Paving the way to personal branding and authentic content through one-on-one curated knowledge.
Written in collaboration with Maxime Lagresle
We live in a world where many of the things we need to thrive — to create, innovate, collaborate, and solve problems — aren’t only learned through academic education or training.
Across many industries and especially in the tech space, everything has evolved in such a way that companies are now creating knowledge-based cultures, putting self-learning and gathering knowledge from others’ experiences at the forefront of a successful organisation.
In a nutshell, self-development has never been as important as it is today.
People from companies big or small now realise that to make it in a complex and volatile environment, they need skills and capabilities different from the ones that helped them succeed in the past.
Regarding this topic, in Staying Human in the Digital Era, a collaborative article I recently wrote, Maxime Lagresle, my partner-in-crime at GrowthTalk (I will share about this project a little later) talks about the idea of stability versus growth and how important it is for individuals to invest in their own knowledge growth.
Maxime’s stance has always revolved around knowledge and purpose.
In this article, he specifically highlights that the previous generations used to be taught to aim for stability and status early in their career, but it is much more crucial for any individual from this new generation, who has to deal with an unstable world, to look — at first — for their purpose.
Maxime adds that “it might require to go through a trial and error period, but this is what it takes to flourish in an uncertain world.”
This statement may not seem new, but the combination of seeking purpose and having a hunger for knowledge has proved to be key to unlocking some amazing opportunities for executives and tenured seniors around the world.
Flex your growth muscles 🧠
It all starts with paving the way for growth.
It’s known that some people may pick up knowledge easier, or in a more natural way, and that makes it seem like it’s just normal for them. But anyone who is motivated can learn — and grow.
Growth is like a muscle: if you exercise it enough, it will grow stronger. And for the modern executive or leader, it’s one of the most important muscles that they can exercise.
For those passionate about the subject, this is what psychologists call growth mindset, a learning theory developed by Carol Dweck, Professor of Psychology at Stanford University.
The concept revolves around the belief that you can improve intelligence, ability, and performance. The opposite, a fixed mindset, refers to the belief that a person’s talents are set in stone. But years of research have shown that mindset is malleable.
The benefits are numerous — and priceless. An HBR article writes that “individuals who believe their talents can be developed (through hard work, good strategies, and input from others) have a growth mindset.”
Those who embrace a growth-mindset are more innovative, collaborative, and committed to learning and growing.
Some reasons to channel growth through authentic content 💡
In an economy where the only certainty is uncertainty, the one source of lasting competitive advantage and strong personal branding remains knowledge, making those with a growth mindset a valuable asset to any organisation.
Intercom writes that the best way to accelerate your learning is by asking co-workers the holy grail of questions: “What’s something you’re learning right now?”
These activities define the “knowledge-sharing” individual, whose sole mission is continuous improvement and innovation.
Besides, today, we’re well aware of how companies do this — by reading, writing, and sharing content.
Content as a knowledge hub is already a very old concept for many, but it’s finally changing in a substantial way. In an article by Atlassian, the writer highlights that “now information is often perceived as currency in organizations”, putting content sharing and creation at the core of success.
And it is true — the past decade has proven that knowledge shared through content works. Content is, indeed, the foundation for building whatever you’re trying to do in the long term. Strategy. Trust. Personal Branding. Knowledge. But of course, this takes time and rigour.
Paving the way to a knowledge-centric career path 🛤
What’s interesting is that in a world where information rules, both companies, and individuals find themselves swamped with daily work that they literally have no time to work on a proper framework to actively write valuable content about their expertise — and share it with others.
Today, there are many amazing growth experts working in hyper-growth start-ups who have achieved knowledge and experiences that deserve to be shared with their peers. Unfortunately, the lack of time makes it impossible for them to do so.
This is why, earlier this year, Maxime and I decided that our passion for knowledge, learning, and writing wasn’t enough.
We wanted to take everything to a whole new level, to build a service which allows us to connect with like-minded individuals from the tech space.
The process we have crafted is simple — it starts with offering a seamless experience-sharing service.
- First, we connect with amazing people from the product/growth space, then through our journalistic-style call, we have an insightful interview to gather their ideas and experiences.
- To make this process seamless for both parties, we have devised our very own story-sharing canvas, which helps us perfectly distill the collected knowledge into articles.
- Finally, based on the curated content, we turn these valuable inputs/knowledge into authentic articles that help them build their personal branding and share precious experiences with the world.
We truly believe that our mission at GrowthTalk, a no-frills service with a clear zero-bullshit tolerance, is to redefine how busy people from the tech space share knowledge and create authentic stories.
Basically, we aim to be the first step to a zero-waste knowledge revolution because experiences deserve to be shared flawlessly in the form of articles.
Obviously, we are also aware of the eternal content overload problem; yes, there is plenty of content noise out there, so now is the time to acknowledge that valuable content deserves more time and effort spent writing, researching and exchanging ideas with amazing people.
This is why we want to connect with peers, curate ideas, and write authentic stories on their behalf.
Through our curiosity and hunger for knowledge, we want to ask the right questions and curate stories from individuals like us, who are passionate about their work, who value ideas yet don’t always have time to put them on a canvas.
But I digress.
Look, we really, really believe that embracing — especially early in our career — this hunter mindset as a way of life (as opposed to the settler mindset) should be a priority.
And it’s not only us who think this way. Times are changing and evolving fast. And the direction is clearly heading there.
To keep up with the world of 2050, you will need to do more than merely invent new ideas and products, but above all, reinvent yourself again and again. — What Kids Need to Learn to Succeed in 2050 by Yuval Noah Harari
But while we are so driven by our own passion for growth and learning, we also want to give credit to Zest, an amazing company, which has immensely influenced us; Zest is truly an amazing platform which helps you build marketing knowledge by delivering new marketing content curated just for you based on your interests.
I will say it again — from the very beginning, both Maxime and I have been huge Zest evangelists because we associate ourselves with the company’s vision.
Besides, the platform is beautiful and it has helped us tremendously to distribute our very own articles through its user-suggested valuable content pieces.
So why build your personal branding through content? 🧩
A clearly defined personal brand will help you to provide a consistent experience for your peers, positioning you as a mentor, an expert, someone who has valuable insights that can literally help other people.
Here are the key ingredients to building a value-first personal branding:
- Producing content is a powerful incentive for in-depth topics. Basically, all the experience you gather and everything that you learn creates more value in the long term and contributes to building thought-leadership.
An amazing example here is Lenny Rachitsky’s comprehensive article “What Seven Years at Airbnb Taught Me About Building a Business” in which he recounts in detail his career evolution at Airbnb and his key learning lessons from this colossal experience.
- Another key takeaway here is that content is actually good marketing. We all know this. Content will always be a great opportunity to build a network and connect with influential peers.
- Turning your knowledge into content essentially helps shape the industry you work for, positioning you as an expert and adding depth to your portfolio.
- Today, most people are more interested in following other people than following specific companies. Therefore, building a network for your personal brand can actually help increase exposure not only for yourself but also for the company you work for.
If you’re willing to go on this path, it essentially boils down to these questions:
- Who are my existing and potential followers?
- What kind of experience are they looking for?
- What is my personal brand’s unique value?
- What problems does my experience help to solve?
- How can I highlight my personality and knowledge to help myself and others succeed?
Think of knowledge as something that you have to recycle ✅
We believe that knowledge-sharing should be a priority in any organisation.
Our own ambition with GrowthTalk is to add value in the EdTech space and shape the idea that intelligence and growth are something one can shape through access to knowledge.
And by writing authentic content based on first-hand, curated knowledge from those who have a wealth of experience, we want to offer a portal to this world, inviting people to be the authors of our own success.
As Oussama Ammar, co-founder, and partner at The Family puts it in his article Learn to learn, “in the 21st century, one big secret is this: learning isn’t about learning anymore. Learning is about teaching.”