Biting off bigger ideas

Give ideas the credence they deserve

Consistency is a power I’ve come to believe in.

It’s consistency in diet that sets apart the healthy, from the merely health-conscious; it’s consistency of execution that builds impactful businesses; and it’s whole-hearted consistency that cultivates lifelong relationships. With enough consistency, even the smallest trickle of water can carve a canyon.

So a year ago, with Startup Social still in its infancy, my resolution was to be consistent. Despite having no formal writing practice, I resolved to publish a new essay for the newsletter every single week. And wouldn’t you know it, consistency validated itself again. The newsletter grew, and grew, and grew.

In that year, I learned how to quickly take a big idea, simplify it, and package it into a neat 1,000 word essay. Every seven days. Read, think, repackage, publish. My reward for all this consistency was fitting. I became a content creating machine.

But I never stopped to ask: Is this really something I want to become great at?

When I was 14, I got my first job working the prep station at a restaurant.

Every day after school, I’d spend hours dicing onions, chopping tomatoes, and pitting avocados. After cutting my way through five-thousand pounds of vegetables in that first year, my knife skills we’re actually pretty good. In fact, if I’m being honest, they were incredible. The problem is, nobody wants to be the best at dicing vegetables—least of all, me. I wanted to be the chef, and learn how to use all the tools in the kitchen.

Publishing something new every week is a bit like working that prep station. After a year of watching Startup Social grow, I realized two things. The first was that I had mastered my knife skills. The seconds was that, by continuing in this same old way, I was hampering my ability to ultimately become the chef.

For me, the most fulfilling part of writing is the conversations I get to have after an essay is published. Debating and discussing nuanced ideas—with some of the brightest people I know—is one of my greatest thrills. Therefore, my new focus is to tell the most impactful stories I can, regardless of timeline.

With a weekly deadline looming, it’s impossible to give a complex idea like reluctant leadership, the credence it deserves to fully blossom. The most meaningful ideas—the ones that shape our habits and beliefs—need more than a week of concerted contemplation.

So with that in mind, it’s only fitting that the cadence of Startup Social slows. That I put down the knife, and maybe pick up the kitchen tweezers.

Some of my most popular essays have been about knowing when to quit, and quitting in order to do your best work. So I think it’s time for me to eat my own dog food. When our goals have changed and when we have changed, it’s best for us to change course as well.

As is the nature of all endeavors, the reason we start is rarely the reason we finish.

Let’s start biting off some big ideas together,

—Zac

P.S. In the spirit of this week’s post, I wanted to open up a poll for you to vote on. Here are a few topics I’ve been thinking over.

Which one interests you the most?

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