Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Improving my Blog - Part Two

The importance of Blogging with Integrity and improving my blog are important to me. I have come to realize that I am guilty of several things.

Have you ever did the group exercise where you are supposed to provide punctuation to the following seven word sentence: Many folks can read this sentence and walk away with their own unique interpretation. Before, I found the love of my life, I may have punctuated it as: Woman, without her man, is a savage but now have come to understand that that the proper punctuation is: Woman -- without her, man is a savage.

I guess the point I am trying to make is that folks can read things very differently and walk away with a meaning that is totally different and even diametrically opposed to the original intent. For this I need to address going forward. Part of this though does require me to not wake up so early in the morning to crank out a daily blog. Being that I work fulltime, am attempting to finish my last and final book, have two kids, volunteer for several charities it does cause me to be sleep deprived but I do ask for forgiveness in advance if this happens in the future.

February of last year, noted industry analyst James Governor commented that he wasn't necessarily interested in seeing my stock portfolio. Taking this suggestion, I have moved all stock market commentary to a new blog entitled: Investorati. Others still commented on my frequent attack on George Bush and I have established yet another blog entitled: Stop the Bushitler so as to save readers from reading about non-IT topics. Of course all disclaimers apply.

I made a commitment back in 2006 and stated Multiple Goals some of which I have been successful while others have been a failure. I hope to get back to my original commitment and need your trust and support.

Perception is reality is a phrase that I hear alot. At some level I believe there is a lot of wisdom in the words while at another level believe it doesn't apply to me. Anyway, there are always unintended consequences. I have talked about how external conversations can have an effect on internal conversations but never really thought about how my conversations affect the vendors who also participate in the blogosphere.

Employees of software vendors are in many ways more constrained in terms of having an open, honest dialog than customers. There are times where I suspect many of the people I reference in my blog have wanted to strangle me. Of course, I could rationalize this away by merely thinking that they are somehow getting it twisted in terms of what I have said but I would then go against my own advice and have to admit that Rationalization is a trap.

I recently came to realize that I have been exploiting something for which I was unaware. A employee of a vendor ultimately would want to turn me into a customer and therefore will have to temper their responses. No matter how much I say that my blog is not about work, they have no trust cues that provide evidence and therefore must retreat to a safe position. I do encourage them to do two things. First, I ask that you Assume Ignorance and not malice but more importantly, anyone that has had a one-on-one conversation would testify that my true persona is very different than if you solely attempted to read my blog. If you want to understand more, trackback from your blog and I will do my utmost to respond with an answer that is in both letter and spirit the best I can provide.

For the record, I don't blog at work nor about work. In fact, if I have a conversation about something at work, I immediately firewall my thoughts in terms of talking about it within a blog. If you have ever watched CNBC Mad Money, you may be familiar with Jim Cramer where he outlines rules for investing. On many occasions, folks have questioned his motives for talking but have never really asked themselves, what if he has no motive and is simply Thinking Out Loud.

Sometimes folks think out loud and afford the opportunity to peak into their head. Its not that one wants to emphatically prove that they are part of the lunatic fringe or that the inmates are running the asylum but to merely allow others to take an unformed idea and do something with it. By sharing what I am thinking, I hope that others may benefit in ways that I can only imagine. Meme's are powerful but what is more powerful is in the seeding of ideas before they are even appreciated.

Within the open source community one has to think about vendor product offerings as the golden egg where an industry analyst will classify its form, color, shape and esthetics while ignoring what is truly important which is the goose that laid the egg. Ideas are eggs and if you are a smart individual, you can always generate more and therefore demonstrate that the value that one should focus on is the goose. There are way too many one hit wonders and I have no interest in being one.

The funny thing that my coworkers as well as those outside my enterprise have always assumed is that since I am a writer that I can do a better job of making my message more salient. Reality states that there are some truths to this but that folks need to understand the following:

  • Yes, I am a book author and have also in the past written for a variety of magazines. It is important for me to distance myself from such formality at least in terms of my blog. If I wanted to publish in an edited fashion, I would go back to writing for magazines.

  • You may have noticed that for the many books I have co-authored that my name always comes first? If not, you should understand why. I have lots of ideas that I love to share but don't really spend time worrying about who the ideas resonate with. If you like my books that is great, if you don't like them then that is fine with me as well. Remember, that I am not the CTO of a software vendor who has to write a book to secretly sell my product. Neither am I a full-time author such as Dave Taylor or Kathy Sierra whom if the book doesn't sell, the rent doesn't get paid. When you have ideas without the constraints that others live with then you can write and enjoy writing on whatever topic your heart desires. Anything else feels a lot like work.

  • Lately I am big in terms of perception management while at work but outside of work, I usually don't spend much time managing it. While the blogosphere has a spillover effect, the return on investment hasn't proved fruitful in this regard. Of course, many folks will not read but will certainly read into things I never actually said and attempt to connect their own imaginary dots. For folks who like to habitually read into my thoughts, may I suggest they read my blog disclaimer?

  • Anyway, the one constant suggestion that I have chosen to ignore has been related to all the images within my blog. I have mentioned this story to others in that Doc Searls was my inspiration for blogging. Prior to meeting him face-to-face in 2003 out in Palm Springs at an EA conference, I was very familiar with the Cluetrain Manifesto and also started following his fellow coauthor Rageboy and loved how he included images in his blog and therefore borrowed the concept.

    The one way that I can be convinced going forward to never include an image in future blog entries is by my readers showing an ounce of charitable giving. You may have noticed on the side of my blog the opportunity to contribute to a worthy charity? You may have also noticed that the dollar amount is still zero? I promise to all my readers that if this counter goes to $1,000 before I hit my 1,000th blog entry I will never include a single image in my postings going forward.

    Even if I haven't convinced you, contributing to charity should be done for other reasons and this one is worthy of your hard earned monies...

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