Wealth can only be accumulated by the earnings of industry and the savings of frugality. – John Tyler
I’ve been spending a lot of time on YouTube recently as I try and understand how to use different approaches to make sense of the work that I’ve been doing on this blog.
Over the last three years I’ve been exploring ideas – reaching into various places and finding models and approaches to dissect and put back together.
All the writing here is a first draft, a way of putting down what I’m learning as I’m learning it.
An exercise in collection – much like going out and finding interesting things in nature and bringing them back home, much to the distress of everyone around who suddenly finds a weird looking bug walking across the dining table.
But after you have the first draft down – the raw notes – you have to go back and work and re-work them, shaping them into something more useful.
For example, of the nearly 800 posts on here 208 have something to say about marketing.
Which ones are useful?
Well, to do that I have to go back and look at the models again, see which ones are more or less useful.
And one way of doing that is to approach it as an exercise in teaching – if I had to run a course teaching some of this content, how would I go about doing that?
Well, the first thing I would do is put some unnecessarily stringent constraints around how I do things.
For example, I’m not a fan of non-free software anywhere in my personal work processes.
And the same goes for the cloud and closed hardware and all that kind of jazz.
And that’s because of the philosophy that I have about this kind of thing – my views on knowledge and sharing.
But before I get to that what else is out there?
Well, if I take YouTube as an example, there are two main types of things you see out there.
They both start with Ultra.
First, there are the people who believe that what makes them stand out is putting out the highest quality content you can find – ultra high quality stuff.
And that’s really useful as you learn about the kinds of things that are possible if you really put your mind to the task.
Then you have the stuff that’s ultra-cheap – perhaps a webinar or a recording of a lecture as it happens in real-time that’s uploaded.
Now you can get a lot of value from both approaches – after all, you can watch lectures in MIT and other amazing universities in this format.
You find this same distinction in other markets – Ebay is a good example of where you can find cheap stuff and then you have the Apple store, where you pay a premium for what is perceived to be the highest quality product out there.
My preference is what you might call an ultra-frugal approach.
Frugal in terms of resources but, equally importantly, frugal in terms of time.
So, for me, that means learning how to use tools that make my life easy – not tools that have the best quality or brand, but ones that do what’s important in an effective way.
And that’s a personal thing – what matters to me is probably going to be different from what matters to you.
For example. I like a workflow that is based entirely around the command line.
So, I’m learning how to use ffmpeg and recording video directly to the computer rather than having an intermediate device like a phone or camcorder in the way.
Just because it’s faster if you can grab the video directly – which you can do with some cameras, just not the ones I have, unfortunately.
The purpose of all this is to make it easy – easy to carry on learning – learning how to create a second draft and how to package information in a way that’s more useful to readers and viewers.
The thing is we need the people who want quality – they drive the creation of new markets.
We need the people who can make things cheap – they make it possible for all of us to have things.
But then, for some of us, all that choice out there is not a good thing.
We don’t want the best things out there, and we don’t want lots of tat.
We want to have peace of mind.
And that often comes with being frugal.