I journal every day. It's a straightforward way to clear my thoughts and apply intentionality to my life. This usually consumes ~30 minutes or so, and I'd consider it one of the highest-ROI things that I do: it lets me recap my priorities, discuss progress, work through various problems I'm grappling, etc.

The other day, I had a thought: what if I keep doing all of that, but in public?

Writers like Alexey Guzey and various people on LessWrong provide an immense amount of value to me and many others.

What I've noticed is that, oftentimes, their work seems more like a "stream of consciousness" than a "rigorously prepared and edited manuscript". And that's one of the reasons it's so charming—you're seeing the evolution of their thought in real time, and it lets you model their brains and the way they solve problems.

By doing this in an open forum accessible to others, they also accomplish two economically important tasks:

  1. They produce a large amount of content easily, which makes them more discoverable (important in today's world). Because it's part of their lifestyle, and journalling is what they'd have done anyway, they get to do something economically valuable with minimal added friction or time.
  2. They come across as extremely authentic. This leads to stronger relationships with their followers. Plus, economically valuable people put a premium on authenticity, and the best way to achieve it is to provide a large enough sample size to get a read of one's "average" character (which is easy to do when you're just penning your thoughts).

High friction content

This brings me to a concept I've found a lot of success with recently: minimizing the friction involved in creating content.

For instance, I used to have a YouTube channel on body language analysis. I had read a few books on the subject, and I considered myself adept enough to provide tangible value to others. Over the course of two years, I grew the channel to ~3,000 subscribers.

My workflow consisted of writing a script, recording a video on my DSLR, rigorously editing the video to achieve high production value, and then optimizing it before I posted. This process took perhaps ten hours from start to finish—so if I wanted to produce one piece of content, I'd have to carve out a reasonably big chunk of my week in order to do so. Because of this, I posted perhaps once every month on average, and my channel never grew to any sort of notoriety.

Low friction content

A few weeks ago, I began working on a new YouTube channel. But instead of the high production value pieces I had created previously, I tried the opposite approach–quantity over quality. My goal was to post once per day for thirty days on various topics I found interesting, and not worry about how I was perceived.

So I set up my workflow in such a way where all I'd do is press "record" and then ad-lib on whatever topic I found most interesting at the time. This was an effort to get in the habit of being more public, which I think is a valuable skill shared by most successful entrepreneurs. I wasn't expecting any sort of real success, and wrote it off as just something I'd do every morning as an experiment.

The response has been ridiculous. I've since gained ~3,000 YouTube subscribers in just a couple of weeks, talking about topics that I otherwise would have probably been thinking about for an equivalent amount of time. The only difference is: these thoughts are no longer just in my head, they're out on the Internet for everyone to see.

Some of the success has undoubtedly been because of my competence in a particular niche (automating things) and my skills as an orator (I've spent most of my life selling stuff). But I think the key "secret sauce" is consistency, and the best way to become consistent is by minimizing the friction involved in doing whatever it is that you want to do.

Going to the gym is easier when you have a friend that picks you up every morning at 7:00am; you've removed a sizeable amount of the friction in getting there. Likewise, creating content is easier when you just click a button and record; you've turned a ten hour task into one that takes a few minutes.

Running fast vs far

Gurinder, one of my first business partners and longtime friend, once told me "I don't care about running fast; I care about running far". That statement had a profound impact on me, and colored how I've framed most entrepreneurial pursuits from then on.

I firmly believe that the most successful people in life are usually just those that continue to do things for a long time. You don't have to be exceptionally intelligent, or ridiculously well connected, or come from a good family. If you can simply show up, day after day, and do something for twenty years straight, you'll undoubtedly achieve more success than all of them combined.

Too often, people make this task out to be monumental and involve a ridiculous amount of hard work.

True, you can't get away from doing something for twenty years straight without it involving at least some level of effort. But you can structure your life in such a way that removes the majority of friction involved in doing said task consistently, and thus reap the rewards with relatively little spend.

All of us have various levers we can pull to move the machine of our lives forward. We can pull the "become more productive" lever, or the "become more well-read" lever, or the "work hard" lever, among many others.

But probably the most effective lever one can realistically pull is the "design my life in such a way that high-ROI tasks take minimal effort" lever. If you want to become fit, don't merely go to the gym—design your life so that it's easier to work out. Whether that's a friend that picks you up every morning, or having a barbell in your basement, the likelihood of you being able to maintain a habit over twenty years is directly proportional to how difficult that task is, so you should minimize difficulty however possible.

Example formula

A simple way to remember these sorts of things is conceptualizing them as a formula. If I could do that with friction, it would be something like:

where A is the magnitude of your achievement, I is the impact of the task you're doing, T is the time you do it for, and F is friction involved in doing so.

To improve A, you naturally either increase I, increase T, or—most importantly—decrease F. In recent months, I've chosen to begun attacking F systematically, and I'm already seeing outsized results in my life.


I would have written all of the above anyway in a private journal. So the added time cost in producing this piece of content (which I earnestly believe at least one person will find valuable) is zero.

Of course, this only works if you're confident that you have important things to say. If not, you'll probably feel self conscious about writing or video-ing your thoughts.

Should you be reading this and find yourself with that belief, logically you can either a) become more confident or b) say more important things.

I know both are easier said than done. But writing and speaking candidly on the Internet has been extremely valuable for me and many others—so I'd at least recommend you try if it's something you've never done before!

Focus on minimizing friction