This begins a series of case studies from people I interviewed in 2005 about their blogging efforts. Now as we move to 2013, I find it interesting to look back at the early days of business blogging. I will only include cases from people who are still blogging now. These cases have not appeared on this blog before.
Gautam Ghosh now writes the blog, Talent and Social Business. In 2004 Gautam Ghosh wrote the blog, Gautam Ghosh on Management (that now redirects to the new one) that provided his “musings on the corporate world, management & strategy, HRD, training, innovation & creativity, knowledge management & creation, organizational development, the “new” economy, systems thinking, complexity theory, etc.” At that time he was a human resource, training & organizational development professional located in Bangalore, India. While he often wrote on topics of local interest, many of his posts address global issues.
Gautam has been a chronic contributor to various business related egroups/yahoogroups and listservs over the last five years. Initially, he started the blog, two and half years ago, to chronicle his various contributions at these e-groups, so that he could have them handy at one centralized place. His blogging experiences met the original objectives but the objectives also evolved. It was only after he started this blog that Gautam realized the power of blogging. He found the power of the easy hyperlinking facility, to be precise.
Gautam’s blogging objectives continued to evolve, especially as the resources that were under his command started to develop. Initially, Blogger (which is the service he uses) did not have either a commenting facility or permalinks. With the addition of these tools his blog posts actually became dialogue points and not 'soliloquies' alone.
When Gautam discovered Technorati, it added the ability to find out who was linking to him and what was being discussed in the blogosphere. Knowing these realities actually influenced what he posted. Gautam was no longer posting for himself anymore...having a readership (however small), and a knowledge of this readership, changed his objectives.
Gautam had not really faced any challenges in his blogging. There were a few changes he made in the blog template that sometimes messed up his formatting but there has been nothing significant as he continued his blogging. He faced the minor technical challenges by trial and practice. He also learned some basic HTML to take more control over his blog.
Other blogs provide Gautam’s major source of content. He has set some phrases as Google news alerts. He also monitors some business related sites. Readers of his blogs will find that he links to interesting thoughts in the areas of organization, human resources, people, creativity, innovation and Indian business scene. His blog offers a different perspective from the economics/marketing focused blogs.
Gautam benefited from reading other blogs by picking up some great insights from people who look at business issues from different perspectives. He could get easily and quickly educated on other issues like American politics and environmental issues, as well, which provides an added bonus. He has many favorite blogs. Bloglines and RSS have made it possible to read all the great posts at one given place. His required reading was BusinessPundit, The Canadian Headhunter, Tom Peters' Blog, Seth Godin's Blog, Fast Company Now, Business 2 Blog, Bill Ives’ Blog, Don Clark's Blog, Smartmobs blog, Dave Pollard's blog, Rajesh Jain's blog, Dina Mehta's blog, Alternative Perspective, Madhukar Shukla's musings, Denham Grey's blog, Knowledge Jolt with Jack, Judith Meskill, Lilia Efimova amongst all the 120 odd that he follows.
He picked blogs to read for several reasons. Some have great writing abilities, some have great insight, and most of them have both. Most of the blogs he reads relate to business, while others have a more holistic picture on environment and community effects of corporations.
Gautam offered this advice for others thinking about starting a small business blog. A blog is a great way to build conversation, but realize that a blog will attract feedback of a vocal minority that is savvy with technology. If your business has a substantial consumer group who fit into these demographics, the qualitative feedback from these conversations will be useful.
A few months prior to our conversation, he offered a nice weekend musing (http://gauteg.blogspot.com/2004/09/weekend-musings.html) that I immediately aligned with. Gautam wrote, “It is my view that organizations (of any form) are unnatural entities with their command and control structures and secretive ways. For organizations to survive and thrive they need to embrace the ways of a natural human community (which they already are, but pretend not to be).” Referring to James Surowiecki’s The Wisdom of Crowds, Gautam concludes, “Once we start discovering the wisdom rather than just the 'optimum decision' business will cease to be seen as extractive by the rest of community. But how do we get there?”
Blogs offered a way to tap into the wisdom of the audience for your business or cause in 2004 and they still do now.