Benefits of Blogging

Yesterday my blog turned one.

On November 21, 2003 I blogged a suggestion to Google’s founders that they should launch a desktop search engine before Microsoft could incorporate their planned desktop and web search engine in Longhorn. (I’m very happy to say they have done this, and would have, with or without my blog!)

I’ve had a lot of fun over the last year blogging about technology and business. In fact, writing is now the funnest thing I do. It forces me to concentrate on one topic and at least try to say something that will be intelligible and meaningful to others. It leads me to pay far more attention when I’m reading. I’m continually looking for new information and for opinions that I either agree with and want to endorse or disagree with and explain why. I think it has helped me think and communicate more clearly.

In October, my blog had more than 25,000 visits. Several times a week I receive comments or emails from people who have read my blog and appreciate my efforts. That is gratifying.

As I think back on the past year of blogging and the new people I have met as a result, I think back to America’s original blogger, Benjamin Franklin.

Franklin is one of my heroes. His success in life began as an printer and then author, daily churning out his thoughts and ideas, sometimes under his own name, and sometimes in disguise.

Franklin spent the first 40 years of his life in printing and business. He made a great deal of money. Then, he spent the last 40+ years of his life in public service.

He was postmaster general, member of the Continential Congress, and ambassador/minister to France. But all his life (according to a recent biography I listened to from Audible.com on my iPod) he signed his name

B. Franklin, Printer.

I think I know why.

Words are powerful. According to scripture, they are more powerful than the sword.

Through the power of the press, Benjamin Franklin helped rally a nation to fight for independence from the British crown. He had helped Thomas Paine emigrate from England in October 1774. With some assistance from Franklin, Thomas Paine went on to publish the pamphlet Common Sense, which more than any other tract rallied Americans (including George Washington) to fight for independence. It is reported that more than 500,000 copies of Common Sense were printed in a nation of just a few million people.

A great nation was formed by the power of words and the freedom of the press which gave expression to those words.

Now I know what you are thinking…”I knew Benjamin Franklin, and you are no Benjamin Franklin.”

But like Benjamin Franklin, I have begun to taste the benefits of writing and printing, albeit my printing is electronic and global, not paper-based and local.

Because of my blog, I have been asked to write a column for Connect Magazine, circulation 9,500. This monthly magazine reaches many of Utah’s high tech business leaders. I have a feeling, too, that I will be writing books soon.

Because of blogging, I have gotten acquainted with dozens of talented business people, internet marketers, and even angel and venture investors. Recently I got an email from an EIR (Entrepreneur in Residence) from a very prestigious Silicon Valley venture firm. He said he had read nearly all of my posts and wanted to meet next time I’m in the Bay Area.

How valuable are these new connections? They are priceless. In some ways, because it helps me form connections with like-minded people all over the world, blogging may be the most important thing I do.

But like some other good habits I have developed over the years which are hard to teach and harder yet to convince others to do (like taking notes at every meeting you attend, and storing all your personal knowledge in a searchable database), I have a very hard time convincing anyone to start their own blog. Most think it would be a waste of time.

But for me, as I said before, in many ways, this is the most important thing I do. That is why I will sign off, respectfully yours,

P. Allen, Blogger

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6 Comments

  1. Hey Paul

    Thanks for this post – I completely identify with you, and often find myself trying to explain why one should blog if one can. My mom has just written a book on sustainability in the modern world in South Africa, and I keep trying to get her to start that conversation with her audience, but it’s like trying to explain why a blind man should get a shiny walking stick – he can’t see that ‘cos it’s bright yellow, people will see him coming in the dark (you know what I mean!).

    I also completely agree with your point on publishing – I get so much satisfaction with sharing what I know! I’m in a position to help people from South Africa (I’m in London) so I’m gong to start by doing something really small and grow it organically, and blogs like yours have given me the courage in my own convictions to start the process and believe that I’m dong the right thing – sooner or later, people will start to see what I’m (we’re) saying and they’ll understand.

    Cool – keep it coming.
    G Knight
    Blogger

  2. […] I continue to encourage everyone to start blogging and keep at it, for all the various benefits that come from it. Two years ago I mentioned a few benefits of blogging, and for me, the benefits just continue to mount. The most recent being that I was invited to participate in a broadcast that might reach millions of people worldwide. I’ll share more details later, but it’s truly an amazing opportunity. It would not have happened without my blog. […]

  3. wilson ng

    Hi Paul,

    i identified a lot of what you said. Like you I’m a businessman, and in the technology industry. Like you I blog, though I have done only for 3 months. I have written weekly articles for our regular paper though for ten years ( I am on my 619th article).

    Like you, I also admire Ben Franklin. His stories ( paying too much for the whistle, an axe to grind etc), his quotes, his plan to improve himself, his homespun wisdom, have been featured in my blogs, writings, and also in my consciousness. I always say his contribution has been worth every cent for his being featured as the 100 dollar bill figure.

    I expect my business to take care of my financial needs, but gain fulfillment through teaching and blogging.

    best,
    wilson ng
    http://www.bizdrivenlife.net

  4. T Welch

    Paul:

    You are a gem. I find your ideas inspiring and your passion for changing the world refreshing and believable. Reminds me of a childhood friend and family member I knew well (hey cuz!). I just read your Connect article and it drove me to your blog. I too love B. Franklin and have long studied his life and writings. Would love to lunch or chat with you at your convenience if ever you can spare a minute.

    I feel a sense of urgency presently (now approaching mid-life: could it be??) to make a difference within my present circle and without. I thrive on sweet associations with positive “spark-sharing” people who, like yourself, are on fire with truth, positive ambition and fresh ideas. Having read a few things about your recent and present ventures, my humble take follows: they are not only enormously successful financially (kudos cuz; you deserve it all) but have the added virtue of being based in sound principle and genuine goodness. Prosperity, when joined with humility and goodness of the kind that emanates from the likes of your ventures is a grand thing indeed; it truly does have power to effect positive change throughout the world. Keep doin’ it.

    Best and warmest,
    T Welch

  5. Ginny Manning

    Paul, I’m an 83 year old electronically challenged female. I am very interested in how DNA testing may help those of us searching for our ancestors. I recently had my mtDNA tested. It may not help me, but it will help my grandkids if they become interested in genealogy.
    I’ve followed your career and am glad to see some of the things you have accomplished.
    Good Luck to you in the New Year.
    ginman

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