Finding my voice (Ricky Weekly #8)

This is where I share 3 things every week with my friends and anyone else interested.

A picture from my life:

This guy in the middle was visiting from out of town. We ate AYCE KBBQ. We’ve been friends for more than twelve years! His suit fits better now but otherwise not much has changed (at least when we’re hanging out).

Thing on my mind:

The idea of “finding my voice” came up twice this week. First time was when one of you replied to my last newsletter and said that my readers can hear my voice in these newsletters…and they can also hear it when my voice isn’t quite there. The second time was when a comedian friend told me to try inserting more of my perspective in my comedy routine, which would require me to know what my comedy perspective is.

If it’s not obvious to you what my voice sounds like, that’s because I don’t really know it. I try to be as authentic as I can, but I wonder how much of “finding my voice” is really about compromising my authentic voice and reducing it to something more marketable. Take Twitter, for example. To “succeed” on Twitter, your voice eventually would have to be reduced to a fortune cookie, which is obviously not authentic to anyone unless you are a fortune cookie (or teller)—but it’s more marketable. I struggle with this idea. My aforementioned friend’s comedy voice is that he’s a jerk, which is already funny if you know him because it’s an exaggerated version of him but obviously not the real him (I’m not friends with exaggerated jerks!).

So what is my voice? Best I can come up with is that in these newsletters I am “thoughtful,” but is thoughtful interesting? Maybe thoughtfulness does translate in newsletter, but they definitely don’t on Twitter. I’ve tried. I guess the voice also has to fit the medium, and everything is a medium (even real life) so everything compresses. On the comedy stage I think I’m “observant” but I’m not sure how to make that better defined. It’s not as lively a character as “jerk.” I’ve also been told that I have good stage presence. Is that part of my voice?

Relevant Tweets:

Piece of content I recommend:

I support Brandon Stanton (guy behind Humans of New York) on Patreon and his latest patron-only update was really good. It’s a story about his visits to the White House during the Obama presidency. I took a screenshot for you to read here.

I also enjoyed this reflection on “thinking out loud” from Nadia Eghbal. Like me, she enjoys thinking out loud but there isn’t really a place to do that online. I’ve been thinking about what the next Facebook could look like, and this is one of the trains of thought (btw, very happy to chat more if you’re interested in this topic).

Update about this newsletter:

Thank you for reading and special thanks to everyone who replied last week. I did it! I sent eight newsletters! The verdict is that I’ll keep sending and maintaining the weekly cadence, but there will be weeks when I’m just not inspired to write so I won’t force it. I really enjoy showing up in your inbox and inviting you to have a conversation with me. So tell me…what do you think?

As always, you can find out what I’m thinking in more real-time on Twitter and my essays are on my website. My latest essay is called “I got next!” — a personal #RequestForStartups.