I didn’t write much (outside of twitter) about SxSW 2009. In part that was because life rushed off in other directions immediately afterwards, and in part there wasn’t much that really inspired me to write. There were numerous good sessions at the conference, but far too many “social media consultants” talking without real experience and far too much focus on “monetising.” Many of us with a longer view of the web and/or more of a technical bent expressed considerable frustration with such sessions and the voting process that had allowed them to dominate the programme.
One session I wish I had made it to was Merlin Mann and John Gruber’s. For months now I’ve had Gruber’s subsequent write-up open in my newsreader awaiting a link from this blog. In it he deftly sums up what so many of the panels seemed to miss, that the starting point for a successful blogging (and, I’d say, most any) venture has to be passion (obsession), and a next step has to be craft. The rest may follow, but it needs those starting points:
What’s so great, so amazing, about this racket is that it doesn’t have to be that way. You can obsess over your work, build an audience based on deep mutual respect, and eventually opportunities to earn money from it will present themselves. I don’t know how it works, I only know that it does.