Shinsato Stuff

Just some stuff meant to inspire and benefit friends, family, and kindred souls.

Friday, October 28, 2005

What benefits the reader?

Read an excellent post today on Kathy Sierra's Creating Passionate Users Blog. It was a great post about the ONE THING you would recommend to improve things. And for blog writers, her recommendation was to reduce talking about yourselves by 80%. Make the difference with things that will benefit the reader. Whew, sounds harsh, but I like it. And I think my paragraph above qualifies, and I'd like to dedicate this blog to practicing just that, and doing it regularly.

It's a good question though, what benefits the reader? Who is the reader? The blog audience can be incredibly diverse. If the readers are friends and family, it actually benefits them if I were to write about family things. What's going on in the Shinsato clan (that's not too private for a blog!) That could benefit the reader. Like knowing that I've got a new niece on the east coast, the lovely Emma Julia Shinsato, born October 17th.

What if the readers are techno geeks like myself? That's still a diverse crowd, many of them are going to be more likely to know about technical trends before they read about them in my blog. If it's just the folks at my company Inxight, I could focus a little. But I also have to be more careful not to divulge sensitive or proprietary knowledge. I can reach them through email lists anyway. But if you're techno or not, it's an integrated part of who I am and what I do -- and I love the bleeding edge stuff. Might be some good stuff here for those readers. Like about Java, Ruby, coding standards, unit testing, extreme programming, community participation (a.k.a. Open Source). Personally, the best technical stuff I've been encountering lately has been on Kathy Sheridan's blog I mentioned earlier. Definitely go there. Her writing is great for a non-geek audience too. When I do go into geeky topics, I'll try to do it like she does in her blog, mostly!

On another technical note, I saw a video redently, called Revolution OS. It's mostly talking heads, but it's good stuff if you're into software or computers at all. It's about Linux and how it's challenged the hegemony of Microsoft. If you've been traking Microsoft's stock lately, they've been holding steady for a few years now. Not the geometric growth that made Bill the richest man in the world. And a lot of that has been from the challenge of Open Source, and most powerfully from Linux. If you want a quick primer on Linux and the people behind it's rise, go rent it.

And yes, more benefits. The theater has taken a great deal of my energies for many years, so we will be touching on that. Keith Johnstone has been my greatest inspiration, through his book Impro and through his theatrical projeny at Bay Area Theater Sports and Comedy Sports. It's been about getting over shyness, helping make it easier to make presentations (and it has). But it's also about having fun in community. These are ensemble improvisation companies, not stand up solo comics -- as funny and wonderful as they are. My greatest interest has been in team work and community performance.

And thus I will end this post with some words about the wonderful work of Jim and Michele McCarthy at McCarthy Technologies. Their wonderful work has helped reinspire me in what is possible with an aligned and inspired team, and how critical that has been to the greatest successes in software.

Good to be meeting you all, drop a note, add a comment. Conversations are always more interesting.