« December 2006 | Main | March 2007 »

February 28, 2007

On the Future of My Blog, Part 2

In my last entry, in mid-December, I wrote:

[I]if I'm going to continue to blog, there needs to be a point to it other than keeping a public record of things I find interesting...

If I focus on my personal life and the things that would be interesting to my friends and family, then where do I blog about the things I find interesting about the world at large?

If I focus... on semi-random bits of trivia, then where do I blog about my personal life? And more importantly, does anyone care about semi-random bits of trivia anymore?

I've been thinking about this question for the last two and a half months. I've wanted to blog on many occasions, but held off because I promised myself I wouldn't write another entry until I had figured out what I wanted to do.

I've figured that out now.

When I went through old blog entries of mine, the entries I was the most proud of weren't the semi-random -- or perhaps I should say pseudorandom -- bits of trivia (though these have their place). Nor were they the long quotations from other sources, with small amounts of commentary added (though, again, these can be useful). Instead, they were the essays, on subjects as diverse as a science fiction author's views on gay marriage, the Pledge of Allegiance, the murder rate in Baghdad, and, pre-invasion, my opinion of war with Iraq. (In the last case, I'm proud of the thought I put into my position, but not of the position itself. I was terribly, terribly wrong.)

I was also reminded of my time at Be Inc., when our CEO, Jean-Louis Gassée, would write a weekly column for our e-mail newsletter. I had tremendous respect for this, because his columns were, on the whole, well-written and thought-provoking. That took a tremendous commitment and effort on his part, given his day job. (Sadly, it's difficult to find his columns online now. They're an interesting perspective on that time in the computer industry, and it would be useful if they were collected in an easy-to-use resource. Pending that, many of them can be found via this Internet Archive page.)

So essays it is. Not that the the other entries -- the bits of trivia, the personal items -- are going away. But the one thing I will try to do without fail is to post essays here on a regular basis. If I do nothing else but write one thought-provoking, long-form entry a week, I'll consider that a great success.

I considered focusing on a specific subject, and I'm sure that, over time, that would probably be the best way to increase readership of this blog. But though I'm as much of a sucker for traffic statistics as the next person (especially after, say, being Slashdotted), in the end, I've never wanted this blog to be about anything other than what's important to me. If that happens to coincide with the interests of a group of people in the larger world, that's great news and I'll run with it. And my interests are wide-ranging.

I'm in the process of spinning out a new business, a business for which I serve as CEO, and I considered creating a CEO blog. However, the business isn't a Web 2.0 business where we're hungry for every scrap of publicity we can get. Our primary relationships and projects are things we won't be able to talk about for many months. That's not to say I won't occasionally blog about my business, or about issues related to what we're building, but I don't want to commit myself to regular, in-depth blogging on a subject with so many disclosure restrictions.

So in the end, I'll write essays on whatever it is that interests me -- though if I had to guess, and based on what I'm thinking about these days, I'd guess I'll be writing about entrepreneurship, venture financing, game design, social networks, the videogame market, aspirational marketing... and, yes, travel, relationships, human rights, you name it.

Another of my concerns in my last entry was the issue of how to target my blog at different audiences:

I'm thinking about splitting my blog into two halves. One half would be personal and probably interesting only to friends and family. The other half would be completely new and would be focused on a subject that is personally interesting to me, that is of interest to an audience in the larger world, and that I'm qualified to discuss...

If I create two new blogs, then I'd have to decide what goes where. Do I retool this blog to be personal or to be popular? Or do I close out this blog and create two new blogs?

In the end, I've decided to keep one blog, but to offer three different feeds, tuned to three different audiences:

  • If you're interested in reading the full stream of everything I say, you can continue to access a feed of every entry here.
  • If you're only interested in the long-form essays I write -- which I hope to publish on a weekly basis -- you'll find an essay-only feed here.
  • If you're only interested in personal news from me, and not the technical, political, or other general entries, you can subscribe to a personal-only feed here.
I hope that these three choices will make it easy for my readers to focus on their specific interests. (Note that the three feeds aren't mutually exclusive; for example, there can and will be entries that are both personal and essays.)

Thanks to the people who commented and who wrote to me privately on this issue -- especially to my friend Michael Morrissey, who sent me a long, eloquent, and incredibly kind message. I truly appreciate all your input.

And with that, back to the blogging...