#001 - How Tim Urban grew Wait But Why to over 30 million readers

Click here to listen to Episode 1 of The Substack Podcast


I’ll admit it: I’m a total fanboy of Wait But Why.

Tim Urban (the writer of Wait But Why, pictured above) is able to blend the light and the deep like no one else. His essays cover heavy topics like human extinction, AI overlords, and choosing a spouse, but he sounds like a normal human and makes funny jokes along the way. His articles are so long they’re almost books, but they’re full of hand-drawn illustrations and stick figures. It might sound weird, but for me it totally works.

I couldn’t wait to ask Tim how he grew his audience from zero to tens of millions, and to see what tips he’d have for new writers trying to build their own audiences. He had some pretty great advice:

The internet is clogged with content, but most of it is a B-level or C-level or worse. If you can do an A-level for whatever area you’re trying to do, the people who like that area will find it. I think it’s a myth that there’s too much stuff out there. There’s not much great stuff out there. If you’re doing something really good people will find it.

(So, if you’re not growing your audience at least a little bit every time you post something new, Tim suggests you should focus on trying to make your writing more valuable to your audience, rather than trying to improve your marketing plan.)

We also talked about lots of other interesting things, like why the world is changing faster than ever before, and how our values and traditions might change along with it. Overall, it was a fascinating conversation, and I had a lot of fun talking to Tim.

Give it a listen in your podcast app of choice by clicking here!

Once you do, let me know what you think. If you like it, share this post with a friend.

Thanks!
— Nathan, VP of Product


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