David Perell Profile picture
Jan 4, 2022 13 tweets 4 min read Read on X
Laws of the Internet:
1. Creators are Rewarded: It's basically free to produce and distribute ideas now. Take advantage of that. When you share ideas online, you attract an audience of like-minded people who become friends and business partners. But passive consumers don't receive the same benefits.
2. Creation is Cheap: Joe Rogan is basically a one-man show. He doesn't have an expensive headquarters in the middle of Manhattan. Instead, he has a humble studio in Austin. With a couple of microphones, he has more reach than most big-name media companies.

(h/t @APompliano) Image
3. Ideas Are a Serendipity Vehicle: Creating is networking. Every idea you share is tinder for the flame of connection. Ideas spread at zero-marginal cost, and good ones find their way to people you'd never be able to meet with "real-world" networking strategies.
4. Audience-First Products: Building an audience before you launch a product lowers the risk of starting something new. It lets you validate ideas before launch and cultivate a group of passionate early adopters who can give you feedback in the early days.
4. Be Above the API: Either you’re telling computers what to do or computers are telling you what to do. The computer in your fingers thinks faster than you ever will, so make it your partner, not your enemy. Those who put code to work for them have tons of leverage.

(h/t @vgr)
5. The Paradox of Abundance: The average quality of information is getting worse and worse. But the best stuff is getting better and better. Markets of abundance are simultaneously bad for the median consumer but good for intelligent ones. Avoid junk like gossip & clickbait. Image
6. The Paradox of Specificity: Focus isn’t as constraining as it seems. In the age of the Internet, where everybody has Google search and personalized social media feeds, uniqueness stands out. The more specific your focus, the more opportunities you'll create for yourself.
7. Great Marketing Spreads on its Own: Good Super Bowl ads go viral on YouTube. The catchiest songs explode on TikTok. Likewise, Tesla is a trillion-dollar company even though it doesn't have an official marketing department. Instead, it rides the wave of Elon Musk's personality.
8. Own the Demand: Have a direct relationship with your customers. If somebody gets between you and your customer, your margins will fall as customer acquisitions costs rise. One stat: Google pays ~$9 billion per year to Apple to be iOS’ default search engine.

(h/t @Altimor)
9. The Law of Shitty Click-Through Rates: Marketing strategies have a short window. Click-through rates decrease as tactics mature. For example, the first banner ad had a click-through rate of more than 70%. Now we avoid them with ad-blockers.

(h/t @andrewchen)
10. The Inversion of Censorship: In a world of information scarcity, you censor people by blocking the flow of information. But in our world of information abundance, you censor people by flooding them with irrelevant ideas and meaningless data.

Eliminate the noise in your life. Image
Writing online is the best way to take advantage of these laws.

My free email series will give you a step-by-step process for making the Internet work for you.

Sign up below.


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Mar 27
Neil Strauss once got a call from the FBI.

They wanted to learn about seduction (he's written a lot about it).

He's published ten New York Times bestsellers and ghostwritten for celebrities like Kevin Hart and Rick Rubin.

15 things he taught me about writing:

1. A desire for universal praise kills your voice. Great writers always work keeping very specific role models in mind. They want to live unto — write up to — their heroes.

2. In your first draft, be vulnerable. Then edit so that your vulnerability is interesting to other people.

3. Notice, process, share: Writing starts with the eye (where you notice), moves to the mind (where you process), and ends with the fingertips (where you share).

4. Write with uncommon honesty. Edit with uncommon brutality.

5. None of Neil Strauss’ books would exist without him brain dumping interesting experiences into a doc in the first 24 hours. How many ideas have you lost because you didn't write them down?

6. The first paragraph, the first page, and the first chapter are crucial because they establish the vibe and tempo you have to adhere to…till the last word.

7. Don’t rush your main idea. It probably came to you in bits and pieces over time, so don’t hit the reader in the face with it. Take them to the main idea via stories. You don't need to say everything at the beginning.

8. Your writing develops a vital zing when you realize no one cares. Your job is to make them care. Start with this attitude and your brain will subconsciously erase unnecessary set ups and cut to the chase.

9. Create systems to protect you from your lower self. For example, a part of your animal brain wants to scroll Twitter for 10 hours and bathe in the glow of the timeline. But great writers side with their higher self over the lower. Neil uses an app called Freedom to keep distractions at bay.

10. There's a point where you stop telling the book or the essay what you want it to be, and it starts telling you what it wants to be. Don’t ignore this message.

11. The first draft is for you. Be uninhibited and let your ideas flow like lava.

12. The second draft is for the reader. Make what matters to you matter to the reader. Ask questions like: "Where are they bored? Where are they confused?"

13. The third draft is for the haters. Clean up your prose. Get the facts straight. Take the bullets out of the gun. Then... ship.

14. When we begin a book–or any artwork or creative endeavor–the goal is not to execute a plan. It’s to surrender to the art itself. To let the art create itself, with you as a conduit.

15. Writers need a sacred space. A place or a time of the day that’s sealed off from the outside world, with no distractions…where you can enter undisturbed flow states.

I've shared the full conversation with @neilstrauss below.

If you'd rather listen on YouTube, Spotify, or Apple, check out the replies.
Listen to the episode below...


Spotify: podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/nei…
Here's the full episode on YouTube

Read 4 tweets
Mar 20
25 million people, every single year, download Shaan Puri’s podcast. What has Shaan figured out about storytelling?

He spilled the beans in our new chat. Here's how he does it:

1. A story is a five second moment of change. A story is not a sequence of events; it's about transformation. Weave in U-turns and unexpected flips.

2. Write like you talk. Natural, conversational, led by stories.

3. A formula for a great story: Intention + Obstacle. At all moments, the listener should know what the hero wants and what's stopping them from getting there. This one's from Aaron Sorkin, who wrote The Social Network.

4. Work backwards from the emotion you're trying to create in the reader. Then let the structure follow.

5. Aim for strong reactions. If you can get the reader to widen their eyes, raise their eyebrows, and/or burst out laughing, they will share your work.

6. Don't write to the faceless masses. Write to one specific person. BuzzFeed writers used to write to "Debbie at her Desk," the bored woman at her desk who wanted a 5-minute distraction.

7. “Likeability” is downstream of vulnerability. The more honestly you share your challenges, the more invested your reader gets. Write your heart out.

8. Don't be the 9,000 IQ guy. Stop competing in imaginary intelligence contests and start telling stories. Big words alienate but tight narratives pull people in.

9. Forget resumes and portfolios. Create a “binge bank” instead. A binge bank is a set of videos or essays that people can binge on. Stack up material so that when people do go down your rabbit hole, they come out the other side a fan.

10. Mere practice gets you nowhere. But intentional practice leads to exponential progress. Always learn from your attempts and make intelligent tweaks on the next try.

11. Comedy is great, but definitely don't make every sentence a joke.

12. Comedy is a pretty easy way to improve your writing. The essence of all comedy is surprise. Study your favorite comedians. Read books like How to Write Funny and The Hidden Tools of Comedy.

13. For better storytelling, Shaan recommends two books: Storyworthy and Building a Storybrand.

14. How to make headlines juicy: use specific and odd numbers, focus on the first three words and the last three words, use "you" whenever possible, and know that longer is typically better than shorter.

15. Your writing should only be as long as it is interesting. An uninteresting 20 second reel will fail; an interesting 30-minute essay will win. But you must be honest while gauging how objectively interesting your piece is…in a world with infinite content.

16. Most people think writing is about transferring information but writing is just as much about transferring emotion. Emotion gets people to take action (like, share, buy…).

The first 40-minutes of this conversation with @ShaanVP is all about storytelling. Then there's an hour more about the genius of Dave Chapelle and how to write with zest.

If you'd rather listen on YouTube, Spotify, or Apple, check out the replies…
Listen to the podcast here...


Spotify: podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/3-p…
You can watch the full thing on YouTube too

Read 6 tweets
Dec 6, 2023
Ali Abdaal finished first in his class at Cambridge, became a doctor, and then built a YouTube channel with 5 million followers.

Here's what he's taught me about creative work:

1. Get going, get good, get smart—in that order.

2. If you're stuck, embrace the FBR Method: Fast, Bad, Wrong. Ali wrote the first draft of his book in seven days flat. Quantity leads to quality.

3. Prolific over perfect: If you want to get good at something, you have to put in the reps.

4. Be a Guide, not a Guru: Your writer's block will disappear once you stop trying to be the person who knows everything, and start being a friendly guide instead. Tell your story. Share what's worked for you. You don't need to have all the answers.

5. Do the verb instead of being the noun: Your identity can limit you. Make videos instead of being a "YouTuber." Publish essays instead of being a "writer." Labels tie you down. Action frees you up.

6. Work hard to find the work that doesn't feel like work. The more time I spend with Ali, the more I realize that he's always working in a way that doesn't feel like work to him.

7. Search for the work only you can do: Ali couldn't find a competitive edge in academia. As he once said to me: “The only way to win the academic game was just to work really, really hard because at the highest levels of academia, I had no natural advantages.”

8. You can thrive as a communicator without a bunch of new ideas. Interpreting existing ideas in a fresh, distinct, and personal way is more than enough. Just think of your favorite teacher from school. How many of their ideas were original? Same with writing.

9. Be real, not perfect: Ali's videos aren't 100% scripted. He speaks off the cuff, as if he's talking to a friend.

10. If you're stuck on an article, ditch the Google Doc and text a friend about what you're trying to say instead.

11. You don't need to be an expert to share what you've learned along the way. C.S. Lewis once said: “The fellow-pupil can help more than the master because he knows less. The difficulty we want him to explain is one he has recently met. The expert met it so long ago he has forgotten.”

12. Algorithms are designed to put the right things in front of the right people at the right time. Put them to work for you.

I've shared the full conversation with @AliAbdaal below.

If you'd rather listen on YouTube, Spotify, or Apple, check out the replies.
"I've never had any goal around subscriber count or around views, revenue or anything like that. And all of that stuff has happened as a side effect of showing up and doing the work and controlling what's within my control."

Here's the YouTube link.

Write for one person
Read 6 tweets
Nov 6, 2023
Morgan Housel has written 4,000 blog posts and sold 4 million copies of The Psychology of Money.

As a writer, he's the best storyteller I know too.

Here are his principles for writing:

1. Leave out the parts that readers tend to skip.

2. Writing is an efficiency game. Whoever says the most stuff in the fewest words wins.

3. You have five seconds to catch somebody's attention on the Internet. If you didn't catch them with the headline or in the first two sentences, they're gone.

4. If you're stuck on a piece, go for a walk.

5. If an idea comes to you while you're out walking, email it to yourself immediately.

6. People don’t remember books; they remember sentences.

7. A good story is like leverage for ideas. An idea on its own might be boring, but if you tell a good story about someone interacting with that idea, you can get people to nod their heads and pay attention.

8. Great writing begins with great reading.

9. If you want to write better and more memorable sentences, ask yourself: "If somebody was reading this on Kindle, would they highlight this sentence?" If the answer is no, consider removing it.

10. Everyone should write. Why? Because everyone is full of ideas they’re not aware of. This means they’re also unaware of the value of their ideas, and this value can only be unlocked via writing.

11. Start with one brave sentence and see where it goes.

12. Big words mask little thoughts. They’re an attempt to fool the reader into thinking you’re smart when you have nothing smart to say.

13. Writing for others is work, and it shows. Writing for yourself is fun, and it shows.

14. Morgan calls this Selfish Writing: write to solve your own problems, and the audience will get pulled in because of your emotional involvement. But if you pander to the audience, they will sense your lingering indifference, and leave.

15. The Power Law of Success: if you do 30 things, 29 of them are going to be irrelevant. One of them will completely change everything. Keep writing—volume is your friend.

16. Most books, even by proven authors, are flops. Mark Twain wrote 28 novels. You haven't heard of most of them, but that doesn't matter because he wrote two classics: "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" and "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn."

17. Mark Twain used to read aloud to his family and watch their reactions. If he saw them getting bored, he’d cut that part out. If he saw them getting excited, he’d double down on that section.

18. Success takes time. Don’t rush it. Morgan spent 14 years as a professional writer before he published his first book. In that time, he wrote more than 4,000 blog posts.

19. Morgan tells the story of two trees. One grows in the shade of a mother tree, growing slowly because the sunlight is cut off. The other, planted in a field with no barrier, receives full sunlight and grows faster. But the first one develops denser wood due to the slower rate of growth. There’s a natural growth rate in nature, and in creative pursuits.

20. Make your writing concise.

21. Concise does not mean short. It means a high density of value to words.

Okay, one more... Out of all our conversations, one interaction stands out because it so eloquently captures the essence of his approach. When I asked about his marketing strategy for selling books, he said: "Write a good book."

"Well, how do you do that?"

"Only write things that you personally find interesting."

I've shared the full interview with @MorganHousel below.

He's been writing for a decade and a half, and this interview is a deep-dive into his process for coming up with ideas, refining them, sharing them, and building a career as an author.

If you'd rather listen on YouTube, Spotify, or Apple, check out the replies below…
Morgan once said: "Ken Burns is more popular than history textbooks because facts don’t have any meaning unless people pay attention to them, and people pay attention to good stories."

Here's the full interview on YouTube.

If you'd rather listen to the podcast, you can do that by following the links below:


Spotify: podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/mor…
Read 7 tweets
Oct 4, 2023
Spent two hours with Marc Andreessen, who gave me a masterclass on how to think, learn, read, research, and write.

Here's what I learned:

1. Read, read, read... then read some more.

2. Many of your best ideas will emerge in fits of rage or frustration. Channel the fury. Smash the keyboard. Lean into the passion. Torch the page with your energy.

3. Marc doesn't have much of a formal writing process. He thinks and thinks, and when epiphany strikes, he hammers out an outline as fast as possible to get his ideas on paper. Then, he turns it into a full article.

4. Marc's motto for writing and thinking: "Strong views, weakly held." Put yourself out there, but stay on the hunt for dissenting opinions from smart and respectful people.

5. Online writing tolerates and even encourages stylistic idiosyncrasies that traditional publishing would not accommodate. Lean into them.

6. The world is awash in bad content. You need to punch through. Snappy one-liners and genuine conviction are two ways to do that.

7. Marc's been reading online for as long as anybody on the planet, and the biggest thing that's surprised him is how political the Internet's become. Something changed between ~2013-2015. The Internet was once an escape from political debates. Now it's a hotbed of them.

8. Writing software is halfway between writing a novel and building a bridge.

9. Play around with communication tools. Push the limits. Doesn't matter what the rules are. When Marc felt constrained by Twitter's 140-character limit, he started replying to his own tweets and invented the Twitter thread.

10. On the quest for good ideas, surround yourself with "lateral thinkers" who can't help but come up with variant perspectives on everything they see. They won't always be right, but they're always challenge your thinking.

11. Media formats are cyclical. Nietzsche wrote in aphorisms and Twitter is aphorisms-as-a-service. Hip-hop brought back poetry. Montaigne pioneered the essay format and blogs brought them back into vogue.

12. People should write more manifestos.

13. Marc's nomination for the best living American novelist: James Ellroy.

14. GPT has revealed how much writing is pure pablum. Bland, lifeless, uninsightful, unoffensive, and not worth the price of the ink it was printed with.

15. "With GPT, every writer now has a writing partner who can do an infinite amount of grunt work without complaining."

16. "ChatGPT plagiarism is a complete non-issue. If you can't out-write a machine, what are you doing writing?"

17. Marc writes from the heart. He doesn't do much editing and likes to provide reading recommendations instead of directly citing his sources.

18. The person who writes down the plan in an organization has tremendous power. If you want to find the up-and-comers at a tech company, look into who's writing the plan. Though they may not be coming up with all the ideas, you'll know they have the energy, motivation, and skills to organize and communicate ideas in a written form.

19. Marc uses a barbell approach to consume information. He focuses on what's happening right now while also reading a lot of things that were written 10+ years ago. The content is either timely or timeless, with almost nothing in between.

I've shared the full conversation below.

If you'd rather listen on YouTube, Spotify, or Apple, check out the replies below.

If there was an Olympic category for most insights per minute, @pmarca would be a guaranteed medalist.
Marc, on Twitter: "It's the most wonderful and horrible thing in the world. I'll follow on a single tweet and block on a single tweet, and I block extremely liberally."

If watching a podcast isn't your thing and you'd rather listen to our conversation, here's how you can do that:


Spotify: podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/mar…
Read 5 tweets
Mar 3, 2023
Mean Girls is so popular because it reveals the dark parts of our psychology. People who don't know what they want adopt other people's desires until their models become their enemies.

The movie begins with Regina George as the high school queen bee. Cady is new to the high-school world. She’s naive to the social hierarchy of her new world. Cady isn't in touch with her authentic desires. Instead of developing her own wants, she takes on Regina's as her own.
When Regina sees that Cady is attractive, she invites her to join her clique: “The Plastics.” Regina wants Cady to live inside her system. She believes that by owning the hierarchy, she can stay on top. By keeping her potential enemy close, Regina thinks she can limit her power.
Read 23 tweets

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