Useful

Take this with a pinch of salt, because it's obviously nonsense, but it's a place to start.

For the last several years I've pursued, in the background, a couple of different projects:

  1. Collecting and sharing things that are interesting
  2. Collecting and sharing things that are useful*

The first one has been a bit more successful. I did the conferences. I still own the twitter account. But the second one has been bubbling along quietly.

Whenever someone asks me for coffee/chat/advice I normally end up saying random useless nonsense in the moment but then emailing a couple of days later saying "Actually, this book/quote/link might be useful for that thing you were wondering about." I have a large collection of that stuff, scattered across this blog, various google docs, Pinboard and Readwise. It's a sort of distributed commonplace book.

I've recently wondered whether I could just dispense with the coffee stuff and share the whole collection in some useful way. And I've been wondering how to get it all together. I tried Scrivener, so it could be a book and Roam, so it could be networked and modern and Obsidian, so it could look like a spaceship. But none of them seemed to stick.

I even tried building webpages festooned with links and tags like I was building Xanadu, but I've read about that.

So I gave up.

And then, the other day I found myself saying to someone "Just do it as a blog, it's never exactly what you want, but it's always good enough." And that reminded me of these lines from How to Change by Katy Milkman.

"In psychology, there’s something called the “saying-is-believing effect.” Thanks to cognitive dissonance, after you say something to someone else, you’re more likely to believe it yourself."

So I'm going to saying-is-believing myself and just stick stuff on here, collect it all together and add thoughts it I have them. And then we'll sort it all out later. A blog is always good enough.

Why am I telling you this? No good reason. I'm blogging about blogging. That's what bloggers do. I'm leaning in.

*For very weedy definitions of useful. ie: it won't help you save lives or be happy. But it might help you secure a promotion inside a moderately-successful packaged goods company.