing about.

Part of the problem is that I’ve belonged to lots of different groups over the years. First I was a physical therapist, then I became a software engineer, then I got into consulting, now I’m running a software company.

How do you reconcile being part of one group while building an audience and creating content for another?

I’m thinking about this the wrong way.

Rather than thinking about things in terms of audiences, it might make more sense to think about them in terms of problems.

I used to have some serious warts on my feet. It’s something that plagued me for years. I must have tried every remedy imaginable, from folklore stuff to proper surgical. And this went on and on for more than a decade. It got so bad it began to affect my ability to walk. Now I don’t have warts. I dealt with the problem. If you have...

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The two audience problem

I started using Twitter as a web developer. A few years ago I started helping SaaS improve its user retention metrics. Now I’m a cofounder for an app to write and schedule Twitter threads.

Now I’m unclear about who I am writing for or what I am helping them get better at.

I used @followerwonk to create a word cloud from the bios of all the people who follow me. It’s all over the shop.

Screenshot 2021-11-14 at 10.37.47 AM.png

If I just think in terms of how I can help people then I have a bunch of knowledge about freelancing remotely. I can talk about improving user retention and I have some experience with product analytics and experimentation.

But this is where I’ve been, not where I’m going.

Chirr App helps people write and schedule Twitter threads so I guess it would make more sense to talk about marketing, how to grow a social media audience and how to produce digital content. But what do I know about any of this...

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Grammar

It is always better to write plainly and be understood than to have style and be misunderstood.

Use a comma when you want to take a breath, mentally or physically.

Use a colon when you want to make an example of something: For example, just like this.

Use a semi-colon where, in conversation, you would raise your eyebrows to make a point.

Keep your sentences short and jargon-free.

That’s it.

Taken from a superb post by John Scalzi.

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Make less better

Every feature you launch is a feature you’ll need to support with users, infrastructure and development. So launch as few things as possible.

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Deep work

To remain valuable in our economy we must master the art of learning complicated things quickly.

Develop the ability to work on one thing, without interruption for a focused amount of time, so that you get something important and relevant done.

How to build that habit 👇

1/ The Roosevelt dash involves settings a timer for a specific task and making sure you finish them before the buzzer. The time need stop be tight so that you can only finish it if all your attention is dedicated to the task. Give yourself too much time and you dawdle.

2/ A damoclean cap on your workday is another way to do this with your whole day. All work must be done by a certain time. Letting it spill over and bleed into the rest of your day means you will never have the time to recuperate.

3/ Sitting around and watching Netflix is not going to rejuvenate you for important work. Paradoxically, if you want to...

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Inspiration.

There is a long tradition in western thought, perhaps a vestige of the old testament view of god breathing life into Adam, that explains creative achievements by assuming that individuals simply serve as vehicles through which divine ideas are expressed.

The individual plays no direct part in creativity, it is carried out by the gods.

In Greek mythology, the Muses, the goddesses of song and the arts generally, breathe original ideas into people, which is why we say that we get an “inspiration”, meaning the act of breathing in, when we suddenly get a good idea.

Creativity: Beyond the Myth of Genius by Robert W. Weisberg

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Meritocracy.

There are few people as controversial as Chandra Mohan Jain. I neither support nor oppose his views. I introduce you to him because I think he has an interesting take on meritocracy.

Enter Chandra Mohan Jain…

There is every possibility that there will be no future as far as life is concerned.

For thousands of years man has been living in a way he has wanted to and he has simply forced the next generation to live in the same way. This is no longer possible.

Food security, human population, resource depletion, species and biodiversity decline, industrial pollution, population density and urban congestion, epidemics, and slavery are all part of the problem…but they are not the root of the problem.

The most important need for humanity is to understand that the ways of the past have betrayed them. There is no point continuing in this fashion because it will ultimately lead to global...

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