My name is Andrew Smith. I have a profound sense of wonder and awe about all that's changing in today's world. I want to share that with you. Every day, I spend a couple of hours writing and publishing a piece on something important to me. If you’re here, there’s a good chance you think these things are important too.
I’m a senior-dog whisperer, a writer, a 4th degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, a business owner, and a lifetime learner. I want to share my view of the world with you, mainly because I think I have things to say, and because I feel a burning passion to create.
I’ve been interested in creating things my whole life.
As a kid, I drew nonstop. I finished drawings every day, using my leisure time after school (or whenever) to work on my sketchbook. I would often draw comic book covers, copying to master my craft. You can read more about that in my previous piece here, Drawing an Analogy.
I made mixtapes from the radio! My dub skills got pretty good. My passion for music started at an early age, and that led me to want to create original music in bands in my early 20s.
And, I wrote.
Practicing writing (and creating, more broadly) led me to create a zine when I was in middle school, a DIY publication that involved Xerox copies and staples.
Some of this creative drive went into writing and creating campaigns for D&D (Advanced Dungeons and Dragons) when I was in middle and high school. Writing original stories, then unfolding them together with the players, improvising the story in unexpected ways in real time, helped me to become a better writer and a better entrepreneur.
The advent of World Wide Web gave me an ideal place to put my limited writing skills to good use. I was fortunate enough to have attended an HTML programming class around 1998, and this unlocked a lot of the potential of the Internet for me. I created web pages, and one of them took a journalistic turn. I began writing about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu during a time when there wasn’t enough coverage for the art.
Today, I practice and teach Brazilian Jiu Jitsu regularly at one of my gyms, and I run an encyclopedia for BJJ I’ve created. Occasionally, I’ll write about how BJJ fits into the larger picture. One of these pieces is here, on inflection points in life and how BJJ fits in. Here, Daniel and I discuss Revolution BJJ, among other things.
Over the last 30 years or so, I’ve found my own entrepreneurial path in the world, all of which has been infused with writing. Dungeons and Dragons and punk rock helped me shake off the last shackles of convention, and I’ve never looked back. Sometimes I talk about these experiences, growing up Gen X and then finding my path in the world.
These pieces are often among my most read works, and if you’re curious, I recommend this piece about the creative process, or this one, where I weave a traumatic childhood memory into an observation about our modern world.
Writing seems like a very solitary endeavor, and in many ways it is: you have to think quietly, wrestle with words, and you need a lot of solo time for this. But for me, having a community to have meaningful conversations with is everything.
We are at an inflection point today. Largely due to a convergence of technologies, humanity is about to change more in a few years than perhaps in several hundred, and I think the best thing I can possibly do about that is to get as many smart people (that’s you!) as I can together to think about this.
We’ll take a 30,000-foot view of things, zooming out so that we can really see where it fits in. And I’ll do my best to zoom in when we need that extra bit of clarity.
Best of all, you can join the conversation, simply by commenting on a piece, or by replying to any email.
And, here are all of my older posts you can still access.
Come think with me.