What Have I Learnt Creating A Writing & Editing Platform For 5 Years As A Professor of Innovation And Entrepreneurship?

Every 6 months, I like to update everyone on the R3ciprocity Project. This past January (2022) was the 5 Year anniversary of the R3ciprocity Project. First of all, thank you so much for following along on the R3ciprocity Project! I appreciate all of you – I think we can really make a difference with the Project. Together, as a community, we can do a lot!

Not only can we make research and writing more accessible, but I hope we are giving hope to all those who need it.

I am David Maslach, an Associate Professor in Strategy, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship, and am doing an interesting project. The R3ciprocity Project started out as a side-project, where David Maslach created an App to help others get feedback on their work (r3ciprocity.com – it is seriously inexpensive and easy to use. You have to try it!), but it is beginning to grow into a real movement.

Here are some updates on the R3ciprocity Project:

Metric (Totals To Date)Total Count (Annual Growth)
YouTube Views1,246,000 (165%)
YouTube Subscribers9,627
Blog.r3ciprocity.com sessions133,000 sessions (65%)
www.r3ciprocity.com29,900 users (28%)

More importantly, we have added all sorts of features to the R3ciprocity Platform:
1. Community / social features.
2. Improved ability to select reviewers.
3. Plagiarism checking.
4. Tone checking.
5. Analytics and graphs.
6. And, improved reliability and quality checks.

You can check out a video of this update here:

Why am I telling this? Lessons learned from building the R3ciprocity Project.

I want you to know that it is going to take a lot longer than you think it will. I started out this journey trying to build a platform to help me with my writing. I write for a living, but I struggle with writing and finding people that will help with your writing is very frustrating, and often unfair. Check out this blog post on how I am trying to change make writing more fair with R3ciprocity.

As I begin to build the platform, I realized that it would be an important tool for researchers to perform randomized controlled trials on it. I talk about randomized controlled trials in organizations on this blog post.

What I realized is that I was quite naive in not only about how much work is involved, but how little other people care about it. Even researchers that I thought would be quite interested in the Project just gave the old “shoulder shrug.” sigh. I began to do YouTube videos to get the word out, but then I realized that people did not care about the Project, they cared about solving their own problems. One of the biggest problems in academia and research is having hope throughout the process.

Lesson 1: It is going to take a lot more work than you think it will. It always does, no matter how talented you think you are.

Enjoy the slog.

Your default should be that no one is going to believe in you, and it is going to be a long journey. Why? Most people are self-interested. This makes sense because as human beings we only have so many resources available, and we tend to worry about our own worlds. From a behaviorist perspective, this should have been obvious.

For me, I have learned to enjoy the process a lot more. Like being in graduate school or being a professor, you have to learn to love the small things when you do a major project like the R3ciprocity Project. You should expect that it’s going to be a long slow grind and there’s not gonna be much going on in the short term. It’s gonna take a heck of a lot longer than you think it’s going to take. Its obvious when you think about other things in our life that matter: Weight loss, saving money, or learning a language.

Part of what I have learned is that you cannot focus on the outcomes. YOU WILL RARELY BECOME A HIT OVERNIGHT. You need to focus on the slog. Frankly, I think we do a very poor job of teaching about the slog in school. We teach quick rules and deterministic models, but we really should be teaching the long slog.

The slog is painful. The slog will never happen quickly. The slog is a march, not a sprint. You will not want to do the slog.

But, you do the slog anyway.

How we teach college students and the lessons that they learn in the classroom is often wrong. Life is a long slow slog, and not about efficiency and meeting targets.

Try not to get messed up with the quick wins and thinking that things will come very smoothly. It never does.

Lesson 2: Think long, slow slog.

People Are Marketing To You.

As I have done this Project, and made mistakes, and got fooled by different sales-traps, I have learnt that people market to you all the time. I WAS SO NAIVE at the extent to which people are marketing to you.

The feelings to conform are often due to messages from smart marketers. They leverage your natural desires. If you feel behind, or that you are not getting somewhere, it is because of some marketer trying to trick you to buy their product. You ARE NOT BEHIND. You are right on track.

I have to remind myself to “Quit chasing.” If you do, it is because of marketers or external pressure. You are going to get scammed or burned. Everytime I want to get to where I want go to quickly, I make missteps that I regret.

Push back the pressure to feel, and calmly walk towards your goal.

Lesson 3: Remember, people are marketing to you. March to your own drum.

Despite what culture says, we need to stop measuring our self-worth by numbers.

It’s actually very simple to build something like the R3ciprocity Project in a technical sense: You just need dedication and time. However, behaviorally, it is very difficult to do. You need to simply invest, and be generous over a long period of time. Dedicating time to help others and investing in the Project is really the only way forward with these kinds of Projects. However, when you do this, you’re going feel like you are behind everybody else. You just do.

You will feel like a failure. But, I also know that feeling like a failure means you are right on track. That means you are learning a lot. It means you need to keep going.

Despite the metrics that I show above, you need to ignore them. How much you “have” or “where you are” is not a reflection of who you are. This is very weird as it goes against much Behavioral theory in Strategy. Actually, it goes against much of the Strategic Management field.

You have to ignore metrics of your productivity.

We all are at different stages of life, we all contribute in different ways, and have different opportunities.

Lesson 4: You have to remind yourself everyday that you are not defined by a number.

In summary, I want you to know that “you got this.” The R3ciprocity Project is not perfect. I don’t know the answers – nothing I say is perfect. It’s my own personal experiences and what I have researched and read. However, it is better than the alternative. No one is doing this is academia right now.

Having someone walk with you and help you is sometimes all you need to get through the day.

Sometimes, having some anonymous guy on the internet say you are not crazy is all you need.

You got this.

Recent Posts