Wow, I’ve been writing here for 10 years. Here’s what I’ve learned

This month marks the 10th anniversary of my first publishing on this personal site of mine. That’s a decade of publishing at least once every single month for 120 consecutive months. That sounds batty to me.

Scan my archives here.

I first bought my name as a domain in 2005 and built a little site using Dreamweaver, when it was still  Macromedia, sitting in my university computer lab, but I let it lapse. I had no body of work, and even the compressed versions of short videos I was creating then were too big for my early hosting package — this was before both YouTube was at scale and Amazon Web Services had even launched, you’ll remember.

By December 2007, I felt like I had a greater purpose. I was an undergraduate active in my college newspaper, frequently writing fiction and learning as much as I possibly could. So on December 4 of that year, I bought a domain and redirected it to a WordPress.com blog template, starting with this post. I was an active and early Google Reader user, following and reading a growing array of bloggers I admired and wanted to join the conversation. I was super excited by RSS feeds.

During the next 10 years, this blog has been a major part of my personal and professional development. To look back, I wanted to share a few things I’ve learned along the way.

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Here are a few things I told a Young Professionals Council

Last month, I was the featured speaker in a regular CEO series hosted by the Young Professionals Council of the Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia.

More than 40 people kindly came out to hear me be interviewed. We talked about Technically Media, tech and impact trends and journalism. (Yes, there was an Amazon HQ2 question: I said I was betting on the D.C. market but thought Philadelphia had a strong enough offering that I refuse to be surprised if chosen).

Below I share a few other thoughts I shared, mostly prompted by audience Q&A.

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I helped organize Code for America’s inaugural national Brigade Congress

Long a believer in the importance of the nascent civic technology community, I’ve been a fan of national nonprofit Code for America. So I was thrilled for the chance to support the group in producing its first ever Brigade Congress, a national unconference focused on civic tech, last month.

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In defense of friction (Or, yes, I think business cards still make sense)

I’ve met a lot of startups trying to get rid of business cards. Because they seem old and create obstacles.

I often gather several business cards from events and days later will go through them, pulling out the people who are the most relevant for something we talked about, someone whom we have a next step. That friction makes sense. It causes an opportunity cost: by making me take several steps, I am more selective.

There’s this concept of an efficiency tax, that sometimes we want friction. It helps the experience. Business cards are one of them.

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Journalists: what do you love first, the Reporting or the Writing

A version of this essay was published as part of my monthly newsletter several weeks ago. Find other archives and join here to get updates like this first.

One of the first questions I ask younger reporters when I meet them is which is their first love: the reporting or the writing. Storytelling, as the form is euphemistically categorized, is very old. The ways we report and write, too, have old origins, but their forms adapt with the times. They change constantly. I bet your industry has a similar kind of split, subtly different pathways to the professional work.

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Watch my appearance on the 2Techies podcast

I first met Miami founder Michael Hall in early 2016 when I reported a feature on and hosted an event with the entrepreneurship community there. Since then, I’ve spent time with him a handful of times, at SXSW, over dinner and during another pair of trips I made to Miami.

He’s a charming and humble explorer in his and other startup communities, friendly enough to share with others what he learns along the way. So I was tickled to join him on the second season of his popular on-going weekly video podcast interview series called 2Techies, in which he interviews others involved in tech communities.

See it here, or watch it below with a few notes from our conversation.

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Great beat reporting results in you negotiating when to break news you already have

If a journalist covers her beat well enough, one of the more frequent challenges she’ll face is negotiating when to report something, if a source is requesting an embargo.

That was one of the main points during a session I helped lead during the annual conference of the National Lesbian Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA) about finding and reporting a niche.

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Watch my interview on ‘The Blind Entrepreneur’ podcast

Be more explicit with your team when you’re offering an opinion, a recommendation or stating a direct ask. Otherwise, a teammate might not know whether you’re sharing an idea or a demand.

It’s something I’m still learning and something I shared when I was interviewed on a podcast called ‘The Blind Entrepreneur.”

Host Johnathan Grzybowski helpfully has fuller show notes on the site here, where you can watch the episode. Find it below too.

Continue reading Watch my interview on ‘The Blind Entrepreneur’ podcast