KAIZEN CH.82 - Stop Writing for the Algorithm

Thoughts on algorithms, onboarding and writing

Hey friend 👋,

Welcome to the 82nd edition of the Kaizen Newsletter ⛩, a weekly newsletter where I share my thoughts, new ideas I learn and make weird connections between self-improvement, productivity, product, tech, sports, anime.

Nothing newsworthy this week, so let’s get straight into the newsletter.

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Last Thursday, I posted my first atomic essay and it had 0 likes.

I honestly don't remember the last time that nobody reacted to any of my tweets (yes, I know first world problems), but it especially hurt when I put time and effort for.... "nothing."

But that's when I caught myself. I realized that I was writing for the algorithm and not for myself.

What do I mean by this?

I realized that instead of writing about things that actually interest me or personal stories that mean something to me, I started writing in the hopes of gaining likes, comments and impressions.

I forced myself to find ideas that would grab people's attention and make them react and I think the piece that resulted from that just felt off, which is why others didn't vibe with it.

Remember that there's a fine line between writing something you want versus writing something you think others would like.

This is a reminder for me to stop writing for the algorithm and to write for yourself instead.


🤔 Thoughts

👾 Thoughts on Onboarding

The past few weeks have been really cool at work because our big goal this year is to build and release a new product for the company.

And from the workshops I’ve led, we concluded that onboarding will be super important for a successful app.

We want users to be able to understand how the product works in an intuitive manner.

In this video, we’re arguably shown the best example of what great onboarding looks like.

And that’s from World 1-1 of the video game, Super Mario World.

What’s so great about this first level is that it teaches you how to play a game in a really intuitive way so that you understand the foundation to later use in the more complicated stages of the game.

Everything from why they chose a Goomba at the beginning to why they chose a mushroom to make you grow into bigger Mario is all thought of.

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🤑 Thoughts on Writing for Free

Mario Gabriele, a former investor turned full-time writer just re-launched his publication, The Generalist with a community-first format so that he can turn it into a sustainable business.

In his big announcement piece, he introduces the vision of The Generalist as an invisible city, explains the changes he’s made and how you can help.

But what really caught my attention from his piece had nothing to do with The Generalist. What I loved was the explication he gave on his thought process of turning The Generalist from something that was free to consume to something that was now going to require payment.

There's something immensely comforting about writing for free. Like a mechanic that looks at a spluttering engine gratis and somehow adds a broken tail light to the mix, free offers a certain shield.

Didn't enjoy this week's piece? Well, at least, it was free.

I loved this as whenever someone asks me if I ever intend to become a full-time writer, I always say that I wouldn’t want to make someone pay for my writing.

But as Mario notes in his piece, it’s really comfortable writing for free because it creates less pressure to produce something good every single week.

And as he realizes afterwards, that state of comfort stops serving you after a while.

Now, does this mean that I will be charging for my writing? I don’t think so, or at least not yet.

But it’s something that I will need to be aware of and that I shouldn’t let the fear or comfort take over.

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🐦 Tweets

Totally agree with this. It’s easier for me to exercise every day than to exercise only 3 times per week. Same with alcohol. It’s easier for me to just not drink than to not drink only on Saturdays for example.

Definitely my favourite Bernie meme.

What’s so cool about this video is that it’s filmed ~15-20 min away from my place. It would also be such a good Apple commercial.

🙏 Shoutout

Shoutout to Nicolas Cole, author of The Art and Business of Online Writing, for the great talk we had last Friday.


👋 End Note

If you want to know what I'm up to now, you can check it on my website here.

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See ya next Tuesday,

Alexander ✌️