My Interview with Byrne Hobart for The Browser

In No One is Even Trying, I wrote:

…take a look at Byrne Hobart. He’s published 5 days a week, every single week since he launched his newsletter. His last 5 posts are 1968, 2281, 3352, 2535 and 2586 words, so 12,722/week, times 52 weeks, is 661,544 words each year.

Byrne is simply the most productive writer I follow, possibly the highest earning, and among the people who has influenced me the most.

In the 91 posts I’ve ever published, there are 46 references to Byrne Hobart. (To my credit, this blog has show up on The Diff a few times as well)

I was fortunate enough to be asked to interview him for The Browser, some excerpts:

ADS: 13 years ago you were living in a former crack den eating rice and beans. What was that a mistake? Instructive? Would you do it again? Recommend it to a colleague?

Byrne: Some amount of suffering is good for moral development and gives you better stories to tell, but it’s hard to recommend it.

….It’s probably healthier to pursue some edifying level of suffering either a) through some kind of structured belief system that tells you when to suffer and what it means, e.g. religiously prescribed fasting, or b) by working out, which is painful but has good physical effects in addition to the character-building ones.


Byrne: …If you think about the Internet bubble, for example, the hype around e-commerce and online entertainment told ISPs that if they gave people Internet access, there would be things on the Internet for those people to do; by the same token, the fact that ISPs stepped up their capital expenditures told website operators that they’d have a big target market to sell into.

…This means that FOMO is actually a perfectly good action-guiding thing to feel: in the rare circumstances where feedback loops will accelerate progress, you really should fear that you’re missing out on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, because it could be true! Google, Microsoft, Ford, Standard Oil, Carnegie Steel, Facebook, Shopify—these companies could only get build once, and only during particular circumstances.

It might be a good filter to apply to opportunities: was this crazy five years ago, will be be crazy five years from now, and are you part of the tiny minority of people who think it’s right on the cusp of sanity right this minute? If so, jump in.

You can read the entire conversation on The Browser.