“How do you decide what is valuable enough to make public? What is your process for content creation?”

I get this question a lot from young people who are starting to create things. Once they realize the value of creating a digital paper trail and shipping their ideas out into the world, the first problem is deciding which ideas to ship. There are so many ideas out there–how can you tell which ones will be valuable to people?

This is a really good question. I approach content creation in two main ways.

Before I get there, let’s start with a core principle. Why are you writing? Are you doing it in order to craft a personal brand that looks good? Are you doing it to simply become better at explaining your ideas? Are you doing it to get over your fear of shipping? Is it to provide value for other people? Your answer can be any combination of these (or something else entirely). Before you write, understand the reason you’re doing it.

I write for two reasons.

First, it helps me get better at explaining my ideas. It’s an exercise for my mind. I take it a step further by committing to do it every single day.

Second, being public holds me to a desirable standard. I like the idea that people will read my words and judge me accordingly–it incentivizes me to know what the hell I’m talking about before I say things.

Providing value for people isn’t the reason I write — it’s a side-effect. I’ve written with that aim in mind before, and it has resulted in boring posts that are too self-help-y. I write selfishly. The more I write for me, the more people will gain value from my ideas.

I’m able to write every day and continue making my posts valuable because I have a clear understanding of the reason I chose to do so. It won’t work if you’re doing it because someone told you so. With that said, here’s how I approach my content creation:


Some of the best pieces I’ve written have been documentation of an event or a conversation in my life. I see it as a form of storytelling. Stories are usually more captivating and relatable than abstract ideas without any concrete representation.

This and this are two of my most-viewed posts. They’re both transparent documentations of important experiences in my life. People tend to connect with them deeply, plus they’re really fun to write. Both of these posts were not intended to foster a specific reaction out of the reader. They weren’t even written with the reader in mind. They were simply focused on telling the story.

Sometimes it’s a conversation, interaction, or something I’ve observed that caught my attention. I tell the story and explain the insights I gleaned from it through a blog post. This process helps me understand what I gained from the experience.


This one can be called many things–personal, ideas, exploration, commentary, curiosity. I write these types of posts when I’ve been toying with an idea or question in my head.

I love to talk things out. If you know me well, you’ve probably had a conversation with me during which I talked for 10 minutes straight about a problem and found the solution whether or not you were listening to me. Turning my abstract thoughts into concrete sounds is a way of connecting dots. Speech is a platform for thoughts. Without a hose, water will sit jumbled in a pool with nowhere to go and nothing to do. With a hose, the water can be purposefully moved to new places and used to accomplish tasks.

Writing does the same thing. When I’m sitting there with only my thoughts, things can get jumbled. When I put my thoughts through the hose that is my hands on a keyboard, things start to make more sense. Often I learn something specific through the process of writing these posts. I understand my idea much more clearly after I hit “Publish” than I do when I start writing the first sentence.

In these posts, I don’t claim to know the answer and I don’t instruct the reader to do anything in particular. More than anything, these posts help me answer the questions in my own head. These are generally less popular than my documentation posts, but they’re personally more valuable for my growth and understanding of my thoughts.

Here’s an example and here’s another one.

My best advice is this: don’t try too hard to write things that are valuable. The most valuable pieces I’ve written have been utterly transparent documentation or genuine expressions of my own curiosity.

Write for you. Write selfishly. In the long term, that’s how you’ll create the most value for others.