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WTF is this? Pt III
Signaling year 3 of writing on the internet
When I started this Substack 2 years ago, I manually uploaded about 30 emails to serve as my ex nihilo subscribers and solicited their attention with a post titled: WTF is this?
My proposal and my goal were simple: write one thing a week online for a year. Most posts were less than 500 words and contained high level regurgitations of ideas from papers, lectures or books that I had consumed the prior week.
I posted 52 write-ups and grew to about 70 total subscribers. I was pleased to have doubled my audience size throughout the exercise, but was discouraged because that amounted to less than one new subscriber per post. I also realized what I was doing had become a chore by the end and there was very little original thinking in my writing.
So to commemorate the start of year 2, I sent ‘WTF is this? Pt II’.
My objective was to reorient around quality as opposed to how frequently I got items out of my drafts and into your inbox.
Over the last year, I’ve posted 19 blogs and grew by about 180 subscribers. This means that I’ve averaged 9.5 new subscribers per post although most of these subscribers have come in by the dozens on some of my more popular publications within the last 6 months.
Thank you, and welcome if you’re one of my more recent additions.
Thank you, and thank you again if you’ve stuck around since near the beginning.
Now, to commemorate the start of year 3 of writing on the internet, I am once again going to answer the question:
WTF is this?
This is my conscious repository. This is where I come to work ideas out. It is also where I come to write up the stories that I tell most often. My best performing posts of the last year were the ones where I combined both of these incentives to explore complex ideas interspersed with personal context. These posts were also my favorite ones to write.
Here were my top 3 performers based on number of shares from existing subscribers + number of new subscribers captured from reading the post:
I am going to double down on this theme in my writing going forward: the exploration of complex subjects through personal context.
There is something else that all of these posts had in common; each article contained an illustration I commissioned from an artist and friend named Sam Scott. Sam produces art under the moniker of SmiterJet. If you have need for an artistic graphic, a painted portrait or…a butterfly, I hope you consider reaching out to her here.
What to Expect:
Me, continuing to develop my Personal Monopoly.
The Personal Monopoly is a concept from David Perell which explains how individuals can distinguish themselves as experts by intentionally creating content that uniquely integrates various fields. This allows creators to develop novel ideas and insights at the intersection of different subjects.
When I took the time to fill out David’s worksheet for doing this, I identified the following 3 subject areas I am passionate about:
Philosophy of ethics and mind
Molecular biology of aging and longevity
Creating leverage in business and life
So, in continuing with my practice of writing on the internet, expect to continue reading my explorations of these subjects. I will likely publish even less over the next 12 months, but be aiming at even higher quality of the content I produce.
Within the last few months I’ve also begun adding brief audio dialogs into the mix of content I publish here. I’ve only put out 3 so far, but this is something that I will continue to do as the opportunity presents itself with characters I come across.
Why the change to ‘Conscious Repository’?
In tandem with the kickoff for year 3, I have officially rebranded this publication. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a while. Namely, because in all of Substack’s automatic verbiage for share, subscribe, etc, call to action buttons, using ‘Benjamin Anderson’ as the publication name has shown to be in poor form.
Share Benjamin Anderson
Subscribe to Benjamin Anderson
Read Benjamin Anderson in the Substack app
Will now become:
Share Conscious Repository
Subscribe to Conscious Repository
Read Conscious Repository in the Substack app
In aesthetic terms, it just has a better ring to it. I also took a look at the landscape of successful writers I follow, and each and every one of them had a name for their publication that was different than their given name, so I presume they know what they’re doin’. Monkey see, monkey do!
“Conscious Repository” was a pseudonym I picked up a while back. In fact, the first Substack I started was named this, but I eventually dropped the moniker because I didn’t like the feeling of hiding from the people I was writing to. It limited my ability to draw on personal context to write relatable content.
The term repository struck a chord for me as a programmer because through something like GitHub, a repository, or ‘repo’ is a place where we store data or code for easier management and version controlling.
And so that is sort of what this is for me; a place to keep my ideas and stories organized and easily accessible.
This won’t change much for existing subscribers. My main hope is that it plays some small part in this outlet’s continued growth going forward.
Something that will be staying the same…
Should you choose to stay, 2 more small things —
I appreciate and devour feedback on content, form and anything in-between.
If you like something, a share goes a long way (:
One is an attempt, two is an exercise, three is pursuit of progress.
Thank you again, I’m looking forward to year 3.
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