Speech is momentary; writing is legendary

Marketing & Writing

Every day I become more convinced that the writers make the future.

Is Elon Musk making the future? Not without the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy or Issac Asimov’s Foundation series.

Do you regularly listen to audio or watch videos of long-gone business leaders? Probably not. But I’ll bet you read their books.

Is it likely that anything you say on audio or video will be remembered or engaged with 1,000 years from now? No, but if you become a prolific writer, there’s a chance the work will survive.

Speech is good.

My favorite format is audio podcasting. If I could get away with doing just that, I would.

I also love YouTube, although some of the gamesmanship involved is annoying, so I sacrifice greater success because I don’t want to play the game.

But I know that the words I write—these words, the ones you’re reading—have the power to become immortalized. Once you write something on the Internet, it’s there. And if it resonates with enough people and gets shared around, there’s no stopping it.

That cuts both ways, of course.

The good and the bad have the ability to become immortalized. But that’s true of anything, really, so shouldn’t scare you from getting after it.

The more you write, the more traceable value you put into the world, and longer your influence will last. Let’s consider an interesting potential case study: Joe Rogan.

In terms of podcasters, he’s it. There’s no other podcaster alive with the fame and success of Joe Rogan. Of course he’s known for other spheres of influence as well: comedy, TV connections, UFC commentator, etc. But he’s also known as the most successful and legendary podcaster of all time.

In terms of financial success, it’s not even remotely close.

Joe is double in revenue (30m) to the next in line (15m).

Here’s the kicker, though: If Joe Rogan stops podcasting and essentially disappears, what has he left behind? I know there are complicating factors. For example, Joe’s known for a lot of things and his podcasts are mostly interviews.

The fact remains: Unless, before he passes away, Joe becomes a writer, his words and thoughts will not be remembered very long. That’s okay, by the way, as long as it’s okay with you. If you don’t feel the desire to have the sort of lasting impact that publishing the written word brings, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I’m just challenging you to make sure you’re playing the right game.

In contrast, at least in the online business world, there’s possibly no blog post more widely known, referenced, or circulated than Kevin Kelly’s 1,000 True Fans.

His words are immortalized. They have now been crystalized into additional blogs that mention this post, books, videos, podcasts, etc., which are numerous. And it’s still available for our consumption today, and you don’t have to sift through 40 minutes of a podcast to find the golden nugget. Scan the text and find what you need. It’s there.

Here’s what’s wild: Joe Rogan is infinitely more well-known than Kevin Kelly. But here’s a morbid thought experiment and (probably) the reality: If they both died today, in 5 years from today, on any given day, if you could search the most recent direct references to Joe Rogan (in general) or Kevin Kelly’s 1,000 True Fans post, the latter would arguably win by a landslide.

Writers lead the way. They always have, and they always will. You should really consider honing your writing skills if your aim is to make a long-term impact on the world.

Feb 29, 2024

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Hey, I'm Steve — a Christian, entrepreneur, thinker, and creator. Thanks for stopping by!

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