Lessons Learned

5 top reasons why I suck at blogging

1.  No time

Don’t we all just love this catch-all excuse for just about anything? It’s a poor albeit very convenient crutch; Of course I never have the time to do anything if it’s not planned and prioritized. I’m very guilty of omitting blogging from my time management.

(Time and task management and prioritizing in itself is another very interesting topic I will save for a later GTD post.)

2. No focus or general topic

All the blogs I read tend to read focus on some general or specific area of interest. The topics interest me, I know I can expect more of the same and hence I keep coming back. Makes sense. My blog varies wildly in width, quality, depth and (ir)regularity – probably to the point where my close friends and even my mother have lost any vague novelty interest by now.

Perhaps it’s descriptive of me as a person. I’m interested in a whole bunch of confusing things, chatty have a lot to say and a lot of biases opinions about most things. I’m probably hard to conveniently tag.

3. Lack of incentives

My .com biz already had a very high page rank even before SEO and SEM entered the vernacular (ATH 9/10, currently 7/10) and asking Google for my name returned relevant top results pages long before I started blogging. I never intended to make money from blogging. I have no books to flog, no conference talks to pimp offer, no sponsors, no ads, no agenda, no brand, no product, no concrete goals behind the blog. I do not have anything to sell you – other than myself, if you will.

I did have a vague notion about sharing my thoughts and ideas with the world and participate in a sort of global conversation. (No, seriously.) I’m not going to pretend it was all well thought out, though.

Twitter is now catering for my conversational needs in more and perhaps better ways than my blog. That is perhaps a topic worthy of a separate post in itself.

4. No experience with the blog format

I do write professionally on a regular basis. It does not come particularly close to blogging, though. I do not have to consider that the whole world – or as the case may be no one – is going to read it. In my day job I get paid to deliver a well informed and professional opinion; Palatable or controversial, witty or droll.

On a my personal blog, I tend to end up with long winded blog posts like this. That post takes too long to read and took too long to write. Not surprisingly, it didn’t make for much of a conversation either.

My lack of experience with blogging probably leads to a lot of lost opportunities. A successful blogger sees a new post whereas I’m still stuck in an old mindset. As an example, I enjoy taking pictures and shoot videos and upload them to flickr viddler youtube and or vimeo to share with you. It very often ends there.  Now, someone with a different mindset than myself would probably have made a small story to go with many of those uploads and recycle blog them.

5. No lab experience

According to social media oracle niceguy Chris Brogan, a lab is something you could need.

It’s not like I had no web exposure prior to securing this painfully long and stupid cleverly named URL, but i never conducted any conscious lab experiments before entering the fray.

On the other hand, this probably IS my lab – my soapbox.

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Lessons Learned

5 Lessons Learned

In my previous post I tried to provided an explanation for my involuntary online hiatus. But what did I learn from entering and escaping a black hole?

A. I made mistakes
B. See A

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1. You can never prepare early enough for changes in personnel and/or workload.

If you are responsible for recruiting your own staff, get involved with appropriate universities and other places of education to keep ahead of the curve. Get good recruiters working for you – for free (that’s another post, though).

Engage and be present in the relevant professional communities.

You can never start to soon to look for your next rock star employee(s). Think of it as a mandatory continuous process. Commit to the appropriate time for getting involved and engaging.

2. Let your surroundings know you are experiencing an exceptional situation and how and when they can expect a response. It’s OK. It happens.

Post a disclaimer on your blog as soon as possible.

Add an auto responder on your mail, private and/or professional.

Call people personally to let them know in advance.

3. Do not let your personal life suffer unreasonably and over time.

This is hard. You’ve probably been there too. Be very conscientious of your personal life in times of professional duress. You are going to need that personal time with yourself and your loved ones more than ever. You will be stronger from it. Take two or three steps back and plan accordingly. Share with your close ones; chances are they can help you.

4. Don’t even try to catch up on every single piled up correspondence.

Write an honest apology response explaining the situation, making sure that the senders know that they will have to get back to you yet again if they still have open issues in need of your attention.

5. Fess up when you fuck up.

Admit to your mistakes personally, identify possible improvements and move on. This is not the time to be pointing fingers at others or to be playing the blame game. This is the time to be on the offense, taking responsibility.

Just one more thing.

6. DON’T TAKE IT TOO PERSONALLY.

If you are like me, you might find this very hard too, but hey! It’s real life – not Hollywood fiction. Shit happens. You make mistakes too. It’s just business. Cheer up – you’re going to die anyway! :D

I probably failed on several accounts the last three months. Hindsight has 20/20 LOLCAT vision, but I hope I’m now stronger and more prepared to meet the challenges of tomorrow by the experience.

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Hardware, Lessons Learned, Software

Do you backup?

I was reading Chris Pirillo‘s latest blog entry about backup and file management this morning and it inspired me to share what I do to back up and mirror the important stuff. (Watch the show featuring Chris’ dad if you haven’t already.)

The hardware: Two cheap and identical 500 GB external USB hard drives from TrekStor. € 99,- / USD 135,- each.

The software: MirrorFolder for Windows XP from TechSoft. € 28,5 / USD 39,- per computer license. (If anyone knows of a better software solution for mirroring and for other platforms, please leave a comment!)

Important files and folders on my workstation(s) and laptop are set to be automatically mirrored on both of the external disks. Projects, music, settings, etc are all mirrored on both of the disks for redundancy.

Further more, I can take one of the disks with me on the move without worrying too much about data loss.

Works for me ™.

What do you do? Please share your experiences and leave a comment!

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