Why I blog

Posted on Thursday 24 July 2008

Recently, a couple blogs that I follow discussed why they blog.  I figured that I would add to the discussion by sharing why I blog...

In 2002, I founded JKI, a LabVIEW consulting company that also dabbles in LabVIEW software product development.  When you work as a consultant, it's easy to start equating every hour as potential billable income, which makes it difficult (by simple accounting) to justify the time expense of blogging.  Since the day I started this line of work, I've rarely had a day where I haven't been busy working (actually, it goes back way farther than when I started consulting).

I live by the mantra: work hard (and smart) on interesting and rewarding projects with great people.  Most other things work-related tend to fall into place and the end result is that you stay very busy, have an enjoyable time, and accomplish some amazing things.  I should also add that I'm lucky enough to live and work in the San Francisco Bay Area where there is tremendous opportunity, fueled by an abundance of technology, funding, and great people.

So, how do I find (and why do I make) the time to blog? (...since it would be easy to see blogging as just an expensive hobby)

1) I accept that fact that blogging is a great way to hone one's writing skills, which are extremely important for technical communication.  As I mention in the sidebar of this blog, I love writing so much that I took the time to write a book (which is not a painless process) -- this blog now serves as a great outlet for that passion, now that the book is finished.

2) I find ways to overlap by blog with the activities in my life that provide me with the luxury of being able to take time to blog (my book, JKI software products, LabVIEW consulting, etc.).  I've always been the type of guy to try to kill the most eggplants with one pitchfork (I assume that's a reasonably good way to kill eggplants).  I have a forum (this blog) where I control the dialog, so why not talk about things that matter to and are of interest to me?  The key to making this overlap function is to provide content with value, first and foremost.  For example, when I talk about how VI Package Manager is going to revolutionize software reuse in LabVIEW, I truly mean it and am excited about it, because it's a tool that I've personally wanted for a long time. (Pretty sneaky how I worked that in, right?)

3) I realize that my blog is a place where I can have a positive influence on others.  I can give my readers something of value and affect their lives.  As someone who gets a lot of pleasure out of helping others, this is not something to be overlooked.

Catrellezilla4) Blogs are the Resume 2.0.  Whether we as bloggers accept it or not, people judge us professionally by the quality and subject matter of our content.  Our blogs are both a way of showing the world our skills as writers & thinkers and showcasing things that we are working on outside of our blogs.  If we don't acknowledge these facts, we might was well just blog pictures of our cats (and believe me, I've got a ton of them).

At the end of the day, technical and professional blogs serve to get our ideas across to others so that we can be measured by those ideas and empowered by those who believe in them.

3 Comments for 'Why I blog'

    July 24, 2008 | 8:39 am

    Hi Jim! I agree with you about blogs being the Resume 2.0. Unless you’re paid by your company to blog, I think people who maintain technical and professional blogs demonstrate a level of enthusiasm, interest, expertise and/or passion about what they do. Otherwise, why would you want to spend more time after work to talk/write about what you do all day?

    I just watched a video podcast about companies who hire people to comb Twitter, blogs, Facebook, and the like for comments about their company. I’m sure there are also companies who hire people to comb the same sites looking for talent.

    I thinking blogging is one of the best thing anyone can do to grow in their profession/field/career.

    July 29, 2008 | 11:19 pm

    Nice post, but why kill the eggplant? One usually harvests them and then with knife:)

    August 13, 2008 | 11:57 am

    Susan: Thanks for the feedback and comments. That’s interesting how companies are using Web 2.0 and social media. I love your blog, by the way :)

    rkanders: I just had grilled eggplant yesterday and it was delicious!

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