As many of you know, I only started blogging recently. The overwhelming feedback has been along the lines of “You don’t blog? You’re a Digital Mentor and you’ve only just started to blog! Why didn’t you blog before?”
I have to be honest, I was struggling. The problem is, I would sit at my computer, staring at a blank screen … again and again … trying to start. I have stuff to say. I love telling stories, which I use in my work. I regularly present, give lectures, run seminars and workshops teaching companies, brands and individuals how to succeed in today’s digital world. Surely this makes good blogging material. So why is it so hard to start?
Then one day, during a typically unproductive session, I remembered that I used to blog. It was a long, long time ago, before people really blogged. Around the time that Andrew Sullivan’s blog “The Daily Dish” started to show the world just how powerful blogging could be.
Let me tell you that story.
At the beginning of 2000 I moved with my wife and three small boys to live in New Jersey. After 10-years of corporate life, I was bored of consumer goods and wanted some of that newfangled internet thing that everyone was excited about. The bubble was still intact, I quit my job and persuaded my good friend Alan to set up Amicada.
Amicada was destined to put high-quality video onto the internet … who would have thought! It wasn’t so easy because, technically, we could not rely on the fat data pipes delivering broad-band to every household. Despite the challenges, we did well. We built the technology to overcome the limitations of a narrow-band world and we licensed Amicada to many websites, enabling them to broadcast great videos to their users.
Why has no one heard of Amicada? Well, by the time we launched, the bubble had well and truly burst. Do you remember those terrible, dark days of 2001? As soon as we signed a deal with a customer, their business shut down. 9/11 was the nail in Amicada’s coffin and at the beginning of 2002, I found myself living in America, with a mortgage, car leases, three children in private Jewish schools, and no job!
We did the obvious thing! We sold everything we could, put the rest in storage, bought a 32-foot RV (a 10m motorhome) and set off on a six-month road trip across the USA.
We started in the winter, headed south to warmer parts and then and made our way through the southern states and on to California. There are many great stories, for other posts. But for today … this is when I started to blog for the first time.
The idea was to create a log of our trip so that family and friends back home could keep track of us. It wasn’t so hard to start that blog, even though 10-years ago the tools were much less sophisticated. I had a Dell Pentium II notebook and used the gorgeous Microsoft FrontPage to build the website; it was as simple to use as PowerPoint and you didn’t need to touch the HTML code. I looked at the website again today; it’s still there just search Google for “The Traveling Sumroys”.
In 2002, there was no mobile internet, no Wifi, no 3G. So I built the pages and wrote the stories offline. Then, every now and then, we would have a “Kinko’s night”. At the time, every high-street had a Kinko’s print shop (now it is called FedEx Office) and by 2002 they had internet connected workstations. Customers could plug-in and work online for free.
Late at night, we would pull up outside a Kinko’s, park the RV and Rhoanna and the kids would go to sleep. I would stay up for a few hours writing, updating, uploading and then sending a mail-shot to our ‘followers’ telling them of the latest posts.
As I said, it wasn’t so hard to start that blog, and I realized … blogging does not need to be complicated. I don’t need to get so hung up on extraneous stuff: platforms, search engine optimization, advertising, monetization, affiliate deals, etc.
Its all about content!
So here I am. I’m sitting, I’m typing, and I just finished another post.
Tell me about your first blog. Is it still waiting to be written? Let me know if you want some help.