“It takes 20 years to build a reputation, and five minutes to ruin it,” Warren Buffett counsels. “If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” I DID think about that, so I did things differently. To stand up to Big Media, do work with integrity, and protect my reputation, I’ve lived in my SUV, off and on, for a total of six years. And I’m NOT a journalist. Let me explain.
I used to write for the Los Angeles Times and many other mainstream publications. That was BEFORE they cratered into a clickbait and Left vs. Right political advocacy-fueled dumpster fire. The news media’s business model relies on spreading fear, violence, scandal & hyperbole to maximize clicks, views & revenue. Homey don’t play that.
“A successful man,” Douglas Brinkley said, “is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him.” Later, at UC Berkeley, the Journalism School fought me at every turn, but – living in my Xterra – I still finished my thesis, Reverse-Engineering the Echo Chamber, and graduated on time in 2017. Along the way, I started using LinkedIn as my primary platform. I now have over 337,000 subscribers as of July 2018 – a global, diverse, engaged readership. And it’s a new model based on conversations between equals. Skeptical and concise yet optimistic and humorous, I want to make you think about new things – or old things in a new way, the essence of innovation and value creation. And I don’t just write, I curate. I read and share the work of others, including many of my readers’ work – work I hope you will find worth your valuable time, and perhaps contribute yourselves.
And here is why I am NOT a journalist. (1) I try to avoid the 24/7 news cycle and produce work with long-term value. (2) I am not employed by a journal. (3) It’s a toxic brand. (4) I have a different business model: my readers are my customers, so I’m independent of clickbait-seeking advertisers and political donors. (5) I’m not big on -isms: As Ferris Bueller said: “-Isms in my opinion are not good. A persons should not believe in -isms, he should believe in himself.”
I’ve written about free speech at UC Berkeley – risking attack by masked mobs to invite speakers I didn’t even agree with; living in my Nissan Xterra as a business decision to reduce student debt; timeless leadership lessons from a World War I naval battle, data privacy and fraud prevention, the risks of false precision, marketing disruption, and a whole lot more.