Look On My Works, Ye Mighty, and Despair

I Have Some Thoughts To Share

The most frequent question I get as a writer is “where do your ideas come from?” Here is my exact process. 

Step 1: Whisper insults to myself while flexing in the mirror. To gather the volatile cocktail of hubris and self-hatred required for great writing, I start every day at 6AM, white-knuckling my bathroom sink, urgently telling myself I am too stupid to function. 

Step 2: Scroll Twitter. This is not helpful at all, but it is important I do it anyway. 

Step 3: Rip off someone else’s thoughts: Picasso once said, “Good artists borrow, great artists steal, subscription supported newsletters plagiarize.” The key to writing original ideas is not having any. 

Step 4: Snort an upper and make memes until my fingers bleed. I have an army of interns that I keep locked in my basement that actually write these things. The only thing I do with my time is make memes. 

Honestly…this sounds healthier than my actual method. My writing cadence is determined more by curiosity than something so banal as a “process.”

The real reason I’m able to write these posts is that I am hopelessly obsessed with technology. Thinking about companies, about finance, is what I do, night and day. From my walk in the morning to laying in bed in the evening, I am reading reading reading. Technology is pretty much all I can think about, and it has been that way for close to 10 years. 

Most of the time that thinking translates into full-length posts. I get curious about something and go 3K-5K words deep. However, sometimes the fruit of that investigation isn’t juicy enough to justify a full Napkin Math post. So I have lots of >500 word ideas that have never had the opportunity to shine.  

Learn more

This post is for
paying subscribers

Subscribe →

Or, login.

Read this next:

Napkin Math

The Addiction Economy

Addicted, Overwhelmed, Oversubscribed: How Technology Hooked the World

136 🔒 May 26, 2022 by Evan Armstrong

Napkin Math

Product-Led Growth’s Failure

How a Scrappy Utah Software Company Ignored Every Silicon Valley Heuristic and Won Anyway

179 Jun 3, 2021 by Evan Armstrong

Napkin Math

Snapchat’s Probably Screwed

Apple's ATT Fallout Continues

142 🔒 Jul 28, 2022 by Evan Armstrong


My Philosophy of Product Building (Part III)

On launching and learning

12 Dec 7, 2022 by Nathan Baschez

Rallying in a Recession

Four strategies from businesses that beat the odds

38 Dec 5, 2022 by Lewis Kallow

Thanks for reading Every!

Sign up for our daily email featuring the most interesting thinking (and thinkers) in tech.


Already a subscriber? Login