Even if you don’t think you’re aware of Jonathan Mann, you may well have heard one of his hilarious viral songs at some point. Recently, his song “Baby Yoda Baby Baby Yoda” went bonkers on TikTok. In years past, he has provided the world with such services as the “Scientific 7 Minute Workout Video with Songs” (seriously, it does make exercise more fun). Other hits include the “Hillary Shimmy” and “We’ve Got to Break Up,” a duet with his girlfriend while they were, that’s right, breaking up.
Mann has had so many songs go viral on various platforms that you might wonder how he does it. I know I do. Here’s the thing about Mann: He writes and records a song every day. He’s been at it for about 11 years, or about 4,000 days. That’s FOUR THOUSAND SONGS.
Of course, the vast majority of those songs were not viral hits. But that’s the point, Mann wrote on Medium. It works because of his 70–20–10 theory: “Seventy percent of the songs you’ll write will be mediocre. Twenty percent will suck. But ten percent will be amazing. … The more songs you write, the more good songs you’ll write.”
The 70–20–10 system works for everything really. For every famously brilliant creation/artwork/product/invention/blog post, there are a bunch of others by the same creator that weren’t so great — or maybe even downright terrible. As Mann writes, “It’s not ‘quantity or quality.’ It’s: ‘quantity breeds quality.’”
Read his whole post for more on his theory. Then go ahead and make something!