The One Thing Smart People Never Do

  1. … is live their life based on the numerous listicles (article in list-form) telling them what smart/successful/entrepreneurial people always do.

The end.


This is a rant along the lines of the anti-things-to-do-in-your-20s articles.

Seriously, though. I don’t understand this need to categorize, box and define everything. I am an entrepreneur, I like to think I’m smart, but I’m not going to magically stop doing something or start doing something because entrepreneur.com has three conflicting articles to tell me (literally, see Exhibits A-C).

But what has been happening in the online content space generally has started to really annoy me. Not just these lists of traits of successful people, but even more broadly the emergence of listicles in general.

It’s become so bad that if I want to actually read something genuinely intelligent there’s nowhere to go anymore but sites such as Medium, which have a relatively small percentage of crap in the form of listicles.

Even sadder is this new desire to con people into reading your listicle by introducing an angle of suspense and curiosity into the title:

  • “11 hilarious cat videos. 5 had me rolling on the floor for an hour”
  • “15 videos of soldiers returning home. #4 made me cry”

Aside from the obvious attempt to increase the potential reader’s curiosity for that list item, often that’s clearly a randomly selected number and not even in the top 3 list items on that list.

Internet, please stop.


Exhibits A — J


Michael Hubbard runs multinational web development start-up, Laine, operating in South Africa & India. He is currently based in Hyderabad, India, from where he helps build awesome bespoke web apps.

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