I read a piece by James Altucher today that completely changed the way I think about writing and those reading what I write.
Readers are like onlookers in the Roman Coliseum calling for other people’s blood. Writers are the gladiators responsible for shedding that blood.
Writers shed blood by sharing the things you want to know about most–things writers would rather keep hush hush. Mistakes, failings, and tough lessons learned. The good stuff. The journey. Transparency.
I think “writers” and “businesses” are interchangeable terms here.
Good writing and good business is transparent writing and transparent business.
We spend a lot of our time making mistakes. We want to know that we’re not alone and that success is possible despite our current set of challenges. We want to know that successful companies are composed of people just like us–people that are making mistakes and persevering anyway. We want humans.
This is why we love comedians and hate politicians.
Comedians bleed on stage by saying horrible things about themselves and their existence–things that we think about ourselves and our own existence. Laughter is the crowd voting. It’s their way of saying, “YES! I have thought that exact politically incorrect thing! I’m not alone. If I’m messed up, we’re all messed up together!” Comedy clubs are the place to laugh without shame at the things we’d normally get down about. It’s a place where we find the company of imperfect people just doing their best.
Politicians on the other hand portray the image of someone completely put together and flawless. I mean, look at their hair! It’s on par with news reporters. We can’t relate. We can’t help but think one of these politicians will short circuit on stage, clouds of steam billowing from their ears, limbs all jerky like, and hair strewn about. The crazy thing is we’d probably like this discombobulated politician more.
Side note: as I write this I’m wearing jeans and a t-shirt and my hair, well, I’m losing it.
I want myself, my teammates, and Blitzen to “bleed” for anyone that stumbles across this place.
I want to make it clear when we discuss our wins that those wins came with losses. That success is almost always accompanied by a colourful story. A story with wrong turns, tough decisions, maybe even unhappy customers. I want it to be clear that when we succeed, it’s not because we are special–it’s because we persevered.
Heck, I even want to write about when we just fall short, plain and simple.
With this blog, I want to avoid post titles like, “9 Ways Our Form Builder Is The Best”. Instead, I want to pen titles like, “Our Experience Capturing Leads With An Early & Buggy Blitzen”. I’m embarrassed to say the first title danced off my finger tips while the title dripping with blood took effort. Transparency is hard.
“9 Ways Our Form Builder is the Best” screams click bait–doesn’t it? There’s more click bait than there are fish today.
The latter title would be filled with the raw stuff we all want more of. The thrill of being our product’s first live user. The pain of having precious lead data drop due to unknown bugs. The process of patching up the ship that is our livelihood while sailing rough waters. Both the favourable and unfavourable feedback we get from people using our product. Lessons that I wished I learned from a list post instead. Everything.
I truly believe in this idea of, “Transparency-as-a-Service”. Startups and SMB’s that are serving other startups and SMBs can provide a lot of additional value to their users by being transparent about their journey. We’re all facing similar challenges after all. So let’s not pretend that all is well and running smoothly. Growing a small business into a big one is a hectic voyage filled with complete and utter turmoil on the best of days! Let’s learn from each other and propel each other towards success.
We get there by being transparent.
Thoughts? Anything about our journey as a young startup on the brink of closing its first round of funding that you’d want to hear more about? Ask for it in the comments and we’ll get to work!
If you use Trello or want to start (free), click here and add your own ideas to our Trello board regarding things you’d like us to write about!