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 There’s No Money In The Long Tail of the Blogosphere. 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).
Related Fast Wonder Posts:
I am excited to announce that I will be joining Jive Software as their Director of Developer Relations as of May 3. I have really enjoyed my time at Compiere. I still believe that they have a great product and that they will do some really cool things in the ERP/CRM space. My reasons for leaving were purely cultural / logistical. While working remotely from my office in Portland worked really well when when the company was smaller and more distributed, as Compiere grew in size it became more and more difficult to do my job from Portland. The rest of the management team is now consolidated in Santa Clara, and I am the only member of the management team working remotely.
When working at Intel, location was largely irrelevant. At one point, I managed a team with members distributed across Oregon, Washington, and California. I also worked on a 3 person open source strategy team for a while with two of us in Oregon, one in Washington, and our manager located in Arizona. Working from home was also a weekly activity for me during much of my Intel career. I found that my productivity increased dramatically if I saved those tasks that required more concentration (strategy development, writing, presentation development) for my working at home day. Working remotely can be challenging, but it seems to work best in a corporate culture where remote workers are a common occurrence and not an exception.
I knew that I would eventually need to move on to a new gig based on the increasing number of issues related to working remotely within the Compiere culture, but I had not yet started looking for a new job. I regularly get email from people, either a result of this blog or from acquaintances in the industry, asking me if I am available or asking if I know of someone for a particular position. It was only because I got an email from Sam Lawrence at Jive software about looking for someone to manage Jive’s developer relations that I considered leaving Compiere. Jive has been a great sponsor of our monthly Portland BarCamp Meetups, and I have met quite a few of the people working there through various local technology-related activities.
I think that Jive will be a great fit for me, and I am really excited about working at Jive Software. Jive’s product line fits with my personal interests in online collaboration technology. They have managed to seamlessly integrate file collaboration, blogs, wikis, IM, and more into a recently launched enterprise 2.0 product called Clearspace. As Director of Developer Relations, I will be responsible for building a developer community program for developers with an initial focus on the new Clearspace product.
Jive is a cool company with great products. I am honored to be joining such a fantastic company!