Look Next To You, Not Up

Aaron Mahnke is damn smart. I don’t say this just because I like him, I say it because I respect what he’s built. And no, I’m not talking about Frictionless, or his Capture Cards, or his design work, or his books (all of which force me to look at exactly how productive I’m not). I’m talking about Read and Trust, one of the most inspiring things I’ve seen anyone build. It’s something we should all learn from.

While many of us are busy trying desperately to get the attention of those above us, Aaron did exactly what the rest of us never do. He looked beside himself rather than looking above. Instead of trying to get the attention of his heroes (well, who knows, he may have done that as well…), he looked to his colleagues and put his energy into making something amazing with them.

So What Is Read and Trust?

At its core, Read and Trust is a monthly magazine (formally a weekly newsletter) that a hell of a lot more of you should be paying for, but it’s bigger than that. It’s a tight-knit network and a support system that lcontributed to the growth of a bunch of my favorite people writing on the internet. It was a rising tide that lifted all boats. And while I’m not on the inside of it, I’d imagine it was a group of writers who have pushed one another to get better.

Guys like Mahnke, Brett Kelly, Randy Murray, Dave Caolo, Stephen Hackett, Matt Alexander, Brett Terpstra, Shawn Blanc, David Sparks, Patrick Rhone and everyone on the Read and Trust roster inspire the hell out of me. I admire the crap out of them, but they’re a step up the ladder. They’ve been at it longer and they’ve worked damn hard to get where they are. I learn a lot from all of them, but if I’m being honest, I probably spend too much of my time trying to get their attention and not enough working closely with those who are exactly where I’m sitting and are anxious, just as I am, to get to the next level.

What Can You Build?

There’s power in knowing where you are on the food chain; there’s power to finding those who are sitting right there next to you. What can you build with them? How can you help them? What are you doing to get to know them better? I very well may be romanticizing Read and Trust, but I find myself thinking of what Aaron has built and believe that more of us need to be doing the same. The best possible way to get to the next level is to team up with those at your own level and make something amazing together.

Want To Be Inspired?

Speaking of something amazing, as I mentioned earlier, Aaron is relaunching what were once my beloved weekly Read and Trust newsletters as a monthly magazine. It’s a beautiful product, inside and out and I urge you to give it a shot. You can download a free issue with articles from Shawn Blanc, Brett Terpstra, David Sparks, Randy Murray and Adam King, purchase individual issues or, better yet, subscribe to receive monthly issues of the magazine and support something special.

Read and Trust Magazine Giveaway

So before you go checkout your first issue, let me ask you this… who’s standing next to you and what you can do together to start rising your own tides?

Note: This post includes affiliate links, but shameless as I am, I actually wrote this before I knew that there was an affiliate program…

7 Responses to Look Next To You, Not Up

  1. Now that is a very good question. Hmm. I think Jason Konopinski and I seem to be interested in similar projects although we aren’t formally working together. I know I would love to have a close-knit group with whom I could work, though.

  2. Michael, you are a part of that crowd in my books. You and Mike Vardy fit in with that Clique, and you’ve been high on my radar lately. Awesome content, and in this attention based economy you are scoring quite high on my scoreboard.

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