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Forbes And Beyond: Reflecting On The First 50 Stories

At the end of my last post, "Y Combinator S19 Demo Day Recap", I stated I would be talking about my future with Forbes.



I left that there to serve as a teaser for what I'm about to say next, but unfortunately, some of my readers got the wrong message and thinking I'm going to stop writing for Forbes.

That is not the case.


I'm still writing for Forbes and have no plans to stop. (Good thing I didn't go through with my original plan and make a clickbait title to suggest that I was done with Forbes. I guess I have to be more cautious about what I write even on my personal blog since I write professionally!) However, I did want to talk about the changes I'm making to my work at Forbes: sourcing and writing.


With regarding to sourcing, I took the time to review where my stories are coming from. Right now, they're mostly from networks I'm a part of such as venture capital firms I've worked with, startup accelerators I have friends at, or schools I'm affiliated with. There's nothing wrong with that, but I do want to make sure I'm accessible as possible so I don't miss the best stories from outside those networks.


So I made a public G-mail address from people to send their pitches to me. You can e-mail me at astoryforsoda@gmail.com if you're working on something interesting and you're a student or recent grad.


The more important change I will discussing is the writing of these stories. I'm proud of the quality of the stories I've published, especially how that quality has improved over the past two years.


I'm a much better writer now than before I started. That really feels good to say.


Yet, I want to be even better. The hope is that I was going to originally announce that I would be cutting back on the number of stories I write per month (I wrote 7 last month, which is the max I've written in previous months). However, to make sure I'm clear and no one reaches the wrong conclusions, I am only going to say that I'm going to try and take more time to focus and improve on each story before it is published. I really want to be able to delve deeper into the subjects of each article and trying evoke what they are building, and more importantly, why.


That will take sometime time to do properly, and then even more time to do at scale, but it's an exciting challenge that will make my writing better.


The only other thing I want to mention that I'm working on a newsletter to help founders get the best advice from founders who have been there and have overcome the challenges that others face. I'll have more on this in a future blog post.


(what follows next is only semi-related to this current blog post as a whole)


I will say one thing that won't be fully explained until much later: I'm really hoping this mailing list takes off. Why? It'll offer me the chance to have built something on my own, without influence or direction, and truly reflect initiative to carve my own path to success. I think that being young adults in the earliest stages of our careers, we are tempted to rely on the brands of the companies we work for or the schools that we attend to prove via proxy that we are capable or competent at doing some future job or winning some award.


It's a natural consequence in growing up and participating in a hyper-competitive academic system. Sometimes I think though - what happened if I never attended MIT? Or get into HBS? Or intern for Boeing and write for Forbes?


Could I still carve out a path to success that is true to myself? How much harder would it be not having these brands behind me to convince someone that I'm worth taking a chance on an opportunity they have?


Could my work still stand on its own? Could I build the reputation I have now (or greater) without these brands? What would I learn or experience without the help of such prestigious institutions and organizations to aid me in crafting my own narrative and life for myself?


I'll leave it at that.


Soda

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