Trying Out Learning In Public

A while back I read about learning in public from swyx:

At some point people will start asking you for help because of all the stuff you put out.

80% of developers are “dark”, they dont write or speak or participate in public tech discourse.

The idea is promising people who learns in public get more reputaiton. This extra reputation makes it easier to find friends, get jobs and so on.

Starting to learn in public is a hard path, the people that are learning in public like swyx and nicole van derhoeven each have their own way, and both are successful with it. So there’s no one way to do this.

I’m not measuring the success only in terms of follower/subscriber but also the their consistency in publishing. One interesting aspect of people who are consistent in their work is that, after you read one of their post there are a lot more to read from them when you enjoy their work. Maybe that’s why you rarely find one fascinating writing and when you search for the writer they haven’t wrote anything else. The consistency of their work make them better.

Swyx has some nice hacks to start doing this. Simon Wilson has another suggestion which is write down your daily TILs.

My goal is to write down a plan for how to be a public learner. This plan is for myself so you might want to adjust some parts before adopting it.

First step is to be aware of what you learn every day. I use Readwise with anything I read or watch almost all the time.

When reading something and I found some interesting idea, I add a TIL tag to it. Everyday I have a reminder to 10 minutes to review the TIL notes I created that day.

Now with this newly learned piece there are two possible options:

  1. It’s a small point so I can just share it as a post or a tweet
  2. It’s part of a bigger idea, and I want to create a creative exhaust from it

For items belonging to the second category I spend more time to write my own thinking from the idea. This is like a blogpost but I write in in Obsidian, my note taking app. It helps to gather ideas related to a specific topic inside a page.

I like to keep a list of content I can create in the future. whenever I write a page for something I learned that means I have a topic to do reasearch on so I put it in the content list.

I like to set a schedule to remind myself about picking up the stuff I left. So just by setting a 2 hour time block every week I can research more on one of the topics on my list and write down all the stuff I know. Or not even writing down but to connect different notes I have on the topic. It might become a post worthy content or not, anyway It’s there and can be shared.

So it’s really simlple but you need to keep the list and ideas somewhere, otherwise you never know what to talk about when it comes to sharing. After a while when the knowledge piles up in a topic. You can spend small time connecting all your learnings together, and create learning exhaust.

There’s another aspect of learning in public, which is to share what you’re doing.

WillMcGugan shares their progress on building Textual on twitter. This is not particularly same as other public learners mentioned above, but it brings the same benefits. By doing this people know him more and he can meet new poeple.

I met Batuhan Taskaya just by posting my journey on building a python parser on twitter. He helped me with implementing tricky parts of parser and contributing to Python.

The takeaway is to share updates when you are building in public. Not only when you finish building something but also along the way.

So this is all about starting small and being consistent, and having fun along the way.