“Thought Leadership” – Open-minded, Passionate and Honest.

I’ve been hunting around for examples of teams blogging on specific areas of specialty. Most pointedly my search has been for online examples of the nebulous area – “Thought Leadership”

Several CxO blogs promoting this – including Debbie Weil on CEO Thought Leadership:

First, blogging is writing. That’s all it is. Good blogging is good writing. It is not copywriting. That is, writing-for-hire whose purpose is to sell someone else’s products or services. So for you, Bob, a blog might serve as an outlet for itchy fingers to sound off on topics / issues / bugaboos that come up in the course of your copywriting assignments. Do you have that urge? If you do, that’s a raison d’etre for your blog. If you don’t, well… I understand.

I like the comment on having an urge to express. On my personal blog I write more about how I came back to blogging

I also liked this from James McGovern – an IT Enterprise Architect blog:

The difference between generally available opinions and thought leadership are the difference between night and day. Opinions tend to be emotional, reactional and narrowly focused. Thought leadership on the other hand serves to introduce ideas and concepts to individuals using factual, open-minded, disciplined approaches.

Especially in the area of technology this seems like a great approach to communication. It suggests a divergence from the traditional marketing-led approach to blogging and more of an unbiased (is that the word I’m meaning?) discussion of the technologies and issues at hand.

Open-minded, Passionate and Honest.

Summed up by this:

Employees will be blogging in their off hours if it’s fun for them. Edwin K., the primary author of the Collaxa blog, actually used the words “fun” in describing his 2 and 1/2 years thus far of evangelizing the business process management and BPEL space. Fun, passion, challenge, enthusiasm: It’s the only way the commitment will be maintained.

Technologists and blogging

Just a placeholder for now. I’ll add more links as I untangle them from my memory.

I’ve been looking in detail at how technology companies use blogs – generally they fall into three clear categories:

  • disruptive marketing
  • technical deep-dive
  • actually interesting

Tim Bray from Sun has a great discussion on how Sun built a policy on blogging and sharing information semi-informally with the public. Novell’s own Nat Friedman also blogs prolifically.

Microsoft have been pushing their employees to blog for a couple of years. The full list is here. Good ones to read are from either marketing or program management

Reverend Ted should deserve a mention. If only for the flame-wars he seems to create.

Blogging

Tim Bray wrote an excellent article on blogging:

Ten Reasons Why Blogging is Good For Your Career

  1. You have to get noticed to get promoted.

  2. You have to get noticed to get hired.

  3. It really impresses people when you say “Oh, I’ve written about that, just google for XXX and I’m on the top page” or “Oh, just google my name.”

  4. No matter how great you are, your career depends on communicating. The way to get better at anything, including communication, is by practicing. Blogging is good practice.

  5. Bloggers are better-informed than non-bloggers. Knowing more is a career advantage.

  6. Knowing more also means you’re more likely to hear about interesting jobs coming open.

  7. Networking is good for your career. Blogging is a good way to meet people.

  8. If you’re an engineer, blogging puts you in intimate contact with a worse-is-better 80/20 success story. Understanding this mode of technology adoption can only help you.

  9. If you’re in marketing, you’ll need to understand how its rules are changing as a result of the current whirlwind, which nobody does, but bloggers are at least somewhat less baffled.

  10. It’s a lot harder to fire someone who has a public voice, because it will be noticed.

As a people manager I’m not too happy with #2 and #6 – but every point is spot on. As Product Managers we are inherently Marketers too.

On blogging

It’s a strange thing blogging. I’ve had “content” online for years; just nothing that could be called a regularly updated blog 🙂

At long last it’s time to stop sitting on my hands – I’ve been thinking hard about these three aspects:

Why? I’ve been sharing my thoughts electronically in a work setting for about five years; by email and on internal web sites and discussion lists. I’ve actually (and still do) hosted servers that facilitate that discussion. The biggest question I’ve always had is how to distil those thoughts and post them more publicly without revealing confidential information. I’ve been lurking and reading some of my peers blogs as well as some of those from competitors to help understand the acceptable limits.

What? or to be more accurate – it’s all about the signal to noise ratio. Again – there are lots of blogs from technologists that are just dull – the challenge for anyone publishing (online or in print) is to keep content relevant and fresh without getting mired in a world of tedium and cliche.

Where? I host my own servers – mail and web – for my own personal email and web site. I’m not naive enough to think I’ll be getting anything more than a couple of hits on this data – so the bandwidth isn’t the issue. What’s more important to me is the actual ease of use of the tools to generate the blog. Without starting the whole religious war – yes there are very very strong open source bog frameworks out there; put it simply I’m just too lazy (or too busy) to get the thing deployed, tweaked, secured and customised for my world.. that’s why I’m posting here.

I’ll see what I should bring across from previous posts – I did have some content on the Ximian blogs; as well as other internal pieces. Hopefully with editing and a sharp blue pencil I’ll post things that are interesting.