I’ve been writing this blog since the start of the year. EDN’s content management system tells me that I’ve made over 150 posts. Some of them were guest bloggers and a few were just short items, but most of them were my usual length of 7-800 words. That means I’ve written something north of 100,000 words on EDA, Silicon Valley, software, semiconductor and the like. That’s a lot. A book. So what have I learned from all this?
Firstly, something that I already knew but which I feel much more strongly now. There are two separate parts to writing, working out what you are going to say and putting those thoughts into words. I can write really fast if I’ve already sorted out what point I’m trying to make. And in a blog entry of a few hundred words you can really only make one or two points. If I haven’t sorted out what I want to say, then starting to write is a really bad way of addressing that. Driving for 30 minutes with the radio off, or taking a shower, or having a coffee are all much better and a lot less frustrating.
One thing people often ask me is how long I spend writing a piece. The answer is about 45 minutes or an hour (assuming I already know what I’m going to say, but you knew that). A few times people have suggested an idea to me and I’ve got a blog item emailed out to get feedback from them within an hour. On a plane, I can write 3 or 4 entries on a battery for my MacBook.
How do I decide what to write on? I try and mix up subjects since a whole week of, say, finance would be boring. But some of the “boring” stuff like sales and finance is really important. EDA startups in particular usually get the technology right. It is the non-technical stuff that lets them down. I suppose I write the stuff I wish I’d known when I started in EDA.
The biggest frustration with blogging like this is that I don’t get much feedback. All sorts of people tell me that they read EDAgraffiti when they meet me. Very few people think to email me or to leave a comment on the blog. Reed has the policy of not letting page-view data outside of the company, and since I’m not an employee I don’t get to see (maybe it’s the same for the internal people outside management, I don’t know). So I don’t know how many people read EDAgraffiti, and I don’t know what type of people read EDAgraffiti. I don’t know which entries get read the most and which get nearly ignored.
I also get asked why I do this blog. You might assume I’m paid to do this but you’d be wrong. I do it partially because I enjoy it, partially because it is fun to give back to the industry some of what I’ve learned over the years, partially because it doesn’t do any harm to be more widely known in the industry and also because it helps as an advertisement of my knowledge to encourage people to engage me for consulting contracts (I’m available!). Although I’m not sure my blogging persona which someone described to me as “grouchy old man” is especially appealing from that point of view. EDA is more challenging right now than in the past and it doesn’t help to pretend that this is not so.
Anyway I have a favor to ask you, especially if you are regular reader. In fact two. First, go and vote for EDAgraffiti on Denali’s “next top blogger” competition. It will only take a couple of seconds. Secondly, send me an email with a couple of lines saying what your background is (design engineer, EDA marketing, semiconductor executive, whatever) and what topics that I’ve been covering you find the most interesting.
My email is paul®greenfolder.com (but change the ® to @).
Also, since it is months ago I last mentioned this, I often pre-announce blog entries and other stuff on Twitter, so you can follow paulmclellan there or else search on “edagraffiti”.