Friday, August 5, 2011

State Of My BLOG

2x2x2 Three-Dimensional Torus Network. This to...Image via WikipediaOne of the things that makes writing this BLOG tough is balancing a lot of competing needs and interests.

I write here to help me keep my hand and head in the business and technology world and because I like to think try to understand stuff and write about it.

One thing that makes the whole operation tricky is I'd also like to work in that larger world some day and I worry sometimes about offending a company I might want to work for. I don't generally pull my punches, but there are times when I probably spend a bit too much time thinking about how to phrase something in a way that will be descriptive but innocuous. Taking that approach has a tendency to produce prose that is stilted and bland.

On the flip side, I don't want to be snarky. I know that sells but it doesn't feel right to me. A little humor or sarcasm every once in awhile is OK but I don't see any merit in being some sort of Internet bully.

I don't write for money or fame but I'd be lying if I said I didn't write for recognition. That's one of those basic human drives that we're all hard wired for.

Occasionally I've written about some very esoteric topics. I used to do this without a second thought but as my page views have increased over the past few months I'm starting to have second thoughts. Does anyone really want to hear my half baked ruminations on the future of high performance computing?

Now that I'm on a pretty good positive growth curve do I really want to keep stepping out of the box? Knowing who your audience is and catering to their needs, desires and interests isn't optional if you want to see continued growth.

Which leads to my big question right now. Do I want to see continued growth? I've set myself some fairly aggressive goals for this BLOG over the past few months in terms of readership and so far I've been able to meet them. I haven't set a new goal for this month and the main reason is that I want to figure out where I'm going with this thing. Setting a page view goal pretty much answers that question.

Finally there is the thought that some day I might be looking for a job or a potential business partner. Odds are good that this BLOG will be one of the things they'll examine while working their way through to a decision.  What if they read something that they consider to be sub par or disagree with? I should probably pretend that I wouldn't care but the truth is I would. I work with a great bunch of people and have excellent management but I don't want to be doing what I'm doing today for the rest of my professional life. The thought that I might lose an interesting and potentially life changing opportunity because I happen to do a poor job of explaining a point I'm making or express a controversial perspective is a sobering one.

But I believe life should be about taking risks. When you do that you risk failure. That's a little scary but I'm OK with it. The world is a constantly changing place and right now that is more true than it's ever been in my experience.

Change comes whether we like it or not. We're all running with the bulls; we can ignore this and hope we don't get gored or participate and work towards something better.
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  1. Hi Mike,

    Snark is best left to Twitter, and even there it is overused.

    I haven't read anything on your blog that could be construed as offensive, so I don't have a feel for the type of post that you're referring to as a possible problem. Future employers or partners probably wouldn't expect your views to be in lock-step with theirs, and if they do have that expectations, it probably wouldn't be a good pairing anyway.

    Glad that you're achieving your goals with this blog. In assessing how I'm doing, I look for an upward trend in visitors counts and number of comments rather than setting specific targets.


  2. Thank you for the feedback Ray.

    I think it's good to be professional at all times but professional in a BLOG can be a bit boring and boring doesn't generally "sell" well. I think it does work if there is a passion for the topic though.

    It's hard to predict which posts will or won't be popular. I've had hundreds of people read my "Why Is Cisco In Trouble" post from back in May. This week it exceeded all my new posts in page count. That's flattering in a way but I'm really not sure why that one is so popular. It does make me think I need to write some more on Cisco though. :-)

    I'm almost certainly going to see a downward trend this month in terms of page views on this BLOG. some of that will be taken up by increased traffic on my guitar making BLOG since I'm choosing to spend more time on that hobby right now.

    On the job/business partner front I agree with you for the most part but too often people seem to be looking for any little excuse NOT to pick somebody these days. I'm not going to let that keep me from posting here but I do give it some thought.

    I've decided I am going to set a goal for this month but it's about 30% lower than what I hit in July. That should be doable given my other projects.