Blogging: The small wins

2016-06-05 3 min read

    I started working on a project to investigate my blog posts and see how my writing has evolved over time. I’m still working on it and will definitely write up the results but the entire process got me thinking about my blog and some of the highlights. I started blogging to improve my writing, improve my thinking, and grow my personal brand. Despite being a large time commitment I enjoy doing it and there have been a variety of small episodes that have made it even better:

    • In 2013 I wrote a short post with an excerpt from a book I was reading about the lack of a dial tone in cell phones. This took off on Hacker News and ended up being covered in Gizmodo, Mental Floss, and even made an appearance in the NY Times tech ticker.
    • I built a small community. I have a small number of repeat visitors who will comment on the occasional post and I actually ended up meeting up with a frequent contributor, Ted, when I visited Portland for the first time.
    • When Turo was called RelayRides I did an analysis to figure out the optimal car to get that will generate the biggest return. This led to a few people reaching out and me doing a little bit of consulting work to analyze their market.
    • I’m a big fan of Citibike and came up with a small web app to that translates every New York City trip into a walk to a Citibike station, a station to station bike ride, and then a walk to the final destination. After posting this a few people reached out to ask whether a smartphone app was available as well as ideas to make it even better. I unfortunately haven’t had the chance to work on it but it’s great seeing people finding value in something I’ve done.
    • Cities opening up their data and I had some fun visualizing the routes of Jersey City’s garbage trucks. This led to me connecting to our councliwoman who then introduced me to the head of Jersey City’s tech innovation team.
    • An interesting one was when a journalist from FiveThirtyEight reached out to ask about an old GItHub project I was working on. This ended up not leading anywhere but did provide a glimpse into modern journalism and the desire to highlight and surface content from the tail.
    • You know you’ve made it when you have “SEO experts” reaching out and either offering their site optimization services or a payment to post an article with a link to another site. I’ve received dozens of offers so far but haven’t accepted any yet!

    These are just the highlights and at this point I’m happy to receive any inquiry. None of these have been massive but they’re all small highs that are a reminder that what I write is being read. Their lack wouldn’t stop me from blogging but it’s always nice to receive a surprise comment or email.