Engineering lessons for content creators: 8 things I learned from Edmond Lau

Back in September someone recommended that I subscribe to Edmond Lau’s free email series about becoming a successful engineer.

I had no interest in becoming a successful engineer. But I was told that Edmond’s lessons would still be relevant.

I can’t remember who made the recommendation, but they were right.

Keep reading…Engineering lessons for content creators: 8 things I learned from Edmond Lau

Launch ASAP and iterate.

Surprisingly, launching a mediocre product as soon as possible, and then talking to customers and iterating, is much better than waiting to build the “perfect” product.

Source: YC’s essential startup advice

This applies as much to content and media as it does to products.

Shows take a while to find their footing. Writers take a while to find their voice. Performances take a while to find the flow between talent.

That gap between when you start and when you hit your stride will be a different lengths for different projects. And sometimes you won’t hit your stride at all.

Those times when the recipe is off, when the formula doesn’t work? Those are painful. But the faster you try, and the faster you fail, the less time you’ll waste, and the sooner you’re on to the next thing.

Quick note though: This “move fast and break things” mantra doesn’t apply across the board. There’s a tipping point where risk and responsibility demand a cautious approach. (Lookin’ at you, heart surgeons!)

But there’s a balance, I’m sure, somewhere in the middle, where you can preserve the startup spirit of risk and reward, without abandoning diligence altogether.

Productize your services.

One reason that many freelancers burn out is because they offer services, but not products. Services tend to be customized to the client’s need and billed by the hour. Products are customized by you and sold for a flat rate. Products also create the opportunity to create a repeatable process that can be streamlined as you sell more. This means your margins can increase as you are able to work more efficiently and eliminate or automate some of the administrative work that typically goes into services.

Source: How to Make $100,000 Per Year as a Freelancer | QuickBooks

If I were to get into freelancing again I’d absolutely structure my services as a product.

Everything else — the labour, the method, the work that gets done to deliver the product — becomes a system to refine and scale over time.

The performance metrics of BuzzFeed

“We try to find metrics that [equate to] subscribers, content views, engagement (likes or shares), time spent, and impressions. The more of those you have, the more you can understand how the platform works.”

Source: How BuzzFeed’s Jonah Peretti Is Building A 100-Year Media Company | The future of business

I respect BuzzFeed for the machine they’ve built, not necessarily for the content the machine produces. 🙂

(Featured image credit: Chris Rushing, stupidly talented artist.)

Daily rewards from daily routines.

The key insight that makes this strategy work is making sure your daily routine both rewards you right away (immediate return) and resolves your future problems (delayed return).

Source: The Evolution of Anxiety: Why We Worry

Morning gym session? I get to listen to my podcasts log the workout in Fitbit. Long term? Strength and health.

Sharing snippets of what I’m reading, while also adding commentary? Keeps my blog fresh with new (albeit light) content. Long term? Helps me write faster.

Little actions add up to big impact over time. 🙂