Becoming a Citizen of the Internet

When it comes to economic potential, the Internet is the most important technology in our lives. John Doerr, a famous Silicon Valley venture capitalist said it best: “The Internet is the largest legal wealth creation tool in human history.”

Here are 10 ways to become a citizen of the Internet:

1. Become a Builder: You don’t need permission to build things on the Internet. All you need is an idea, a vision, 2-3 skills, and the discipline to execute it.

2. Learn to write: The Internet rewards people who think well. The people who can communicate their ideas have an advantage. They’ll attract an order of magnitude more interesting friends and lucrative job opportunities. Writing is only going to become a more important skill.

3. Make Friends on the Internet: The Internet is the best tool for friendship ever built. Smartphones have already changed the landscape of online dating. Friendships are next. Platforms like Twitter come alive when you use them to meet other intellectually curious people.

4. Build an Online Business: The Internet is only going to become a bigger part of the economy. We’re still in the early days of the Internet economy — only ~3% of global commerce happens online today. Better, software businesses are cheap to operate and you can reach a global audience.


5. Use Information Abundance for Good: Markets of abundance are a curse for the average consumer but a gift to conscious ones. Be ruthless about the information you put into your mind. Cut the junk. Learn from experts. Follow the people you want to become. As I wrote in News in the Age of Abundance:

“The average quality of information is getting worse and worse. But the best stuff is getting better and better. Markets of abundance are simultaneously bad for the median consumer but good for conscious consumers. I call this the Paradox of Abundance.

The Internet is filled with high-quality information. Smart news consumers have access to more high-quality knowledge than at any point in human history. If you’re a conscious news consumer, there has never been a better time to be alive.”


6. Create a Personal Website: Posting on social media is fun, but you don’t own your following there. Invest in your own website, and publish 3-5 articles about the topic you know best. A well-written personal website will impress employers and attract all kinds of interesting people into your life.

7. Build a Serendipity Vehicle: Create consistently. Essays, podcasts, drawings, videos, music. You pick. Your work will become a magnet for people from every corner of the planet. People who like your work will reach to you and create opportunities you never expected.

8. Drop the Consumption-Only Mindset: School teaches us to be passive. Sit back, listen, take notes, repeat what the teacher said on the test. But the Internet rewards creators. Have a bias for action. Then publish your best work online so you can create your own serendipity.

9. Master No-Code Tools: For the first time in history, you can build a $1 million software business without writing a single line of code. These new software tools are so powerful that learning how to use the tools will teach you skills. For example, AirTable will teach you how to think about spreadsheets, WebFlow will teach you how to think about web design, and Zapier will teach you how to think about inter-app integrations. Once you build the skills, advertise yourself as an expert for the app and build your business by riding the company’s marketing wave. 

10. Build a Personal Monopoly: On the Internet, differentiation is free marketing. Build a unique set of skills. Then tell the world about your talents by sharing the best of what you learn. Ultimately, you should aim to become the only person who does what you do.