Do you still read pen blogs?

Ink splatters

Your eyes are probably more tired now than they used to be, so I wouldn’t be surprised if you were listening more instead of watching or reading. I certainly am. Writing, the careful arrangement of words into sense, doesn’t come easy nowadays.

Montblanc calligraphy nib

My writing brain creaks like a forgotten rocking chair. I used to joke that the world’s literary inheritance was merely a coping mechanism for lack of bandwidth, but now I fear the joke is on me. Words and sentences drifted, but preserved knowledge and meaning across paper and time. Now we need words exponentially less and less; video and 5G and sense technology will collapse meaning into frames. Front-facing cameras will generate our poetry, a patois of edit styles and narrow culture references.

Kanilea, Stylo Art Karuizawa

Every technology has its generation, the tool teaches the muscle how to move. It feels almost rebellious to return to this blog, when the next Shakespeare might very well be on Tiktok. (My work colleagues congratulate each other with “FUQQQQ IT UPPPPE,” and I can imagine that in quill scratch.)

Of course everyone wants to reach the maximum audience. To be seen by millions, to maximize return on investment, to have a huge impact.

And so we fall all over ourselves to dumb it down, average it out, pleasing everyone and anyone.

You can see the problem.

When you seek to engage with everyone, you rarely delight anyone. And if you’re not the irreplaceable, essential, one-of-a-kind changemaker, you never get a chance to engage with the market.

The solution is simple but counterintuitive: Stake out the smallest market you can imagine. The smallest market that can sustain you, the smallest market you can adequately serve. This goes against everything you learned in capitalism school, but in fact, it’s the simplest way to matter.

Seth Godin, In Search of the Minimum Viable Audience
Two Stylo Art Karuizawa pens, and one Kanilea

And of course you’re not learning anything new from this blog post. It’s not a how-to, there are no easily-shared infographics, it probably has nothing to do with your job prospects (according to Hubspot, the top three reasons why anyone would read a blog post in 2020).

Metro Manila, one of the world’s most densely populated cities, has been on some form of lockdown since the middle of March. It is already mid-October. People need to work. People want to live. People want adulation and validation and affirmation and lush leaves in the background of their Zoom calls.

I don’t know who still reads blogs, but if you read this, thank you for dropping by.

Words from Rishad Tobaccowala’s Restoring the Soul of Business