The Thing You Don’t Understand About Los Angeles

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If you don’t live in Los Angeles, you don’t understand Los Angeles. Because you don’t understand the people who live here.

This is a town of chasers.

People in pursuit of something. They leave homes, families, and friends behind to come here.

Sure, some people are from here, but most aren’t. Los Angeles is a destination – a place you come to, not a place you flee from.

It’s populated with people who don’t let their fears stop them from pursuing their dreams. Who don’t make excuses for why something can’t happen, but instead seek reasons why it will.

Optimists. People who take risks, push forward, and refuse to get stuck.

This doesn’t mean they always succeed. Most fail. Most don’t get what they came for.

But they try. And they don’t regret doing so.

You don’t understand Los Angeles because you don’t understand what it’s like to live surrounded by people like this.

Their spirit is contagious. Addictive. Inspiring. It feeds on itself and convinces you anything is possible.

And in Los Angeles, it is.

Los Angeles isn’t what you think it is. It’s not superficial, shallow, and obsessed with image. That’s just what the Kardashians show you to sell you themselves.

Los Angeles is a meritocracy. It doesn’t care where you went to school or if you went to school. It cares what you do with the gifts you have. It cares what you create – not what you can exploit.

Life is not fair, but Los Angeles is.

If you’re talented, you will be found. It may take time, but you will get opportunities.

And if you don’t hone your skills and combine them with hard work, you will fail. You may get a “break,” but it won’t last.

This town is a filter and staying power is earned.

Los Angeles isn’t easy. It can be brutal. But anything’s possible here.

And there aren’t a lot of cities where that’s still true.

Jon Snow Just Ruined The Best Thing About Game of Thrones

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Spoiler Alert: If you ‘re not caught up on Game of Thrones you should stop reading now because it will spoil things for you. And if you don’t watch Thrones at all you should stop reading because you’re going to be really bored by it.

There’s a lot to love about Game of Thrones, but right at the top of that list has been the show’s willingness to kill off any character at any time for any reason.

From its first season and the surprise killing of Ned Stark, the show repeatedly delivered major shocks by eliminating major characters. In doing so, it established a tension that serves every scene in every episode – a suspense that hangs over each interaction because you know any given line could be a character’s last.

Then, they killed Jon Snow and nobody quite believed it.

And last week, they resurrected him (At least I assume that’s what happened – it’s possible I’m wrong because like most people I only understand 50% of what I see on that show).

Jon Snow’s resurrection may be the most entertaining resurrection story I’ve seen since watching Sam Kinison explain what happened to Jesus, but it’s still troubling. Not because I care about the impact it will have north of the wall or on the 8,635 other ongoing Thrones storylines, but because I worry the show’s producers just undercut their own super power.

Suddenly, we know any character who gets killed has the potential to return. Death is no longer final – it now might just be a minor distraction from a character’s normal, miserable, Thrones existence.

That drastically changes the game (no pun intended) and may suck a lot of suspense out of future scenes. It’s kind of a bummer.

By not killing off Jon Snow, Thrones may have damaged the best weapon in its dramatic arsenal.

“All men must die” doesn’t have the same oomph to it when it comes with an asterisk.

(NOTE: If Jon Snow somehow turns into a dragon next week, I take back everything I said.)

You Don’t Have To Build A Business To Build Value

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Forty-four weeks ago I started a thing.

As with most things, I wasn’t sure what it would be when I started it.

I called it A Person You Should Know and at the time all I knew was it would be a way for me to identify and profile people who have interesting insights to share with the world.

I believed knowing those people – and introducing them to others – would create value for myself. And I hoped an audience – possibly a large one (though I couldn’t define “large”) – would see value in it as well and come along for the ride.

Maybe they’d visit the website, subscribe to the newsletter, or Like the Facebook page. Or maybe not.

Failure is always an option.

But I’m an optimist. I felt like if I built it, they would come. I just didn’t know how many and what exactly I would do with them if they did.

Because I have an entrepreneurial bent, I assumed if an audience came I would figure out how to monetize them. How to capitalize on their attention. How to take my “thing” to the next level.

Because that’s what you’re supposed to do on the Internet, right?

Build a thing that attracts an audience and turn that audience into a business.

It doesn’t have to be “the” business that sustains you – maybe it’s a side hustle? Maybe it’s the seeds of a bigger business? Maybe it’s a proof of concept?

But at its core, it becomes a business.

It’s easy to buy into that conventional wisdom because denying it can be scary.

If I’m not building a business – or something with the potential to become one – then why spend time and effort trying to attract an audience for it?

Business is the end game, right?

Some version of that assumption guided me as the audience for A Person You Should Know has grown. Thousands of people subscribed and it’s become a regular read for many more.

That’s no small feat and I’m incredibly proud of what I’ve accomplished.

Naturally, my mind drifted to thoughts of how I could monetize my “success” – monthly memberships, exclusive content, sponsorships, etc.

While I know the scale isn’t quite there yet, I thought about what could be and how best to get there.

I wondered – was this destined to be a side project or could it be more? Could it be my main thing? How big could it get? What was possible?

Then, a funny thing happened.

I no longer want it to be a business.

My interest in it hasn’t waned, but I no longer feel the need to chase audience growth and figure out how to monetize it.

It is what it is and I’m satisfied with that.

A project’s value is not solely based  on what it might become, but by what it already has become.

And by that standard, A Person You Should Know is very valuable.

It gives me a reason seek out people who I otherwise never would have found in my social feeds. And it forces me to dig deeper into what these people believe and what they’ve learned.

The process of digging into somebody’s body of work gives you a different perspective of who they are, what they know, and how they came to know it. You can’t get that from a tweet.

You can see the evolution of their ideas and be reminded that all ideas and interests evolve over time.

I now recognize the value of this project doesn’t solely lie in the audience it attracts or the money I could extract from it.

Things don’t have to become a business to become valuable.

That’s easy to forget these days – especially in the marketing, media, and tech corners of the internet.

I’m not sure how I came to this realization. I have an artistic bent that rivals my entrepreneurial one, so in some ways I’ve probably always known it.

But I recently remembered it and I’m glad I did.

So, while I’m still honored that people see value in subscribing to A Person You Should Know (which you can do here by the way), I won’t be turning it into a business any time soon.

I’m pretty sure that’s a good thing.