Why I Blog
I’m often asked why I blog and how I find the time.
First, the why… I am passionate about all things at the intersection of the web and entrepreneurship. Years ago I started devouring every bit of information I could find and today I have become a junkie: monitoring a growing list of blogs and publications throughout the day via my android phone, by desktop, and my wife’s iPad (which I have taken possession of). Whenever there is downtime, I am scanning the latest and bookmarking the items I believe will make a difference in my entrepreneurial effectiveness. About six months ago, I decided share the best of what I found via Ready, Aim, Fire (RAF), the official blog of LaunchPad, my Startup/New Product Advisory Practice. Even if nobody ever visited RAF, I realized I was creating a notebook/diary of the topics, developments and insights I believed were important for my future reference. Additionally, I would have ‘packaged-up’ reference points to which I could direct my LaunchPad partners and clients. If this web pack rat’s treasure trove could help others, why not share it?!
As the weeks turned to months sharing on RAF I began to realize that this form of self expression was not only fun, but highly beneficial to my ability to organize and distill my thinking. They say you don’t truly master a topic until you have to teach it to others. It’s true. A corollary: nothing helps structure your thoughts more powerfully that to communicate them through the written word. In short, the unexpected surprise of my blogging has been the fact that it has become a daily workout, of sorts, to which I always look forward and always find invigorating.
How I find the time… Of course, there is no time to blog. And there is even less time to digest the mountains of content required to come up with the gems I find worthy for my own future reference– and hopefully for RAF readers as well. I have to make the time by foregoing other things and by ‘manufacturing time” by leveraging web appliances that streamline my content discovery, absorption, and archival for future posts. Making time means splicing time… my daily 45min elliptical workouts are an ‘exercise’ in multi-tasking. The iPad is an indispensable part of my workout. Watching TV is never limited to watching TV, it’s always accompanied by an information appliance in my hands and multi-tasking as I watch a game and scan for great content to read more carefully when the TV’s been turned off. Uncontrollable idle time– in line, at my kid’s practices, when I can get my wife or kids to drive– are all opportunities to devour the content I’m interested in.
The other side of manufacturing time is leveraging the very web technologies I’m discovering as part of my information-acquisition. These tools have saved me mountains of time and elevated my productivity in exponential ways. Here are some of my current favorites– I have ‘pimped out’ Google Reader to capture RSS feeds of over 150 of my favorite pubs and even discovered that Flipboard’s sexy UI helps me devour the content even more efficiently. I monitor Techmeme several times a day for the tech news headlines. And a friend recently turned me on to Zite, a powerful iPad app that, like Pandora, gets smarter at finding the content you value the more you use it. Zite has become an addictive adventure– helping me discover content in places I would have missed. Finally, Evernote has become my content management system allowing me to archive the items I want to blog about to the cloud, regardless of whether I am using my android phone, my desktop, or Trish’s iPad.
I would be remiss if I did not share two blogposts that inspired me to share these thoughts. First is this somewhat edgy piece by a money manager on why he blogs. If you are blogging or thinking about blogging, give this a read– it’s entertaining, insightful, and highly motivating. [By the way, while I don’t blog about it, I also follow a number of high quality, sophisticated pubs that cover the global capital markets and really enjoy this guy’s insights.] And this post is from a VC I admire who has been blogging for may years. He shares how blogging has unintentionally helped him to become a better writer and communicator. He also shares how important mastering the skill of good writing is going to be for our children as they enter their careers. Self publishing is here to stay and clearly communicating our ideas via the written word will become more and more crucial to our ability to differentiate ourselves in the information economy.