I post online, what I am thinking... also known as blogging.
Blogging pushes me to be interesting.
By dedicating myself to blogging just once a month for the past seven years, it has created a real momentum in my career.
It’s pretty easy to do, and it’s been so valuable to me, that I want to share my story with you, and encourage you to consider doing it yourself.
Real Artists Ship
Too many of us are in the business of consuming information, not creating it... Steve Jobs said "Real Artists Ship" — but that statement applies to anyone pursuing a creative endeavor.
Shipping something that you personally made is a hugely rewarding experience, and puts you into elite company.
On top of all that, blogging serves a theraputic purpose. Often your thoughts are fuzzy on a topic, and the act of writing about it snaps your opinion into focus. It’s great to experience the feeling of clarity.
So back to how blogging has helped create professional momentum for me. Each post is a seed of future opportunity.
I want to tell you two quick stories on how my blogging has positively impacted my career...
Chief Experience Officer
In 2008, I wrote a tiny 151-word blog post about when it’s OK to trash software and start over, to rewrite it from scratch. While it’s expensive to “start over” in software development, sometimes it’s the right thing to do.
A local CEO of a fast-growing company found me in a Google search, read that blog post, and asked me for a coffee.
That conversation led to a great relationship where I got to choose my own title and best of all have a huge impact by helping thousands of veterans find jobs.
Lean Startup Immersion
I quit my CXO job last year to get back to my entrepreneurial roots. I started working on a web app, following Lean Startup methodology, posting to my blog every Sunday night a report card on my own progress.
Very few people read those weekly posts, but it led me to unexpected and extremely valuable connections to the Cincinnati startup ecosystem, and eventually to starting a new company with some of those people.
Now, sometimes I struggle to come up with stuff that I feel is worthy to write about.
Throughout the process, it’s easy to feel like a fraud.
I learned in the course of putting this talk together, that just about everyone feels this way. It is a phenomenon known as “Imposter Syndrome.”
The way to overcome Imposter Syndrome is to recognize it for what it is, and push through. We’re not frauds.
Create anyway. Every blogger had to write their first few posts.
Define your audience
So that’s one barrier to getting started... another is deciding what to write.
The trick is to clearly define your audience, and plan a dozen posts. That small amount of planning is all it takes.
If you don't do anything interesting enough to share, I challenge you to dig into your work. There is probably something interesting in there.
Or you can always start doing more interesting things.
The two most popular tools are Wordpress and Tumblr. You can go visit either site, sign up in a minute, choose a free theme to match your personality, and get your first post up just as fast as you can type it.
Writing your first post can be intimidating. My advice is to give yourself just 30 minutes to write and post it.
Accept that it might not be good, and that you have a lifetime to get better.
After all, your audience at this point is non-existant. With a small audience, so is your risk small.
Make it a habit
Most blogs only have a couple of posts. It doesn’t take much effort to surpass that.
I sometimes go a month or two between posts. It’s still worth doing it, as long as you keep at it over time.
Do your own thing
Finally, if writing just isn’t your thing, everything I’ve shared is applicable to other outlets... go make Youtube videos, open an Etsy or Ebay store, or start a podcast.
I can’t wait to see what you make...