I’ve been in a blog malaise lately. It’s getting harder and harder to write. Why? The stakes are going up. Not for me, I really don’t care. But for the people I’m writing about and who want access to my audience. When I started writing a blog back in 2000 there weren’t any startups. In fact, the news of that day was how the startup world was being cleaned out.
I didn’t have the words for what was happening to the industry, and to me, but Mike Arrington, this morning, put his finger on it: “Times are good, money is flowing, and Silicon Valley sucks.”
That explains why I have been avoiding my email lately. I have a folder called “software I want to try.” It’s a lot smaller than all the other folders in my Outlook. It has things like Radar.net and Scrapblog and Buzzword. But I look at my “things I might blog someday” folder and it has more than 1,000 items from companies hoping I’ll video them, or write about them.
There’s still a lot of magic in the valley. This past weekend’s Maker Faire demonstrated that to me. I found it ironic that my favorite meeting of the day was with a club of crafts people who had nothing to do with technology. They were doing it just for the sheer love of it. There’s still a lot of people in the valley who are doing it “for the love of it.” But they are getting obscured by the money, and the sheer volume of stuff coming out.
Just look at TechMeme lately. It’s not about building stuff. You don’t see Ajaxian or the Make Blog on TechMeme. You see Wallstrip selling for a few million to CBS.
I too look wistfully back at the days when we had almost the entire Social Software industry in one little coffee shop back in 2002 — none of whom were talking about making billions of dollars. Back then it was more like the Homebrew Computer Society, where geeks came to show off their stuff (and everyone was pretty much not getting paid anyway so of course we were doing it just for the love of it). Plus getting a link back then was so much easier cause the stakes were so much lower (and there just wasn’t any competition anyway). That’s why I’m focusing more on my link blog lately. Back then it was a good month when we had 100 good blog posts. Today it’s an average day when we have 100 good posts A DAY.
One thing I’m learning to say is “no.” It’s a real pain in the behind, but with a kid on the way I’m being forced to say no to a whole raft of things. Another thing I’m trying to learn to do is to pick some stories that I do for myself. Photowalking is a great example. Or drinking beer with Second Lifer James Au was another. Those are things I do for myself and looking at comments about them they resonate with all of you a lot more than yet another Web 2.0 CEO announcing yet another product aimed at taking on a specific market segment.
But there’s always that business pressure that Mike’s talking about. I’m feeling it too, so I can’t imagine the kinds of pressure that Mike is getting to cover companies.
Kara Swisher, of the Wall Street Journal, has some good advice for us: “just say no.”