This is another in 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
Cesar Brea is the founder of Force Five Partners. The firm designs, implements, and optimizes multi-channel marketing programs to exploit today’s increasingly fragmented and digitally-dominated channel landscape. In past lives Cesar has run sales, marketing, and business development in both enterprise software and IT consulting firms.
When we spoke Cesar in 2005 wrote a blog under his name through the Harvard Berkman Center. Cesar was one of the people who encouraged me to start and a blog and offered useful advice. He moved the blog to its current site under the title Octavianworld and continues blogging today. Cesar started blogging for two reasons: first, to experiment with the new phenomenon; second, to provide a staging area for ideas that might subsequently become articles, and to be able to use these ideas as "collaterals" for his marketing efforts while he pursued traditional publishing opportunities.
Cesar felt that he had met his objectives when we talked. He got smart about blogs, and about the possibilities, and it was been convenient to use his sites as places to refer people when appropriate. Cesar didn’t view his sites as a passive “publish and they will come” lead generators. Rather, the stuff he has posted helped reinforce positive progress in business development efforts he pursued through traditional means, mostly referrals and networking. Specifically, he sent the URLs for his posts to business contacts or perspective clients in thank you notes and other correspondence.
His specific objective was to publish a semi-intelligent 500-700 word essay every month or two. He hoped to collect enough of these to eventually have enough material for a book. Sometimes there was a trigger event. For example, he gave a guest presentation at Harvard’s Kennedy School and posted the ideas around his talk under the headline, “There Is No Open-Source Community”
His biggest challenge was keeping the bar low enough to publish regularly. Cesar says, “Great is the enemy of good here, for sure.” He did not feel that he has really overcome this yet. He said he may cut the essay length and try to build up frequency again from there. He used the blog as a staging area for ideas he then shopped to journals for publication. Since the blog world is more forgiving to emerging ideas, Cesar felt he could realize benefits from his posts while he looked for traditional publishers.
Direct experience was his biggest source of content. Cesar felt lucky to be working on things and with clients that were very interesting. In any event, he thought blogs that comment on direct personal experience were the most interesting. He tried to avoid adding to the “echo-chamber” as much as possible.
A small business owner might read his blog to learn from his experience, and maybe from the style he is trying to use. As he put it, “Whether it's good or not, it might provide a model to emulate or avoid.”
Cesar advised prospective bloggers to be mindful that "publish or perish" applies to business as well as academia. “If you're not writing, you're not really learning and you're not getting the word out as effectively as you could. Blogs are a great tool for making this a bit easier, if you conceive of them as staging areas for ideas to push further, even if they never go anywhere from there at all. Take the plunge!”
Cesar and I have done a number of things together over the subsequent years and I am glad he is still blogging.