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The transformational power of content

Andrew Roberts

May 11th, 2020

Written by

Andrew Roberts


The Tiny Way

Content is powerful. It can be used to inform, entertain, connect, learn, and inspire change. 

If you want to change the world, pick up your pen and write.

Martin Luther

From a young age, I was entertained by Tolkien novels, and I remember, vividly, staying up late, reading the adventures of Paul Theroux. They took me on adventures far from my home in suburban Canberra, Australia.

As I grew, tales of Silicon Valley captured my imagination and motivated me to eventually move here.

Now, some of my favorite sites for a good read are: SaaStr and great content from publications like The San Francisco Chronicle is still keeping me informed during the current pandemic and resulting recession.

There are numerous examples of how content has changed me personally. I have learned almost all I know about building a SaaS company, I have changed the way I eat, and I have even figured out how to put my 2-year-old back to bed in the middle of the night successfully. At least some of the time.

Content has had a significant impact on my life, influencing the opportunities that have been open to me, how I think about the world, and how I interact with others.

Think about some of the content you have read that has made a real impact on you. What made it so impactful?

But you and I are just two people. Imagine how much, then, people have been changed by content through the entire history of the world. A book review from The Economist captures it brilliantly when it says “the written word’s tentacles have reached so deeply into the collective consciousness of mankind that they have become almost synonymous with civilisation itself.”

One recent and significant example of the transformational power of content that comes to mind is the Hammer and the Dance article by Tomas Peuyo, and its followup of Learning How to Dance, which has influenced countless public health responses to COVID-19. Tomas wasn’t an expert per se - he was “just” an engineer, MBA, and founder, but his research into the topic and clear writing were able to impact more than 60 million people around the world.

Content like this (and the adventures that captured my imagination in my youth) isn’t just conjured up out of thin air. It comes from people, and the truth is, everyone has something worth saying. Something worth hearing. Something to offer others - to inform, entertain, connect, teach, or to invite them to think about something differently.

Everybody has a story. And there’s something to be learned from every experience.

Oprah Winfrey

As a society, we need to take more care to listen to the advice, experience, and knowledge imparted by others. 

We also need to give people ample opportunity to convey it, and the best tools to convey it with. People share content in the form of a note to a colleague, a report, an article, a podcast, a post, a message, …

A teacher can use a learning management system to help new developers learn what they need to know to get started in their careers. A social worker can document cases. A loan processor can help a small business get off the ground. An organization can use a team workspace (e.g., Confluence) or custom workflow application to change the way their employees interact and learn from each other.

Whatever the platform - blog, website, CMS, app, ... - a lot of people have put in a huge effort to provide it as a means for people to convey their thoughts and ideas, including the folks here at Tiny. Our rich text editor is a necessary component in these applications, enabling people everywhere to share what they have to say and take advantage of the power of content.

When it comes to the transformational power of content, Tiny is but a small part of the process, but we are proud to be a part of it.

Let’s continue the discussion on Twitter. We’d love to hear about some of the content that has transformed your thinking and how you interact with the world.

CEO Thinking
byAndrew Roberts

Co-founder and CEO of Tiny, the company behind TinyMCE and other great content creation products and services.

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