Formula for articles that endure

I suck + You too (#hush privately) => How can we both suck less?

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I promise you the title – formula actually – is not a bait and switch. In fact, it is a formula that I discovered recently about how to write articles of note, the ones that truly resonate and make us better human beings. Would that be of value to you? If so, read on. If not, read on.

And I hope the article does not suck. In fact, I am sure it will not. How am I so confident? Because it digs into an incident that happened to me and my post as a result of my uneasiness and the subsequent reaction to that post. A post on my deep-rooted bias towards women in the workplace. 15411 views, 68 likes and 10 comments. Viral by my modest standards. And that is how I derived the formula for articles of significance. If your head is spinning, give me a moment and I will explain.

Let me start with the “I sucked” incident. In fact, I posted it on LinkedIn recently and it seems to have made some mini-waves by my modest standards. And this is the first part of what I posted verbatim.

An unnerving discovery – I have unconscious #bias towards #women in the workplace. The illusion of my own bias-free mindset – blown! A seemingly innocuous incident blew my cover. A reference check for a friend from a VC firm. The phone invite had two individuals – let’s call them Joe and Jane. Just before the meeting, I get an update from Joe that he can’t make it and that Jane would cover for him. I felt baited and switched – he was handing me off to his admin at the 11th hour! In my indignation, I looked up her LI profile. #Boom. She was an accomplished investor.

That was it. I confess this LinkedIn post was one of the most difficult admissions I have made public in my life. But I owed it to the countless others to do it. And that was the propulsion that gave me wings to express my deepest feelings. And by doing that I believe I addressed the first two constituents of the equation – I suck and you – the reader – may suck too. Some expressed their feelings publicly through comments and likes, but most were in the silent majority. Either way, the connection was established.

And the concluding part of the update read – For me, this incident is a watershed moment. My bias is obvious and I need to actively correct it going forward. The reason for this unconscious bias could be manifold – few women investors in the male-dominated VC world etc. Regardless, it is a bias and needs to be corrected. Being an advocate of #AI + #Ethics, data and algorithmic bias is a mission so the irony is obvious. Machines can be programmed with skewed data sets and biased humans. We need to acknowledge it, account for it and actively work towards correcting it, starting with human minds. And to all my fellow males who may harbor similar biases but may not realize it, stay vigilant. When you encounter it, acknowledge account and correct it, my friend. As I am.

This is what I consider is that “how do we collectively do better part”. And arguably it is the most important part of this update. Why? Because just talking about incidents using shock and awe tactics or even driven by guilt may give short-term satisfaction to the writer and reader alike. But it is transient. And we have enough of these in our social media crazy world. Leaving the reader with something tangible to introspect and noodle on is in my opinion what makes extraordinary articles differentiate themselves from pedestrian ones.

So, there you have it. One formula for your writing genius to express herself. Give it a shot. One note of caution – don’t fake it. Life is too short. It is hard enough trying to reach the goals that you are passionate about. You must believe in what you write. And help others along by expressing your own vulnerabilities, connect with others and together evolve to a better place. #Onwards

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