7 Blog Topics Written in 2007 That Are Still Relevant Today
Back when this little blog from which you are reading this post turned 10 a year ago, I started thinking about what I have written over these years, especially that first year. As a new writer at a time when social media was still in its infancy, I wondered what topics or “hot irons” I decided to “strike” a decade ago. This led me to pour through the archives of The Hot Iron and reading what I wrote in 2007.
As it turns out it was a mix, from well thought-out articles to short pieces that would have probably been social media posts had those networks been more prevalent. In all, I made 236 posts over 365 days. Where some in hindsight I probably would have written differently or perhaps not at all, there were many I read which pleased me that I shared my thoughts with my new audience. Overall, there were 7 topics or themes which I covered back then that I feel are still relevant today, and I would like to share them with you on a short trip down memory lane.
1. Domain Names – As the genesis of this blog was from, and was to support, my former Web consulting business, coupled with the fact I felt many people knew very little about domain names, I wrote several articles on domain names that first year. Over the years, I continued to write even more about domain names because, even after over 2 decades of they being commercially available to the public, I felt then – and still today – domain names are not well understood.
Among the posts included Be the master of your own domain (name) on registering domain names in general, Own the Domain Name for Your Name to encourage my readers to register the domain name for their own name, Know Who Manages Your Domain Name as many register domains but will forget where they did so, Beware Unsolicited Invoices for Your Domain Name on deceptive practices for selling registration and Web-related services by sending what looks to be a legitimate invoice, Domain Name Owners Not Who You Would Think on missed opportunities to register domain names and Observations of German Domain Names about how this American saw domain names in action in Germany.
Ten years later, I think all of these posts and what they discuss are very relevant. As I work with firms and talk with people about domain names today, much of what I wrote could inform them, and possibly save them time, money and headaches.
2. Networking – I never took a class on networking in college or afterwards, namely for until recently there was never such a thing. What I learned about meeting and connecting with people I learned literally on the job, through trial and many errors, as well as successes. Perhaps I should have developed a class on it (or perhaps I still should?) but as a close second I wrote about several aspects of it.
Posts on networking I wrote were My Networking Event Checklist about how I prepare for networking events, Community building is up to ALL of us on why I network, Nametags Essential for Networking on why there’s nothing wrong with wearing nametags and Time to Write The Note Cards on following up with people after meeting them.
In several of these posts I mention Jason Jacobsohn, someone whom I met online then in real life after following his blog Networking Insight, which today is still a vibrant resource on the art and science of networking. Even though I no longer have my own business, the need for connecting with others still exists, and is the driver for why I recently started dMorning.
3. Opportunity Cost – Shortly after starting my business I learned quickly about trade-offs, and when you do something it often doesn’t allow you to do another. Through this balancing act I had a flashback to college and penned All I remember from Economics 101 - Opportunity Cost. Where opportunity cost has come into play for much of my life, as it does for most of us, it was intensified when I was the boss and sole staff of my business. This discipline was an on-going effort, and helped by seeking the counsel of other small business. As time went on, and jobs replaced my business and my family grew, recognizing the opportunity cost of one decision over another became even more important in my life.
4. Customer Service – The challenges I faced as a small business owner, I learned, were not that much different than those faced by much larger organizations. However I was always stunned how an entity with many, many more employees could still miss the mark on things that, to me, were obvious. I thought that then, and sadly I still do today.
In 2007, JetBlue Airlines had an incident where passengers were stranded on an airplane. During a discussion on this with a colleague, an idea popped into my mind, which I wrote in A Free Idea for David Neeleman, an open letter to Neeleman, the founder and then CEO of the airlines, and I offered to him this idea. I have no idea if he, or any other airline CEO, ever read it. But by hearing the customer services disasters airlines still experience in 2017, my guess is not.
5. Accessbility – My first exposure to Web site accessibility came when I helped a friend who is legally blind with his PC. This was a rare case of providing tech support to a friend that had a benefit – learning the world of accessibility tools. I learned about JAWS, a leading “screen reader” which literally reads aloud what is appearing on the screen – be it icons, a menu or what is in a Web browser. Where this was great to be exposed to, I also learned of the challenges he faced with using the Web – most Web sites are not designed or programmed to make it easy for someone who is visually impaired to navigate and use them.
I wrote specifically about my experiences with my friend’s computer in a post called Unintentional Unusability where I barely scratched the surface on many areas, and mentioned how a design decision for this very blog was based on this experience. It was because of this I was eager to adopt the now-defunct service Odiogo which I went into detail in the post Hear My Blog Posts.
Today Web site accessibility is something I am still concerned with and work to overcome. As technology and their tools continue to advance in some areas, they continue to lack in this particular area.
6. Giving Back – As giving back to the community has always been a big part of my life, I made sure to include it when I came up with a list of “gift ideas” which were simply promotions of my clients. Where the idea was to send business their way so they would ideally send more business mine, I wasn’t betting the farm on this tactic, and it was probably good that I didn’t either!
Among the posts I wrote was one that would only send a good feeling back to me, and needed resources to a great organization. In Gift Idea – Help Young People by Donating to YouthBuild Boston I asked people to make a donation to YouthBuild Boston, a non-profit in Boston that I have supported for years, and at the time were a pro-bono client of mine. YouthBuild Boston works with young people to help them be self-sustaining. They offer skills training in the construction trades, as well as the support they need to succeed. They are an amazing organization, and one that is well run as well. If you haven’t made all of your year-end donations, they are a highly worthy recipient today as they were then.
7. Health – When I started my blog, my business was home-based and my office was in the den. A decade later, I am once again working from home, this time for an organization. I have a nice short commute, but it is a commute where I walk and sit, and sit for a while. When I came upon the post I wrote Walk to Work Even If You Work From Home, it reminded me that I need to get off my butt more during the workday, even when the weather is in the single-digits as it is as I write this.
Deconstructing What I Wrote 10 Years Ago
As time goes by, some things remain a constant, which I found in re-reading what I wrote over a decade ago. Many issues and thoughts I had then are top of mind today, and I this to the fact they are part of who I am and what I believe in. My quest for people to learn, understand and be able to use technology in a calm, connected, active and charitable world is a journey I am still on today. As I continue my blog into its second decade, topics I will write about will likely include those mentioned above.
This is from The Hot Iron, a journal on business and technology by Mike Maddaloni.
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