Writing in Public

On September 2nd, 2020, I published “Accredited Laws of Inclusion“.  It was a newsletter article that answered three questions:

  1. Accredited investors—who are “knowledgeable employees“?
  2. Can you get jail time for lying about being an accredited investor?
  3. What are Diversity Riders in term sheets?

As comments have poured in over the last few days, I realized a few things. First, we are stuck in our own echo chambers now more than over. Second, a lot can get lost in translation when new and important information is released on social media. Third, a channel should remain open for those who want to seriously discuss and dive a little deeper on the topics.

Twitter is a great source for surfacing relevant information about a topic. But it sacrifices meaty content for compression and scrolling convenience. Zoom and Clubhouse are good for discussions but they are synchronous, walled off and have zero discoverability for those who need it later. Published writing is the only medium that has withstood the test of time. 

Writing is the best filter for thinking. But people only like to read interesting writing. Academia publishes boring text and so most of us ignore it.  That’s unfortunate, but also human nature. We are lazy creatures. So if you want your writing to stick, you have to communicate interesting and memorable ideas.

One of the many insights that David Perell shared in his class Write of Passage is that memorable writing tends to have three elements to it:

  1. Personal—Tell a personal story readers can relate to and understand.
  2. Observational—Reveal new truths that seem obvious in hindsight.
  3. Playful—Surprise and delight the reader.

Two of the three elements gets people’s attention.  But three of them done well brings out the best in your writing.  It’s the reason why people flock to authors like Alex Danco and Matt Levine.  A lot of their writing POPs. 

Social media is a great way to show and tell, but it’s extremely difficult to make the elements both POP and inform.  People have effectively used Tweetstorms to try and capture POP elements, but Twitter is not the best platform for that kind of writing.  Newsletters provide the freedom to operate and explore topics in more detail, but the writing still needs to POP. 

Some readers don’t want the witty headlines or the flashy personal and playful details, they just want the information.  For example—why is this important? How does it apply to me? What are common misconceptions? Context is critical in law. Without it, lawyers can’t render good legal advice. Which makes general statements almost impossible to rely upon.

This gave me an idea of how best to deliver the kind of content I want to bring to the public.  The costs of hosting a personal blog are relatively low.  There’s annual maintenance costs (hosting ~$150/year; domain name licensing ~$15/year), simple backend support (time to setup & maintain WordPress), plus a theme that makes it shine a little (cost: $35). For a fraction of the average billable rate of an attorney, I can provide substantial value to many people, not just for my own clients or prospective clients, but for anyone who seeks the purity of good information; without all the fluff or info-entertainment that newsletters are best for.

To that end, I will soon be releasing my first installment of a new series called Venture Insights.  It will be on this website. Periodically, I will provide commentary and go over the nuances of my most recently published newsletter.  My first installment will go deeper on Accredited Investors and Knowledgeable Employees.

Your questions and comments are greatly appreciated, so please reach out to me so I can include them on my next Venture Insights.  Email me at chris@harveyesq.com, reach me on my law firm’s website or find me on Twitter: @chrisharveyesq.

Thank you to those who have given me the inspiration to continue publishing.  It’s all unpaid so your feedback is a huge reason of why I’m doing this.  ??

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