Imposter Syndrome

Published Jan 31, 2024. Updated Feb 1, 2024.

Opening the garage is an experiment in accountability, working publicly, and lowering my preparation-threshold required to share work. This should beget a departure from a deeply-ingrained behavior where I stress before sharing, and take unnecessary steps to polish, ultimately taking unnecessary time before sharing content — whether in the case of my team that content is knowledge, direction, and example, or in the case of this website, that content is case studies, notes, recipes, whatever it becomes.

Andy Matuschak calls this sharing of the less-polished “Anti-Marketing”, though he then scopes it to “focusing public conversation on the least rosy elements of one’s projects”. I’m not sure that I fully agree with the sentiment, but I find it aspirational. Paraphrasing, Andy says that the act of sharing the rougher parts of one’s work precludes the harmfully overreaching claims that accompany a marketed public persona, and he implies that this sharing encourages authenticity.

I find the idea aspirational in that I’ve benefitted extensively from others’ conscious-or-not anti-marketing, and I believe that reflecting that mindset in myself will enable me to share and to teach others. I don’t market myself today, but rather than choosing marketing or anti-marketing, I’ve comfortably abstained from a visible presence on the public internet, and highly curated the little I share. When I’ve tried to market myself, the idea that a presence must be highly curated feeds all sorts of imposter syndrome, and leads to endless revision and unrealistic goal-setting that ultimately prevent my reaching milestones. TODO: add a screenshot of all my incomplete portfolio repos

Meandering aside, I’m unconvinced that a professional can exist publicly without a marketing oneself, work’s rosier or uglier aspects aside. Many if not all of us publish at least in part in order to build equity that leads to later opportunity. Were I not to need a portfolio and to seek work, I don’t know that I’d publish online in any capacity, but I hope that this exercise helps me find pleasure in doing so. Maybe a year from now, I’ll less-cynically feel that one can engage without implicit self-promotion — marketing.