I’m taking a short pause from broadband issues because today is blog number 2,000. I look at that number and I have no idea how it happened. I’ve published almost every business day since March 2013 – only missing a few days when I was sick and a few times due to technical snafus. If you told me in 2013 that I’d still be doing this every day in 2021 I would have laughed at such a crazy idea.
I started writing the blog at the urging of my wife Julie. Back in 2013, I told her that I was having trouble keeping up with everything that was going on in the industry. That’s something most people can sympathize with – there are multiple headlines in our industry every day. Julie knew I was an okay writer and suggested the blog as a way to force myself to keep up with industry events.
In the beginning, I was writing only to myself, and the blog was a resource for me to store my interpretation of industry news as a resource for later use. But somehow, I started to pick up readers. I’ve never advertised the blog other than to refer to it at the end of my emails, but month after month and year after year the daily readers have grown.
Once in a while, a blog goes viral. The most readers I got was over 40,000 in a day when I wrote an article wondering how well Starlink would perform. The blog ended up on Reddit and I got a huge number of comments from Elon Musk fans who made rude references about my lineage. The silly thing about the reader reactions was that most comments were based strictly on the headline and it was clear that few commenters had actually read the blog – I agreed with most of the comments except the parts about my lineage. I pulled that blog down to cut off the nonsense, but it gave me an appreciation of what it must be like to be an actual journalist. My second most popular blog talked about how squirrels and gophers chew through fiber – the comments were a lot nicer!
I still write the blog as a way to force myself to keep up. It’s a busy time to be a broadband consultant and I could easily get lost in work and ignore the industry around me. To some extent I’m still writing to myself, which is why you’ll sometimes see blogs full of statistics – these blogs help me store facts I know I’m going to want to use later.
I think my favorite aspect of the blog is that it has led to meeting some of the most interesting people in the industry. I seem to meet somebody new through the blog almost weekly.
Readers often make my life easier because they often send me links to interesting things that I would never see otherwise. I get links to small-town newspaper articles or whitepapers published overseas that would never otherwise come to my attention.
Another interesting aspect of the blog is that I have readers worldwide. Just yesterday I had readers in India, Canada, the UAE, the UK, South Africa, Oman, Australia, Kenya, the Philippines, South Korea, Germany, Ukraine, Portugal, Turkey, and Mauritius. My blogs on the nuances of US regulations or FCC actions are probably baffling to these readers, but a lot of my blogs talk about the problems suffered by lack of good broadband – a problem all around the globe.
I’m also read by few college students who want to know more about the broadband industry. They often send me great questions, which I try to answer when I can.
Probably the biggest change in the blog is that over time I’ve found a voice. As interesting as the industry is, we have a lot of problems. The pandemic made it clear that there are still far too many people without good broadband. The biggest ISPs could do a lot better and often do more harm than good. Regulators often do puzzling things. I no longer shy away from giving my opinion on such topics. I don’t think for a second that I am moving the meter on any topic, but I hope that it’s valuable for readers to hear a perspective that’s not published in many other places. The things I say in the blog mirror the conversations I have with clients and peers. Mostly I hope that I am helping to inform people who live in places that need better broadband and encouraging them that there are solutions if they keep plugging away.
I don’t know how much longer I will keep writing every day. But I still enjoy the daily break to write a blog, and starting tomorrow I’m aiming at blog number 3,000!