Earlier this week, I had a discussion on Polywork with Brian Green, who is the founder of a learning platform called Curricular. He posed a question that I think we can all identify with:
How do you know when your work is ready to publish?
I feel like this issue is at the heart of everything I create, but it's particularly spicy when it comes to video. I can publish articles all day long, and go back to update them on a whim if the need ever arises.
Video is much more final - at least on YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram, because those platforms don't let you edit your videos after they're published.
After some thought, here's my answer to the question:
Imperfection is part of the brand.
Showing some scuffs here and there, and the vulnerability it takes to let those things out into the world helps people connect with you. It also gives you wiggle room to improve over time.
If you're constantly aiming for perfection, you'll never publish anything, and because of that, you'll never get any better.
It's a balance, of course - you don't want to be so imperfect that your work is incoherent or unprofessional. But a few scuffs along the way show that you're a real person, trying your best.
In fact, I think that I grow a much deeper personal attachment with creators who let me see into their process a bit. Things like editing, deciding on a voice, and what to deliver all make the brand feel more real, and more relatable to me.
There's also a subconscious element to it - I feel like I'm getting a peek into the creator's brain.
The secret sauce seems to be leaning into the bumps and bruises, and pointing out from time to time "hey, this isn't perfect, but I see that too".
When things feel super polished all the time, it creates a veneer of false authenticity that just feels like... marketing? I think most people don't want to be sold to; they want to feel like they're a part of something genuine.
So, in short… here's what I think: don't be afraid to put something out there that's not perfect. It'll be more relatable, you'll meet more interesting people, and you'll have more fun with it.
To me, that's something people can get behind.
This dispatch of Tiny Improvements is sponsored by Twirp.ai, a tool for A/B testing your twitter profile. Test different bios, profile pictures, and header images to see which ones get you more followers.
What I'm reading
I've had a few connections ask me which newsletters I read regularly, so I thought I'd some of my favorites:
- 🗞️ If you're publishing a newsletter, you have to check out the Growth Currency newsletter. It's a weekly newsletter by Dylan Redekop providing highly-actionable tips, tactics, and resources to help you grow, improve, and monetize your own newsletter.
- 🏙️ For all my Urbanist / NUMTOT pals - my friend Barry Greene has been sharing his thoughts on Urbanization and public transit in his newsletter Density Dad. His perspective on responsible growth and planning for cities is refreshing, and I always learn something new.
- 🖍️ If you're a parent of an elementary-aged youngster, you should check out Primary Focus, a newsletter by Miss Natalie, a 10-year veteran of the classroom who also happens to be my best friend and partner. She's been sharing her thoughts on education, parenting, and the future of learning in her newsletter for a while now, and it's a great read.
Oh and BTW - I've been publishing videos, too
Despite publishing Tiny Improvements weekly, I've taken the last few weeks to recharge my cells a bit. It's a funny time for me - I'd love to be outside enjoying the weather even though it's cold out, but a recurring injury means I really need to take it easy. It's probably a good thing, honestly.
If you're active on either platform, I'd love it if you checked them out and subscribed.
That's it for now - thanks so much for reading, and if you're in the US, enjoy the holiday.
Until next time,