Don’t Worry About Platform. (Focus On THIS Instead.)

Over the last few years, there has been an unhealthy obsession with platform building.

No matter if you are big or small, it seems like everyone assumes that “you need a platform” or that you need “to grow your platform.”

But the truth is you don’t.

Not at all.

You don’t need your own self-hosted website.

You don’t need to be on Twitter or Facebook or whatever other social media platform, either.

You just have to create work that is either remarkable or great. (Preferably both.)

Good work won’t cut it.

And let’s face it—this is where the REAL pressure lies.

Ever heard of Sturgeon’s Law? It applies here.

Author and critic Theodore Sturgeon stated “90 percent of everything is crap.”

Sounds harsh, I know.

Not saying it is completely (or always) true, but let’s face it–we are flooded with content and information.

And most of it isn’t worth your time, right?

Use Sturgeon’s Law to your advantage.

Here’s how you can apply this concept to your own work.

If you want to create something great, 90% of the time it won’t happen on a whim.

90% of the time finishing something will take you much, much longer than you think it will.

So go ahead and be picky. Develop your sense of taste and be really, really honest with yourself.

Platforms don’t really come into the equation here, do they.

If anything, most of the time, platform building is a serious distraction (if not the number one distraction) from doing REAL work.

Focusing on platform before creating great work is the same as putting the cart before the horse.

Seriously, what matters is that you create great, remarkable work.

People will take notice, I promise.

Create more great work. And then more. And more.

This isn’t about building a Wizard of Oz-like platform filled with slick website plugins, amazing popups that convert, and demonstrating your social media prowess.

The person with the slickest website and the most Twitter followers doesn’t win.

Rather, it’s about shipping your work. And failing. And experimenting. And building again. And tweaking. And shipping more work.

When you create great work, you can share it however you’d like.

Great, remarkable work opens many different doors.

There are over a BILLION websites out there. Do you really think that you only have ONE approach for how you share your work with others?

It’s time to get creative. It’s time to move forward instead of copying what everyone else is doing.

Marketing strategy for a product is not something you cut and paste. (And neither is creativity for that matter.)

There is no perfect formula for everyone, despite what some say.

Pay attention to who is actually creating great work and support it.

Ignore those who spend the majority of their time talking about work.

Anything you do online can likely be justified as “platform building” but it is really just procrastination.

Talk is cheap. Hustling like crazy costs you something.

So what are you going to do?

There are three words that are a good indicator if you are on the right track.

Three simple words that separate the wannabes from the veterans.

“Real artists ship.” Steve Jobs

How do you feel about platform building? Is it a distraction from doing real work or a valuable tool that helps you? Please leave a comment and share your thoughts.

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  11 comments for “Don’t Worry About Platform. (Focus On THIS Instead.)

  1. David Mike
    February 18, 2016 at 6:25 am

    All of the hype of platform building keeps us from doing what we really want. Media blasts, SEO, etc. Wish it would all go away.

    • February 18, 2016 at 7:29 am

      That’s a really interesting thought David!

  2. February 19, 2016 at 5:46 am

    Good stuff Jim – I totally agree! I shut down my personal blog almost a year ago to focus exclusively on writing for high-traffic business sites and haven’t looked back!

  3. February 22, 2016 at 9:22 am

    Great post Jim. Seem that the platform building craze detracts from who we really are.

  4. February 22, 2016 at 2:12 pm

    Yes to this! A thousand times yes!

  5. February 22, 2016 at 2:47 pm

    This is such a hard lesson to learn. We often get tangled in the “quick” methods of putting ourselves out there. Quality is king. Sturgeon’s Law will become a part of my thought process moving forward!

  6. March 31, 2016 at 10:16 am

    Yes many times over.. quality over just content that does not matter. Used to try and always post 3 times a week good or bad.. now I try to post more when it matters.

  7. August 17, 2017 at 10:00 pm

    I am going to be a bit contrarian here. I wish it were true that we don’t need platform. I wish I could say that creating remarkable work, work that is in the 10% of non-crap, was enough. But…it’s not. We can have the best stuff in the world, literally the best ever. And it will never get us anywhere without a platform.

    I will say this though. The focus on more content, without an equal emphasis on the quality of that content, doesn’t help anyone. With a few exceptions (Seth Godin among them), most people who post something on their site every day don’t have 7 great blog posts a week. No, they might have one, if they’re lucky.

    So there’s a balance in my mind. We need to create amazing stuff. But we also need to build a platform so people know we exist. Let me add one more thing to that though. The platform we build should be as close a reflection to our actual selves as possible. I’ve seen and been burned by too many people who promise generosity but are actually idea thieves; who preach originality but rehash the same 3 ideas into four books; who say hustle until you can’t hustle no more, but take 6 vacations a year. Be real, be you, and build your platform on that.

    • August 18, 2017 at 1:00 am

      A balance is very key, for sure! In my personal experience, the problem lies when platform building takes precedence over the work.

      I love what you said about authenticity too. That’s right on the money. And in the words of Rod Tidwell, “I dig dat about you!” (That’s right I just quoted some Jerry Maguire.)

      • August 18, 2017 at 1:11 am

        You can confuse me with any movie star at will. Even if it is Tom Cruise. 🙂

        I hear you though — we have to have something to say or a platform is wasted energy.

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