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Naked Conversations on a Bus

NakedI started this blog a year ago, as a latecomer (late for a tech geek anyway). I'd been inspired by Tom and Dori's Backupbrain, Scobleizer, The Red Couch, and Gaping Void, but I still thought Robert Scoble was mostly full of crap about the Awesome Power of Blogs. The banner on this blog (from day one here) even makes fun of his blogmania:

Blogbanner1a

Fast foward one year, to last week. I'm on a bus with Robert Scoble, heading to the Microsoft campus for day two of Search Champs. To my great delight, he hands me a copy of his and Shel Israel's just-released Naked Conversations book, and then it hits me--over the last year, I've done a complete 180 (i.e. drunk the koolaid) on the power of blogs. I've gone from finding Robert's message charming but ridiculous (after all, he is an edge case), to believing that blogs really are changing the world. One person at a time.

I won't restate the stories in Robert and Shel's book about blogging's impact on the world... you should read the book. But one of the best effects of blogs is that--because the technology makes it so damn easy for blog authors/readers/commenters--people have a chance to share their knowledge and passion with the world, and potentially make a difference in someone's life.

Blogs let the "little guy", from a cowboy horse whisperer, or a geek who can make your life a little simpler develop a global microbrand. That means they can keep doing what they love--what they're passionate about--rather than, say, working 60 hours a week elsewhere and leaving no time for doing the things that help teach, inspire, or entertain the rest of us. Because of blogs, the lone programmer or writer can create something that others will find (and potentially pay for), so the lone author can keep doing it. It means the little guy who can't out-spend the competition, can out-teach (through his blog) the Big Guys.

Blogs are helping churches that suck at marketing, epileptics (like me) learn from others with the same disorder, and a guy who does chicken cartoons on yellow sticky notes find an audience. Blogs are even helping Microsoft think about the notion of community thanks to bloggers like Nancy White (I highly recommend her blog if you're interested in online community and learning).

And it's not just about those who have a blog. Blog readers here (through comments or email) have led me to innovative folks like Kid Mercury. And because Daniel Barret was reading my blog, I learned of both his band (Porterdavis, who will be at SXSW), and the incredible site of musician Billy Harvey.

Perhaps most of all, blogs offer a (potential) partial solution to the deadly risk-aversion that's killing off innovation! And that brings me back to the naked bus conversation with Scoble... he used the phrase "risk-averse" several times in describing both Microsoft in general as well as the obstacle that keeps other companies from embracing blogs as a tool for communicating with current and prospective users. The guy is definitely on a mission about risk-aversion (the topic of my next post), and he wasn't the only one using that phrase to describe Microsoft last week, but between Robert Scoble and minimicrosoft, the company is being pushed in lively and provocative ways... ways that were unimaginable just a short time ago. 2006 should be veeeeeery interesting.

Robert, I'm not changing my banner (and I still think you're full of crap about a few things), but I now believe in the premise of your book in a way I would have bet heavily against a year ago (even six months ago).

Or maybe I should've brought my own water to Redmond... ; )

To those of you blogging (or commenting on other blogs) who may be thinking of giving it up... don't. You never know how the "butterfly effect" of that one sentence on your blog or a comment you leave--that someone found serendipitously (or even randomly)--can change a life. As a result of blogs, I've both changed--and been changed by--the lives of those I'd never have met in the pre-blogging world. Blogs enable discussions and connections that static websites and online forums just weren't providing, and even with all the noise out there (20+ million blogs on Technorati?), the amount of continually-growing learning and inspirational content in blogs today is breathtaking.

And those who post comments (or send emails to the bloggers) are just as important to the discussion as those who make the posts. It all matters, and it's all meaningful... even when we're simply having fun. In fact, it's the fun/humor links and posts and emails and comments that got me through these last three months--the longest and darkest of my life.

Y'all aren't the target audience for the Naked Conversations book (the whole preaching to the choir thing), but for me it was worth reading again (I read most of it online through their blog) just for the motivation. And if you're ever trying to get someone else to drink the blog koolaid, there's plenty of ammo in that book.

Thanks Robert and Shel for putting aside your own risk-aversion and being willing to, well, sound ridiculous.

Posted by Kathy on January 30, 2006 | Permalink

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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Naked Conversations on a Bus:

» lift notes from gapingvoid
For my presentation at LIFT, I'll be citing the following links: The Hughtrain. ""THE MARKET FOR SOMETHING TO BELIEVE IN IS INFINITE." The Global Microbrand. "There are thousands of reasons why people write blogs. But it seems to me... [Read More]

Tracked on Feb 1, 2006 1:51:35 AM

» lift notes from gapingvoid
For my presentation at LIFT, I'll be citing the following links: The Hughtrain. ""THE MARKET FOR SOMETHING TO BELIEVE IN IS INFINITE." The Global Microbrand. "There are thousands of reasons why people write blogs. But it seems to me... [Read More]

Tracked on Feb 1, 2006 2:18:32 AM

» lift notes from gapingvoid
For my presentation at LIFT, I'll be citing the following links: The Hughtrain. ""THE MARKET FOR SOMETHING TO BELIEVE IN IS INFINITE." The Global Microbrand. "There are thousands of reasons why people write blogs. But it seems to me... [Read More]

Tracked on Feb 1, 2006 3:36:56 AM

» The power of blog from Broadband and Me
Via Hugh at Gapingvoid Creating Passionate Users: Naked Conversations on a Bus Blogs let the "little guy", from a cowboy horse whisperer, or a geek who can make your life a little simpler develop a global microbrand. That means they... [Read More]

Tracked on Feb 1, 2006 3:43:31 AM

» Faça diferença na vida de alguém from Fabio Seixas, versão txt
Porque eu tenho um blog? O que leva milhões de pessoas a criarem blogs falando dos mais variados assuntos? Simples. Todos querem que sua passagem pela terra tenha valido a pena. A tecnologia atual, especialmente os blogs, permite isso. Com... [Read More]

Tracked on Feb 1, 2006 3:50:59 PM

» And Now the Jonathan Schwartz Show: On Slick Systems and Participation from James Governor's MonkChips
Jonathan Schwartz' presentation this morning continued to trade onhis participationage thinking. Its very easy to be skeptical, but I think tech companies that don't get social technology are going to be in just as much trouble... [Read More]

Tracked on Feb 1, 2006 4:42:16 PM

» Pontificating on Podcasting from tony morgan | one of the simply strategic guys
I've been accumulating a number of links in recent weeks about the power of podcasting, blogging and the web and it's impact on communications and social connections. Here are some interesting articles that may provoke more thoughts and questions [Read More]

Tracked on Feb 3, 2006 9:01:03 AM

Comments

Great, another book to add to the never ending wishlist of "must-read" books. :) It never ends.

Posted by: Rob Sanheim | Jan 30, 2006 3:17:59 PM

Kathy

Welcome back - I've missed you.

Alan Gutierrez asks how to define success for a blog:
http://blogometer.com/2006/01/17/the-exclusive-interweb/

Do you have any "success" criteria for yours?

Posted by: Ric | Jan 30, 2006 4:58:07 PM

Your comments in this posting downright choked me up as well. One of my dirty little secrets is that a year ago, I thought Scoble was full of crap as well. And because I'm diabetic, I never drink KoolAid. Thanksfor this column, Kathy and I too am very happy to see you back.

Posted by: Shel Israel | Jan 30, 2006 7:01:48 PM

LOL @ Rob. So true! :)

I wish I could have $1,000 and 1 month to spend on reading!

Posted by: Rabbit | Jan 30, 2006 10:06:20 PM

Very inspiring. Now I'll probably be up half the night checking out the sites you recommended--and the book, but it sounds like it will be worth it.

Posted by: patry | Jan 31, 2006 9:20:48 PM


THANK YOU, for a very inspiring post, you made my day!
I am jumping into the Blog-pool!
Nan
Communication consultant

Posted by: nan | Feb 2, 2006 1:50:00 PM

Purely in the interest of creating a pataphor, they make sugar free Koolaid, Shel.

Posted by: Scott Reynen | Feb 3, 2006 12:21:10 PM

Blogging has definitely changed my life. I was amazed at how quickly the feeling of community came through. I've met some great "strangers" on line. I've learned from them and been encouraged by them. And spent way too much money on amazon reading the books they recommend.

Posted by: janey | Feb 3, 2006 8:07:34 PM

Greetings!

I enjoyed your post. I learned about blogging from a piece in Business Week back in May of 2005. I immediately came home and created a blog.

Come by and share your thoughts!

David Porter
President/CEO
Pacesetter Mortgage Company, Inc.

Posted by: David Porter | Feb 6, 2006 12:26:58 PM

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