In the old days, authors wrote. Other people did the marketing, and that was all there was to it.
Now, of course, most blogs are one-person operations. Which means that successful blogs are often run by restless, outward-bound people in a hurry. And a lot of bloggers either have day jobs or passionate sidelines. I think that’s a good thing, even when they fail. It’s frustrating for me to hear, “stick to your blogging,” when people criticize a project created by a blogger–because it’s part of the blogging, part of the learning, part of what’s unfolding. I’d rather read a book that’s informed by the activities (not the reporting) of the writer, and I’d rather read a blog that’s based on the successes (and failures) of the blogger.
Which brings us to Hugh Macleod and his work for Microsoft. Some critics think he’s selling out. I don’t. I think he’s having a huge impact on an organization–from the outside–at the same time that he demonstrates how just about any large organization can rethink its role in the world. And he’s doing it in front of all of us, without a net.
Which brings us to Guy Kawasaki and his new project. I disliked this project from the very first moment I saw the beta. It’s unlikely that it will fail. It will almost certainly generate a lot of traffic and a huge ROI for Guy. For the rest of us, it demonstrates just how easy it is to start a web company today, and just how important it is to create one that makes the world better, not just noisier.