Yahoo acquired Geocities for a few billion dollars around the height of the personal homepage craze in 1999. But I managed to skip the internet's first "diary" phenomenon altogether. True, I was partially dissuaded by the hassle of learning enough html syntax to make a decent looking personal web site, but the main reason I never created one was that I didn't think anyone would ever visit it. So why bother?
When internet diaries resurfaced, en masse, in the form of blogs, I scratched my head thinking here we go again: everyone still wants to be a publisher even though none of it will ever get read. Yet as I've been sitting on the sidelines waiting for blogs to go the way of the personal homepage, just the opposite has happened. Pubsub's Bob Wyman estimated that the number of blogs reached a whopping 24 million earlier this year.
My two cents on why Blogs, unlike personal homepages, are here to stay:
- Blog editing software like Blogger, Typepad and the like have made it easy enough for those with more writing talent than coding and design talent to publish on the web
- Features like Comment and Trackback emerged to facilitate interaction rather than just promote one-way communication
- Google's AdSense, which didn't exist a few years ago, created a (micro) business model for blogs. Rather than brag about the tally on their cheesy page view counters, the world's desk chair entrepreneurs can earn advertising dollars.
- As of late, probably half of the new ideas I have encountered were introduced to me by blogs. New ideas are the lifeline of venture capital, so I decided to step-up my participation in the blogosphere.
- I found inspiration in the blogs of a couple venture capital investors that I have been following for quite a while. Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures and Brad Feld of Mobius Venture Capital both author blogs on my weekly reading list. I was particularly impressed to learn that even the venerable Walt Mossberg reads Fred's blog frequently enough to defend his point of view when Fred attacked.