A little over four years ago, I wrote my first blog post and just a few weeks ago, my 100th. Below are reflections on the intervening years as an intermittent blogger.
Write to learn
Blogging has renewed me. By writing, I have learned many new things, and I have achieved a deeper understanding of many old things. Blogging has ensured that I read more broadly and with more serious intent — that I learn continuously and do not become stagnant.
In fact, blogging has made me more dexterous, confident and skillful in my work. The simple act of writing about group facilitation, creativity or decision-making has improved my craft.
Who would’ve thought that the most popular post would be about Akira Kurosawa’s masterpiece Rashomon. In fact, for years a Google search for the “Rashomon effect” would return the post at #2, just after the Wikipedia entry. Nearly 7000 readers have spent almost 500 hours viewing this post.
In August 2013, the Chronicle of Higher Education’s Arts & Letters Daily highlighted as an “Article of Note” a post written upon the death of Seamus Heaney. I was extremely flattered to have Seamus Heaney’s poem to our triplets called out with articles from The New York Times, The Irish Times, The Boston Globe, and The New Yorker, among other esteemed publications. How did this happen? Through the power of social media. A cousin had shared the piece on his Facebook page where one of his friends, who worked at the ALDaily, read the post and then recommended it to the editor.
In November 2013, I noticed an order of magnitude spike in traffic on my website. I knew a blog post must have gone “viral.” But where? A friend alerted me to the fact that Diane Ravitch had recommended John King, the Common Core and cognitive bias on her popular blog.
This past January, the New York State Council of School Superintendents suggested that its members read Andrew Cuomo’s tax freeze surprise for school districts. That recommendation and a couple of hundred Facebook shares and tweets quickly sent that post to #2 all-time.
Go, take a shot
If you search “trade-off analysis,” Google returns How to: Completing a tradeoff analysis on its first page. A three-part series How to: Multi-criteria Analysis is now approaching 10,000 readers and more than 500 viewing hours. Seriously, who would’ve thunk?
Contributing to this readership is the University of the South Pacific in Fiji. Periodically referral traffic from USP’s Intranet blackboard reaches into the hundreds per day. Apparently, a professor there has listed the three-part series as recommended — or perhaps required — reading. My wife wants to know if I can be a guest lecturer there and — if so — can she come along for the ride.
The culmination of these past years as a blogger was the recent publication of You Are What You Decide: Eight Keys to Better Decision-making. That book would never have been written had I not first started this blog.
My brother has coined an aphorism: If you don’t go, you won’t know. More famously, Wayne Gretzky has observed that “you miss 100% of the shots that you don’t take.” In late 2009 when my chief technology officer challenged me to start blogging, I hesitated. But I did take that shot. And I am glad that I did.