I've decided to start this blog based on the indirect advice of several people, who have hugely influenced me over the past year or so.
Ryan Holiday, PR director for Rudius Media, the media company established and run by Tucker Max, is probably my main influence in this area. He talks about creating a new media presence, and believes that in order to get places, to do the things you want, you need to put yourself out there, educate yourself, make connections, and so on. I started reading Ryan's blog over a year ago now, and it is fantastic. I can relate to a lot of what he says: Ryan is sort of like a successful, smarter version of how I see myself at the moment (although whether that's just wishful thinking on my part, I'm not sure). A lot of the stuff he talks about is to do with educating yourself, improving your thinking and setting yourself up to be successful in the future. Probably my main influence at the moment.
Ryan has also posted what he considers to be the 3 best blogs on the internet. His number one is business guru Seth Godin, who's blog I also subscribe to. He constantly emphasizes the importance of going the extra mile with customers, creating meaningful relationships and doing remarkable things to make you and your company stand out. He wrote this brilliant post on Why bother having a resume?. His main point is here in the latter half of the blog post. Instead of a resume:
"How about three extraordinary letters of recommendation from people the employer knows or respects? Or a sophisticated project they can see or touch? Or a reputation that precedes you? Or a blog that is so compelling and insightful that they have no choice but to follow up?
Some say, "well, that's fine, but I don't have those."
Yeah, that's my point. If you don't have those, why do you think you are remarkable, amazing or just plain spectacular? It sounds to me like if you don't have those, you've been brainwashed into acting like you're sort of ordinary.
Great jobs, world class jobs, jobs people kill for... those jobs don't get filled by people emailing in resumes. Ever."
Honestly speaking, I read that article once or twice, thought it was cool and that he was right, and then ignored his advice and carried on as I had before. But I've decided to actually do something about it now. The third and final motivator for my action was another Rudius Media writer Ben Corman, who has written a fantastic piece about this sort of thing, called In the future we'll all be art students. Ben mentions a great quote from a Wall Street trader he met in the mid-90s, who was frustrated at the lack of quality of graduates applying for jobs at his firm. He said:
"All of these kids tell me that they want to be traders. So why aren't any of them trading. Why aren't they taking a few grand and creating a portfolio? Or if they don't have the money why aren't they giving themselves an imaginary budget, "buying" a few hundred shares of different companies then tracking that for six months? I'll hire the first kid who shows me initiative even if he's lost money. I can teach trading strategies, I can't teach hunger."
I'd love to say that his advice really resonated with me, and I had an epiphany and realised that this was the future, the gold-paved road to success. But that's not true. It took several weeks for the message to really sink in, and I've read all of the articles that I've linked to several times. But I think I finally understand, or at least am beginning to understand, what all these people are talking about.
Which is where this blog comes in. This will be where I write about what I'm learning, what I've discovered, how I think I've developed myself personally, and so on. This is my portfolio.
Massive thanks to everyone mentioned in this post: Ben, Seth and Ryan. I have a feeling I'll be linking to them a lot more in future. And I am undoubtedly indebted to Tucker Max, as without his influence and advice I literally wouldn't be the same person that I am today. Although I still have a ridiculously long way to go.