Friday, June 13, 2008

Why I'm Creating an Independent Blog

I'm separating my personal blog from PC-Doctor's blog. This isn't an uncommon thing to do, but I suspect that some people will wonder if something went wrong. Nothing did. Instead, I expect this to benefit everyone. Read on to find out how.

I'll continue to contribute to PC-Doctor's blog, but I will actively market only the new blog. Since neither I nor anyone else currently does any marketing for our official blog, this may actually help out the official blog. Furthermore, I'll be able to talk about more than just programming here.

Why make such a sudden shift? Chris Keller, our online marketing guy, convinced me that a blog should be more than just a fun place to write down your thoughts. In part, he used Avinash Kaushik's great post here to convince me. He also showed me his own blog. However, I've been thinking about doing the same thing for other reasons.

This raises several interesting questions. First, why didn't I post links to my blog posts around the internet to try to get people to notice PC-Doctor's blog? You can rephrase the question slightly and ask why its better for me to market a blog that's separate from PC-Doctor.

The fundamental problem is that the official blog is not my blog. It has and it has to have a different purpose than a personal blog. I might occasionally write about things like video game design on the official blog, but I always made it relevant to our software. Running trails around Reno and what I might do if a bunch of 12 year olds start shooting guns at the trail in front me really doesn't fit at all on a corporate blog. It might fit here just fine.

In addition, because it's a blog about my stories, I might not mind advertising it on forums or other blogs. The reward for doing that marketing is that this blog has, over the course of several years, the chance of getting a following. Except for Andy, the PC-Doctor blog does not have much of a following. An increased number of people posting in my comments would be a large reward for me. This will require me to market my blog, and it's not entirely clear that I'll have the energy to do much of that, but I certainly didn't want to do it when it wasn't owned by me.

Should PC-Doctor change something about their blog to make it easier for people like me to stay there? No, they shouldn't. PC-Doctor's blog right now is mostly a bunch of posts by me. Customers coming to my posts will see that PC-Doctor hires at least one person who think on their own, and potential employees who come to my posts will see a confusing assortment of topics that may interest some of them. However, no one will buy our products because of my posts.

In fact, if you dig a bit deeper, there are some valuable posts there by other people. Kim Seymour wrote a great article that customers probably would be interested in. (Actually, I liked it, too. You should click on it if you have any interest at all in what PC-Doctor does.) Aki has written some fantastic articles, mostly about non-PC hardware. They've got interesting stuff to say that's relevant to our customers, and my post hides what they're saying.

Hopefully, we'll do something to encourage other employees to write more. Currently, employees are supposed to write on their own time with almost no reward. Some incentive, either monetary or otherwise, might help out. When we first started out, PC-Doctor gave away a Wii for the most prolific poster. Chris Hill won it, and I was jealous. :) They've got another prize up for grabs now as well, but it hasn't been as effective.

Writing a blog has turned out to be fun for me. I'm already convinced. It's been a great way to organize my thoughts about a topic, and I've learned quite a bit while doing it. I expect to continue to have fun in its new location.

I should point out that Doug van Aman, our marketing lead, has been nice enough to get me the copyright for the existing posts that I made. (Thanks, Doug!) I copied them all over verbatim. Without my existing library of posts, it would be much harder to do this.


Fred Bertsch said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
andy said...

now I'm logged in, thank goodness I have a mac-mini here at the office or I'd never get anything done

I'm going solo too, it makes sense - for all the reasons mentioned in the linked article. Blogging is a personal experience, doing so for a company doesn't make much sense - unless it's your company. But since I'm not a shareholder it's hard for me to make that argument.

I never really cared for the Dr. Blip persona either, it just seemed weird. I'd think a better title would be PC-Blogger, get it? And it keeps the blog from getting owned by some company mascot. Kind of how Pivotal Labs has "Pivotal Blabs".

But, my blog will have to wait till I'm done with all my house remodeling ---- or not, I should blog about that...

either way I won't blog here, it needs to be on my personal site - which really needs to be more than a static index.html page. It's not helping my personal brand image at the moment.

so, what's with the kids shooting up your running trail? must be a Nevada thing

Daniel said...

Oh no, now I have to add another bookmark to my toolbar so I can get the latest and greatest programming news... Oh well.

Fred Bertsch said...


I'm up to an audience of 3! :) (I read it before I post it.)