The consistency vs quality trade-off, and an update - Issue #00010

A small milestone - this is the 10th issue!

Hello and welcome to the Foolish Careers newsletter.

Have you ever been told: “You should get a more sensible career"? I’m Timi, and each week we interview a storyteller, artist or creative entrepreneur in Asia who ignored this advice to pursue a creative career. They show us how they paved their own path and dealt with unmitigated failures on their way to building a unique and singular foolish career.

The goal with each story: zero generic fluff. 

If you’re not yet a subscriber, you have great timing! This is only Issue #10 and I’d love for you to be an early reader. Sign up, it’s free.👇


Catch up on past interviews

This is Issue #10! To those of you just joining us, welcome.

I’ve been getting feedback like: “Haven’t read all the stories yet, they’re in my queue / bookmarks / open browser tabs.” So catch up today. 

You can jump straight to a story, scroll through the archives, or listen to the podcast episodes.

Issue #1: Creating a Netflix-worthy comic book on top of a demanding day job

Issue #2: Giving up rock-and-roll journalism to recalibrate a writing career

Issue #3: How (and why) a chef built the first buffalo dairy farm in Laos

Issue #4: An indie filmmaker explains why every creator needs a scene

Issue #5: Passion or Talent? Here’s what you said

Issue #6: The sommelier who used Wine For Dummies to kick off his career

Issue #7: Launching your debut novel amidst a mass protest

Issue #8: How to LinkedIn like a human

Issue #9: A technologist develops soft skills


Consistency vs Quality, and an update on what’s next 

When I started this project, my biggest goal, and the one I was most worried about, was writing and publishing every week, to a quality I imagined in my head but wasn’t sure I could pull off.

It turns out when you rearrange your life to prioritize writing, you can write.

So 10 issues in, here’s what I’m trying to figure out: 

Do I publish consistently throughout the year, every Saturday morning, no matter what? 

Or do I prioritize quality, producing stories worth reading even if it means I miss some weeks?

Consistency is the #1 way to build momentum. It helps every creator find their voice.

Quality is the reason you bother to even open the email and don’t bounce after two seconds.

At this point, both aren’t possible. Interviews need a lead time, and it takes 25-ish hours to produce each story, from research and interviewing through to writing, editing, graphics, publishing and promo. So for now I have to pick one or the other.

Tim Urban is the author of the epic Wait But Why essays. When he started, he published twice a week and found that the articles that worked best were those that took a whole week to research and write. So he adjusted his schedule to once a week, producing deeply-researched 5,000-word articles. That adjustment allowed him to deliver more consistently. Later on, as he wrote even longer articles, some running to 70,000 words, he updated the tagline on the site to “new post every sometimes.” 

On the consistency vs quality trade-off, Tim says:

Doing a pretty good article every week, is far less likely to build a big career than writing a great article sporadically, because the great article will stand out and people will forget [the rest].

Foolish Careers is nowhere near Wait But Why’s size and success. (Although, wait, but why not one day?) The point is, for the current state of things, I’ve decided to go with Quality. 

I already know many of you aren’t able to read every story, so piling more on isn’t the solution. By taking this time to regroup, I can also figure out a scope and schedule that works…thus getting back to delivering consistently.

Choosing Quality does mean breaking the commitment of a weekly issue to you, my earliest readers. This is what I was trying to avoid, and it sucks. I’m sorry! 

This break is probably going to run for a month, maybe six weeks. Two months feels like too long away. I’ll keep you posted. 

Meanwhile, if you’d like to support this stage of the venture, here’s the best way to do it: 

Rate Foolish Careers on a score of 1 to 10, and tell me how I can close the gap.

Thank you so much for being a reader. 

As always, you can reach me by hitting reply or at timi@foolishcareers.asia.


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