Networked Writing

 You can improve your ideas — exponentially.

Here’s how.

Become a network. Share your thinking, content, and research. You’ll supersize your mind. By getting feedback from every corner of the globe, you’ll accelerate your progress.

Become a scientist. Watch what people engage with. Engagement signals insight, clarity, and demand for an idea. If you write on Medium, you can see what people highlight the most. If you write on Twitter, you can see what gets the most likes and retweets.

Double down on what people engage with. Over time, you’ll distill your ideas. You’ll share them more and more efficiently.More signal. Less noise. Data fueled creation.

This is Netflix’s competitive edge. Data informs content and improves the product. They see what you like and what you don’t like. They see what you watch and what you skip. Netflix does more of what works and less of what doesn’t.

The best part: humans do this naturally.

We distill knowledge and information every day. It’s how we handle complexity. Societies distill knowledge into myths and stories. Amazon’s mission is distilled into a simple maxim: “It’s always Day 1.” America’s ideals are distilled in the pledge of allegiance: “liberty and justice for all.” All of us distill our experiences into simple rules of thumb.

If you create content and share it, you’ll get feedback on all your ideas. Make big things by doing small things consistently. By working in small batches, you’ll accelerate feedback rates.

This is important because feedback raises awareness and accelerates learning. Fast feedback makes us more efficient. You don’t need long planning horizons when you have a short turning radius. You’ll become agile — both fast and nimble.

When failure costs are low, it’s mathematically better to accelerate iteration speed than decrease error rate. The math proves this. Two iterations at a 2% defect rate produce a quality level that is 25 times higher than one iteration at a 1% defect rate.

Mix and match. Break down your ideas and recombine them. Re-use your best ideas for future projects. Combine twitter threads and publish a blog post. Then, turn the best blog posts into a book or apply them to your work.

The benefits of reusability should be obvious: you save time and effort by re-using content you’ve already produced. Same amount of work. Double the productivity. This is like steroids for the creative mind.

Twitter is a great place to start because it forces you to distill your ideas down to their essence. As @Naval says: “Twitter is like poetry — every word counts.”

New business models reflect this emerging opportunity. Look at @benthompson and his blog, Stratechery: Stratechery is a journal of Ben’s attempt to understand how technology is changing every aspect of society broadly. But instead of writing books, he blogs.

He gets fast feedback every time he posts. By working in small batches, he accomplishes more. In 2015, he published 6.5 books worth of content. In 2017, he published 182 pieces of content. That’s lots of feedback. As the world changes faster and faster, fast feedback will become more and more important.

This works for fiction too.

This is how Andy Weir wrote The Martian. He wrote the book one chapter at a time and got feedback at every step. He published it on Amazon and sold 35,000 copies in three months. Then, he sold the book right for over $100,000. Then, it became a movie that grossed ~$172 million.

This strategy has made a difference in my own work.

People from around the world give me feedback on my “Naked Brands” theory. They push the theory forward more than I do.

I simply collect their ideas, synthesize them, and incorporate them into future articles. Their feedback gives me new insights.

This system works day and night. It’s measured by value created, not hours worked. Done right, we’re no longer limited by the limits of our time or the limits of our knowledge. We can quickly and continuously refine our ideas and boost our output.

Create. Listen. Learn. Refine.


  • Tiago Forte
  • Tom Critchlow
  • Ben Thompson
  • Jordan Peterson
  • Donald G. Reinertsen