Failing Fast At The Idea of Hiring A Writer + WordPress Person

Thanks to the 75+ people who have reached out about being willing to help me with writing and WordPress stuff. I’ve read all the emails, answered some of them, and will get responses out to the rest on Sunday after I have a nice digital sabbath starting in a few minutes.

On my run today, I thought more about what I was looking to do and decided that my approach wasn’t right.

I’ll put this in the MVP / fail fast category. While many of the responses were from people who are clearly talented and would be able to tackle the stuff I’m said I was looking for help on, I realize that my premise around what I need may be flawed when I think harder about what I really want.

So, for now, I’m going to rescind my previous post titled Looking for a Writer and a WordPress Goddess and keep pondering things.


Also published on Medium.

  • James Mitchell

    One day. I would call that a fast fail. 😉

  • Deepak C. Sekar

    Hi Brad, we have an office manager who writes blogs and is starting to manage some of our social media accounts. She is a superstar but I’m sure there are other superstars out there who would love to work for someone like you.

    • James Mitchell

      Deepak, in theory, you can find someone who combines two different skills, but it’s important to recognize just how different these skill sets are. An Office Manager needs to have great organizational and systemization skills, and good attention to detail. In addition, it sounds like Brad wanted a full-time writer. Being Office Manager of Foundry Group is probably a full-time job, so the hours that would need to be worked just do not add up.

  • Figuring out what you want is often the hardest part. Every time I’ve decided to outsource or delegate, by the time I’ve clarified what it is I would outsource or delegate, I usually discover that the solution isn’t to outsource or delegate at all. But the exercise is always useful, and clarifying the issues moves me closer to getting them solved.

  • Jason Randell

    I like the way you write. Keep it simple. Keep it straight and more than anything keep it you.

    If anything, simply write less and more often. When you want to write a big article simply send the skeleton to someone you trust, let her write the meat and then write the prologue if you wish : ) my two cents

    • Thanks for the suggestion. Part of my challenge in thinking this through is that I learn a lot simply by writing. So – having someone else write the meat doesn’t necessarily accomplish my goal.

      • Jason Randell

        No worries. Have you considered using the Apple Pencil in order to get the kinetic effect and shortening your time to market?

        • I type much faster than I write.

          • Jason Randell

            Therein lies the rub… What is your purpose of writing?

          • I strongly disagree.

          • Jason Randell

            Why?

          • I don’t think physically writing (vs. typing) is a requirement for good writing.

          • Jason Randell

            There are too many arguments as to what “good” actually is. Its like opening a conversation about “fair”. We will always find ourselves at a moot point.

            When it comes to why you write, you should consider both intrinsic and extrinsic values.

            @okdork @noahkegan does a great job of analyzing length in this article http://okdork.com/2014/04/21/why-content-goes-viral-what-analyzing-100-millions-articles-taught-us/

            @MIT had a cool course in 2008 that resembles a #hackathon in many rights : https://ocw.mit.edu/courses/experimental-study-group/es-292-writing-workshop-spring-2008/

            Regardless of how your thoughts fall. Try looking at how you run and how you ride and then think about the idea that you may write for the same reasons.

          • Jason Randell
          • Both of these assume an absolute answer.

            For some people, writing is much more effective than typing. There are lots of discussions beyond the Lifehacker one (which is so delightfully sponsored by a pen company – the only thing that could have been more self-serving was if it was sponsored by a paper company.)

            However, I’ll assert that this is not true for 100% of human beings.

            For a different perspective, consider people who learn by reading vs. those who learn by listening. Visual learners (like me) have very high retention rates when reading, but very low retention rates when listening. Sitting in a one hour classroom lecture is almost always much less effective for me than spending the same amount of time reading. The inverse is true for auditory learners – reading is a slow and frustrating process for them. Most people are on a spectrum for each of these.

            The same is true around writing vs. typing. I find the process of writing so laborious that my brain can’t actually process the information (as what I’m doing is spending all my time writing.) In contrast, typing is second nature to me (I spend very little brain processing power on it) so I can use my brain to focus on what I’m actually typing.

          • Jason Randell

            Beautiful.

            I love the idea behind learning principals. There still seems to be a lack of why you do not want to write or why you in fact do.

            Simply put. Why do you write and what would you stand to loose if you gave up writing for a year?

          • I write to learn. It’s part of how I think through things. In 2008, after blogging for about four years, I wrote the following: http://feld.com/archives/2008/05/i-blog-i-tweet-but-why.html

            I have no idea what I’d lose if I didn’t write for a year. I don’t think about things in that kind of a cadence anymore.

          • Jason Randell

            “I massively underestimated the value of this to me. When I reflect on the last four years of my blogging, it’s been one of the most interesting, enlightening, stimulating, and – ultimately – rewarding things that I’ve done professionally.”

  • I like your idea of rethinking what you want.

    For example, hiring a person to fix all the things that break in WordPress isn’t really addressing the problem that WordPress probably isn’t the solution to meet your needs. For the cost of hiring a WordPress person for a year, you could build a semi-custom solution with something like Drupal that actually meets your requirements.

    I’m a big believer in taking a step back to plan things before jumping in and doing them. Sometimes taking some extra time up front is what gives you a really purposeful long-term solution.

    Best to you in your thinking process and Happy New Year!

  • Nicole Volpe Miller

    Hi Brad. Having grown up in newsrooms, writing in solitude feels to me like a luxury, like high-end chocolate I sneak after the kids are in bed. I can lose time writing on my own, it feels like I’m burrowed in, like I’m partially down in the floorboards like in that overdose scene in Trainspotting. It’s a place of focus and flow. You say learning, and I hadn’t thought of it that way. But it is. It’s a struggle and a synthesis.

    But there is also something lovely about coming up for air and reading a line to the next person, or kicking an idea around because it’s so absurd that there has got to be a punchline in there somewhere. Or shipping a hairball of a piece to someone who I know won’t judge. They will find the wet kernel of the idea that’s in there and elevate it. I’ve worked with newsroom editors who could move one sentence up higher, and tighten another, and it would just pop.

    I can imagine that if you found that right person, who knows the craft cold, appreciates the output of your brain, and brings some complementary knowledge, you’d really enjoy it. The team sport of it can be a beautiful thing.

    • Fun thoughts. I’ve had a few great collaborations (my partner Jason Mendelson on Venture Deals; my wife Amy Batchelor on Startup Life.) When it works, it feels great. When it doesn’t, not so much …

      • Yes! And it takes time to know if it will work. I have an idea. Call it a #GiveFirst idea, in fact. Will email you.

  • Tom O’Keefe

    Some unsolicited feedback: Perhaps you’re actually looking for an apprentice.

    • Thx Tom. Maybe, but I mostly think I need to do a better job of saying “no”.

      • Tom O’Keefe

        Good luck 😉