When Gordon and I started Infovark, all we had was an early database schema, something we called “the spiderweb diagram”, and one investor. (His name is Warren, but I call him Dad.)
We immediately began blogging. In many ways it was — and is — a distraction from design and coding, but we were bursting with ideas that we couldn’t share at our old job.
We also wanted to test the waters a bit. Though we’d seen a lot of frustration with current information management and content management tools in our former roles as consultants, we wanted to make sure there really was a market there. And since we couldn’t talk about the solution yet — because we were still drafting it — we decided to talk about the problem instead.
It’s a strategy that’s worked really well for us. We’ve gotten a lot of great insights from folks leaving comments or reacting to our posts on their own blogs. It’s helped shape and narrow our focus.
The principal theme of this blog has been how traditional enterprise software overlooks (or impairs) individual productivity while meeting broader organizational imperatives. We talk a lot about top-down versus bottom-up implementation approaches, principles of emergent systems, and software design. Most of the topics come from our Twitter friends, our feed readers, and discussions amongst ourselves.
Over time, we’ve also added two sub-themes. One is about the challenges of running a software start-up and the other is about the product we’re building. (Expect us to starting post more frequently about these.) We’ve gotten good feedback on those topics, too. Ideas related to these subjects pop up naturally based on what we happen to be working on at the time.
Several months ago, we decided to split some of our more technical topics on to a separate blog, the Underground, specific to software development. We wanted to share tips and tricks with other programmers. We also wanted to publicize the books, frameworks and tools we find especially useful. We particularly wanted to highlight free and open source tools. We figure if we can’t pay them in cash, we can at least praise them in public.
I personally get most of my topics from the books I read and the RSS feeds I consume. I’m a voracious reader. My Google Reader tracks more than 180 blogs. I’ve organized them into broad categories: design, enterprise content management, Enterprise 2.0, personal productivity, programming, technology news, tools, and venture capital. I also track friends’ blogs, video/computer game blogs, and cartoons. I’m not all about work.
Once an idea strikes us, we draft an article on WordPress. Some posts just come together, others require more work. Between the two blogs, we probably have 50 drafts in various stages of completion.
Once we finally finish one, we mark it as pending review. Gordon edits my posts and I edit his. A former boss of mine — and a gifted writer — insists that “everyone needs an editor” and it’s advice I’ve taken to heart. Between the two of us, we try to maintain some semblance of coherence and quality.
And that’s how the magic happens.
So the “how to decide what to write about” meme may have languished a bit, but I’ll try to revive it. My apologies to anyone in the list below that might have been previously tagged.
I’m curious about how these bloggers decide what to write:
Over to you, folks…