Burn your intros: my editing rule of thumb

If there was one universal criticism of tech writing, it’s: Your intro sucks.

Here’s an example I just put to paper, for the Year of Hustle course (now sold out!):

On HackerNews, sub-Reddits and a million startup blogs, you’ll find people talking about “monetization.” This godawful malformation of a word means “to find a way to squeeze out money where there is none.” This is not the dictionary definition (which means to ‘express in money’), but that’s essentially what the current usage means.

In this course, you’re not going to monetize anything.

Bleh. Snore. Intro-wank. (Or intro-waffle, for the delicate of disposition.)

I want to say it, but nobody wants to read it. I — like everyone else in the known universe — have a tendency to bury the juicy stuff in paragraph number 2. And that’s on a good day. On a bad day, it’s page 2.

Here’s the slashed version:


In this course, you’re not going to monetize anything.

Isn’t that so much more compelling?

Most days, I can’t write like that—but I can always edit like that. According to some natural law of the universe, the nauseating drivel has to come out first. And then I can slice it out.

Of course it hurts me to cut out my clever word play & imagery. But only temporarily, and it’s nothing compared to the hurt of nobody reading because my writing sucks.

PS: that blog redesign is really, finally happening. Want to take a sneak peek? Click here!


  1. shane says:

    I like that refactor!

  2. Viktor says:

    Poor unicorn!

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