On Bits and bits

I started blogging back in 2004 when I was struggling to hire software engineers in New York during the first post dotcom ice age. Hiring then was not a struggle like today's in that the job market wasn't crazy; instead hiring was all about the "fit challenge." Most great engineers in NYC back in 2004 wanted to work at investment banks and hedge funds and these aspirations did not mix well with the consumer Internet zeitgeist we were trying to reignite. So I started a blog so that when they inevitably googled me and/or the job, they'd come across a first filter that didn't cost me a call or meeting.

As a recruiting aid, it worked so well in fact that I kept doing it across another startup and right through that startup's life and into my brief tenure at HP. And in the process something funny happened: I had real fun doing it (turns out that "thinking in writing" really does work!).

And then I got into the venture business where most (though not all) people blog as marketing along well-trodden paths of "valuable content" that breaks down roughly into:

  • financing advice
  • management advice
  • life advice

Some of this content, when well researched and not generalized from one's narrow (and in the case of entrepreneurs-turned-VCs, rapidly fading) point of view can be incredibly valuable. In my opinion, the spread of knowledge around best practices that comes from the very best of these types of blog posts has been as much of a factor as "cloud computing" or "open source" in flattening the entry ramp to the startup life.

And some of the authors have a knack for this. Alas this has not been me.

And so blogging turned from something that was fun to a chore and from something that was off the cuff and about interesting things I was seeing to tons of work in search of "insight" and "value" I could deliver to an amorphously defined audience being deluged with tips, tricks, and the rare gem from Venturelandia.

The result: after almost a decade of doing it regularly, I sort of got tired and petered out. But I've missed it, or at least a part of it.

Ergo bits. This started as a project to rewrite my old blogging software (which I had last overhauled in 2007) a couple of weeks ago but has become an experiment to see if I can rekindle what I used to like about thinking in writing. Hence the simplistic format, the lack of buttons to share, tweet or comment. And most importantly, the freedom from the pressure that comes with having to write long and "valuable" posts.

These pieces here, they'll be just little bits.