Drifting in the #Wilderness

I’ve been thinking about how to convey what I want to say, on a more personal level. The fact is, while I can write quickly about other topics on a consistent basis, I don’t know how to tackle the subject of myself. So, I’ve just decided to blog about it here a few times a week, whenever the urge strikes me, and to just simply “share” in a short, bursty, digestible, nonlinear, informal, fun, serious, transparent manner. Sometimes it will make sense, and sometimes it will seem to be missing context.

As I drifted my way through Silicon Valley in 2011, a few times I encountered someone who, upon hearing what I was up to, said something along the lines of, “oh…yeah, I’ve been through a #wilderness period before.” They could kind of tell I was really drifting, going back and forth about what I wanted to do, coming so close on a few things, not even close on most others. It was pretty frustrating. For the most part, I just tried to fight through it, though every now and then, I’d let people in more.

While in drift, I clung to something that I’ve done for over a decade: writing. For whatever reason, one thing I can do is write quickly, so platforms like Twitter and Quora proved to be terrific mediums for me — and they still do. I sometimes wonder what I would have done without them. And to start the year, I was really, really lucky that Erick, Mike, Alexia, and the folks at TechCrunch allowed me to contribute to their blog. I ended up contributing close to 30 pieces so far this year. That’s probably the one singular reason I was able to stay adrift.

Writing so much proved to be a double-edged sword oftentimes. I was surprised at how many people just thought of me solely as a writer. They wouldn’t even look at or listen to any of my previous work. Some assumed that if I write, I must not be doing other work. The strangest impression I had to fight was that folks who would say, “you’re a good writer,” to which I wanted to reply, “well, actually, I think about consumer web and mobile technology a lot, and sometimes I form an opinion after reading lots and talking to smart people, and then I communicate those thoughts in any way that I can, sometimes which happens to be with words.” At least for me, in the #wilderness, writing proved to be quite the survival tool.

About Semil Shah

Official contributor to @TechCrunch (since Jan 2011); from July 1, will begin EIR with @JavelinVP

2 responses to “Drifting in the #Wilderness”

  1. Ann says :

    I find your writing lucid, insightful – a reflection of underlying clear, critical thinking. Your ideas & questions get me to think about tech & other ‘spaces’ in fresh interesting ways – thx! Your gift is a rare one out in the huge sea of social/mobile chat

  2. Chris McCoy (@chrisamccoy) says :

    It’s your superpower, Semil. Look forward to seeing your others shine through with operations role @ Votizen.

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