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Learning, Luddites, and Content Machines

Leaders must be learners. If their organizations are structured to encourage and facilitate learning, they will succeed. Otherwise, not so much. Sounds easy. We all made it through school, didn’t we? But…sometimes it gets overwhelming.

OK, I have a confession. I wish I could say it was something on the fringes of social acceptability, like being a serial killer – hey, they could have made a TV series about me – but it’s far worse, and not very amenable to screenplay: I get overwhelmed by technology and change and sometimes wish it would all go away. Me. The family’s tech guy.

Today’s panic attack is not coming from nowhere. The causes are on my screen right now in neat tabs on top of my Chrome browser. Details:

  • Went live with new FastGrowth website and blog two days ago. Blog includes RSS feed and subscription boxes both for the blog and newsletter and a page titled Ideas with article downloads. Got a lot of positive feedback. Felt good. Article got published on Got more positive feedback. Felt good-er. Wrote four chapters of work-in-progress e-book. Felt good-est. Twitter followers went from 300 to 350 in almost no time. Felt good-est-er.
  • Then:
  • Realized need to blog more regularly.
  • Realized need to map out and write a few MailChimp campaigns.
  • Realized need to have separate content for blog and email.
  • Realized my relatively rapid growth of Twitter followers is driven by my averaging 10 high value tweets per day.
  • Realized I’d spent the whole morning scheduling tomorrow’s tweets.
  • Realized that to make my goal of completing e-book for free download from new site by end of this month, I need to be grinding out boatloads compelling content in addition to blog, newsletter, and tweets.
  • Realized that the five articles posted on my site as downloads make a pretty puny library, and that content for new articles needs to be different from and in addition to blog, newsletter, e-book, and tweets.
  • Discovered that the article on has been retweeted 149 times in 30 hours, which sounds like a lot of people liking what I wrote, except they’re not clicking through to my blog and I’ve only added 17 new twitter followers in the same time period, which sounds like they don’t care about what I wrote, but if they do, I need more articles because I might have Big Momentum, but see above points about blog, newsletter, e-book, and tweets.

That’s not just a lot to do. It’s a lot to learn how to do. I mean, we didn’t have any of the stuff in the preceding bullet points when I was in school. I mean, MailChimp? RSS?

In 19th century Britain, Luddites were a social movement opposed to technological advancement. I’ve tried really hard not to be a Luddite. Really. I was the first kid on the block to buy a PC. But look what it’s got me. I’m overwhelmed by the events of the past few days. My beard’s turning whiter. My dog’s getting depressed. I might be better off burning the netbook and Kindle and curling up with that old kind of book, the kind made of paper and filled with words that no one referred to as “content.”

I hear you. You’re saying, “Buck up, buck-o. Embrace change. Learn new tricks. Read what you wrote about Resilience.” Uh huh. Easy for you to say. You probably know HTML.

Look, it’s raining. I’m whining. I’m writing the kind of indulgent blog post I always swore I’d never write, and if I don’t write mountains of content before dinner, the world may end. All I’m asking for is someone to tell me that Luddites are on-trend. With that, I can keep going another day.

Just don’t invent something new that requires content. We cool here?

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