I’m scoring the airports on this trip, because I know something is going to go sideways on the flight and it will be interesting to try to compare the experience objectively.
- No line at the United counter, 1 point (of course it’s for an 11:30 pm flight).
- Only one metal detector open, with a screener who wants to see everyone’s pass after the person at the head of the line already checked it: – 1 point.
- Not setting off the metal detector with my glasses or my shoes: 1 point.
- WiFi in the terminal, 2 points. – 1 point for WayPort paid rather than free (but at least it’s a paid service that I already subscribe to).
- No one at the gate to check if I can get exit row seats, – 1 point.
- No travel services open in the N gates: -1 point.
So far SeaTac is pretty neutral (or, less favorably, scores a big goose egg).
I find myself thinking more often these days about what blogs should be, even as I spend less time thinking about what I actually blog. Not necessarily a good combination. But I sometimes think that the relative effortlessness with which really practiced bloggers post is less a factor of short attention spans or carelessness (though there are plenty, myself included, who are guilty of both) and more a factor of practice. And, over time, of self-knowledge.
Someone asked me what blogging was the other day. My reply: “It’s an individual’s perspective on life, usually but not necessarily of the online variety.” After taking that thought away, I’m not sure I’m satisfied with it. After all, Real Live Preacher doesn’t blog about online life; neither does Julie Powell; neither (usually) does Tony Pierce. And neither, really, does Dave Winer, not anymore. So that leaves us with “an individual’s perspective on life.” Hmm. Not satisfactory, but let’s start with that.
What does that individual perspective mean? Well, for one thing, it’s personal. Regardless of whether you’re compiling lists of links or writing essays, the blog reflects your perspective. The better blogs are more personal, not less; they put that personality out there and reveal all the subjectivity up front.
So what does this have to do with business? Maybe nothing. But even at large companies like Microsoft, we need to connect to our customers and understand them—and, sometimes harder, have them understand us. Maybe blogging is a way to do that that transcends being there in newsgroups or posting anonymous advice to the corporate website.
I’m doing my best to get ready for BloggerCon. I’m downloading the Lydon interviews for listening on the plane; I’ve read the conference blog for days; I’ve signed up for dinner with Doc Searls (but will they let me bring my spouse?); am I forgetting anything prior to the conference?
Yes. I need to put my humble hat and my listening ears on. This is the first place I’ll be with other bloggers (outside the Seattle circle) who will know me not as “Tim of Jarrett House North” but rather “Tim the Microsoft blogger.” I expect I’ll get a lot of input, some of it friendly, some constructive, and some impassioned. And I expect a lot of it will be really good. But the important thing is, I’m not going to speak; I’m going to learn.
I’ll be in beautiful sunny Cambridge this week to talk to MIT and Harvard business school students about Microsoft. I’ll also be at the BloggerCon this weekend. In between I hope to squeeze in a little vacation and maybe celebrate our anniversary (Lisa is coming along).
I tend to be productive blogging on the plane; between airport wifi and long hours of enforced immobility, I find time to write software and get ideas out into words. Hope this trip continues the trend.