All our thinking stands on the shoulders of giants[1].

One of the first resources I read from the ship30for30 folks was a twitter thread by Dickie Bush. In it, he explains how he learned to write. That is, after college failed him. He learned to write by studying David Ogilvy, Gary Halbert, Eugene Schwartz, Craig Clemens, James Clear, and Tim Ferriss[2].

Dickie is standing on the shoulders of giants too.

Digital writing should demand digital linking

I discussed yesterday how the Zettelkasten method and atomic essays are very similar[3].

The biggest difference between the two methods is in my assessment the biggest weakness of ship30for30 and a disservice to online writing and the resources we create with it. Nowhere in the course material has using sources and linking to sources come up in a meaningful way. Referencing your inspiration, like Dickie does in the above example, is good. Explicitly linking to sources is better.

The irony is of course, that this is a course on digital writing.

Teach your students (teach me) about digital linking

The ship30for30 course is about writing for the Internet, more specifically the web.

The web is such a powerful, humanity-changing entity because it links between any number of disparate ideas. The web is the ultimate hypermedia where ideas can (and should) be linked. In that sense my Zettelkasten detour is completely unnecessary because the web is in a way humanity’s massive and very flawed and imperfect Zettelkasten.

Linking is powerful because it starts to give credit where credit is due. That’s not only the right thing to do. Linking makes our writing better because it empowers readers to go on their own journeys.


  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standing_on_the_shoulders_of_giants ↩︎

  2. https://twitter.com/dickiebush/status/1440470868262481923 ↩︎

  3. https://stephanhagemann.com/posts/2021-11-02-zettelkasten-vs-atomic-essays/ ↩︎

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5 Replies

Nicolas Cole Nicolas Cole

Valid and thanks for the feedback. For what it’s worth, 90% of what’s in ship 30, if not 99% are all lessons and frameworks I created for myself over the past 10 years writing. I created the curriculum from my own hard lessons learned, not from someone else’s material. source

Stephan Hagemann Stephan Hagemann

In the live sessions, it is very palpable that you draw from extensive experience. It makes the content come alive! The remaining 1%... is that all @dickiebush? ;) source

Nicolas Cole Nicolas Cole

Dickie has created a ton of it from his own experiences too. Point is, yes linking is a great skill and love the idea. And whenever we do draw DIRECT inspiration, we always give credit where credit is due. source

Nick Gracilla • 📚✍🏼🚢 Nick Gracilla • 📚✍🏼🚢

The format of imaged text is a blocker too. You've got footnotes here (thanks!) — but as images, none of it is clickable anyway. My take: this is a lean method for testing ideas, but not the end game which would have these links. source

Stephan Hagemann Stephan Hagemann

Agreed! That is why I started linking to my own website where the links are clickable. “Lean method to test ideas” - exactly! As that it is quite powerful source

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