Rands Hard-earned and easily shared

Just Awful Writing

Frequently, I get a direct message from a community member on the Rands Leadership Slack pointing out a broken link on this weblog. I am happy to fix the link. I am not happy to reread what I wrote fourteen years ago because much of the early writing is… just awful. Unbearable, poorly punctuated, semi-coherent ramblings of a person in a hurry to make a point. But it’s there. Broken link and all, so I fix the link, let Grammarly point out the most egregious offenses, and move along.

Sometime during 2022, this weblog turned twenty years old. No one noticed, including me. While I write for this place actively, other creative endeavors increasingly occupy my free time, including the aforementioned Slack community, the podcast, and the bikes. This means fewer articles per year, but the writing… never stops.

There have been quite a few changes to the world of weblogs since I began:

  • The arrival of social networks grabbed a considerable amount of traffic.
  • The practice of commenting on weblogs has mostly gone away. Not sure why.
  • A once vibrant community of active webloggers has continued to dry up. Kottke is on sabbatical. Pray for Gruber.

I don’t expect to stop publishing here because I never stop writing. Also, this place and the content it contains continue to be a high return on investment, including:

  • Providing the starting material for publishing three books so far.
  • Allowing me to travel worldwide speaking on a diverse set of topics.
  • Attended conferences where I met my favorite humans on the planet.
  • Finally, it’s made me a better writer. I have proof.

The critical writing lessons are hard-earned and easily shared:

  • Editing takes as much time as writing.
  • Trusting another human to edit your work is work. Important work.
  • Sleep on it. Don’t publish crap.

So, while we missed the anniversary, let’s celebrate. In honor of 20 years of Rands, I’m re-issuing the first Rands t-shirt for a limited time.

rands-20th

The original shirt was offered in a single color — brown — and printed on material made from 70% bamboo. This material has always been my favorite, but I’ve been unable to source it. However, the amazing folks at Cotton Bureau continue to provide fantastic service and deliver high-quality shirts. The colors. Quite a few. The design? Kevin Cornell. He’s amazing.

As with all prior t-shirt sales, all of the shirts’ profits go to charity, and I will continue to match all the profits.

Finally, as a bonus, I’m posting my original blog: The Bitsifter Digest. From 1996 until 1999, I wrote a blog before we called it a blog. It captures an interesting time on the Internet. Yes, all the links are broken. Yes, like early Rands, the writing is awful but awful is where you start when you intend to get better.

Thanks for reading. I appreciate you.

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8 Responses

  1. Chuck F. 4 months ago

    After 20 years, I still enjoy reading your posts. I hope you keep with it for a while longer regardless of how frequently you publish.

  2. And I appreciate you!

  3. Tracy Thomas 4 months ago

    I think I started regularly reading your blog posts in the early 2000’s – I have situational memory of where I read them, so at least from 2003. I feel like reading and digesting what you’ve written for all these years has made me a far better leader than I would have been otherwise. I’ve intentionally consumed a lot of material on leadership. The difference between a lot of that material and your posts is in the practicality of applying specific practices in technical situations. Thank you for all your years of work, it’s great to see that it’s has as positive an impact on you as on us, your readers.

  4. Adrian 4 months ago

    The blogosphere still exists, but the challenge is knowing how to find the good stuff. I highly recommend Thinking About Things (https://thinking-about-things.com), which sends me links every week that I’ve never heard of.

    Other great newsletters are The Sunday Long Read (https://sundaylongread.com/) and Findka Essays (https://essays.findka.com/).

  5. I’m stubborn and have refused to de-transition from RSS readers to whatever popped up to replace them, so it probably limits my commenting, but I read every single post. Sometimes I go to the archives and play scrollwheel roulette and read something old. They’re still great, and I still learn from them.

    The Slack I’ve had to hiatus myself because (a) it’s not on my work computer and (b) I’ve been experiencing platform overload and needed to withdraw and save my attention. It’s mostly (a) though. I love the Slack, I learn so much there.

    I wish I could go look at my first website. I’d be both impressed with how much I’ve improved and horrified with where I began. I think that’s universal.

  6. Patrick Berry 4 months ago

    I still have that lovely bamboo shirt! Love the CB style shirts, so thanks for reissuing!

  7. > I’m stubborn and have refused to de-transition from RSS readers to whatever popped up to replace them, so it probably limits my commenting, but I read every single post.

    Same here! I have been reading this blog for over 15 years, and counting I hope. Thank you for all your effort and inspiration Michael! Greetings from The Netherlands!