On Picasso, Creative Output, and Marketing

Picasso produced ~50,000 paintings and sculptures. That’s around 2 pieces of artwork per day during his adult life. I’m sure not all of them were good, but that fearless output and idea generation was bound to create some that were truly special.

I think about this often, and it manifests in always defaulting to choosing shots on goal instead of a “is it good enough” mindset.

The right approach to the balance of raw creative output vs quality is to not approach with a quota. I believe nothing creative should ever be subject to quotas. Quotas compel you to say something even when you have nothing to say. I can't stand that.

There's nothing wrong with silence in the absence of substance. It's a clickbait-fueled, advertising-rev-model psyop to think you need to have a Very Serious opinion on all the duly anointed Very Important current events. Almost nothing still matters 1 month later.

When a post goes out, if someone’s work elicits a reaction of “I wonder what he has to say”, it’s a much more powerful valence tool for both his personal brand and the one he works for than a “today in the news” one; the latter is fungible, not memorable, and perishes with each newscycle, the former is not. This is the difference between Type 1 and Type 3 writing, something I’ve written on previously (I’ll republish it to this Substack blog too).

However if you have something to express, don't be shy doing so. Don't let doubts about whether it's good enough constrain your output. Because not all of it will be good, in fact most of it probably won’t be. View it as casting a wide creativity surface area. They can't all be bangers, that’s okay. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take, but don’t force the shot. I bet most of Picasso’s works weren’t that great, but we don’t remember those ones. We don’t remember Jordan’s bad games.

Don't give yourself an arbitrary output minimum, but at the same time don't be overly critical and set your bar too high. If you have something genuine you want to make, always default to making it.

On Marketing, Reciprocity, and the Kind of Efforts That Get Noticed

I think it’s a mistake to have a marketing plan that requires you to pump out pablum because you think an insipid-but-constant presence is preferable to a stable-but-unique one.

Most DeFi marketing strats feel borrowed from web2 or cookie cutter… uninspiring. They do little to differentiate. "Let's do the same thing everyone else is doing" is never the right answer when standing out is the goal; and standing out should always be the goal, almost by definition, for marketing. Fundamentally, I think a marketer’s job is to be interesting and provide value that evokes the natural human impulse to reciprocate. People notice interesting things and instinctively want to return the favor.

Most Big Brand web2 approaches are deeply uninteresting, because they’re very safe. Safety is a luxury of already having a large audience and having a goal of preservation, not growth. You do the same thing when you get rich: your goal becomes more preserving capital, not growing it. Many early-stage companies act like they have the luxury of preservation of capital with their Very Safe and Conventional marketing strats. I think these dilute your brand (or show a lack thereof) when you use them on DeFi-native audiences.

Pure, unbridled value add is the way, you could technically describe this as content marketing. Which to me means you're providing thoughts, posts, memes, OC, etc. to everyone that's sincere expression and not some latent brand promo.

Provide value and expect nothing in return. Ironically that's often when the most value comes your way.

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