One of the blogs I try to follow consistently is James Altucher. James is a most unique individual with a tremendously quick and catchy writing style. It’s probably not for everyone, but for me, it’s sharp, crisp and full of thought provoking statements. James is tremendously open and honest about what he writes, tackling everything from financial successes to failures to relationships and how to improve yourself. If you check it out, be prepared for many frank discussions on what’s taking place, and has taken place, in his life.
A few months before I started this blog, I was working on another in the field I’ve mostly been in, politics and campaigns. The premise was to use my knowledge and skills to provide free tips and advice to those involved in politics. The goal was to offer feedback on how they could ditch the political consultants, vendors and “advisors” who would take a large chunk of their budget.
One example, “Instead of paying a designer or company to edit a picture for you, here’s a free site online that allows you to do basic image editing for free.” Small things like that, that over time add up to big things. I cover the nuts and bolts of a job in politics without getting into philosophy or ideology.
As I wrote down some past stories and experiences I had on campaigns, I asked myself where I’d draw the line between being open and honest, and being hurtful. There were plenty of people I’d worked with over the years whom I was not fond of. Did I list them by name? Make up a fake name? I knew my stories and experiences would be helpful to others so I wanted to share them, but wondered how far to go. So I thought of asking James.
James lists his email address on the bottom of his group emails, as well as answers a good amount of the comments left on his blog. And since the topics are so broad, he’s got a wide variety of thoughts. So I emailed him for his thoughts. I was quite pleased when he took the time to answer me back. Below is my email to him and his response.
I really enjoy your blog and your emails, and your books. Your writing style is very open and raw, something that really makes me feel you value your subject matter, especially when writing about your wife and children.A question for you, when you cover topics like past jobs or companies or bosses, what factors do you consider as to whether or not you name names? Even if it’s just for reference and not negative, what goes into your thought process?In a recent email you mentioned a company you were on the board of. It wasn’t hard to do some digging and figure out which one, but I noticed you didn’t mention it. Was that by design or just in passing? I see sometimes you do indeed mention specifics about companies or bosses, but sometimes not. Is there a reason?
I’m doing some blogging on my own with my career field being in campaigns and political consulting. In short the goal of the blog is to offer free tips, techniques and advice to people, and (in theory) make political consultants worthless. If I can even get one person to realize they could create their own website for $20 instead of paying a consultant $2,000, it would be worth it to me.Though as I write some blog posts and email stories about my past experiences, I’m curious on what campaigns, politicians, or organizations I should mention by name. Where the line is between being open and raw with my readers and preservation by speaking in general terms.
Thank you James.
I just don’t want to ever hurt anyone. I always have to check within myself if I am writing because I want to entertain/educate (my only goals) or revenge (never a good goal).
Sometimes I wont mention a co because I dont want to appear as if I am recommending it.
And that was that. James’ response got me thinking and has shaped how I’ve written on this blog. My goal was always to inform, educate, and entertain and I want to make sure I always remember that.