Skip to content

Ali Abdaal Featured This Medium Writer — Learn His “Marco Polo Method” to Be Seen

  • 6 min read

Read to collect the dots and write to connect them.

Do you know famous YouTuber (4.9M subscribers) and podcaster Ali Abdaal.

I love him. He’s a real edutainer.

He educates and entertains others on how to live a happier, healthier, and more productive life.

Here’s a quick glance at his YouTube channel:

Ali Abdaal on YouTube

Moreover, he is an instructor on Skillshare and his first book will soon be available (“Feel-Good Productivity: How to Do More of What Matters to You”).

Ali diversified his online income streams over the years.

From 2017 to 2020 alone, Ali Abdaal built a 7-figure online business from scratch.

As part of his content strategy, in 2017 he also tried blogging on Medium but then quit after a few months.

Ali Abdaal on Medium

However, if you want to be a successful YouTuber, you also have to be a good writer.

You have to write a compelling script that captures your audience’s attention above the 30-second threshold and then makes your audience keep reading.

Being a good writer is definitely a valuable skill.

Talking about skills…

When Ali recently interviewed the legend

Nicolas Cole

from Ship30for30 about “5 Ways To Make $1 Million As A Writer”…

Ali Abdaal is interviewing Cole on YouTube

…I was already doing my happy dance.


Then, three weeks back, YouTube recommended: “How to Make $10,000/Month Writing Online” to me.

In this video, Ali showed highlights of the interview with Cole, introduced Cole’s book “The Art and Business of Online Writing” and then 9:50 into the video… he suddenly talked about a familiar Medium writer that made me do my happy dance again.


The Medium writer Ali mentioned was James Julian.

You might think:

Kristina, wait, what? How come Ali picked James when talking about Medium as a platform to monetize your writing?

Hear me out. Because this is all about skills.

So Ali shared two screenshots with the lifetime earnings of two of James’ Medium stories.

Screenshot 1:

Ali Abdaal on YouTube

Screenshot 2:

Ali Abdaal on YouTube

That’s pretty cool to get a mention from a YouTuber with such a big following, isn’t it?

You might wonder:

Kristina, did James send the screenshots to Ali, are they friends…, please tell me!

When I watched Ali Abdaal talking about James and his earnings I immediately contacted James (who didn’t know about it).

How did I do this?

I left a comment on Medium and also under one of his recent YouTube videos.

conversation between Kristina and James on YouTube

I bet you’re nodding your head right now thinking:

Aha! Now we’re coming closer to where Ali had the screenshots from.

There’s a secret way to attract Ali Abdaal to your writing on Medium.

That secret is called the “Marco Polo Method”

Marco Polo spent years traveling, discovering new cultures and the famous Silk Roads.

But did you know that Polo wasn’t an explorer? He was a merchant.

He wasn’t the first to discover the unknown Silk Roads, he was the first… to document his journey.

In his book called “The Travels of Marco Polo,” he documented everything he learned and no one knew about in Europe.

photo credit: Facsimile finder

So James’ last name could be Polo. James Polo.


Early on in his online writing career, he began documenting his journey and chronicling his ups and downs, struggles, pains, experiments, and small successes. He began teaching others what he learned and how he overcame his writing challenges.

In this way, he brings value to the people on Medium, and his subscribers on Substack and YouTube.

As a famous writer, podcaster, and teacher David Perell once said:

“Read to collect the dots and write to connect them.”

By writing and documenting everything he learned in public, he became a person of value

Beyond the money, the attention, the relationship with others, writing in public and documenting his journey also brought new opportunities his way.

By documenting his Medium writing journey, Ali found James’ video and his documentary.

Documenting in public opens the door to finding more.

Documenting is one element of growth when writing online.

People who document vs. people who don’t

Here’s the difference between people who document…

made in Adobe Firefly, edited with Canva Magic; everyone knows who you are, you built credibility and trust

… and those who don’t:

made in Adobe Firefly, edited with Canva Magic; no one knows who you are, they wonder what you do and which skills you have

Talking about you and your way of doing things is your BEST marketing

James proves to us that practicing in public and documenting your journey is a valuable skill (most people underestimate).

That’s why I love to feature the success stories of other writers (such as Michelle Teheux and many others in my “Medium Writing Week” on Substack) and share my own struggles, pain points, lessons learned, and small wins.

Those types of “meta” stories, meaning stories about a platform such as Substack, Medium, X, or YouTube, really help others. They help others gain clarity and confidence.

Plus, they inspire others to see and document their own successes.

You can promote and market yourself — even if you don’t like to *sell* yourself

Talking about you and your way of doing things is your BEST marketing. It’s authentic. It’s credible and people will come to you to learn from YOU.

With a mix of luck and serendipity you not only could get featured by Ali Abdaal or another influencer but also win freelance clients, get offered book deals, start your coaching business, sell online courses, meet awesome people, find a writing buddy, collaborate with others, finally feel seen and read, connect on a deeper level… I could go on for hours.

I bet you get my point.

So, keep writing and documenting your journey!

I’d love to hear your success stories (no matter how big or small) — Share them with me and the community in the comments!

P.S. This story was published in my newsletter. Join the family to read more inspiring stories, interviews, and how-tos.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *