Over a half a million unique visitors stumbled on Rands this year and as the year winds down, I wanted to take a look back at the year in articles. These are articles that turned out to be popular or just pieces I loved to write:
Bored People Quit. From a traffic perspective, the clear winner for 2011. This is article is a good example of a piece where I’ve no idea how it will resonate until I hit the publish button. There are articles I feel have a good chance before they are published: they target a specific group and cover a topic I think will appeal to that demographic. This was not one of them.
The Rands Test. However, this was. This homage to The Joel Test is actually a collection of threads teased out from the entire archive. This gave the piece a chance to resonate. Finding the precise number of relevant questions and points was the tricky part of this piece. Yes, the math is fuzzy – it’s actually quite hard to get 12 points.
You Are Underestimating the Future. Most articles stew in a Dropbox folder for weeks. This article was written in an hour, straight out of my head, the day Steve Jobs passed away.. Another notable: titles normally mutate a few times as a piece is being written and rewritten. This piece started and finished with exactly the same title.
Fred Hates It. Any time I get to disassemble a part of conventional business wisdom, I am content. Taking apart and rebuilding off-sites was payback for every off-site that wasted days of my time. I also liked the Fred character that was built around the piece. He was not central to early drafts, he just showed up — yelling. I couldn’t ignore him, so he got the title.
A Bag of Holding. Writing obsessive research-based articles about things you love feels like a guilty pleasure. As I wrote in the newsletter, these pieces seem to just get longer and longer and I briefly worry that I’ll lose the audience. Reading the comments on the piece is a good reminder that obsession loves company.
Lastly, there are still charity shirts available. If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you like reading, so why not share that love with someone less fortunate this holiday season.
I’m thankful for all of you who showed up in 2011 and wish you a spectacular 2012.