The Amazing World In Which We Live

Not long ago I decided to give away an idea.  It was something I think is a truly awesome idea, with tremendous potential value.  If I wasn’t fully devoted to building Praxis, I’d probably pursue it.  But I am, and no one I could find was able to do it without me being significantly more involved than I realistically wanted to – raising money, finding programmers, etc.  So I considered penning a public post about it.  I figured best case, it prompts someone to do it and this cool new platform would exist that didn’t before.  Worst case, it would be ignored and nothing would happen, which would leave things as they already stood.  Either way, I liked the idea enough that I felt the need to do more than keep it in my brain, so I wrote about it and posted it to Medium.

Then something really cool happened.  It never went viral.  It didn’t get a lot of views.  In fact, of the twenty or so posts I’ve put up on Medium, it has the fewest views and shares by a long shot.  Still, it felt good to do something with this idea even if it was just to get it into words and put it into the internet ether.  But I digress.  That’s not the cool part.  The cool part is that among those few readers were some incredibly interesting people.

Executives (or at least people with executive sounding titles) of four separate companies emailed me in response to it.  One was a social media company that said, “Nice article.  We don’t do that, but you might like what we do anyway.”  Interesting.  Another said, “That’s exactly what we do!”  Turns out it wasn’t, and their app was good but not great.  A third emailed back and forth a few times asking me questions, and then told me they are launching something similar in coming months.  We’ll see.  The most interesting of all, however, was one of the companies I mentioned by name in the article.  I got a LinkedIn request, which moved to email, which set up a phone call.  I spent twenty minutes talking with the president of an awesome company about how I use their product, and how I could see my idea being used.

Maybe they’ll do nothing with it.  Maybe it was just a polite gesture.  Who knows.  Regardless, it was really fun.

The point of this post is not to brag.  I don’t think I have some amazing following or amazing writing ability that other people couldn’t match.  Far from it.  Nor do I think I’m the first person with an idea for an innovation on an existing product.  Lots of people do, and I’ve had many before myself.  But I never felt like I was qualified to write about them publicly, or pen something akin to an open letter to a successful company with my average Joe notions.  The thing is, now more than ever, no one cares about credentials and gatekeepers.  Anyone can share ideas.  Of course you’re not guaranteed a happy reception, or any reception at all, but the possibility exists.  People won’t really look down on you for openly sharing your thoughts.  If it’s interesting, it can immediately make its way to interesting and relevant parties.

This is not something that was possible a few decades ago.  And it goes both ways.  Not only can consumers communicate ideas to producers and execs without gatekeepers, but the other way around too.  Celebrities can communicate directly to their fans, as a group or individually, without journalistic gatekeepers.

This decentralized world has staggering implications.  Primarily it means that the future belongs to those who focus on product, rather than credentials or the imprimatur of powerful institutional gatekeepers.  Do your thing.  Openly, freely, and with abandon.  Keep doing it.  Don’t be afraid to let the world know.  Direct connections to your ideal collaborators, consumers, or investors can result if you keep producing your unique stuff and putting out there.