Why I Write

Because I’m paid for it. In a career that has spanned multiple mighty professions, writing has always turned out to be my most salable skill.

I work in a space that librarians and search algorithm authors call the Long Tail of Information. Think of it this way— a little bit of information is important to vast quantities of people. How to eat properly. The date of the next general election. The price of tickets to The Dark Knight Rises. After that the graph tapers off pretty sharply. The vast majority of information out there has a very small, but very enthusiastic, audience.

When I write a report, I’m pulling together data from various sources, online and offline, and repackaging it into a product that is of vital personal importance to anywhere from, say, five to thirty-five people. It may be of casual interest to a couple of dozen or a couple of hundred more. And it will have absolutely no impact on the lives of the other seven and a half billion people on the planet.

None of this means that this information isn’t valuable! People will use it to make important decisions. Somebody could end up spending a million dollars. Somebody else might or might not get sick. The collective IQ of the planet will increase by an infinitesimal amount. Work will get done. People will get paid.

And I’m one of them.

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