Thanks for Offering to Guest Blog or Advertise, But…

Once again I’m blogging on a topic I’ve previously spent much time covering in email replies. So rather than compose that email reply yet again I’m blogging it for today and for future reference.

TL;DR

Thanks for offering to guest blog or advertise; forgive me though but I’ll have to decline.

Or, If You Want to Know Why:

First, thanks for offering to write a guest post here on my blog, or to pay me to advertise here. I’m honored. But pursuing either of those opportunies is not consistent with my purpose for this blog.

I Blog for Myself

While I do obviously blog, I don’t consider myself an active blogger and I intend for all posts on MikeSchinkel.com to be written by me. My blog is for:

  1. My opinions when I get inspired to attempt to persude on a topic,
  2. To write posts about information I want to remember or refer back to later, or
  3. As in the case of this post, to refer people to read instead of writing the same email reply repeatedly.

I’m Not Interesting in More Blog Traffic

I don’t add content to this blog with a goal of generating more traffic, except for when I’m trying to persude and then only from those I’m trying to persude.

I’d Prefer to Have Fewer Comments to Answer

Plus I’d prefer to get fewer comments rather than more because each comment I get generates a “todo” which if I’m going to answer should be answered in a timely fashion. Even though a guest post wouldn’t require writing on my part, I would have a follow-up obligation to answer comments on the post should the author not, since it’s my blog. These would all become “urgent” todos even though they would almost certainly not be important in the grand scheme, they would still compete for time with my “important” todos that I constantly struggle to find time for (see urgent vs. important.)

For Me, Integrity Trumps Ad Revenue

As for advertising, if I started including advertising then people would immediately assume my goals for this blog are to generate revenue and that might call into question any position I might take on the blog; i.e. was I being paid for my opinion? Since my integrity is far more important to me than any small amount of income I might get in ad revenue I say no to any and all advertising on the blog portion of MikeSchinkel.com.

Including One Means Others Will Expect It Too

Let’s say I allowed one person to guest post or allowed one advertisement on my blog. As soon as I did I’d open myself up to be asked constantly to allow it to happen again, and then I have to craft a personal reply explaining why I said “yes” before but “no” to them. Better to just always say “no” and then nobody’s feeling gets hurt and I don’t have to spend time explaining.

Guest Blogging Begets Confusion

Although this may not apply to other blogs, my blog doesn’t have a design that would make it clear that a guest post wasn’t written by me and people might assume I wrote it. Worse, if the guest post was controversial people think I wrote it could result in a negative fallout for me. But the most obvious thing likely to happen is simply that people will start contacting me in comments, on Twitter or via email for clarification or to offer more guest posts, and that would all translate into more unwanted “todos.”

Bottom Line: I Appreciate the Offer, But No Thanks

And yes I know I’ve had this domain for over a decade and yes it’s probably got traffic and Google visibility that a site launched on a new domain today would covet, and some people see that as a waste of opportunity. But it’s my blog and that gives me the option to choose what gets published here. And I’ve decided I want to keep it non-commercial and only include posts written by me.

I thank you in advance for your understanding.

The Web Needs You To… STOP BLOGGING!

Well, that was an incendiary title. On purpose.

Now that I have your attention, let me say that I don’t literally mean “stop blogging”, I mean to object to the meme that seems to have overtaken the zeitgeist of too many lately. The “You Should Blog Every Day” meme. Here are some of it’s advocates:

As an aside I think somehow the folks at WordPress.com must have used subliminal messaging on their platform to encourage blogging addiction and thus, for them, revenue growth. But I digress…

What’s Wrong with Daily Blogging?

If you’ve read (any) of the posts above you’ve read glowing prose about how and why you should post daily, but none of the counterpoints. Just as we wouldn’t appreciate our neighbors leaving their trash bags on their lawn why do so many people champion other people to churn out non-stop pablum? Where in anyone’s good book has this endeavor been canonized as a virtue?

Lacks Depth

Daily posts are rarely more than opinion, and from what I’ve seen are usually without significant research, or links to related information on the topic. After all, who has the time for any of that when posting daily?

Adds High Noise, Low Signal

Publishing daily adds to the total amount of information out of them web. Let’s just say only 1% of US Citizens, let alone the rest of the world followed the “Blog Every Day” meme; together they would produce 1 trillion posts/year! Do we really need that much more low-information content to contribute to overload on the web?!?

More is Not Better

Daily posts focus on volume and not excellence. Unless you are one of those extremely rare prolific individuals who can be blog daily and write high quality content (and those people are usually known as “professional jounralists”) then posting daily is just setting one’s self up for #fail.

Not that you won’t be able to successful at daily posting, you might, but is daily posting really more beneficial than writing a much higher quality post less frequently?

No Time for Greatness

Similar to the previous, people who blog daily set themeselves up on a treadmill after which they’ll likely never have time to write a truly epic post. Some of the best and most valuable posts I have read on the web have been long form posts that clearly took more than a day to write. Few daily post ever gain continous linkage, at least not from what I’ve seen.

Why Should You Not Want to Blog Daily?

Besides the reasons above not to blog daily, what about selfish reasons for not blogging daily?

Busy People Will Tune You Out

Although I can’t say it’s a completely valid indicator, busier people seem to be the ones who accomplish more. As such, they are a higher value audience most of the time. If you post daily you’ll likely overwhelm people who want to consume your content but simply cannot handle the volume.

Expect More of Yourself

The first question to ask yourself is “What else could you be doing with your time?” If you spend only an hour a day blogging that’s over 9 weeks full time for a year; could you not achieve something better than a slew of blog posts?

If you are a programmer, for example, why not build and release an open-source project? If you are venture capitalist, why not take more meetings with entrepreneurs or use your network to help your existing investments more? If you are a social media maven (really? seriously?) maybe you could use your time to research all the emerging tools for tracking and analysis.

In other words, envision a BHAG project you could complete rather than just writing a new blog post every day. If John F. Kennedy had rallied US citizens around all journaling daily instead, would we ever have ever made it to the moon?

You Are Competing with Millions

If you are blogging about anything that is not highly unique, you are competing with millions.

Consider if you were paid your effective hourly rate for the time you spend blogging; would you invest that money in lottery tickets if you had it in your bank account? If not, why would you compete for the attention of people against so many others who are blogging too?

Life is Too Short

One of the mantras regarding daily posting is that you have to train yourself and develop discipline, which means that for most people blogging daily is just not fun. Why put yourself through that unless you are really going to benefit greatly from it?

But What About the Benefits?

Reading through all of the posts listed above about why you should blog each day it seems that the primary benefits stated are these, paraphrasing of course:

  • Increasing your blog traffic
  • Readers expect it
  • Developing habits are a key to success
  • Establishing yourself as an expert
  • Exercising your “Writing Muscle”

Let me tackle these one-at-a-time, in reverse order:

Exercising your “Writing Muscle”

That’s probably the best reason listed, and I agree. Except.

If it is really important to you to become a better writer, then yes, write every day. But you don’t have to push the “Publish” button, at least not for your public blog. Here are strategies that you could use instead that would excerise that muscle just as much:

  • Write a portion of a longer blog post, and do it every day.
  • Create a Facebook page and write posts for it daily.
  • Write a private journal daily. If you really need/crave feedback, invite friends to access it. But publish your best work less frequently on your blog.

Establishing Yourself as an Expert

This is another good reason. But a weekly blog can be just as successful at establishing your expertise, if not more so.

Look around at some of the leading experts you know via their blogs; how many of them blog daily? I’ve listed at least one below, Mark Suster. His expertise is well established, but he doesn’t blog daily unless he has something to blog about.

Developing Habits are a Key to Success

Agreed. But do you really need to blog daily to develop habits? Aren’t there other habits that can generate a better return in your life? (exercise, to name one?)

Readers Expect It

Sorry, this is just rationalization as far as I’m concerned.

When I was young my father told me:

“Don’t worry what other’s think; they think about you about 1/1000th as often as you think about yourself.” Similarly, most people don’t wait with baited breath for you to generate yet another post.

As for the few people who do tell you they wanted you to blog more (search for “Loyal Readers Crave More Content”) they are just feeding your confirmation bias compared to the majority of your vistors.

Increasing your Blog Traffic

Really, it comes down to this.

Yes, blogging daily is about driving more traffic to your blog, nothing else. And sadly, it works.

If your primary goal is to drive more traffic to your blog but not necessarily higher quality traffic, and the other reasons for not blogging daily are of no concern to you then more power to you. Just please don’t try to fool yourself or convince others that your daily blog ritual is for any other person than yourself.

Sorry to be harsh, but I haven’t seen anything that has given me evidence to believe there’s any other reason for it than self-promotion, and in some cases even narcissism. Maybe you can convince me otherwise in the comments below?

Are There Exceptions?

Of course there are exceptions. The ones who should daily blog (well, actually “write daily”) are professional journalists, you know people who get paid to write daily, and especially those who write news stories, which by definition require daily writing.

Also, anyone who generates highly unique content, such as content about their own company’s products or services could possibly benefit from daily blogging, especially if they have internal content developed by others from which to draw upon.

Effectively anyone who is likely to write content that nobody else is going to write could be forgiven for blogging daily. But even then, less frequently per author is better because then they have the time to write higher quality posts.

Information Overload Redux

When I was in college and learning to love programming computers there was one (1) monthly magazine that covered the programming language I was learning at the time. Each month I would read it cover-to-cover several times, and anxiously await the next issue to start again.

Today, thinking of programming for WordPress, I could spend every waking minute reading good quality articles that would be somehow relevant and informative regarding my current chosen professional. But to find the good articles I’d have to sift through the other 90% of that were published just for publishing sake, the ones that are little more than noise.

Simply put, blogging daily exponentially increases the amount of noise on the web. And that’s really not good for (the users of) the web, or humanity.

Bloggers I Wish Didn’t Post Daily

Speaking of daily bloggers, here is a short list of people who I really respect and admire and who I would love to see write some truly epic posts inspired by their knowledge and experience. Unfortunately each day I find a typically a mediocre post albeit occasionally a few almost good ones. But (almost?) never do these people product really great posts.

Fred Wilson of AVC.com

Fred <@fredwilson> is known as the VC who has funded some of the most visibly successful Internet startups in the past decade. He blogs daily, and I get an email containing his daily posts. Given his daily blogging schedule and all of his other obligations and evident success, I am constantly amazed at how good his posts are.

But more than being amazed, I’m also disappointed because he never blogs long form or in-depth. I know he has great knowledge and experience to share, but I never really feel like I’ve learned something after reading Fred’s blog posts, I just feel like I’ve been kept up to date.

Now Fred’s blog has generated an incredibly active community of commentors. Many of the frequent commentors are well-known and successful people in the startup world, but I constantly amazed at how much time these people can spend commenting on Fred’s blog in a day. It flabbergast me, frankly.

Fred’s blog uses Disqus for commenting, a company he has invested in but one where I find product usability very lacking other than I do really like the ability to edit the typos in my comments, which you can’t do on most blogs. The reason I mention this is that as soon as I comment on Fred’s latest blog I am inundated with about 250 emails that day because Disqus emails every me comment, not just replies to my comments, and Fred’s blog overflows with comments. This is clearly good for Fred’s personal branding and provides him with a posse of people he can ask for help, but then if Fred wasn’t an uber-successful VC I doubt he would get the same following from his daily blog.

After all, people are attracted to where the money is…

David Cummings on Startups

David <@davidcummings> is an incredibly talented individual. He’s a “local boy done good”; he built and then in late 2012 sold Pardot for $90 million to ExactTarget, which was then sold to Saleforce.com. Almost immediately after be purchased a 100,000 SQFT building in Buckhead, Atlanta’s prime real estate market, a.k.a where old money lives and new money parties.

David christened his new Buckhead facility Atlanta Tech Village, now home to 100’s of startups. He has become a well-known ambassador in town for high tech startups and has receive the attention of the USA Today, the Mayor of Atlanta Kasim Reed, the Atlanta Journal/Constitution, Atlanta’s Creative Loafing, InvestAtlanta, the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and more.

I think 20 years from now Atlanta will look back at David as the father of Atlanta’s High Tech Industry Boom, or something similar. When I tell people about David who don’t know of him I say his is Atlanta’s future equivalent of Brad Feld re: Bolder, Colorado.

CLEARLY David is amazing, one of the best business thinkers in Atlanta. And he blogs daily, and yes I get an email for every one of his posts. Unfortunately David’s posts are short and rarely ever better than a high-level outline of some topic that he has clearly queued up for the day. I receive his post via email, like clockwork, around 10pm ever night.

David has so much value to share, and he obviously devotes the time to sharing. But unfortunately David’s choice of daily bloggingmeans that he rarely if ever (has the time to) write a really valuable, in-depth post that leverages his profound knowledge, experience and expertise. For example, David frequently mentions the importace of establishing a great company culture but he’s never blogged anything that helps a would-be entrepreneur know how to establish a great culture in a startup.

Such as shame, really.

Tom McFarlin

Tom <@tommcfarlin> is one of the sharpest guys in the WordPress space, if not the sharpest WordPress guy I know personally.

Tom is also incredibly prolific. He blogs nonstop it seems, constantly writes for Envato, he’s written numerous plugins listed on WordPress.org, he gets profiled frequently, he was a partner at 8Bit which used to sell the Standard Theme he helped develop, and he was a contributor to their WPDaily blog, which is no more.

Anyway, I tried to follow Tom’s blog for a while and periodically he had some incredibly valuable posts. Unfortunately they were interspersed with numerous opinion and/or low information posts many of which generated a lot of comments but few if any dispensed any real usable knowledge, at least for me. It’s as if he set himself a goal to write daily, so by gosh that’s what he is going to do.

Sadly, I had to unsubscribe because the noise-to-signal ratio was just so high. And that made me sad, but I had to do it.

Honorable Mention: Eric Mann

I got to know Eric <@ericmann> during the time I was actively involved in moderating and answering questions on WordPress Answers. While I learned that Eric is a very bright WordPress developer with lots of relevant experience and a great ability to explain answers to WordPress questions in writing, what I admired the most about him was how even-keel he was when interacting with others on the web. Never did I see Eric involved in a flameware (unlike me, unfortunately) nor have I ever witnessed him talking down to someone online, a behavior that otherwise runs rampant online, especially in certain open-source circles. Eric really has my respect.

And when Eric blogs a how-to article about WordPress, it’s usually well worth reading, at least for me. I know Eric has interest in writing a novel, and recently it seems Eric has decided to blog every day (if I misunderstood Eric, please forgive.) My criticisms are not of his posts so much as a knowledge he wants to blog daily and I fear we’ll see more quanitity and less quality.

As an aside, it was actually that comment exchange which triggered me to finally write this post rather than just repeatedly think this sadness I feel when faced with the daily blogging of others who blog posts I would love to read, albeit not daily.

Awesome Bloggers Who Don’t Post Daily

Conversely, here are a few of my (current) favorite bloggers. They seem to only post when they have time and inspiration, but their posts are almost uniformly excellent. When I think of these people I don’t think of how much pablum they have churned out, I only think of how much I am in awe of them.

Mark Suster of Both Sides of the Table

Mark’s <@msuster> blog tagline is “Entrepreneur turned VC” and his experience just exudes from his posts. From my perspective Mark is a VC on par with Fred Wilson albeit he’s not been a VC as long thus he hasn’t had the time to rack up an equivalent number of successes. But like Fred he writes for entrepreneur’s benefit and is clearly not a VC who thinks the best way to win is to take advantage of startup entrepreneurs. Both he and Fred write as if the best entrepreur-VC relationship is a win-win relationship, and that’s why I think both of them has gained so much attention.

Whenever one of Mark’s posts arrives in my email I think “I need to make time to read that, because I know it will be worth reading.” And 9 times out of 10, it is relevant to me and my interests in startups and provides me with significant insight or understanding that I would struggle to find published elsewhere.

Kudos to Mark, he’s my favorite blogger and I would love to have the opportunity to meet him in the future under circumstances where I have something of benefit to offer him.

Price Intelligently

I don’t know who actually blogs for Price Intelligently <@priceintel> but their posts are almost consistently excellent. They blog more frequently than Mark Suster, which surprises as they are able to keep up the quality, but if you care about optimizing pricing for a SaaS then this a must-read blog.

And I’m really glad they don’t try to do the daily thing.

April Dunford of RocketWatcher

Contrary to the rest of this post, I really wish that April <@aprildunford> would blog more. I think she’s like me; she’ll get a burst of inspiration and write a few posts, and then she’ll get busy and 6 months will have gone by with no new posts.

I don’t know April well but she’s got a startup marketing blog, and it’s excellent. When she posts.

Nuff said.

At Least I’m not the Only One

Finally it seems these people agree with me, at least somewhat:

One Final Takaway

So if you are contemplating the development of a daily blogging habit, please consider this the summarization of the above:

  • Choose Quality Over Quantity

 

-Mike

P.S. I do get the irony of my blogging on this topic. But since it’s contrarian in nature I think it counts as unique. One thing’s for sure; I could not write posts like this every day.

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Fixing WordPress’ Eating of HTML div Tags

FCK Editor Logo
TinyMCE Logo

I should have known that not all would be rosy in my move to WordPress. It seems that core WordPress’ default implementation of TinyMCE consumes <div> tags in hand-coded HTML posts for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. That behavior has caused me no end of headache as I’ve tried porting the HTML pages from my old completely hand-coded website as WordPress has mangling those finely-coded masterpieces <sic> beyond all normal recognition.

A little googling and I uncovered lots of discontent on the topic along with a few hacks and a hackish plugin, none of which I really want to implement in given WordPress constant upgrade cycle. The suggestions to fix this in core were so well received that I was surprised that the topic does not appear to have been addressed by the core WordPress team.

However, I was finally able to stumble upon a plug-in called Dean’s FCKEditor For Wordpress that appears like may solve the problem by simply replacing TinyMCE with FCKEditor.  Don’t know if this is going to be my panacea or not, but after installing it the first thing I notice is how FCKEditor’s normal fonts are too small for my tastes (I guess I’m going to have to dive in and figure out how to change that.)

If Dean’s plugin does not ultimate solve that problem I ran across two other plugins worth considering. The heavyweight TextControl Plugin and the lightweight Disable wpautop Plugin. I’ll revisit this issue and those plugins in the future if the topic becomes obviously worth revisiting.

WordPress, Finally!

It’s been a really long time since I last blogged, and it’s all because I got totally fed up with my old blog software and vowed never again to blog until I replaced it with WordPress. Well as you can guess getting around to replacing it took far longer than I planned, but now it is finally here! I’ve still have other non-blog related things that were housed at my domain I still need to fix such as this but now that the domain is switched over to WordPress I’ll have a bit more urgency to get those fixed. I look forward to rejoining to ranks of the blogging community. 

What’s more, a lot has happened since I last blogged so I have lots of things to blog about in the coming weeks and months. Of course I have plenty of billable work that needs to get done so for all those of you who are waiting with baited breath for me to blog (LOL!), future blog posts won’t be coming as fast and furious as I’d like but at least with the new blog they can start to trickle out.

Long Time, No Blog

Yes I know, it’s a blogger’s cardinal sin to post about why he hasn’t posted in a while. But live with it.

The irony is I’ve had so much to blog about. The reason I haven’t is because a while back I finally gave up on dasBlog and decided I’d switch to WordPress before I blogged again. dasBlog makes so many things difficult that are either easy or trival on WordPress, such as commenting and monitoring spam. After years of putting up with dasBlog I just finally got fed up and decided I’d wait to switch to Wordpress. Sadly I’ve waited a long time, and it’s possible it may still be a while before I can move everything over.

Of course I could have tried upgrading dasBlog, but it’s so much harder to enhance dasBlog with it’s limited templating system that requires compiled .NET plugins vs. WordPress’ PHP scripting (reminiscient of classic ASP+VBScript, only better) that I was finally able to shed my programmer’s guilt for not learning how to write usable .NET plugins just as I was able to shed my guilt for never becoming proficient in x86 assembler back in the late 80’s.

I’ve got a huge backlog of posts that are anywhere from 10% to 99% complete, many of which will never see the light of day because they just won’t be appropriately timely enough by the time I’m ready to finish and post them. Ah well, story of my life; I can envision far more than I ever have time to complete.

Anyway, the reason for this post is to introduce the next post about a module I’m writing for Drupal. I’ve spend a lot of time recently with Drupal and am getting quite good at it, even if I do say so myself. I would have liked to have posted several Drupal related posts as a recursor but if I waited for that I doubt I’d ever manage to post about the module!

So without further adieu, on to the next post!

P.S. It may actually be a few days before I get that post finalized, but if it is not posted yes I am working diligently on it so just hold your breath… :-)

Learning about Adobe AIR in Atlanta…

I’m at the Fox Theatre in my hometown of Atlanta today checking out the Adobe AIR Bus Tour Summer 07. It’s nice to be at the first event nationwide. I’m attending at the behest of a friend who thinks it going to be the "next big thing." I’m skeptical. I fear yet another proprietary attempt to empower developers to craft unique custom web interfaces to provide desktop functionality as a layer over web technologies, and that’s not a compliment. These types of things, especially when looking at the black box nature of opaque Flash SWF files, do their best to ignore those things that make the web work, i.e. stateless URL-addressed resources. The reality of Adobe AIR remains to be seen… P.S. It would have been nice if Adobe had consulted me to ensure that this event was more convenient for me. I mean, I actually had to leave my home and cross the street to attend. Adobe, Please! ‘-)

dasBlog 1.9: Not ready for prime time yet…

I blogged about dasBlog 1.9 on Friday and was planning to upgrade, but I’ve been monitoring the developer list and it seems there are still a few too many little problems to make upgrading a smart proposition, at least for me. Better to wait a bit for the dust to settle.
 

 

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dasBlog 1.9 Just Released!

Just a few hours ago, dasBlog 1.9 was released! I’ll probably upgrade my blog to use it, hopefully this weekend. It has tons of new features over 1.8 which is what I’m using for this blog at the moment.

dasBlog LogoThe following are the new features that I found most interesting:

Kudos go to Scott Hansleman, Omar Shahine, and the rest of the dasBlog team. If you are running dasBlog, looks like a worthy upgrade. Or, if you are new to dasBlog and are interested in consider it, now’s a great time to download it and check it out!
 

About Focused Blogs

On last Friday I blogged about my new Saleforce.com blog that I recently launched. Now you might ask why didn’t I just post my comments about Salesforce.com here on Miscellanous Ramblings? The simple answer is I’ve learned over the past several years of blogging that, aside from being a vanity play, unfocused blogs really don’t benefit anyone least of all the author. And I find it rather ironic that I in hindsight chose "Miscellaneous Ramblings" as a moniker because that’s what I’ve done here; ramble on and on about miscellanous topics with no obvious direction. Well, they do say hindsight is 20-20.

Moving forward I’m going to expend the vast amout of my blogging effort on blogs that focused on specific topics. And I do plan to keep this blog online, at least for the foreseeable future. If I feel inspired to blog about a topic for which I have no other place to blog, I’ll do it here. Otherwise, you’ll be able to find my thoughts at my other blogs, and you’ll be able to find a list of my blogs here: www.mikeschinkel.com/blogs/

 

 

A New Blog of Mine: Thoughts on Salesforce.com

Last week I mentioned I had several new projects on the burner, and one of them is my blog about Salesforce.com:

Thoughts on Salesforce.com