Geeks With Blogs
Kent Brown Keepin It Real

This is my first entry blog ever, and I'm struggling to figure out what my blogging style will be.  It's sort of like how I often see dress ties I think look great on other people, but when it gets down to committing and shelling over good money for a tie and imagining myself wearing it, all the colors and patterns seem a little too drab, or a little too gaudy, or too dressy, or too weird, or whatever.  (My solution is to pick two or three favorites and not wear ties often enough for anyone to figure out that's all I have.  Usually only job interviews and weddings). 

I read all kinds of witty, cleverly styled blogs, but now that I sit down and ponder pressing the “POST“ button, somehow I'm scared my blog will come across as too clever, or too boring, or too pretentious, or too self-serving, or too serious, or too fluffy, or whatever.

Blogging is probably about to go out of style anyway, right as I finally get into it, but I'm not doing it because its in or I would have started long ago. 

Why am I blogging?  It's kind of scary for me, throwing my ideas out there to the public scrutiny.  For most of my life the most common comment I heard from people was, “You're so quiet! “.  Now I lead a User Group for programmers and a significant part of my career is public speaking and publishing my ideas.  Basically I overcame a very introverted nature over the years because a) I knew it was anti-social so I pushed myself to reach out and interact, b) its not fun to be called the quiet one, and c) somehow over the years I grew out of most of the insecurity that made me quiet in the first place.

1) Blogging is my way of getting into the fray.  To stop being shy and contribute to the conversation.  To stand up and be somebody.

2) So everyone will know how smart I am. ;-)  Seriously, I have found that having the courage to speak up and publish or present my ideas has made a huge difference in my career in terms of getting enough respect to do the things I enjoy doing.  While I've published things I look back on and now disagree with, I've also published things that I now look back on and know that I do occasionally have something worth saying.

3) Writing things down forces you to think things through so good ideas aren't just bouncing around in a fuzzy state, but can actually be fleshed out and maybe become useful.  And putting it out there publicly solicits responses from readers (both supportive and critical) that help affirm or correct those ideas.

4) A blog entry can be however long I want and whenever I want, unlike writing books which can hang over your head for a year or more.  That's why I like writing articles more than books.  But that's also why I immensely respect folks who have the guts to sign up for writing a book, the confidence to sell a publisher on actually funding it, and the tenacity and discipline to actually deliver on it.

What kind of blog will this be?  A mix of what I like in other blogs: 

1) Hopefully a lot of specific useful information around the programming technologies I like to focus on (.NET, BizTalk, WS-*, XML, etc).  When Googling for help on bugs or tricky undocumented technical issues, I just as often find the answer on some blog as I do in the MSDN library or Knowledge Base articles.  I hope to provide some of that to others.

2) Occasionally pontification on “architectural” issues (SOA, OOP, scalability, Modelling, etc.) and development “methodologies” (MSF, RUP,XP, etc.).  My theme here is “Keepin it Real”.  I love designing and building large complex systems, solving hard technical problems, and trying to come up with ways to make the process of designing and building large complex systems better, faster, easier, and more reliable.  But I can't stand “architectural” discussions when they aren’t tied to concrete implementation ideas.  While I can just as easily as the next guy get wild-eyed about a deep new insight that will change computing as we know it, I immediately roll my eyes and fall asleep when the discussion gets into the realm of fluff.  No disrespect to the folks that run and attend the Archtiectural Summits, but the only value I got out of last year's summit in Palm Springs was a couple good rounds of golf.  I'm sure there is a need for Enterprise Architecture and Governance and all that, but that's not where you'll find me.  I've decided I am an Enterprise Application Architect a la PEAA (Fowler), not an Enterprise Architect.

3) Maybe occasional opining about commercial technology choices (like what MP3 player or smart phone or whatever I should buy).  These will mostly be to solicit responses from those of you who are more hip and don't wait until something is about to go out of style before you try it.

Posted on Friday, December 9, 2005 8:12 AM | Back to top

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