Can the Average Person Get Rich Blogging?

November 28, 2007

Yes and no (there is never a simple answer).

Now that I am back from lounging on the beach, I thought it was time to get back to blogging, and what better way to start than with a debate over whether or not people can really make money blogging. On Read/WriteWeb today, Alex suggests that . Well, yes and no.

I really liked Anne Zelenka’s response on Web Worker Daily. Her take is that

you can earn money because of your blog instead of with it. Blogging can be the centerpiece of your professional promotional and networking activities, leading indirectly to new money-making opportunities. Plus, blogging offers psychological riches — through the opportunities for personal expression and social connection it brings you.

The best reason for an individual web worker to blog isn’t to make money directly with the blog. It’s to boost your online persona, to make professional connections, to learn about your field, and to attract new opportunities, whether paid or unpaid. And note that unpaid opportunities are not necessarily less important than paid ones — because they can provide you with attention, reputation, education, and new connections.

(Quote from Anne Zelenka: Web Worker Daily)

I absolutely agree. I don’t make any money directly off of my blog (no ads here), but it has made a huge difference in my career. My career was in a bit of a lull until I started blogging a few years ago. At the time, I worked at Intel and did my job really well. I received great internal recognition, but almost no one outside of Intel knew who I was.

When I started blogging and actively commenting on other blogs, people started recognizing me. I went to conferences and people would approach me! I started getting emails from people who read my blog and wanted to know if I was interested in being on panels for conferences. While I do not make money off of Fast Wonder directly, I do think that I have made more money indirectly through blogging. Through blogging and getting involved in a bunch of unpaid tech community activities (organizing BarCamp, Ignite, etc.), my career has improved in so many indirect ways (financial and job satisfaction).

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Ignite Portland Recap

October 27, 2007

We had a fantastic time at Ignite Portland, and the event exceeded all of our expectations. What we initially thought would be an event with 150 people became an event of nearly 300. We were concerned that we would hit the 297 person fire code limit and need to turn people away at the door, but in the end everyone was admitted to the event, and we hit the fire code limit nearly exactly (277 people registered in our system + ~20 people from Wieden+Kennedy = 297)

The presentations were amazing; it wasn’t too crowded; and I got to meet a bunch of new people!

Key learnings for the next event:

  • Less white wine, more beer and water
  • More time for networking (maybe 14 presentations, instead of 18 to free up some time)
  • Need a larger space (something holding closer to 500) to minimize the risk of turning people away

I think these are all fairly minor issues for our first Ignite Portland event. A huge thanks to co-organizers Todd Kenefsky, Raven Zachary, and Josh Bancroft, and thanks to all of the many volunteers and sponsors for the event. We look forward to doing another one in Jan / Feb! We will be posting more information about future events on the Ignite Portland site along with video and presentations from this event.

There are nearly 200 pictures posted to Flickr already under the igniteportland tag. For complete coverage of the event with links to many other blogs discussing the event, visit Silicon Florist. Rick has done an amazing job of aggregating the event news!

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The Joy and Peril of Organizing Community Events

October 18, 2007

OK, I’m a bit of a geek as most people know. Yes, I organize tech events for fun in my “spare” time. 🙂

We are organizing the first Ignite Portland event next Thursday. Initially, we thought we would have 150 people – maybe 200 if we got lucky. We picked a nice, roomy space for the event (Wieden+Kennedy) holding 297 people. We did mostly word of mouth marketing: blogs, a couple of mailing lists, the pdxMindshare newsletter, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Nothing fancy, we just spread the word organically.

Well, we reached 300 people on the RSVP list on upcoming this afternoon. We faced similar issues with Barcamp Portland, but we only had about 250 people register for that event. In the week leading up to BarCamp, we went from about 150 people to 250 on the wiki. Yesterday morning around 9am, we hit 200 … today we crossed the 300 mark. Seriously?? 100 new RSVPs in a little more than 1 day!?!

While we are thrilled and amazed by the response to our simple event, we are faced with the unpleasant task of capping the RSVPs at 325 on upcoming. We also know that we will need to count people as they register, and if we end up hitting the 297 limit, we will have the even more unpleasant task of turning people away at the door.

On the one hand, Wow! look what we accomplished. On the other hand, we might have to turn people away (not exactly in the spirit of a community event).

Portland is a great place for technology enthusiasts, and we have an amazing tech community. Realistically, I think we will be fine. Assuming we get 325 RSVPs on Upcoming, a few people will have last minute conflicts, and we should be OK.

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Attend or Present at Ignite Portland!

October 9, 2007

Our first Ignite Portland is rapidly approaching!
Thursday, October 25th, 6-9pm
Wieden+Kennedy
224 NW 13th Ave, Portland, OR
FREE
Please RSVP at Upcoming

Interested in sponsoring Ignite Portland? We are looking for additional sponsors to help with the costs of refreshments and signage. 100% of sponsorships go towards costs directly, no middleman. Contact Raven Zachary if you are interested.

Want to present at Ignite Portland on 10/25? If you are interested in presenting, please submit your ideas before 10/16! All you have to do is pack an idea/pitch into our format – 20 slides, shown for 15 seconds each, auto-advanced, and make your idea sound more exciting than the others! We’ve had a great response to our call for presenters. So much so that we have more ideas than presentation slots; however, keep them coming! We’ll just have to pick the best ones. Keep in mind that we expect these to be regular events, so if you do not get to present at this one, you will have other opportunities.

Please tell your friends, blog about it, and post the Ignite badge on your website if you want to help us promote this Portland community event held for the Portland community by the Portland community … yes we do this just for fun 🙂

We hope to see you at Ignite Portland!