10 Years Ago Today…

On February 1, 2009 I decided to start an official blog. I had been dabbling with putting out various forms of commentary when it came to business and the capital markets. But a decade ago, today, I launched aka “Shipped.”

I had no idea of where or how far this little-blog-that-could would go. In most respects , at first, it was all about trying to explain the nonsense that was transpiring in the financial markets during and after the original financial crisis of 2008/09 to myself. A place where I would record what I was observing and trying to make sense of, with additional commentary or insight via my prior business acumen. And if others found it useful – that was great.

And some did.

Then, in and around 2010/11 I decided I would try my hand at getting more into what some call “the writing field.” This was a particular challenge for someone like myself, for as I’ve stated ad nauseam: I have a hard time spelling cat without spell checker. And when it comes to grammar and punctuation? Again, as I’ve said repeatedly – if the self-anointed Grammar Gestapo and Punctuation Police had their way, let’s just say, scenes from the Spanish Inquisition begin coming to mind. Oh, and yes, I am “The Comma King.”

However, with all of those impediments clearly visible and an immediate point for ridicule from those making up most of the “writing field.” I shipped, and shipped, and shipped again, then shipped some more, and more, and more. You get the idea.

I shipped (aka wrote) when no one was looking, I shipped when no one visited my blog for days, weeks and sometimes months on end. The more no one visited, the more I shipped. The exact opposite of what most do, which is precisely why you see most blogs die within a year or so. Yes, blogs or sites that are being populated by what are known as professional writers with perfect syntax, punctuation, spelling and grammar. The web is littered with them.

Yet, I persisted.

Then in late 2011 Seth Godin put a call out on his blog looking for authors to submit articles for a new adventure he was starting for a web based business magazine called UpMarket.

I thought to myself “You don’t have a prayer, his readers and followers are mostly professional authors themselves! His site is read by millions, can you imagine how many submissions alone they’ll be? And you can barely spell cat, never-mind dog, you’re nuts to even consider it. Let it go.”

But something kept nagging at me saying, “Do it!” And I did.

I’m a big fan of Seth and even bigger fan of his mantra “pick yourself.” So I did just that and sent my submission in – and got picked.

Over the course of the following year I would find my articles right there, many times alongside Seth’s. For someone who is not in any way, manner, shape or form with anything that is typically thought of when using the term “writer.” It was a big deal to me and still is. And one I’m very grateful for to this day. I still look-back to that point as a significant touchstone/milestone moment.

Then the magazine and platform supporting it was subsequently sold and renamed. And with that I moved on. Or should I say moved back to where it all started. e.g., my blog, alone, again, posting into the ether.

Once again, the more no one showed – the more I wrote.

I did everything in the opposite fashion all the so-called “guru’s” of the web were telling/selling. i.e., I didn’t allow comments, I didn’t post (or spam) my ideas or cometary in other websites comment sections, I didn’t allow ads on my blog, I didn’t allow for the selling of email, I didn’t buy any email lists, I didn’t (and never have) spammed, and on and on. And the most anathema stance to the entire “writing” genre that I did to the screams, howls and outright laughter of those same guru’s was – I did not use social media. Yes, I allowed sharing buttons (which I discontinued a while ago come to think of it) if one so wanted, but as far as me having an account? No.

Everyone I had ever talked to back then said the blog would be gone in a year, if not sooner. That was nearly 10 years ago – and here we are.

So how has all that “anathema” to the so-called “guru-set” done for me? Here’s just a sample, for the list truly is too long for this article alone. To wit:

  • As of today I have typed (aka shipped) over 1,500,000 words on this site. That is the equivalent of approximately 60 contemporary business books, all written and published (all in the site’s archives) within 10 years time.
  • I have written and formally published a book (A Fist Full of Mark’ers) that has been downloaded and read in over 60 countries. (I have since removed it or, as they say in the business, is now “out of print”)
  • My articles have appeared either alongside, same page, same source with such distinguished luminaries as David Stockman, Nassim Taleb, Seth Godin, James Kunstler, Thomas Sowell and many, many others.
  • My articles have been either featured, referenced, or directly quoted across the globe and on some of the most widely visited news sources not to mention 1000’s of other blogs.
  • I have been quoted and referenced directly in many news articles across the mainstream business/financial media when opposing viewpoints were articulated, or juxtaposed to some of the largest figures in finance and markets such as Warren Buffett and others.
  • Depending on the article and media sources that may carry my thoughts and/or viewpoints, at any time, one of my articles reaches an audience from 1 to 1 million, 10’s of millions, with gust upwards into the 100’s of millions. If you use The Drudge Report™ you can use 1 Billion. Again, still, and at any time.
  • I am now a globally recognized expert/authority on both the capital markets and the macro/micro financial business landscape. Which, by the way, is a true requisite for using the term “thought leader.”
  • My site (aka blog) is still routinely visited by 160+ countries with an average of 10 differing per day. i.e., at any time there is someone reading my work somewhere, around the globe.
  • I have been both at the center, or the impetus, of some of the largest media stories. (It sounds over the top, I know, but I’ve backed that claim up with real verifiable data. Even I’ve been astonished.)
  • I have documented many times (as well as demonstrated through speaking) my strategy of not using social media has been more effective and reached more people on that media than most – and I don’t even have an account.
  • Did I mention I can barely spell cat without spell checker?

I could go on, but you get the picture. It’s been quite the journey, and to all of you that have been here in one form or another both from the beginning as well as recent, I would like to express my deepest gratitude.

So now we embark on another ten and I would like to finish this with what I finished with on that first day, which is a quote from one of my favorite songs and bands. Pink Floyd, “Wish You Were Here.” Again, to wit:

“Did they get you to trade your heroes for ghosts? Hot ashes for Trees? Hot air for a cool breeze?

Cold comfort for change? Did you exchange a walk on part in the war, for a lead role in a cage?”

Hope you decide to join in – for it’s been quite the ride over the last decade.

For we’re just getting started, again!

© 2019 Mark St.Cyr

Addendum:

It never fails, as soon as I make a statement about either this site or where my articles have either been, or the numbers I reference, I get an almost immediate “C’mon…” type of statement or questioning of my assertions.

I completely understand when it comes from people I don’t know, but when it comes from people I do know? It kind of gets a bit old, for it’s not like I haven’t made this case and proved or backed up my claims before. Or, in actuality done it: every – single – time.

So for those whom may be new to this site, or to my work, I offer up the following as evidence that I’m not just making crap up as so many others do.

I get it, there are far too many out there making claims that are absolutely horse crap. And because of it people like myself have to bare both the brunt, as well as the scrutiny. I get ticked off about it, but I can understand, as well as appreciate the reasoning.

Here are just three current screen shots of just three news sites that have carried one of my articles simultaneously and the verifiable traffic that is used and dictated as a standard across all of the media, using said source that is respected for its compiling of said data. To wit:

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(Source)
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Again, using just the above three, which I have had (more than once) one of my articles appearing on each, simultaneously, you get above the “100’s of millions” audience metric. Again, this is the same metric used across the entire media landscape by everyone. Repeat, everyone.

I’ll also reiterate: this is stating only three, for there are, and have been, far more others carrying the same article at the same time. So the above figures go even higher, sometimes, much, much higher depending. But I digress.

In other words: if it’s a good enough metric and source that the largest media sites in the world use to reference their audience, this includes such outlets as your “papers of record” like the NYT™, WSJ™, FT™, WP™ and more – then that should be good enough for everyone else. If not, there’s nothing more I can say, nor need to, for the numbers speak clearly and plainly for themselves.

© 2019 Mark St.Cyr