Tom Critchlow

In the land of hierarchy, the networked individual is king

February 2, 2018

I recently came across this wonderful piece by Tyler Cowen of marginal revolution. Asked to talk about moonshots he instead chose to talk about his personal moonshot of building an intellectual blitzkrieg by publishing his own content across his blog, podcast, twitter, online courses etc.

My view, or at least hope, is that these diverse outputs exploit two synergies. First, my work in any one of these areas publicizes what I am doing in the others. Second, what I learn from each task boosts my productivity in the others. Overall, I think of these activities as a kind of collective intellectual blitzkrieg.

I will step out of my modest demeanor for a moment and suggest that relatively few people can construct and manage such a broad portfolio, and so this gives me some kind of competitive advantage or “moat” in the world of ideas. My moonshoot, in essence, is trying to push as hard as possible on that advantage with this blitzkrieg.

I love this - obviously Tyler has been very successful but it perfectly captures the unreasonable effectiveness of blogging and networked writing.

It reminds me of this great piece by Venkatesh - the calculus of grit

In endeavor space, field, domain and years of experience get replaced by three variables that lend themselves to a convenient new 3Rs acronym: reworking, referencing, releasing (well, technically, it is internal referencing and early-and-frequent releasing, but let’s keep the phrase short and alliterative). I believe the new 3Rs are as important to adults as the old ones (Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic) are for kids.

Since reading that piece I’ve noticed that almost all of my internet idols (yes, I have a list) maintain some measure of release, reference, rework with their output.

This might ultimately be the measure of the networked individual - to what extent do you populate ideas in the network? how easy is it to address and link these ideas together? and how often do you rework them and revisit them on the internet github/blockchain consciousness?

This blog is written by Tom Critchlow, an independent strategy consultant living and working in Brooklyn, NY. If you like what you read please leave a comment below in disqus or sign up for my Tinyletter.