Fred Wilson has a great post up today titled Can We Live In Public? If you go back in time to May 4, 2004 when I started blogging, you’ll see that Fred was one of the key inspirations with his post Transparency to my question of To Blog or Not to Blog. At the time, my interest came from a very simple place.
I’m a professional emailer / phonecaller / meeting taker (aka a venture capitalist). Much of my time is spend writing, reading, thinking, talking, and learning. As a result, I’ve been fascinated (and deeply involved) with the evolution of email and web-based communication and technologies.
I just wanted to learn how this stuff worked. Blogging, RSS, user generated content. All the corresponding web-based tools and technologies that were emerging in 2004. To me, learning how this stuff worked wasn’t just reading about it and observing, but actually participating. UGC was a big part of it – I believed that I wouldn’t really understand it unless I was a content creator. So, while my blogging was motivated by transparency, my meta-goal was ultimately a selfish one – to learn.
I massively underestimated the value of this to me. When I reflect on the last four years of my blogging, it’s been one of the most interesting, enlightening, stimulating, and – ultimately – rewarding things that I’ve done professionally. It’s resulted in new investments, new friends, lots of stimuli I doubt I ever would have encountered, plenty of healthy conflict that has caused me to think through things I otherwise wouldn’t have thought much about, and an outlet for my desire to write that is clearly aligned with what I do every day for work.
The notion of living in public is an unintended side effect of this. It’s part of the package if you really want to engage with this stuff. I’ve had my share of bad moments; like Fred the worst is when I piss off my wife Amy with something I write. It doesn’t happen often, but every now and then I get an email saying approximating "please delete that tweet".
Over the past year or so, the ideas swirling around my head have coalesced into a construct that at Foundry Group we are calling Digital Life. As I continue to live in public, the friction and overhead associated with it increases geometrically since I am both a generator and consumer of content. I’m continuing to work on understanding (and investing in) the tools, technologies, and services on both sides of this equation, but I also want to knit it all together at a higher level.
I’ve got a long way to go. I learn a little every day. By doing. Thank you for helping.