Neil Mathew

Neil Mathew

Sharing is a muscle

One thing I've decided to do more consistently this year is share my work online. Just saying that aloud gives me deja vu aches. It's obviously easier said than done and I've obviously been here before too many times to count.

This time, I figured I'd try and solve this like an engineer, rather than blame my will power. If Behavior = Motivation * Strong Trigger * Ease of Action (thanks Nir Eyal and James Clear), can I engineer the trigger and action to make it impossible not to share? (i.e. fall into the pit of success).

Quick root cause analysis:

The hardest part for me is switching between "build-mode" and "share mode". It really feels like a mindset shift in a way. Say I'm working on a project - I have to remember to take screenshots along the way to show my progress, plan what I want to write about in advance, and even tweak how I work to "build in public". It's a whole different way of being. I've been institutionalized hard into the grad school way of working like a mole rat for months and then coming up for air at conferences.

When you finally do start sharing something and you have a neglibly sized audience online, it feels like you're talking to a wall. Where is the "public" I'm building in? After all that work crafting a perfectly beautiful piece of writing, the sound of crickets can be very discouraging.

Of course, this is the great fallacy of novice builders-in-public. You think you need quality to stand out. You do, but only after a certain threshold of quantity has been met. This is exactly why I love good buffets. They're so good at quantity, that you don't notice the imperfections in quality. At this stage in my sharing journey, I must realize I'm a line cook at a buffet, not Wolfgang Puck.

The best mental model I've found for sharing more is to think of sharing like a git commit. Just like a good commit, sharing must be done in frequent small chunks rather than a single massive tome, once a year. Think less, move fast, and get into a rhythm where sharing becomes second nature and I'm almost doing it on autopilot.

Here are some things I'm going to try:

  • Think less and share more
  • Set up systems to automatically share my work
  • Treat sharing like writing a git commit
  • Share work with a few friends rather than the world wide web

Well, here goes nothing. <3