Why I’m writing more and you should too.
I asked chatGPT what it thought about me.
As of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021, Colin Karpfinger was not a widely recognized public figure, and his personal or professional details were not widely available in the public domain. Therefore, it’s challenging for me to provide a comprehensive analysis of what someone’s first impression might be of him.
If I have to be honest, my AI sci-fi daydreams are really what got me thinking about this. I heard of a professor who decided to start recording all of his zoom meetings, solely to train a future AI assistant. Take this a bit further and you can imagine synthesizing a duplicate self that’s able to take meetings, calls, and respond with your looks, voice, and personality.
A friend of mine felt this was a narcisitic goal, one that would serve only to extend a person in time. Maybe we’ll want a much smarter AI to reply to our emails, afterall. But I think there are other benefits. Could an AI model be trained to notice your behavior patterns, and give you a heads up when you’re starting to follow an old pattern? Could it do the same with your relationships?
I think forming a “User Guide to Being Colin Karpfinger” would be quite useful to me. ML models are great at clustering information; showing ways things are related that we might not have noticed before. I’d love to see the clusters of activities that benefit my wellbeing, or the ones that do the opposite.
So reason #1 to write more: the more content you produce, the faster you can train your AI Self, Therapist, Assistant, etc.
Networking At Scale
The more you create, the more people you can reach, and the more they can get to know you. This feels very obvious but I think it can have a big impact. You can only meet so many people in person. But you can explore ideas and let those permeate the internet, and find yourself infront of thousands or millions more people.
I’m also interested in anything where people can get to know me faster, with less talking required. There’s only so many hours I get in the social battery. If people can know a bit about me before even meeting me, that’s huge.
One personal example of this: I wrote an article called “The Dropout’s Guide to Trace Antenna Design” where I summarized the antenna design process that was taught to me by a mentor. It did well in a very specific niche where there isn’t much content, and it took a pragmatic approach to a subject that was normally locked behind the doors of PhD programs. I probably spent 20 hours writing it, and it stuck around on the top page of google searches for 10+ years. I got some direct emails from that page, but mostly people would mention it when they met me in person.
Reason #2 to write more: The amount of people you reach is unlimited, and those who you meet in person already know more about you.
Sometimes writing feels like a different form of socializing. Let’s call it “Asynchronous Socializing”. You think about something, create a thing (article, video, game, etc), and then people experience it, and tell you how it made them feel. Something about that makes me feel so connected, and in a deeper way. Often times we can share something more profound through writing than we would verbally. We can have these intimate moments through ideas that would not have existed otherwise.
If you’ll forgive me with a tangent: this reminds me of the StumbleUpon era of the internet. If you’re not familiar, StumbleUpon was a browser plugin where you would click a button and it would send you to a somewhat random website. There was something about finding someone’s tiny corner of the internet that felt like it could shrink the world a little bit. I miss that.
Reason #3: Feel more connected. Invite someone to your corner of the internet.
Espression as Education
“You don’t really know something until you teach someone else”. I’ve experienced this so many times I don’t know why I haven’t really thought of it as part of the education process before. Trying to explain a concept to someone else, or even just saying it outloud, can really solidify things in your head.
I came across this recently when reading Tiago Forte’s “Second Brain” book- he lists “Distill” as the final step of information: Putting it to use in the real world. Considering this as part of the learning process is a lot more motivating for me to do it.
You don’t really know something until you’re able to express it. Be that teaching someone else, or creating something with it. You have to use it.
Reason #4: Solidify your learning by expressing yourself.
Putting things out in the world feels a little bit like competition. I think sometimes I don’t like thinking of it this way because there’s plenty of room in the world for more ideas, and I hate thinking of things as a zero-sum game.
But I suppose you are competing for people’s attention, and getting some feedback on this can be helpful. It’s easy for our ego’s to increase in a vacuum, but putting them in the world can provide helpful feedback.
Reason #5: Expose your ideas to sunlight. Get more feedback, test your assumptions.
You Got This
Have I convinced you? Have I convinced myself? Maybe I have one last shot to talk us into it. The more we create, the more we learn, the more connected we become.
And maybe chatGPT will have a better first impression, too.