After typing over 70,000 words, publishing 255 posts, and thinking critically for eight months, I’m ending my Blog Year Challenge. Seeing as I cut the experience four months short, I guess my performance averages out to a C-/D+.
Does this mean I’m quitting for good? Icing my writing hand and patting myself on the back? No. Over the next few weeks, I am revamping my blog design to accommodate my podcast this summer. Given that finals are in two weeks for Berkeley, I will resume blogging on May 17th, following a bi-weekly schedule from then on.
After finishing web design changes and finals at Berkeley, I will begin writing long-form posts twice a week (i.e. between 1800-3000 words). The articles will focus on small and medium-sized businesses. This subject is intentionally generic to keep it fun for you and me.
I’ll continue to write book reviews and reflections upon interesting events (e.g. attending the Berkshire meeting). But they’ll no longer be available to public scrutiny. I’d be doing you a disservice by contributing to the noise, robbing my longer articles of their clout as a result. I might put them behind a subscriber paywall. We’ll see.
I’m not blogging while I finish up finals; tune in after to follow my next project.
Bringing you up to speed on a few things.
Blog Design Revamp
After trying (and failing) to build out a new website design on my own, I’ve found a few talented WP developers to help me out. The problem is, I’m a broke college student. Thus, design revamps will be on hold until I start cashing paychecks from my internship. Rest assured though, I still intend to change the blog’s design.
I learned a lot by publishing irregularly (my blogging only looks consistent because I backdated posts to the day I conceived the idea). Mainly that I hate it, and will start blogging daily again. This is to ensure I’m delivering high-quality content, staying on the Blog Challenge schedule, and enjoying the act of blogging.
I’m going to dedicate Sundays to a long-form post from now on. This means I’ll try to write 2000 word articles on those days, and go more into depth on a subject that interests me. Let’s call it *drumroll* Lazare’s Sunday Special.
Two changes to talk about, one small and one big.
I was lazy in interpreting the data I collect from you guys (click rates, comments/post, etc.). After doing some research, I found Avinash had the best advice for what to measure. Although the Blog Year Challenge will be my priority, I’m beginning to think of life after the challenge. I want to create a community of experimenters, tinkerers, and eternal students. In light of that goal, let’s try a small experiment. Please comment what you like the most about the blog and what you dislike the most. Don’t worry, I won’t cry (loudly).
Over the next week or two, I’m going to revamp my blog’s appearance and move this blog to the Short Form category. It’ll look something like this (click to see full size):
I’ll try to make the transition as smooth as possible, but there’s a small chance that the email feed or the website could be down for a day or two.
Thanks for accompanying me on this journey,
It is important to find and emulate the creators of magnificent work, whether in science or literary synthesis. Thus, I’ve reproduced a passage from one of Dr. Sacks’s final essays. I hope you enjoy.
I have been increasingly conscious, for the last ten years or so, of deaths among my contemporaries. My generation is on the way out, and each death I have felt as an abruption, a tearing away of part of myself. There will be no one like us when we are gone, but then there is no one like anyone else, ever. When people die they cannot be replaced. They leave holes that cannot be filled, for it is the fate–the genetic and neural fate–of every human being to be a unique individual, to find his own path, to live his own life, to die his own death.
I cannot pretend I am without fear. But my predominant feeling is one of gratitude. I have loved and been loved; I have been given much and I have given something in return; I have read and traveled and thought and written. I have had an intercourse with the world, the special intercourse of writers and readers.
Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and adventure.
Have you ever walked into a restaurant, looked at the menu, and almost had a heart attack over the exorbitant price of the first item? So you decide to be frugal, and happily order a $14 salad instead.
You just got played. Few people consider acts of omission when considering options; they rarely ask what isn’t on the menu tonight.
The composite features on my website are a certain kind of “menu”. The way it presents my content will subtly influence its appeal, regardless of my intent.
This becomes a problem when features inadvertently mislead website users. That’s why I’m implementing several new features to optimize website transparency.
These changes include reformating URL’s to show the upload date of the article. This gives you a better sense of how outdated my technical information is (which should only be an issue on biotechnology posts).
Additionally, I’m implementing a “suggested read time” at the top of each post to facilitate your time management. I want you to choose to read a post instead of getting click-baited into a ten minute read.
Finally, I’ve began queueing blog posts. This allows me to allocate my time more effectively and disengage from electronics every now and then (although I’m probably just writing in my notebook instead).
I’d rather have a meaningful impact on one thousand readers than hypnotize a million. As always, I welcome thoughts, concerns, and feedback.
Hilarious quotes. Passionate intellect. I hope you enjoy his fiery discussion of all things scientific.
Something to ponder.
“There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And an outstanding reason for choosing some sort of God or spiritual-type thing to worship — be it J.C. or Allah, be it Yahweh or the Wiccan mother-goddess or the Four Noble Truths or some infrangible set of ethical principles — is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things — if they are where you tap real meaning in life — then you will never have enough. Never feel you have enough. It’s the truth. Worship your own body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly, and when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally plant you…Worship power — you will feel weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to keep the fear at bay. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart — you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. And so on.” –David Foster Wallace
What is your client afraid their boss will think if they say yes?
That I’m too inexperienced and wet behind the ears to justify the risk. Since I have no quality product/service to build trust, there’s no way to verify my ability to perform adequately.
What would your client tell their boss to explain why they bought from you?
They’d need a free product/service I did for them that shows real potential. Otherwise they might explain that I add value by inundating them with novel ideas and a diverse background that keeps gives depth to their somewhat homogeneous perspective on the market.
Things that aren’t the thing. Things like timeliness, confidence, respect, a story, etc.
Definitely connections both to other people and novel content that they haven’t heard about before. There was one extremely busy founder I met at a meetup who I helped out by showing him a fascinating blog that blends AI and traditional marketing.
I also think dedication to quality and my story as a college student are key assets to getting sympathetic ears. Almost all older people want to give back in some capacity, especially to motivated and respectful youngsters. Being concerned with a quality blog/side hustle/etc. makes it a lot easier for them to help you out since they know their advice won’t fall on deaf ears.