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Hat-tip to Holly Tse for organizing this interview!
Holly Tse: Yeah, you mentioned to me that you have [around] 2,000 readers for your blog. Now, how did that grow to that level?
SC: Oh, one reader at a time, I’d guess. I started off writing just about very technical things. I’d been using my blog as a way to take notes in university, so I wrote about my philosophy classes, computer science, and some of the open source programs I was working on. As I started publishing my notes, I saw that, hey, you know, this is a great way to learn from other people. I’d write about something, and then always, someone would come along with an even better way to do things, or would come along and say, “Thank you for sharing that. You saved me five minutes” or “…two hours”, or “You saved me a day of searching around and trying things out.”
As I figured out that hey, this is really useful for technical discovery, I started using it as well to write about other things I was figuring out. Personal finance, life after university… all these things.
I guess people like the fact that I’m figuring things out, I’m optimistic about it, I’m trying my best to write about all these different things that I’m learning because I know that if I don’t write it down, I’m going to forget, and then I’m going to have to go through the entire process of learning things again. Whereas if I write things down, then other people might be able to learn from that too.
HT: It sounds like a really good learning tool for yourself and for others, then.
SC: In fact, a lot of people have started looking at blogs and social networks in terms of personal learning networks (PLN). So that’s the educational jargon around it: personal learning networks. It’s not just about the notes that you keep. If you think about the kinds of blogs that you’d like to subscribe to so that you can learn from something from them, the kinds of people who inspire you–role models–because you can probably find their blogs or find them on social networks and add that kind of regular inspiration to life.
There’s so much that you can learn that isn’t in a textbook or isn’t in a commercial page or all that stuff. You can learn from people’s stories, and that’s an incredible thing. If you have a blog, then you can tell your own stories, and you can write about what all these other things make you think. How they inspire you. How you’re putting that inspiration to good use in your life. It’s an excellent way to build those relationships.