Blogging has been good to me. Blogging has been good for me.
Leslie Lamport said "If you think you understand something, and don’t write down your ideas, you only think you’re thinking." I agree wholeheartedly. I often think "Oh, I get this" and then go to write it down and find all kinds of holes in my understanding. I write to understand. Consequently, I write my blog for me. But I hope you get something out of it too!
I started blogging in May 2002, twenty years ago today. I'd been thinking about blogging for about a year before that, but hadn't found the right tool. Jon Udell, who I didn't know then, mentioned his blog in an InfoWorld column. He was using Dave Winer's Radio Userland, so I downloaded it and started writing. At the time I was CIO for the State of Utah, so I garnered a bit of noteriety as a C-level blogger. And I had plenty of things to blog about.
Later, I moved to MovableType and then, like many developers who blog, wrote my own blogging system. I was tired of the complexity of blogging platforms that required a database. I didn't want the hassle. I write the body of each post using Emacs using custom macros I created. Then my blogging system generates pages from the bodies using a collection of templates. I use
rsync to push them up to my server on AWS. Simple, fast, and completely under my control.
Along the way, I've influenced my family to blog. My wife, Lynne, built a blog to document her study abroad to Europe in 2019. My son Bradford has a blog where he publishes short stories. My daughter Alli is a food blogger and entrepreneur with a large following. My daughter Samantha is an illustrator and keeps her portfolio on her blog.
Doc Searls, another good friend who I met through blogging, says you can make money from your blog or because of it. I'm definately in the latter camp. Because I write for me, I don't want to do the things necessary to grow an audience and make my blog pay. But my life and bank account are richer because I blog. Jon, Dave, and Doc are just a few of countless friends I've made blogging. I wouldn't have written my first book if Doug Kaye, another blogging friend, hadn't suggested it. I wouldn't have started Internet Identity Workshop or been the Executive Producer of IT Conversations. I documented the process of creating my second startup, Kynetx on my blog. And, of course, I've written a bit (402 posts so far, almost 10% of the total) on identity. I've been invited to speak, write, consult, and travel because of what I write.
After 20 years, blogging has become a way of life. I think about things to write all the time. I can't imagine not blogging. Obviously, I recommend it. You'll become a better writer if you blog regularly. And you'll better understand what you write about. Get a domain name so you can move it, because you will, and you don't want to lose what you've written. You may not build a brand, but you'll build yourself and that's the ultimate reward for blogging.