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, written by Jeremy. Read the commentary.

Thought I’d try an experiment: Pass protected posts.

My posts are sometimes a bit mysterious. Leave the punchline out. Let you think a bit.

I’m trying harder to see what sings for people. But I often get questions like, “if that idea means this … then what does that mean for me?”

To keep the mystery but still answer those questions, I’ll either package all the various pieces together in a sum total. Or more deliberately explain what I think it all means.

To get this, I need your email. You can subscribe here (and get updates on sift posts too).

Of course, I won’t share your email. That’d hurt my reputation in a way far greater than anything I might gain.

Anyway, thought I’d give it a shot.


…the people don’t come because you grandiose motherfuckers don’t play shit that they like. If you played the shit that they like, then people would come, simple as that. …

Jaz … nice.

Jeremy emailed:
> What’s with the snappy comment:
> http://www.siftstar.com/blog/?p=246#comment-1935
> Doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. Got an
> explanation handy?

I trust you recognized or at least googled the quote. My point is just this: if you’re peppering your message (music) with in-jokes & sly illusions, something to bring a smile to an afficionado, while still keeping your message (music) coherant, that’s one thing. Where the complainer in “Mo’ Betta Blues” is having problems is his use of structure as obstacle; constructing artificial barriers to popular enjoyment. Is there a way to make your message plainer without sacrificing the wink? Is erecting an unneccessary obstruction nothing more than an artifice to your own ego?

Admit it, it was annoying to read something that is merely opaque. If you’re looking to be noticed as a writer, even in the rarified air of the Long Tail, good ideas aren’t enough. At best, they’re worth $20.


Three things:

1. Great comment, thanks.

2. Nope, I never googled the quote. I didn’t know you and couldn’t see you were trying to tell me something. It looked like spam. There’s a vast difference between an obscure quote and an obscure blog … my blog gives you a historical perspective that suggests the odds are high that my next post will be as obscure as the last. You’ve got the benefit (or drudgery) of many months of posting; I only had three lines of comments.

3. By being opaque you started a conversation with me, doesn’t this add weight to my experiment?

I’m trying to add another level, not another barrier. And while I might well be a servant to my ego, where poor writing is as ingrained as my fawning obeisance, I sure didn’t do it intentionally. I thought I was being sincere, interested in new models, and open to a greater investment.

I thought that inviting people to subscribe and participate in a higher conversation would help achieve the generalized intent of blogs. I thought this was permission marketing. I thought it was going pro.

I’m sure there are ways to make my message plainer without sacrificing the wink. But two things are true: first, I’m evolving and might get there eventually and second, I don’t see why plainer needs to be the focus.

Jaz, why are you reading all this stuff? You’re all over my site. How come? Just like ripping on ego maniacs? Or is there something here that sings — off tune as it may be?

“Plain” is easily read, and easily ignored. “Well said” is easily understood but not necessairily plain. But a “parable” is a simple story illustrating a deep and important idea. I was aiming for parable.

So, sunshine, if good ideas aren’t enough, what is? Where’s the muliplier for my $20 buck ego?

Who knows why I’m here? Simple answer: I have a boring job, and I don’t indulge in pretending I’m busier than I am. Yes, something here caught my attention. It may engorge your ego to know that I’m usually at the vanguard of the popular thirst. It always seems I’m a man with eclectic taste, but it turns out I’m just six months ahead of everyone else. Why am I posting? I guess I saw something I wanted to add to, a writer I wanted to improve. I’m no Shakespere, but I see when someone’s fishing for an honest reply, and I’m the guy that gives it to ’em.

Now, you’re trying to “elevate the conversation,” but I’m trying to kick down barriers to participation, in the interest of improving your work. How does one engage in higher concerns when hoi polloi keep running around asking stupid questions? One avenue is to shut them out entirely, closing the gates on your intellectual community. But had you done so entirely, note that this very conversation would not have taken place? I (nor the masses six months behind me) will not sign up for the priveledge of conversing with you. While I had the opportunity to dig into your archive, I would not, nor will those I represent. I make a decision about you based exclusively on your front page.

However, the item that made me initally reply was — the passworded post. It reminded me of that quote, and I had the ability to immediately reply. You re-engaged me, and here we are. The takeaway: Be open to, actively ask for, strive to make real your preferred outcomes, but understand that it will likely not appear in the guise you anticipate. Follow every lead, and add to your cohort at every opportunity; the multiplier — is in the numbers.

Well the date is duly noted — just six months until the hordes arrive. I’d best get about the business of improving my writing while I can still see around my ego.

Both of us have been unclear. I made you think the doors were locked (or locking). And you haven’t explained what to do while they’re still open.

The password protected idea opens a new door and leaves the others right where they were — yawning. My archive will always work as it has. The wide variety of ego stroking, opacity driven posts will continue on their merry way. I’m just adding a new set. Still bad idea?

If so, what’s your big idea? If we’re being plain, there’s plainly room for mo’ betta. What goes in that space?

Openness? I hope to continue. Actively inciting a response? I do. Make real my preferred outcomes? I struggle, but try. But these add nothing new … the seeds of these things already live on my blog. What else?

Now, “the multiplier — is in the numbers”. what the …? Could you be any more opaque and still use the words and rules of the English language?

I’m loving this chat Jaz, but don’t get cavalier homeboy. You know who’d be fun to connect to this? Seth Godin. He’s fiddling with these ideas and it’d be fun to get his perspective.