Medium created a compendium for my 2016 writings.
The title image of this article is a screen grab of one of the many stats Medium shared with me via the compendium announcement email. These are useful numbers to help set new stretch goals for 2017.
Stretch goals are slightly different from the concept of “target conditions” (tc). In the case of tc, it is assumed that there is a fairly in-depth understanding of the current state and the subject can plan for making improvements to reach the desired end state or tc by following a more or less rigorous scientific method. Stretch goals on the other hand are more outcome focused and can be influenced by multiple factors that may not have a detailed scientific way to be understood, influenced, and controlled.
The stretch goal in this case could be to increase readership by 100% within next 6 months.
Do not forget that even Elon Musk and Tesla failed to meet more than 20 ambitious goals, and yet Musk still keeps on setting more unheard of targets. I think this is a big hairy, audacious goal for someone like me who is moonlighting to write about business insights, future of work, new rules for employee engagement, innovation practices and more based on practical experiences and anecdotes heard.
Setting Stretch Goals is Fun / Doing Not So Much
Well established research papers have proven that setting goals, dreaming of new possibilities, speaking about being successful are things that we humans like to do, especially at the start of a new period of time (there is plenty of such content on Medium here and here). However, research also shows that we stop AT that. The anticipation of success is more enjoyable than the success itself and so we refrain from putting in serious, hard work to get stuff done. So while it’s clever to set stretch goal and draw up a vision for 2017 Medium, its actually going to be pretty painful to achieve the outcome.
Here are some reasons why I think achieving this outcome will be harder than imagining the same.
First and foremost hurdle is obviously a demanding day job. As much as the day job is the fodder for great experiences, stories, colleagues, and abstraction, it is also a huge commitment that leaves almost no time to read, write, and read more.
Next, with more and more people jumping into the gig economy and calling themselves experts in future of work and related topics, there is more good content to compete with. The stuff that I will write need to be memorable, readable, context-relevant, and shareable. This demands more reading, more thinking and more writing and rewriting (and hence compete with active hours in a day).
Last and most important is the birth of a new born baby boy to my partner and I. This recent cuteness have also generated an immeasurable sense of responsibility in me, taking up both quality and quantity time. Sleep deprivation, lots of diapers and occasional pediatric appointments are not known to be conducive to quality content and stretch goals.
How to do this well?
I’m committed to jumping through hoops to make the stretch goal happen.There are many different factors that can possibly impact the outcome for my stretch goal. Not all of them are fully understood by me to define a set of steps that can be taken for intended results. Also the effect of all or many of the factors working together in tandem can accelerate (or decelerate) the pace at which the stretch goal is reached.
One way is to reach more readership is to conceive a multi-series sequel related “Future of Work and Multipotentialities” as is evident from the current popularity of this topic. Find more interesting themes around employment, global workforce management, and new job profiles that are of appeal to the Medium readers and writers. Write long form content but set the read time at no more than 7 minutes max.
Another way could be to pair with someone semi-famous (or has a good social media presence) and co-author new content (much like I did with Tanmay Vora, Sahana Chattopadhyay and Miikka Leinonen). I like to meet and connect with new people in all kinds of professions so this seems like a real possibility.
Additionally, I have to find ways to successfully syndicate my articles to different other publications on Medium and beyond. Also, commit to better use of LinkedIn, Twitter etc to drive more traffic to my Medium page. Maybe there is an opportunity to drive interest from my colleagues at work to start reading and sharing my content.
What would change everything is if I get mentioned on the Medium newsletter. The algorithm for the same is still archaic and not well understood by amateur writers like me. It’s definitely much more than catchy titles and catchier imagery to get a significantly high read to recommend (R2R) ratio.
Quality of content, frequency, readability, increased syndication and collaborative creativity, meaningfully bold imagery and fancy titles are few of the known factors to help me reach the stretch goal. The rest of the factors are unknown-unknown to me now though any of them could have a black swan impact on the outcome.
Get Set Go
Thank you Medium Staff for creating the compendium and helping set up an inspirational chain of thoughts to create stretch goals for 2017.