Month: May 2009

WordCamp SF 2009 – what I learned from Tim Ferriss

I figured I should break each session into its own blog entry. It’s going to take a little time to finish all of them since some of my notes are on the iPhone (since emailed to self) and the rest are on paper (starting the moment the phone died).

Here’s a random sampling of what I learned during Tim Ferriss‘s session at WordCamp San Francisco 2009, today at UCSF Mission Bay.

Tim Ferriss’s tips on blogging and SEO:

  • Don’t call your categories “Categories.” Call them “Topics.” They’ll get clicked on a lot more.
  • Don’t put your all-time most popular posts on your home page, because they will just stay your all-time more popular posts. Show your most popular posts from the last 30 days (rolling).
  • Publishing your twitter feed with a link to twitter results in a mass exodus, especially for new users.
  • If you are monetizing, RSS is less and less relevant especially with microblogging tools.
  • if you come from an outside link to his site, the date on older posts is de-emphasized, because new users are biased towards fresher content. I think that’s what he said.
  • Consider including “total read time” on each of your posts (using 250 words per minute as the standard for estimating)
  • Being a good writer is less important than finding your own voice. Tim says that Mark Cuban says to write about what you’re passionate about.
  • People are bad at predicting what they’re going to like.
  • Figure out when your best synthesis time is, and write then. Tim (a Princeton man) has a glass of wine and some yerba mate. YMMV. My Wisconsin roots make my approximation of that a beer and a cup of coffee.
  • For important posts, edit by hand. Cut 20% of the word count each time.
  • Ignore SEO in the first draft of any blog posts. (I do this mainly because I ignore SEO all the time). Use the Google keyword tool to find out what other phrases you should be including in your post.
  • Ensure that posts can only be described one way (that is, keep each post on one topic). Why? So that when people link to any given post, they are using the same words to describe it. Bingo.
  • When you’re making video for the web, the amount of time you spend on it is NOT proportional to its future success. Sometimes the quickest, most spontaneous stuff gets the most attention. Alongside the video, include “bonus” content (so that it’s indexable). This is some brilliant stuff that should be obvious.
  • Stumbleupon is a cheap source of high quality traffic.
  • Don’t be too topical. Don’t chase the news. That’s boring.
  • Tim blogs in short, long, and micro form. Different sites for different forms.
  • This was probably the most important thing he said: “Think big but play often. Take fun seriously!” Your blog should not be a source of stress.
  • “Trying to please every stranger in the world is the path to misery.”-Tim Ferriss
  • “If you’re having fun, you’re not wasting time — you’re not being productive, but you’re not wasting time.”

There’s a lot there.

Cheap WordCamp San Francisco 2009 live blog

Despite being somewhat ill, I made it to WordCamp today via BART and MUNI.

Here are my photos from WordCamp SF 2009 on Flickr.

Random notes so far:

  • I just heard someone say one of my favorite refrains: “I’m not a programmer, but…”
  • There are twice as many people here this year as there were last year (and it is certainly evident)
  • WordPress has served up 22 billion page views in the last 12 months
  • Ed Morita has a WordPress tattoo
  • Tim Ferriss outsourced even his love life at one point
  • Matt Cutts thinks cat blogging is okay; the main things are to write often and about what you care about
  • This post is basically what Matt Cutts recommended: “11 reasons WordCamp ruled.”
  • yes, I am liveblogging on my iPhone
  • thematic and sandbox are good, widget-ready starting points for custom themes (look for widgets to show up on this site now that I know this) — these now supercede the one I based this blog’s theme and others
  • According to Tim Ferriss, Stumbleupon is a cheap source of relatively high quality traffic
  • A Bay Area county agency that shall remain nameless is still using Pentium 4s with 256 megs of RAM that barely run IE6 and have memory issues with Outlook 2000
  • Dave Gray of XPLANE (who also publishes the XBLOG, which I like a lot, though it is due a redesign) gave a really interesting and inspiring talk that I wish could have been 2X as long. I look forward to getting his slides and looking further into XPLANE’s work.
  • I walked out of Philip Greenspun’s talk because he made an insensitive joke out of Cory Lidle’s having died in a plane crash.

I found WordCamp SF 2009 pretty informative — what I stayed for at least. I left in part because I didn’t want to overdo it while recovering from what might be the flu (um, I’m pretty sure I wasn’t contagious, people who were sitting near me), not to mention the law of diminishing returns.

I’ll add more in a subsequent post.

Going to WordCamp

I’m going on Saturday… are you?

WordCamp SF 2009

(WordCamp, a day devoted to free open-source blogging software that runs really great sites, and sites like this one.)

*Who’s* following me?

Governor Schwarzenegger? Seriously? (Why?)

Hi, Jason L. Gohlke.

Gov. Schwarzenegger (Schwarzenegger) is now following your updates on Twitter.

A little information about Gov. Schwarzenegger:

359 updates
following 56370 people

You may follow Gov. Schwarzenegger as well by clicking on the “follow” button on their profile. You may also block Gov. Schwarzenegger if you don’t want them to follow you.

The Twitter Team

Turn off these emails at:

The tiniest little jolt

Our office had the tiniest little jolt at 3:34 pm: magnitude 3.0, USGS stuff here, epicenter map here.

It wasn’t a big deal, really, despite the fact that I bothered posting this.

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