Pandering Never Builds a Legacy


I’m as guilty as anyone else who says that to build a business, or a blog, it’s good to ask people what they want and then give it to them. It works!

But there’s another side to this thinking, and I heard the counterpoint presented beautifully last week by Paula Pant. I wrote about Paula in the appendix of SIDE HUSTLE—she’s my go-to expert on rental properties, a topic I know little about, but one that often comes up in the small business world.

For years, she’s published a popular blog about personal finance. But as she shared in a talk, after starting down the familiar path of “Hey everyone, what should I write for you?” she realized that maybe it was better to ask herself what she wanted to do.

Here’s some of what she said that resonated with me:

“The revolutionaries who came before us – the people who shook the worlds of architecture and music and food and art and technology – they thought bigger than the crowds, and that’s why their work … outlives them.

Do you want your grandkids to remember you for writing articles on “5 ways to save on car insurance?”

If your goal is to leave a legacy – not just make a buck or two, but to leave behind work that represents your time on this earth – you cannot follow the crowd.

You must ignore the crowd and serve the craft. I’ll repeat that: You are here to serve the craft, not the crowd.

Pandering never builds a legacy.

As online content creators, our legacy will not be the number of Facebook likes we’ve left behind.”

By the way, I heard her say this at Fincon, an event I also spoke at. I spoke after Paula and before Darren Rowse, another friend. Small world!


Image: Nathan


Adaptable Cardboard Wikkelhouse Sets Up in a Day and Lasts 100 Years

Cardboard is one of the last materials we’d ever expect to offer safe, durable, and weather-resistant housing. It’s pretty much the definition of “flimsy” and the constant butt of jokes about low standards of living. So would you ever imagine that it could represent a more sustainable future for architecture? Hard as it may be to believe, cardboard can be used as the basis for ultra-strong lumber that will last up to 100 years.

Wikkelhouse - Fiction Factory

The “Wikkelhouse” (which literally translates to “Wrapper House”) is made up of corrugated cardboard that has been glued together with an eco-friendly adhesive, and the construction process is pretty cool. Each house consists of interlocking cardboard segments, each weighing about 1100 pounds (500 kilograms) and measuring about four feet long. Each segment is composed of 24 layers of cardboard and wraps around a house-shaped mold to create a gabled form. The overall house is just under 15 feet (4.5 meters) wide.

These layers of cardboard and glue create a kind of insulation, which in turn is protected by a breathable waterproof film called “Miotex” and covered by wooden cladding boards on the exterior. Inside, the house is lined with plywood for a minimalist but cozy effect, and it’s full of optional built-in features that slot into the frame, including shelves, desks, kitchen counters, and showers. You can add extra segments or change the floor plan whenever you want, making the Wikkelhouse unusually adaptable. Imagine being able to add an extra bedroom to your house for your growing family or insert new space for a home office or studio, all in a matter of hours.

Wikkelhouse - Fiction Factory Wikkelhouse - Fiction Factory

“Each Wikkelhouse is tailor-made by our specialized craftsmen,” says Fiction Factory, the group of Dutch artists who created the home. “Extra windows, different finishings, or your own color scheme — tell us your ideas and make Wikkelhouse even more to your liking. Since Wikkelhouse is sustainably produced and made of materials that have minimal impact on the environment, it is three times more eco-friendly than traditional housing. Forever, the segments can be reused over and over again and are 100 percent recyclable.”

“A one-of-a-kind holiday home, guest house, or office space — Wikkelhouse can be whatever you want it to be. With its friendly design and premium finishings, Wikkelhouse brings comfort in many ways. Even its acoustics are unequaled.”

Wikkelhouse - Fiction Factory Wikkelhouse - Fiction Factory

Each Wikkelhouse is built at the company’s Amsterdam workshop and then transported to the location of the buyer’s choice, requiring no foundation. It takes just a single day to set it up. Each individual module costs $4,500 USD, with the minimum size of three modules totaling $29,000 once delivery and assembly fees have been added on. A complete house with a kitchen and bathroom starts at around $80,000.

Wikkelhouse - Fiction Factory

Currently, the Wikkelhouse is only available in select European countries and the United Kingdom, and it’s proven so popular, there’s already a waiting list for it. Only twenty can be made at a time in the factory. But between its portability, modularity, and sustainability, it seems safe to say that the Wikkelhouse could be the beginning of an exciting new way to design and erect housing all over the world.