The Personal Blog
There’s a bit of a renaissance of real personal blogging here in NYC. Two of the original NYC bloggers have, after years of writing professionally and editing others, returned to their own blogs.
It started with Lockhart Steele, the founder of Curbed, Racked, and Eater, who started that media business on his personal blog.
Then the next day, Elizabeth Spiers, the founding editor/blogger at Gawker, dusted off her blog and started writing on it again.
It feels so good to link to both of them.
There was a comment on Elizabeth’s kickoff post that suggested she go to Medium. She replied:
I already write for (and on) Medium. My most recent piece is here. But I don’t think it’s quite the same thing as maintaining a personal blog, where you control all of the visual elements and maintain a custom URL.
I wanted to reply to that comment, but could not for the life of me, log into WordPress to leave it. So I’ll blog about it instead.
There is something about the personal blog, yourname.com, where you control everything and get to do whatever the hell pleases you. There is something about linking to one of those blogs and then saying something. It’s like having a conversation in public with each other. This is how blogging was in the early days. And this is how blogging is today, if you want it to be.
When I started blogging here at AVC, I would write about everything and anything. Then, slowly but surely, it became all about tech and startups and VC. It is still pretty much that way, but I feel like I’m heading back a bit to the personal blog where I can talk about anything that I care about.
Today, that thing is the fact that the Gotham Gal and I are taking our youngest child, Josh, to college. As my friend Bob told me over email last week about sending his son off:
I am surprisingly emotional at least to me ……….. Sending Josh off as your last must be something.
Yeah, it is something. I’ll miss him a lot.
Fred, what are your thoughts on moving beyond a personal blog and using yourname.com to build your business/personal brand? Pros and cons versus using (perhaps a keyword friendly) brandname.com, even if *you* are the brand/sole trader (i.e., an individual running that business)? Examples might be sethgodin.com versus problogger.net. Or avc.com versus fredwilson.com. 😉
i could not get fredwilson.comso i went with avc.comit has become my personal brandbut i would have used fredwilson.com if i could have
Consulting engineers in Jacksonville!?
So why aren’t they on Disqus? If they want a community to flourish, Disqus is a better lubricator than WordPress comments.
lock is running disqus on his blog
Cool. He just switched I think. I had already prodded him 😉
William — you and Joanne convinced me! Disqus’s best salespeople.
I would like to implement Disqus but it’s not as easy on WP as just clicking a button. If some kind soul would like to help me get it up and running, i would appreciate it!
Peer pressure works :)@JimHirshfield:disqus ?
Search for the plugin. There is also a social login plugin. It might be included.
I can help you with that, Elizabeth. It’s easier than you would think. You can shoot me an email at “frewry at gmail.com” if you’d like.
Thank you! Will do.
I am now Disqus-enabled, thanks to Ryan!
Nice. I see you even migrated some old comments into Disqus? That’s fancy stuff.
BEST SALESPEOPLE FOR GREAT PRODUCTS: PEOPLE THAT USE THEM.
Sort of. I love disqus, but I’ve seen plnety of blog communities run without them
OK. we’re a bit biased here 🙂
IT POSSIBLE TO RUN WITH BROKEN LEG, NO SHOES, AND WALRUS STRAPPED TO BACK.THAT NOT SAME AS GOOD IDEA.
If you are hosted by WordPress then you don’t have the option.
You do. discover-places.com/coorg
It must be self-hosted. It is not possible to use Disqus on wordpress.com sites. From Disqus themselves: https://help.disqus.com/cus…
elizabethspiers.com and lockhartsteele.com are self hosted !?
Savor this day. Josh will remember it forever. I remember my parents driving me into Manhattan for the dropoff. What a day!
In the movie about your life there will be a scene with squeegee men descending on the car as you get out of the tunnel.
Ha! Bridges. No tunnels.
I had already considered that and the trailer will say “inspired by true events”. Your father will also hit Stern by accident before he tunes to 1010 wins for the traffic update on the 1’s.
Two thing I’m certain about Fred.That when we let our personal foibles and opinions show (our interest fingerprint), it informs the values of our professional expertise in powerful and ineffable ways.When I send my URL (www.arnoldwaldstein.com) to new clients and and say–this is me–it feels just great each and every time.Have a great holiday weekend.
I say, Google me.
You are more of a mensch than I William.
I was half-joking ;)A DDG search is actually a bit cleaner than a Google one.I’d love to be able to say “Search my Disqus comments”. That would be even more revealing.
No question that comments have value.No question that outside the context of the post they carry little weight.
At one time…not too long ago…you could 😉
When I was applying to Wharton I remember the guy, William Whitney who said “if you don’t toot your horn nobody is going to do it for you”.Likewise your blog has all the info and no friction so people can make a buying decision.Like under “Working with me”Turning ideas into products and communities into markets is the connecting thread in my career over the last 25 years.William really is a mensch of course but I don’t think that letting people know about yourself is un mensch in any way.And while people like to make fun of Donald Trump and may find it distasteful (or are jealous) he has built a nice business and brand by successfully executing on that. (I’ve been following him since the 70’s)
Speaking of the Don. And you like stories, LE. About 4 years ago, I was walking somewhere mid-town NY to a 7:30am breakfast meeting (near Sarabeth I think). I’m walking on the sidewalk, and suddenly a big security guy summons me to step out of the sidewalk and continue on the street side.Big commotion going on….red carpet coming out of a building into the sidewalk…cameras..security, etc.. They were filming a b-roll of Donald Trump coming out and saying some sound-bite stuff about some local issue.I stood there watching…and they had him do a re-take 3 times, basically. He would ask “how did it come out?” and they would say “one more”. It was just him coming out of his building, walking to the sidewalk on the red carpet (so he doesn’t dirty his shoes probably, because you didn’t see the carpet on the shoot), and saying something with his arms in the air. It made me realize how choreographed this whole schtick was. They were basically filming and releasing exactly what they wanted the media to play. He was on TV later than evening with that same clip I saw. I took my own iPhone version of that.
Donald has always been detail oriented and it has worked for him. I’ve heard he manages all of his PR or at least did. Calling reporters directly and cultivating relationships.The attention to detail is admirable and extends in more ways than people would think with DT. Buffet does a version of this as well. That “gee shucks” is no boating accident. That’s not something I read it’s something that is obvious if you reverse engineer the BS he spews sometime. (I remember a photo of him and his tax return which was as tall as he was…I actually figured the amount of paper there and it didn’t match the actual height of the pile.)Ha! I’m not Donald of course but I realized a long time ago that you have to give the media things that they can use packaged and ready to go.  This is common sense, right? I staged the pictures for a newspaper pieces in both the 90’s and 80’s (having artwork made up and setting up the scene) and in both cases the news photographer used what I gave them framing wise. I even pre arranged computers and had a ladder waiting so he could get the shot overhead that I knew would look good. Point being that the effort paid off. In one case the photo got syndicated and it ran in maybe 20 papers and I still get business from it to this day. (Customers acquired that still pay money). One of the reasons I’m such a pain on details and getting things right. This stems back from an earlier theory “make it easy for the insurance adjuster” where you get a higher payout if you provide supporting materials and take the load off the adjuster in preparing a claim. All easy to read and cleanly laid out.
Your landing page is 10 on my scale. It’s near perfect in approach covering all bases as well as use of color and solarized image of you and typography. I’ve always liked that page.
Big complement coming from you LE.Thanks!
ALWAYS SHOW THE WORLD WHO YOU REALLY ARE. UNLESS YOU TERRIBLE. THEN DON’T.
How far is Josh going?
i was wondering that too. the tech umbilical is so long these days, and that diminishes an important part of the experience.
My kids went far away. 9-12 hour drives. Most of their friends went northeast. They went south. Wanted better weather and to experience a different culture.
two hours away, long enough that he won’t feel like coming home, close enough that he could
the perfect distance
Depending on traffic 2 hours doesn’t take you far from NYC.
NYU was where Billy always wanted to go and we loved the idea because the distance is just right. 🙂
Oh man, I feel emotional about Josh going to college and I’ve never met him. I have read this blog for around 10 years and have vicariously watched your kids grow up. Congrats to you and Joanne on hitting this terrific milestone. Best of luck with the next phase of your lives.
perhaps writing from a platform feels like being in part owned by the platform, and perhaps writing from a personal domain feels not like that.
this is why i will expressly not use platforms like facebook, and especially facebook. my personal life, identity, expression, creativity, network,…. is not going to be synthesised as the private profits of any corporation…unless it’s a b corporation with additional legal obligations that fit with my view of the world.
Your comments right here are being used as an ad feed for profit of course as well.What’s the difference?
i understand your position, and that a business marketing campaign must include facebook.my comments here are not an expose of my life, what i look like, what i wear, where i go, who i know, etc….in quite the same way that facebook would be. i look forward to being able to use a facebookesque platform, one built on blockchain, distributed, peer to peer, without a hierarchy of private ownership.
actually I was asking what’s the difference between Facebook which has a business of using your data to drive ads and Disqus which is in the exact business?personally, privacy is not a big concern of mine. i just consider everything i do online public.
it isn’t for me quite the issue of privacy. it’s a sense of something a little different to that, and not easy for me to put down in words. it’s an instinct, and one that feels right to me….and facebook and disqus seem quite different…to me, only to me Arnold. others will have a different view, a different instinct.
not criticizing at all!your opinion is the one that matters.personally i have no feelings towards FB. they are a network and a very useful one. Disqus is the smartest plumbing there is and essential to me. they are as well a straight media model to my knowledge. i want them to be successful cause life w/o them is not a pretty picture.
they are a network and a very useful one.Likewise it would depend on how much money was thrown at me by the tobacco company and how much I needed the money.
We can call it “once removed” for lack of a better way to put it.For example you might dine out and enjoy chicken in a restaurant. But you would probably not want to go to a place where you witnessed the chicken being killed and then cooked up. Or at least many people wouldn’t. Or likewise with beef.Or I might decide I don’t want to help a tobacco company but perhaps I’d deal with one of their subsidiaries.Point begin to Jason Facebook is a little to close to the heart.
FB is a great tool (a live rolodex) and not a publishing platform.No on scan stand the friend on FB that sermonizes – that’s what blogs are for!Apples & oranges.
I’ve maintained my personal site since it launched in 1995. I might only get a post or two a month up on it this days, and my readership is about 2% of its peak in 2006ish, but I do like having my own space. If you don’t own your domain you are a digital sharecropper.We left our daughter at college for her freshman year last week – 1000 miles from home. On one hand, I’m really excited to see what she accomplishes over the next 4 years. On the other hand, watching John Stewart won’t be the same without her.
I never really understood how mixed one’s emotions could be until we sent our son off to college.
My friends are dropping their kids off at college, and other friends are having babies. We drove my daughter back for her senior year this year. For me it was never hard to drop my kids off. I was so fricking excited for them. Good luck to your son and have fun.
me too. i wish i could go with him. remember the rodney dangerfield movie about that?
Yes. That was funny. “Thornton Melon: I think I’m attracted to teachers. Yeah, I took out an English teacher. That didn’t work out at all. I sent her a love letter… She corrected it!”
Rodney is under appreciated. A bit like Don Rickles.
Hahahaha….unfortunately Kurt Vonnegut is no longer available to write your term paper!!
Do you want to go to hang out with him or to go to college again?
Going back to college at 52 may just be precocity 2.0.
Back to School. http://m.imdb.com/title/tt0…
Maybe you could teach there.
I find that even though I am older I don’t think I am older. Because when I was younger people were really older looking and acted much older as well.I’m actually surprised that my daughters want to spend time with me and don’t mind when I am around their friends. When I was younger no way I’d want to be around my parents or pal around with them.
i wish i could go with him.Otoh your brain is forgetting any of the deadlines and negatives that go along with being a student. Also the pressure since you actually have to get somewhere with it as well. Plus I think the first time they ended up excluding you from some social thing because of your age you might come down to earth as far as being accepted as one of them.
lol…Back to School-haven’t seen in ages 🙂
The pendulum is slowing swinging. The “Feed” will never die (it’s so addictive and powerful) – but people want a space for themselves. A place where their content is not co-mingled with others. You know I believe in that 100%. Good to see.
yup. you need both for sure
I was thinking about this the other day when you mentioned being an army brat — I realized that I already knew that from your posts here back in the olden days.My own blog has shifted away from personal (Tumblr more of that role for me now), but in many ways I prefer blurring the lines between “professional” and “personal” content. I know that it bothers many people who want just one or the other, but I really enjoy getting a little bit of all sides of the people I meet through the internet.
Sounds well balanced to me. The professional is the personal. I had a discussion with one of my clients the other day when he came back from a big family vacation with extended family all renting a great big beach house together. On the first day, his brother put a bucket on the kitchen table and said, “No talking about work allowed. Anyone who talks about work has to put a dollar in the bucket.” My client told his brother he wasn’t participating. He said, “I love my work. I enjoy talking about what I do and new ideas I have. Why in the world wouldn’t I want to share that with you?”
On the first day, his brother put a bucket on the kitchen table and said, “No talking about work allowed. Anyone who talks about work has to put a dollar in the bucket.” My client told his brother he wasn’t participating. He said, “I love my work. I enjoy talking about what I do and new ideas I have. Why in the world wouldn’t I want to share that with you?”Wow how controlling is that. Imagine someone deciding what is best for everyone.I used to have the same thing at family dinners when my mom would say that one of my brother in laws didn’t like when my father, my other brother in law (and I) talked about “computers”. He felt left out. He also didn’t like to talk about business. Actually he didn’t like to talk about anything for that matter. So my mom didn’t want us to. Was kind of funny actually.In my first marriage my wife’s family was all into sports and they would camp out in the den with “the big game”. I hung out upstairs talking with the women. I didn’t whine about or get in the way of what others found interesting. And if anything I would have simply not attended if it really bothered me.
I love all of you Whit 🙂
Thanks for this Fred. Blogging is important, and doing it in someone else’s namespace doesn’t cut it. You’re a guest. On your own blog you are The Boss, and the buck starts and stops with you. And if you don’t like what the technology is doing to you, you can move. If you’re writing under someone else’s name, you’re stuck with them.
i totally agree with you Dave
This reminds me that the first blogging platform I used for my blog was Userland, 2002. This was the site then.
Ah, the timeless smart guy with this chin in his hand pose.Well played.You look like a Euro banker of some type there William!
ha… those were the suit and ties days.
You da man William! 🙂
I loved that platform, Dave. You created it with a lot of foresight in mind.
You and I have talked about this before, but @dave has a real knack for foresight.
Josh is the same age today as when I met YOU!! Oh boy, where has the time gone?? In the immortal words of Jerry, “What a long, strange trip it’s been…” Good luck to Josh and you and Jo have a wonderful trip.
I was thinking about that lately too — medium vs one’s own blog, etc. — and I, too, feel that having a blog should be an important part of the mix; and I’ll make it so for me personally.It seems obvious now, especially since you’ve blogged about it this morning, but I definitely had to “chew on it” for a while in view of the fact that others such as Marc Andreeseen, Jason Calacanis, et al, have defected the blog format in favor of Twitter — either tweeting often or choosing tweetstorm.Not to take anything away from Tweeter and Medium, of course, but the blog is still king.
Congratulations on Josh’s new beginning. I dropped off my oldest and only son for college this weekend and he starts school today so feel some similar bittersweet feelings. So happy for him and he’s in a very good place in life, but miss his smiling face and stories at the dinner table! 6 years to go until we send our last to college and I mentioned to Anne, my wife, that we should plan an extended vacation when Catherine, our 7th grader heads to college as well like you and Joanne are doing now. Thanks for the great idea.
That was my comment Fred. Did you see the follow up? Turns out I’d already read and enjoyed her content – actually shared it on Twitter. The thing that is hard about Medium is it puts the content first, so this makes it harder to retain control / amplify personal brands in the near term. BUT because it puts the content first it allows for new voices and ideas to be discovered. Which over time actually allows for more authentic personal branding to emerge. I’ve previously encouraged you to write on Medium and I know you resist, but as an author the experience is far better. Also, commenting is way easier. They need to improve the mobile UX a lot, but in browser it is the future of content. It puts writing, sharing, and enjoying the content ahead of everything else. And that is the whole point of the Internet to me.I also agree wholeheartedly with the flexibility that personal blogs allow but Medium actually takes that further. By being able to write across topics without centering around a personal brand it is even more flexible. Anyway, keep blogging and sharing in whatever form. I’d just encourage folks to give new platforms that put the content first a shot.
But the writing doesn’t have to live on medium.com for them to do that. They could find readers for my writing without me having to lock my writing into their space. They’re doing you the big favor of finding you readers in exchange for the lock-in.BTW, I’ve tried out that theory, and it didn’t work for me. My ideas get no more exposure on medium.com than they do anywhere else. It’s really up to me to promote my writing, where ever it lives.I learned this lesson, as did many others, years ago on Huffington Post, where they had the same pitch. Create your content here and we’ll get you readers. I did eventually get a hot piece on Huffington, but they basically took all the flow and redirected it to their directory of pieces on the topic I was writing about. So even when I win, I didn’t really win. That was the last piece I posted to their site. From then on, it was just my blog.These days, however — I do write stuff for posting on Facebook because there are more readers there, and more engagement. Which creates a problem that we have to solve, and are solving — cross-posting on my blog and Facebook simultaneously. If Medium would have an API that allowed this, I would tell people to go ahead and post there. It would be safe to do so. But they don’t do the API, for some reason. Why do you think that is?? 😉
I hear you about the history with other media sites – I think that is primarily driven by the traditional old-media driven ad-model which is analogous to the newspaper in the way advertising works – and therefore content sharing and production mirrors that – buckets / editorial control etc. My belief (which is I’ll admit fairly far-fetched) is that Medium is building a different concept of content sharing that will serve as a better tool for content production and discovery if executed well.Now of course that means getting people to be happy to share content so maybe having a more open API makes sense. Unclear why they shouldn’t allow that other than if I were them I’d put 100% of my resources into making the UX for writing and reading content better – they have a lot of work to do on mobile in content creation / editing (reading is already beautiful). Ultimately, if Medium is successful it could be like Twitter is for headlines and simple ideas – we filter what content we receive and share it much more effectively than any other previous tool.Perhaps Medium could be a destination where we learn about various topics and discover all sorts of relevant and interesting content to our interests in a longer form.As it stands, personal blogs are too far flunged and discovering new ones for folks other than people like Fred who already have a big personal brand is a horribly inefficient process.Twitter helps because we “network” there in a more interest-centric way, so we meet new people.But nothing really works for finding new thinkers / new ideas. Could be all of this is pointing at a deeper issue around our social networks – but I’ll save that for another comment thread 🙂
owning your audience development is a huge problem. Plus, audience development online is in and of itself a problem, as it doesn’t scale nicely for anyone.
Which creates a problem that we have to solve, and are solving — cross-posting on my blog and Facebook simultaneously. If Medium would have an API that allowed this, I would tell people to go ahead and post there. It would be safe to do so. But they don’t do the API, for some reason. Why do you think that is?? ;-)So are you saying like bricks and mortar syndication. In other words you post on your own blog but then by way of an API it ends up also on medium?Why falls back on one of the early observations that I had about websites in the 90’s which provided outbound links from their site elsewhere. In a traditional retail store you try and lock people in so they can’t escape. Even trap them so they have to walk around the store and they will buy more things.  You don’t give them a door and you certainly don’t give them a door to a competitor. Remember the Netscape Now button? Because it makes sense to download and install a new browser and then continue to use a site over a 28k modem. Or once you have someone at your new website you want to distract them with other info because of course they will return! (This was all masked of course by the fact that the net was growing so quickly so it was just a bump. Take that quick growth out and things wouldn’t have worked the way they did for any individual site. (As a whole it was a strategy that worked in other words..) One of the reasons that milk is in the back of the Supermarket.
I just started posting to http://www.jameshrh.com .I think your daily discipline is key.I think we can all feel AVC heading back toward the personal. I wonder how that will affect traffic?
i like squarespace too. i run another site on it. nice blog!
Thanks for checking it out!
I have had a personal blog for going on 8 years, I love the freedom & control it offers. It’s the one place I post (I have several other business blogs), where the motive is ONLY for me…if someone else likes it, awesome.
One thing I really love is reading both Gotham Gal and AVC back to back. Especially on days like today when your posts have a serendipity to them. Seeing the personal behind the business person is so very courageous and heartening. Congrats to you and Gotham Gal on successfully launching all your kids into the world (probably the best venture ever).
Was this blog always avc.com? Did you ever consider going at it with fredwilson.com?I feel like there’s a natural tension right now between personal blogs and branded ones. Given the rise of social media and the feeling that “everyone is a media brand”, there’s a debate as to what’s the right approach (probably no such thing). I’ve been thinking about it a lot with my blog, which started as a personal blog about cities (under myname.com), but then evolved to have its own brand. Now it’s a bit of a hybrid and I catch myself wondering if there should be some greater end goal.But I suppose that’s part of the benefit of blogging. You start and you have no idea where it might take you.(And congrats to Josh! Going away to college is a fun time.)
I miss doing a personal blog #todolist. *sigh*. Ironically, as my life has gotten more complicated, I’ve been told I’m more interesting.
What timing! Just last week I closed one of my wine blogs in favor of adding that content back on my personal blog, MomsToolbox.com. It is so freeing to write what I really think there again, finally. For awhile I was concerned about mixing Bible study and wine content. But that’s not the case anymore. Amy is back!
As someone who learns a lot from this blog (and is a new father), I welcome the upcoming shift and find it equally as important. I don’t read blogs just for information — I read them to get to know the person over time.
Last six months, after I lost my job, I started working online and I’ve been averaging 15k a month since… It was a gift from heaven that I stumbled upon this website… The best thing was that cause I am not that computer savvy all I needed was some basic typing skills and internet access to start earning online… This is where to start>WagePress.com
In the years I have been reading your blog I think you have always had a pretty good mix of personal and professional. Although I think Fun Friday should be more often, if not every week 😉 Good luck Josh!! He’s going to have a ball!
Good share out, thank you.
I think its an evolution. When this whole blogging thing started, I had two, one a log of my personal life as a dad, one a log of my professional life as a marketing dude. One of them was designed to be widely read, the other wasn’t. Over the years, the marketing blog morphed into a LinkedIn blog, but the personal one is still where I offer my thoughts on the world around me. One day, my kids can look back and see my opinions on the crazy shit we call life – in context to their lives. “My daughter is around for Obama” for example.We started blogs, for the most part, because we could, not because we had a strategic plan. Some turned into something because they were focussed, others didn’t because they were not. The quality of the past content can allow you to turn it back into more of your content. The one I have going still was never meant to be more than a log of life, and so it goes.
Getting ready to give my namesake site (which is full of prototypes that are busted due to missing APIs) the haircut it deserves. Thanks for the motivation!Also: my youngest is entering her senior year. The knowledge that only one tuition payment remains is golden….
The return of blogging that never died.The personal blog is a laboratory, a continuous personal experiment. For me, it helps to clear my head for my other writing.I hope more writers “come back” to their blogs.
I think this is really important, and represents a wider swing that we’re just beginning to see. I just published my reply – on my own, personal site, of course: http://werd.io/2014/reflect…I’ve been posting since 1998 or so, in a succession of personal blogs. I do think having your own personal space is important. For me it’s been about reflection – but I’ve also made a disproportionate number of contacts by people finding things I’ve written and connecting through them. I think that’s a lot easier on your own personal site, where you set the rules.
My daughter text me from her first ever college class (chemistry) this morning at 8am… she was homeschooled and I didn’t know she could get up that early without alot of help:) I guess my job is almost done as a care giver and beginning as an advisor… Damn… where did the time go…
We will all miss him. Even those of us who’ve never met him. Thanks for letting us experience you as a dad, Fred.And on the personal vs business, I love when they mesh…when we experience people more holistically. For so long I had to compartmentalize — and yes to some extent that is still appropriate– but it feels like business and professionalism are becoming more human. And I think that is a very good thing.Anecdote: This weekend a startup CEO and I had to jump on the phone for a few minutes to resolve something urgent that came up and on the other end I could hear him feeding his infant son. Loved that!
and on the other end I could hear him feeding his infant son. Loved that!See now being old school I feel the opposite. I like to have a conversation when I have someone’s full attention and they aren’t distracted. As such I never answer email by cell phone or even ipad and I will generally only have a phone call when I am in front of a full keyboard where I can take notes and look up things that I need to know.
This was a special situation. And I felt honored that he let me witness this part of his life. BTW he very cogently provided the input I needed to then turn around and close the hire. I can’t give names but this company will someday have a huge exit and this CEO’s ability to do what I just described is part of the reason they are doing so well.
There is something about the personal blog, yourname.com, where you control everything and get to do whatever the hell pleases you.Yourname.com? Couldn’t agree more.However even though I own both larry.com and larrys.com … as well as my a) lastname (plural and singular) b) firstnamelastname and even my formal c) firstnamelastname I choose to use Avc.com as my soapbox since there is a community here and I wish to remain semi anonymous. (And other reasons as well).In any case I’d probably be more likely to blog under one of the many other firstname.com’s that I own than use my own. (Which I’d be able to use for business purposes if I wanted..)
I’m a big fan of this revival. It reminds me of Frank Chimero’s blog post from last December about “digital homesteading” http://frankchimero.com/blo…He equates controlling every aspect of your personal website to an architect building their own home.
I’m excited for more personal, eclectic posts on AVC – those are usually my favorites.After years of tinkering, I finally landed on an email newsletter as my ‘personal blog’ format of choice:http://slugball.comIt's not a stream of consciousness like AVC but it’s my favorite topic – curated sports news.It’s my brand, I control the look and feel, etc.Email doesn’t allow for comments obviously but I’m amazed at how many meaningful connections (friendships & business contacts) I’ve made through the newsletter – more than a relative unknown like me could have through a traditional blog.The publishing drug is in my blood now. I love organizing my thoughts, writing, and in my case, hitting send.
Eclectic is a good word for AVC but with a definite tech bent. Fred has modeled well the combining of business and personal on a blog. The right amount of transparency and privacy. It’s a delicate balance.Your newsletter seems great but the only sports I follow are at my kids’ schools. Although sports is a topic around which vibrant communities can be built.
It is a delicate balance.I’m a private person by nature so I’ve been conflicted about publishing in the past.For whatever it’s worth, many have said my newsletter is the “sports page for the non-sports fan.” 🙂
What a great post Fred.When I started my blog, long ago, it was about the stock market. But after a while I thought to myself, “How many ways can you write about Apple?” The answer of course is “thousands,” but they are mostly all boring and repetitive.Then I took the leap and started blogging about more personal topics, the first being the loss of my father at an early age. It was a transformative event. Not only for me, but for my readers.By showing them that I was a real, thinking, feeling, occasionally successful, but more often, fallible human being, they could relate to me better, which encouraged them to interact with me more, which in turn allowed me to relate to them better. It created relationships, in the truest sense of the word.But even if I had no readers, the act of writing down the highs and lows of my life somehow crystallizes my thinking, and at the risk of sounding too much like a latter-day hippie, allows me to get in touch with who I am. I think ultimately it makes me a better father, husband, friend, and person in general.I always enjoy reading the more personal posts you put here on AVC and I hope you always continue to do so.
I have a personal blog that I have posted to sporadically since the end of high school or so. I started out in Drupal, then WordPress, now Jekyll (for speed and is inexpensive to host on Amazon S3). Some of the posts are lame or I am maybe not proud of them anymore. I leave them up because I think it’s important to own my past, both successes and failures.While certain topics may index better or retain audiences, I think ultimately we desire to connect with people. In college I learned taking classes with good professors was better than picking interesting topics with mediocre ones. I learned a lot about economics that way, and then in law school I took an income tax course that I otherwise had no interest or desire to take because everyone said the professor was awesome. He was and boy do I still use that class today.Fred, keep on being a good teacher.
My wife and I were sentimental enough about dropping off our youngest child at Kindergarten yesterday: a foreshadowing I suppose of the college drop off. We registered all their name URLs for future blogs if they want them — with “Kain” as a last name wasn’t too hard to have them available. I wonder when domain availability will be a standard part of the child naming process!
On the topic of college what does the AVC community think about The Minerva Project? I think it can definitely work in the long term but will be difficult to convince students/families short term. Our current education system is broken in so many ways and I’m intrigued by how they’re trying to rebuild a process from scratch. Would you ever consider sending Josh to Minerva? http://www.newrepublic.com/…
Sigh… All ours in out of the house now – we’ve event taken the next step and put the “Country Estate” on the market – leaving us with a 900 sq/ft apartment in the city.Excited about the next phase, and family nights being hosted by our oldest… but bitter sweet.Though living small has been energizing!
Really appreciate this post. I *just* started blogging, but I keep writing pieces and leaving them unpublished in Medium. In a way, I think I’m handicapped by my training as a professional artist where you needed a portfolio that told one, strong story rather then disparate pieces. I’m treating the blog like a gallery show rather then a bucket o’ thoughts. It’s helpful to read your post and see someone taking a more relaxed approach. I need to shake off the perfectionism if I’m going to really blog.
Tech, startups, and VC are important, of course. But one’s humanity is timeless and never obsolete. As a mother and someone who lost two brothers – both at age 17 – I both look forward to and dread sending my daughter off to college one day. I insist to my husband that, wherever she goes, we shall follow. She may attend a MOOC. Reading your precious few lines about sending Josh off reminds me of how Mike Brown was to begin college days after he was shot. I think of his parents, who looked forward to their son off to college, and how they must feel as they just laid him to rest.
Reading AVC and a few other blogs brought me out of my privacy shell to share what I’m working on and my thoughts. I even posted today on an inspired hack! http://bit.ly/YOXx827I have yet to make the personal blog. A visual diary of sorts. I’m not that comfortable yet with having it all hang out as someone like @awaldstein:disqus or even @fredwilson:disqus and others, but you are all moving me towards it because of the power of having that personal thing with my fingerprints on it.
Your startup journey has been rich and eventful, so i’m sure you can write a lot about that!
Yes, I realized the other day when interviewed for a radio show and chatted with the host pre and post interview how much I’d learned. And still am!
I just got an email (don’t know if this is something new or not) telling me”Subject: Congrats you are now invited to publish your thoughts on linkedin”.andBe known for what you know.Strengthen your reputation by sharing your perspectives with your network.Clicking led to page in the attached screen grab.
IT RECENT. THEM SEND TO EVERYONE, TRY TO MOVE FROM “SHARE STORIES FROM OTHER SITES ON LINKEDIN” TO “GET OTHER SITES TO LINK TO LINKEDIN STORIES”.
Your son Josh should make the most of it. He could be apart of the last generation to experience college the way it’s been for the past 75 years.
I miss more personal blogging. I miss writing when fewer people were paying attention. I miss being able to think out loud about the industry without a senior exec at a big co being offended, a startup thinking I was talking about them or whatever. I thought for a while that tumblr could be a personal blogging place and I could keep wordpress for bothsides. didn’t really work out. I miss just … writing.
i can totally relate Mark. i feel this every day.
#1 THING INTERNET NEED IS NEW INTERNET.
I empathize with what you are saying.I’m still a nobody and I’m enjoying that aspect of it while it lasts. I blog about whatever I want. I edit my posts a week or so after they were published. It all doesn’t matter as no one is reading anyway 🙂
BEST TIME TO LEAVE PARTY IS BEFORE EVERYONE ELSE SHOW UP. #THEINTERNETNOW
The Tiny Letter thing made me think “hey this is like blogging”, so that kind of made me start again.
Let’s hope that you are right about this becoming a trend. One of the great thing about the age of the personal blog was that conversations could happen on the web, in the way as you just did: Someone would post something on their blog and responses would be spread across multiple blogs, allowing to widen the conversation.In the age of social media, conversations are increasingly locked into specific silos (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr).It is more difficult to create a system that works in a distributed fashion but it’s ultimately much healthier for the ecosystem (the internet as a whole) that the current trends have been.
ONCE, INTERNET WAS THE PLATFORM. THEN REST OF WORLD SHOW UP, NEED FACEBOOK TO SHARE A CAT PHOTO.
Inspired me to dust off my own and finally press publish on a 3-year old draft post: http://www.rocrastination.c…. Let’s see how long this lasts 🙂
DO IT.OR ELSE.
OWN URL IS NEW BLACK. JUST LIKE 1997.
LET PLATFORM OWN YOUR BRAND IS SAME AS NOT HAVE ONE. BUILD YOUR OWN TO WIN.
http://adf.ly/qoxOn wonderful recipe ideas…
Andrei, In that case why not get your own domain and forward it to medium?