Yahoo! gets blogging

Thursday 17 November, 2005 at 10.11pm

original url
Saturday 12 June, 2021 at 8.54am
(Fixing broken links)

For many years now, I've had no real website to speak of. Just some little test pages for silly things I wanted to try. Or one of many failed attempts to get off my arse and start writing a blog. In fact, the last site I did for myself that was in any way supposed to be seen by others was from 1997.

Perhaps you find that bizarre, considering it's what I do for a living. Perhaps not. I feel it's like the dentist who has bad teeth. I do websites all day long at work, the last thing I want to do is come home and start doing more websites.

For a while I was unemployed freelancing. A perfect time to work on a personal site, you might think. However, during this period I still worked on sites for others, and although I had a lot of time to myself, I lacked focus and a goal.

I find I've never been able to get things done if I don't have a deadline. I spend ages on stupid, fiddly, pointless detail. I think about things a lot without actually doing anything. Then forget my conclusions and have to think about them again. I procrastinate terribly, and find many and varied things to do that aren't what I feel I ought to do, but that seem more fun or more relevant at the time.

And plus, for a long time, I had not the first clue what the hell to write about. Other than myself and my life, there's nothing that I could be classed as an expert at. I'm a pretty smart web developer, but am I an Eric Meyer or a Jeffrey Zeldman? Don't be silly.

Why start now?

Then, this year, two big things happened. Firstly, I went to @media 2005. I met a lot of people there that were bloggers I'd heard of (and many I hadn't). And also a handful of people that I had respect for, thought of as gurus and leaders in the field. And I discovered something important. They're sometimes just as lost, just as clueless and on the same search for answers that I am.

(Also, I discovered that this is a cool bunch of people to hang out with — especially on the way up to closing time, and then on into the small hours.)

But secondly, I discovered I occasionally had something to say. I'd find myself sitting at my desk at work, reading something and point it out to a colleague. Then end up discussing it. Sometimes forcefully. Perhaps too forcefully (I have a tendency to rant, and often don't realise that I'm doing it). I thought to myself that it might be better if I channelled that into a blog.

Working for Yahoo!

With the gears of decision grinding away in my head, I start looking into the idea of blogging about Yahoo! Now, there are obviously many big names that work for the company that blog. And they all seem to be based in the United States. Hmm. I tried to find someone more European, but failed. So I asked around. And a lot of people thought the idea of blogging would be much at odds with the P.R. department's view of the world. Despite the existence of the official Yahoo! employee blog guidelines.

So, I shelved the idea of talking about Yahoo! This pretty much also dried up my enthusiasm as well. It's a damn big part of my involvement with the web, after all.

But then, Simon Willison joined us. Now, technically, he works for the US, on flickr. But he's still in the UK for a while. And still blogging. Hmm, again.

So I get a renewed sense of optimism, and start building my site. I write a couple of example posts, and show them to my boss. One has the promise of being linked to (on the internet, who'da thunk it?) He tells me it'd probably be best to run it past PR, just incase. I get a name from my department head and contact her about my blog. She asks to meet up about it. Ah, crap.

But then, I do. And basically have an informal chat about it. Actually, she seemed interested in what I do and might write about. I realised, I'm being encouraged to start blogging about Yahoo! Obviously, not breaking my NDA and such, but otherwise, hey, feel free. Asked if there's anything she can do to help me. Wow.

Yahoo! gets blogging. I don't know why it's a surprise to me. Actually maybe I should rephrase that. Yahoo! Europe gets it too. I love working for this company sometimes.