I recently relaunched my personal site and got back into writing for the internet. Five years ago this was such an important part of my life. For the first time since then, I was able to look back at my earlier articles.
It's humbling, for sure. But I am also conflicted about the reach they had. At the time I was under a lot of pressure to grow my startup and the only options I had needed to be free. I love(d) Medium, and the design and startup community. I tried my best to write articles of value for this audience and for my startup.
I think I did okay, the articles would go 'viral' and shared 10,000's of times, and would continue to 'perform' in search rankings for years. I received a lot of good feedback and connected with people around the world.
But, ultimately, it was content marketing. In the free-market dynamics of the internet there was a fair exchange of value. I spent solid time on the article, readers maybe clicked on the ad at the end.
I guess the whole experience made me feel uneasy about content marketing. I had increased the amount of ads on the web. Now I am a lot more conscious of the potential impact and responsibility involved with putting something out there on the internet.
I'm not saying in this league, but think about the impact other articles have had on product development:
- How many designers adopted atomic design systems after reading Brad Frost's articles?
- How many people have switched from funnels to Reforge's growth loops?
- How many startups have screwed up their product with the Lean Startup?
- How many PMs + designers went for a more structured user-flow based design process after reading my articles?
I hope one day something I write has an equal impact and isn't part of a marketing funnel. Anyway if you read this far perhaps you are interested in buying my... just kidding!