I thought that I was done with the issue of platform, at least in the immediate future, and then two items arrived in my inbox. So here are some final thoughts.
Michael Hyatt asks ‘What’s at stake?’ and although he’s talking about goals in this article he could just as well be talking, in my opinion, about the idea of ‘platform’. I must admit that this is not something I covered in my articles on designing and building your platform. Although I asked you to think about whether you needed to separate your work and personal platforms and to consider how complex your platform would be I didn’t ask you to give any time to pondering what the underlying reason for your platform was/is. As he says about re-committing to a goal he was struggling to attain (rather ironically a book on platform-building called Platform: How to get noticed in a noisy world) “When I rediscovered my why, I found my way”.
You may instinctively respond that you’re building yourself a platform to help in your job search but is that the ultimate truth? I suspect that you also want to let people know what you have to offer and to create connections beyond what can be established in our daily lives of face-to-face interaction. Finally, I’m pretty sure that you also want to help people by answering questions and providing links to resources or even sharing solutions that you gained through personal experiences.
The next piece that caught my eye was a blog posting from online superstar, pundit and maverick Seth Godin. This post was provocatively titled Declaring Victory. This brief post (Godin rarely goes long) is focused on the idea that all projects should have a plan for finishing. Note that Godin is not suggesting that you ‘flit’ from project to project like a bumble-bee in a flowerbed (although infinitely less productively) since “A project might last a decade or a generation”. Rather he is saying that if you have a project “it must have an end”. Of course I could be the devil’s advocate here (if Godin allowed comments on his blog – which he doesn’t) and say ‘Okay then Seth – what does the end look like for your projects – like this blog for instance which is 10 years old and has over 2,500 posts”.
But despite my snarking I think Godin has a legitimate point and I think his premise, combined with that of Michael Hyatt, can help you build a stronger platform. Have an end-game in mind – a point when you will perhaps say ‘Okay, this is done for now and I’m going to move on to something else’ and make sure that a strong and personally meaningful ‘what’s at stake’ statement underlies your work.
Godin’s mantra of ‘ship it’ should also have a place in your thought processes. Don’t agonize too much over blog postings or tweets or Facebook status updates trying to get them perfect – instead hit the post button. Heck, you could even encourage your readers to let you know if you screwed up and offer them a link back to their site if they find errors in your work (Cory Doctorow – another online superstar has used this idea with great success on his book “With a little help” and I daresay it has increased engagement tremendously).
So, what are you waiting for? Stake out your domain (remember you can go free with wordpress.com or blogspot.com), create a Twitter handle and find/create yourself on Facebook. Ship it and see what happens!