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October 2006

The #1 Reason People Don’t Blog.

At this point in the evolution of blogging, we are over the hump explaining why blogging makes sense for business. There are many companies out there driving tremendous revenue through their blogs. Individuals are providing information on specialized issues and becoming authorities on those issues. Customers, clients and prospects who need information on those issues are finding those blogs and contacting the blog author and sponsor for more information. Those contacts are resulting in new customers and more revenue.

At my law firm, fifty percent of our business comes off of the internet. In 2007, we could do a half a million dollars or more in web business.

CEOs are starting to blog in order to influence markets, establish closer relationships with their employees and their customers and to show their expertise. But there are many people who still say, "I dont have time to blog." This excuse is by far and away the number one reason why people dont start blogging, even people who understand the value that it can bring. Personally, I dont understand the logic. Sales and marketing is part of any business model. If you dont have customers, you dont have revenue. If you dont have revenue, you dont have a business. If these same people who say that they dont have time to blog can take folks out to lunch, participate in preparing marketing materials and similar activities, they should be able to find time to blog. But I am not discounting their excuse completely. Many executives dont type that well. Blogging can be time consuming.

We have been able to generate as much or more blog content than virtually anyone else out there, because I dictate my blog post. I can generate content at a rate 10 to 20 times faster than most people can because I can talk 10 to 20 times faster than I can type. More importantly, I dont have to log on to TypePad and click through to the post screen so that I can start typing. Even more importantly, I can dictate from anywhere. This means that I am not losing any of my productive time at work. I typically dictate my blog post from the car, the beach or during some other activity which would normally not be devoted to customers and clients. This "downtime" exists everywhere. In fact, much of our day filled with downtime. And most of our best thoughts are had during this downtime. But those thoughts slip away because youre not at work.

I cant say enough about digital dictation. It has changed so much about our own business model and has made blogging possible at a level beyond anything else which would have been practical under the circumstances.

There is one new company out there that is working to solve the "I dont have time to blog" problem. The blogger simply dictates their blog posts which are put online by the Ublog Company. For one penny per word, business people can now find that time to blog which doesnt interfere with business. People with expertise and niche markets can show the world that expertise. Anyone with an email address and a computer can dictate their posts and outsource the typing and posting of the content. To me, this makes great sense and may increase the number of bloggers who are putting great content online.

Blogging for Business

It has always amazed me that people say you can’t generate business through a blog. Perhaps that was just a couple of years ago and things have changed for others. I would be interested to know whether or not there are people who are seriously blogging out there about their expertise and not generating business as a result. I would guess that 50% of our business is currently off the internet. We have blogs in a variety of niche practice areas from trade secret and noncompetes, to domain name disputes to investigation sites on mass accidents. Our search engines results are phenomenal through our blogs. On many days, I talk to and receive emails from five to ten people who are contacting us through our website. On an average week, we’ll retain five or more new clients on a variety of different matters.

So are the days where people say that blogging is purely a selfish and personal pastime gone? Are other companies besides mine realizing the business benefits of blogging? Please post a comment and weigh in one way or the other. I can’t possibly be the only one whose business model is driven by blogging. (And no, none of my business comes in through this website, which is purely noncommercial).

Race Against The Machine

The fatal flaw of the computer giants is their myopic view of solutions. They tend to see everything in terms of technology solutions. They think that some new gadget will solve the problem. The age of robots is upon us, at least in the minds of those who control the computer-manufacturing infrastructure. Think about how humankind has been reduced since Bill Gates first introduced his operating system. We can’t compete with the computer in math. Virtually every intellectual process is relegated to a software program, which performs its tasks better than any human could.

Humans have been cast as the problem. Computers have been cast as the solution.

I predict the reemergence of the role of the human in the process of computers. I predict the age of assistance. Those people who stand between us and our computer keyboards. Those people who turn our thoughts into reality.

Riddle Me This!

Why are they trying to push a computer down onto a cell phone? The answer is easy. Cell phones are more mobile.

Computer manufacturers have spent billions of dollars trying to make computers smaller, leaner and meaner. In some years, computer manufacturers are trying to make laptops with 17-inch diagonal screens and are hardly portable. This same year, they are pumping out laptops without CD ROM drives in order to decrease the footprint in weight. Pushing email onto a cell phone makes all the sense in the world, doesn’t it? Putting a keyboard on a cell phone is inevitable, isn’t it? But cell phones aren’t the answer. They still involve the brutal reality of the keyboard. That arch nemesis of all that is fun in the world. Stretching your fingers over the keys or punching furiously with two fingers on a cell phone.

No, the answer is not mini keyboards smaller than the size of a credit card. There must be something more magical, don’t you think? With all the greatest minds in the entire world churning out new and innovative microchips, haven’t we solved the problem of the keyboard?

HP Doesn’t Have Time to Blog, Why Should You?

I posted recently about two top executives at HP, Dan Socci and David Gee. I hated to call David and Dan out but I found their sites purely by happenstance when I was taking a look at executives who blog. When I found a list which linked to HP’s list of executives blog the first two I came upon where Dan and David. Dan was giving up blogging because he didn’t have time. David was giving it a meager effort posting only a couple of times over several months. It was pretty clear that David didn’t have time to blog either.

Dan and David are perfect examples of the executive who is taking a look at possibly blogging (or the small company that is taking a look at launching a blog in order to drive more web traffic). Who has time? When you are running a business, marketing often comes last anyway. Small businesses have less time to engage in marketing because they have so many of the little things to do everyday. Websites are time intensive.

When blogs first came out, the beauty was the "ease" of putting information online. But that ease was relative. It still involves sitting down at a computer and entering data. It still involved a person sitting at a computer.

It has been amazing to see how willing people are to sit at a computer. Ten years ago, receiving and sending email would occur on a "couple of day" basis. Today, we are obsessive about collecting email. And we are willing to download photos from our digital cameras to our websites and import them into the photo editing software. We’re willing to blaze them to CD. We’re willing to sit there. We’re willing to maneuver the mouse in endless cycles. Our backs are getting tired. But we still sit at the computer. We sit longer than anyone could have imagined two years ago. The computer revolution hasn’t been transformed by an increase in bandwidth. No, the computer revolution that we see occurring around us is born of the simple fact that people are willing to sit at their computers.

The person who discovers how a person can interact with a computer without the person having to be at the computer will truly change the world (and as you probably suspect GAL has solved this riddle!)

Blogging Cynicism

It’s Friday at 5:17 p.m. I’m just getting in the car, ready to head home. Kevin O’Keefe from Lexblog calls to continue a conversation we started several months ago about updating my firm’s websites.

Kevin and I talked about the cynicism which still exists out there in the world about blogging. Those of us in the blogosphere typically evangelize blogging to each other. After all, who else is listening to our blogs?

But for someone like Kevin who is out there in the world talking to firms daily about the value of blogs, he sees a broader spectrum of the business attitude towards blogs. I think we are beyond that stage of early innovators. Many of us were early innovators and a select few were there way before us. The early adopter stage is over.

But, we are still in the transitional stage between early adopters and whatever the next stage will be called. Right now, people are out there dominating vertical content areas. It use to be that you could do first page Google within weeks of putting information on line. Now, it takes months. Bu that is ok because the people who are getting in the space now will, no matter what, be there before the people who start next year or the year after. And the age of a webpage is still a factor for Google. The longer you’ve been online, the better chance you have of great search results over newer pages.

Kevin told a story of a cynical marketing director whose main point seemed to be that they couldn’t possibly be spending $70,000 or whatever the number was on all this marketing, which the experts were telling them they needed to spend, if it weren’t correct.

I said something a long time ago which I think is still true. I hope that not many people will get in the blogosphere. I hope the rate of growth in the legal sector will be slow because the longer the people stay out the better chance I have of extending my blog empire.

So, definitely don’t blog. I wouldn’t if I were you. It doesn’t make sense. It’s just a fad. It won’t last very long. I don’t have time to blog.

What is a Third Wave Law Firm?

What is a Third Wave Law Firm?

I found a link back to my GAL site from the Chuck Newton Blog. His bio line is awesome and reads: "Preaching’s and teachings from my prospective inside a third wave law firm." I was delighted to see his content in arriving at his Blog. There is certainly a push towards attorney blogging (which I agree is very important). Here is Chuck’s description, which I also would suppose describes his "third wave" approach:

                           My law firm and I are different from most law firms you encounter.

My law firm does not maintain a traditional office or offices that most consumers typically associate with law firms. We have no waiting rooms for clients to cool their heals, no reception area in which to be ignored, no meeting rooms for client visits, no file room in which to lose files, no law library, no messy private office for the firm’s attorneys to hide. We have no walls to hang our licenses and diplomas, no rec room to chat with staff over coffee and donuts, and my firm’s shingle hangs from no building. Look in any phone book and you will see no yellow page ad for my firm. If you were not in need of my services you would not even know my firm and I exist. My firm and I go about our business from where we are..whereever we are...everywhere we are. The attorneys in my firm simply refuse to be confined by time, space and the restrictions that a typical law office employs. There are no palace guards keeping you from the attorneys in my firm. I answer my own phones, read and respond to my own email, faxes and mail. I maintain my own schedule.

                          How does my law firm and I accomplish such a thing?

We try to be the king of the Internet. We use email, Internet telephony, Internet faxing, electronic case filing, and Internet research, both to and from computers and other devices. There is virtually no one that cannot be reached, and no document that cannot be received or delivered, by phone, fax, email or (if no other alternative) mail any place in the State of Texas or the world. My law firm and I believe that staying connected allows us to tear down the barriers that keep us from our clients and their objective.

"I love it! No waiting rooms or reception areas in which to be ignored"…"no messy private offices for the firm’s attorneys that hide." Chuck raises an interesting point, one that I have touched on recently, although not as deeply as Chuck. The infrastructure which industrial age companies required is in many ways going the way of the dinosaur. In the industrial age, attorneys had to work in big glass offices with tons of infrastructure. By pooling resources as a partnership, lawyers were able to afford all of the different equipment necessary for law practice and put people in offices close to each other so they can work together in their various roles. Obviously, these things are no longer necessary in a technology age.

Fifty-percent or more of my clients don’t even live in the same state as I do. My law offices are completely irrelevant to them. They test me by work product and intellect. Chuck Newton is riding the "third wave" while most other law firms haven’t even made it down to the beach.

Executives at Technology Companies Don’t Have Time to Blog?

I HP (Hewlett Packard) has a very coordinated approach to corporate blogging. They have a comment format for their executive blogs. I was looking at some of these executive blogs the other day and noticed that many of them have relatively sparse postings. In fact, at Dan Socci's Blog he reports that he is taking a break from blogging because of time constraints [Since this post, Dan or HP took his blog down.  I wasn't criticizing Dan or mean to 'call him out' but was using his blog as an example of the dilemma faced by busy executive] . Dan states[ed]:

"Time on a keyboard is at a premium and there are always emails to read or send and PowerPoint presentations or spreadsheets to address that compete with blogging time. My commitment to the HP team responsible for our blogging program was to post blogs at a pace I have rarely been able to keep, especially in recent months. After careful consideration I've decided to take a break from blogging for awhile."

I wonder if Dan would have the same problem concerning time constraints if he was able to dictate his blog posts using computer, web-based, or even better, portable dictation device. Continuing down the list of executives at HP, I next came to David Gee’s blog.  I note that the 5 most recent posts date from May 30th to September 19, 2006. It is pretty clear that David Gee, the head of worldwide marketing for HP’s management software business doesn’t appear to have enough time to blog.

Well some bloggers try to make the pitch that blogging doesn’t require much time, the truth is that blogging does take time. Blogging is incredibly important. Blogging can make a difference in many different ways to you personally and your company. It provides you a voice. It provides your company a marketing vehicle when you establish your expertise on the internet. Finding time to blog is a problem that must be solved. Digital dictation offers the best solution. If the blogosphere is going to take it’s next step forward, it must continue to attract the great minds of the world. The barriers to blogging must be reduced. The most significant barrier is that of time.