Building a Modern Brain Trust.

A few months ago I tried to start blogging and failed miserably. I was stuck, I didn’t know what to write about, and I wasn’t confident in my writing. I needed help.


Then last month I had an idea, what if I got help from people I respected and trusted? Over the next 10 days I built out a mailing list of the best bloggers I could find and asked them for just one favor: take a look at my posts and offer feedback. I also invited them to share their posts and solicit feedback from the group.

The results have been magical.

We’ve got 25 members of the blog group commenting on and helping each other with their posts. It’s dramatically improved the quality and consistency of my posts.

Surprisingly, the biggest benefits to come out of the group haven’t been from the feedback I’ve gotten on my posts. I’ve learned and grown a ton by helping the other members with their posts. I do my best work when I can lean on other smart people for help. At the same time, thinking about other people’s ideas and posts has helped me with my own. My post on tech-enabled businesses was inpsired by a conversation with Adii about his post about scalaeability.

I’ve found giving feedback is actually even more helpful than getting feedback. Taking a step back from your own challenges and stepping into someone else’s shoes opens you up to all sorts of new ideas. Once you start creatively problem solving, the momentum builds up and it’s hard to stop. Everybody wins.

The thing is, blog posts aren’t the only thing I need help with. I want to build an all-purpose modern brain trust of the smartest people I can find. The goal is to scale the ideas behind the blog group to all the challenges I’m dealing with. I bet if I’m talking about ideas and challenges with respected peers, I’ll have better ideas, more frequently. I’m going to play around with this over the next few weeks and I’ll report back on what I find.

Do you have a brain trust? How do you talk to them? Can I help at all?

I would love your feedback on the blueprint I wrote up for the modern braintrust

Thanks to Adii and Danielle for their feedback on this post


Now read this

Staying on the Same Page without a Standup

Many software teams use stand-up meetings to keep everyone on the same page and maintain accountability. Stand-ups are great but they have some major flaws: they’re synchronous, everyone needs to be in the room (or on the phone), and... Continue →