As I took time off in December, 2011 (which probably would not have happened if I did not have an enlightening set of conversations with Dennis Howlett) – I had an opportunity to reflect on a lot of stuff. And one of it was on my blogging.
I am a sucker for numbers ( Pls don’t hold it against me – I do BI work for a living) and I started by analyzing the stats in wordpress. I started this blog in 2009 December (I think I started an SDN blog a year or two before) , and a whole 104 people read it that month. In December 2010, I had 3423 hits and in December 2011 I had 2740 hits. I chose December to compare because it is the slowest month with a lot of people spending a few hours each day away from their computers and mobile devices when they are awake. I wrote about 50 posts in 2011 – which correlates nicely to the number of weeks I had to fly (I write most posts during the plane rides). The numbers satisfied me ( apparently, I am not very hard to please) on quantitative front, so I thought I should check the quality too. And I did not come away happy this time ( ok so maybe I am a wee little hard to please).
As I read through what I wrote over the last year, it became pretty clear that at least 20% of the blogs were lousy. That is time I will never see again, and neither will the folks who read those rants. Another 20% does not look balanced to me any more. And in the remaining 60%, I felt comfortable that I offered something useful.
At this point, all kinds of “consultant like” thoughts started forming in my mind. I narrowed down from a fairly large list to the following causes
1. English is not my first language. Although I had to learn English at school in India, and have been living outside India for a dozen years – I constantly feel it is very difficult for people to understand what I am trying to say.
2. I don’t have enough experience blogging. I started late compared to most people, and probably have not developed a style that works yet.
3. I don’t think through all aspects of an issue before expressing my opinion on my blog. I do this because I am not very patient, and also because I fear my blog will look like a white paper if I over think it. Forget readers, I will just have to kick myself if I read such a blog.
4. I don’t have enough breadth of knowledge. My primary topic has been Enterprise Software, with a specific focus on SAP. I have done a little bit of other things too but not as much as I have done SAP. So there is a good chance that I am not making valid points in several cases where I express my opinion.
5. I am making opinions based on experience with large enterprises alone. For some reason, in all my jobs so far – I have had to deal with really big companies. While that is useful, I do not have a good grasp of the smaller companies directly. What I know about the smaller companies is second hand information I have gathered while doing project reviews, few sales proposals etc. I have not “lived” the life in the SME space. So when I make generic statements, essentially I am not generalizing enough due to my large enterprise bias.
So my plan for 2012 is to do the following
1. Try to avoid blogging on impulse whenever I can. I got some valuable input from Jon Reed on this – so I am not going to totally avoid the impulses, but will give my posts a little more thought than I have so far. ( Err..Excluding this one post I am writing – allow me to slack this one time)
2. Spend some more time reading and commenting on other blogs. I did read a lot last year, but probably did not comment as much and contribute to the conversation
3. Try other media to express my opinions other than the long form blog posts
4. Gain some exposure on parts of Enterprise Software that I am not familiar with . And I will try hard to hide my lack of interest in gamification and social blah blah till it works at some customer I know of.
5. Gain some exposure to customer segments I have not focused on so far, and continue to “live” with customers.
6. Learn from eminent analysts and bloggers and develop my style as much as I can.
I know me better than you know me (I think) ! So I am fairly sure I will not succeed all of these 🙂 So lets see how it works out for me.
Happy New Year ! and Happy Blogging !