I was having dinner the other day with Tate (blog: DeathCookieEntertainment.com) and Courtney (Court, you need to get a blog!) and we were talking about our websites, what was working and what wasn’t, and about the other blogs that we read regularly. I admitted that the biggest problem I encountered was that I was using this blog to sell services. It would take me forever to write up posts for this blog because I had to make sure that every problem I encountered during the project or process I was describing, had been solved. I didn’t want to talk about any issues or negatives because it would reflect poorly on me as the one providing the service. Perfect example being the first ethernet SAN system I installed. I ended up having huge hard drive and RAID card issues that still haven’t been 100% solved. But if someone had told me (or written a blog post) about these issues before-hand, I could have avoided them. Asking around offline, I realized that other businesses are guilty of this too. The problems I had encountered were well known, but no one talked about them online. They don’t want to look bad to prospective clients. I have entire projects and installations that I haven’t blogged about, and probably never will, because I’m not 100% happy with the results. One of the biggest things I’m known for in my production work is Quality Control. I don’t let anything out the door that isn’t perfect. It’s my greatest strength and weakness. I had let this happen to my blog and ironically, it has made the quality of the blog go down.
Tate and I talked about this more. He said he was bugged when he would Google a production or camera problem he was having, find a hundred examples of other people having the same problem, but then no solution offered anywhere. It’s like when the solution is found, it’s kept and not given away. In some cases people just forget to update their question on a forum with their solution. I am guilty of this, and I’ve already started going back to my old forum posts on CreativeCow to correct them with solutions if I ever found one. But usually it’s worse – he would find out about a problem inherent in the system after he had already spent the money. A problem that everyone knew about, but no one talked about, because it would make them look bad. Enough abstractions, one example I’m referring to is the aliasing problem that the Canon 5D and 7D have when shooting video. Online, everyone was so blown away by the shallow depth of field. The 5D bested every other camera at shallow depth of field under $10k. No need for bulky adapters anymore! But when they opened up their lens to get everything in focus, they realized that the camera had aliasing artifacts all over the place. But we’re not going to post those images online, we’re going to post the shallow depth of field. That awesome 35mm look!
We talked about the blogs we liked and why. I realized that I’m not subscribed to any company blogs. I don’t become a fan of every company on Facebook that spams me. I also don’t become friends with everyone that asks. I think that’s a tactic from MySpace that doesn’t hold anymore. I subscribe to and read blogs that are real people writing about their experiences in almost real time. It’s the honest answers and discussion of mistakes that make me realize these are people and not corporations, and if they’re selling a service, I forget that fact. But I also realized that if they are selling a service, documenting mistakes and their work to fix them, that’s actually a huge plus for their business. It shows how they deal with problems. So if I hire them, I know they can handle any problems that get in their way. These people also usually do higher quality work because they’re more passionate about their craft. People don’t blog about things they don’t care about. Then again, this is the problem with most company blogs. The employee writing the post couldn’t care less.
I also follow interesting people that are having amazing experiences. People traveling the world, or restoring their classic car. They are always updating their blogs and they don’t let huge amounts of time lapse. Company-run blogs don’t update frequently. Neither do I. So that needs to change.
Where am I going with this. Well, this is the “torch the blog and start over” moment. But I’m not going to do that. I’m going to make some changes that hopefully make this space more interesting for you, and more fulfilling for me.
1. This blog and website is no longer just about my business as The Audio Visual Plumber. Part of the reason is that the line between the work that I do, and what I do in my free time, is very blurry. Some people need to have their work and personal lives separate or they’ll go crazy. I’m the opposite, as many of you know. I need to be working on what I am passionate about. So I built my business around what I would be doing in my spare time anyway (That’s part of the reason why my business services are a bit scattered, but that’s going to change this year). This is a dream of many working people and I’m humbled every day that I’m able to get paid doing what I love to do. This blog is going to get more personal. For someone who’s shy, sometimes painfully, this is going to be interesting.
2. I’m going to blog about the things that I’m working on, whether they work or not. I do a lot of testing of different products, methods, software, etc. Most of the stuff doesn’t work, so I don’t blog about it. But that’s changing. Since I don’t have product sponsors, I don’t need to be nice.
3. I think I’m going to delete the Facebook page for the Audio Visual Plumber, and just concentrate on the blog itself. If you don’t think I should, let me know. But since I’m making this blog less about the business, it doesn’t seem right to have a business page. Or maybe I’ll modify it. Suggestions? This post should show up on Facebook, so if I don’t hear back from anyone, I know no one is reading.
4. I’m going to add a blog about my music. I made a pre-New Years resolution that I would get back into making and playing music. I’m going to write about that process on this blog. So it might be a bit confusing mashing a blog entry about lenses with a blog entry about singing lessons. But then again, that’s how ADD my life is. More on that blog later.
5. Most of all, please comment. Feedback helps a lot.
Stay Tuned. I really appreciate everyone that follows this blog.