Friday, October 10, 2008

Lunch with Noric - and a request for advice

Yesterday Noric Dilanchian and I had lunch.

Noric and I have been mates for many years, and it was one of those free-ranging discussions that I so enjoy. You know, the type of conversations that occur between people with wide interests and shared experiences who like and are comfortable with each other.

We began with cloud computing, Noric is going to do a blog post here, then ranged across the IT and internet world. From time to time the conversation meandered to what some of our colleagues were doing (they spread across multiple countries), dropped into history and philosophy, then passed onto family matters.

We spoke about blogs and blogging. Here Noric gave me his views on what I needed to do to improve my own performance, some of which I agreed with, some not.

I have been thinking about this issue a fair bit. Blogging is my main writing form and I spend a lot of time on it. Like all of us, I write for my own purposes, including especially the pleasure and sometimes pain of the writing itself. However, I also want my writing to be interesting and relevant to the reader.

Around eighty per cent of traffic on this blog is search engine generated. The remainder breaks up equally between click-throughs from other sites and return visitors.

I value my return visitors greatly. They are the salt that flavours the blogging experience. Some I know, they comment or refer to posts in their posts, some I do not. Some come daily, more drop in from time to time.

I know how to increase my traffic from search engines, although often I choose not to do so because the type of posts that this would require me to write is in conflict with my reasons for writing. However, I am less clear on the best way to increase relevance and interest for my regular readers.

To help my thinking here, a request for help to those who return.

What do you like or not like about this blog? What would you like to see more of? What do you see as my greatest strengths, my greatest weaknesses?

I do not guarantee to accept your views. I do promise that I will not get upset by any comments and that I will try to take your views into account.


Anonymous said...

Having shared a few lunches with Noric myself - I wish I'd been there with you guys. Wonderful.

I'd agree with the general idea of trying to be the best (writer/blogger) you can be but...

Don't you find sometimes you start writing in a particular direction and the process almost takes on a life of its own.

I don't mean to discount structure and planning but sometimes the writing is a discovery of links and linkages that you might not have discerned beforehand.

Anyway - in my view part of the joy of blogging and reading other blogs is that there is a wealth of human experience and also a random -ness or serendipity to the best writing.

In summary - I'm not so sure that you need to do any more than being true to yourself and to hold up the your mirror to see if those reflections might also add value to others.

I'd guess some readers use RSS to keep in the frame as well.

Jim Belshaw said...

Hi Jason, good to hear from down-town Auckland. Noric is always stimulating.

I do indeed find that I start in one direction, then go elsewhere. Part of the pleasure of blogging is just that. I also agree that being true to one's self is key.

That said, I do want to also meet reader needs among my small group of regulars. Now it may be that this is best done by doing what I do.

Anonymous said...

Jim, I am a retired management professional. After retirement, I have hardly had any active hands on management related work except as a mentor to young entrepreneurs as part of the local chamber of commerce initiative.

I enjoy reading your articles on Management and recently of course on the financial crisis. As a non Australian, I would like to read more about Australia specific posts which will be of interest to non Australians. For instance, the current stand off between the ruling party and the opposition on supply of uranium to India.

I personally believe that there is more to be benefited between Australia and India than what has been going on. Australia has tended to lean more towards China than India, and I would like to know why.

Jim Belshaw said...

Thank you for your comment, Ramana. I have put up a full post in response.

Anonymous said...


Tried to comment before but had my usual third world telecom problems.

Your blog is interesting to me for its take on many of the policy issues and government management issues that we find mutually fascinating. I also like that our take on many matters is so different.

Of less interest to me is New England and indigenous issues. Also what your daughters are doing. But this is your personal blog and I can skate over these. Anyway, even they raise some issues of interest such as the alcopops post some time ago.

I'll return to Australia next year. Perhaps we too can arrange to meet up for lunch. :)

Jim Belshaw said...

Bob, lunch would be great. Denise would like to catch up as well.

Thanks for the comments on your interests. About hwat I would have expected. Picking up Jason's point and part of your comment as well, it is a personal blog. On the other hand, I frequently write with a perdon in mind!

Anonymous said...

Personally I don't want you to change anything - I enjoy this blog. I'm not the greatest commenter in the world (in fact, I rarely comment on other people's blogs unless I have something specific to say). But that doesn't mean I don't enjoy them.

Jim Belshaw said...

Thanks, LE. Noted!