Thomas Frank walks through his career and the history of College Info Geek in the latest episode of their podcast.
I think at the time I wanted to call it College Beat, because it was going to be college tips. That name was taken—and I actually started following that blog when I found it. But I was like, I need a new name. I don’t want to spend too much time thinking of a name. I’m a management information systems major… so I’m just gonna call it College Info Geek.
That was it. I registered the domain, I set up WordPress, I found a free theme that looked terrible but it was okay, and I put up my first article.
I always enjoy hearing these kinds of histories and “how we got to now” beat-by-beat descriptions of periods in the company’s history.
One thing I appreciated in the story is that he didn’t picture what College Info Geek has grown into when he started. It really was a thing of just getting started. And it doesn’t sound like that idea of “try and fail fast to learn”. Eventually there was the mindset of learning from failure and building systems and self awareness to stretch and grow in different areas and all those personal development things.
But it really was just a blog at first. By “just a blog” I mean that in the sense of one person making a website to share a journey. Not setting out to create a business with an audience of hundreds of thousands. He started out just documenting his journey through college.
They mention the book The Motivation Hacker by Nick Winter. I remember reading it years ago (I just checked and I bought it in 2013). One idea that stuck with me is aiming to create success spirals. It’s similar to concepts like foundational habits, the slight edge, and habits compounding.
From The Motivation Hacker:
The converse is true, too: success begets confidence and motivation, which begets more success, and pretty soon you’re fearless on wheels or look forward to crushing spelling tests. To start as an adult, after your identity is set and your “limits” clearer, this is a fragile staircase and requires climbing, but it can take you just as high as the pits are deep, and quicker than you’d think.
One thing leads to another which leads to another. But you have to stick with each thing long enough.
Make your bed, take a morning walk, and read 15 pages every day. Then increase gradually so you’re reading 25 pages every day and running a mile. (Soon enough you’ll be making 15 beds every day!)
Or start a blog and write one post after another and try out audio and video. Then, like Thomas Frank, with persistence, focus, and some luck in there, you’ll have a million subscribers. (And if not, you’ll still learn a whole lot.)