Dealing with Incomplete Information
I learned in a De Bono thinking course that for some things, you will just never have complete information. So there is some point where you have to stop learning and researching and you have to move on to doing. You could research for the rest of your life and never come up with the complete answer.
Right now, without the book in front of me, I can't exactly remember how you discover that point. But I am calling it now.
I have learned a lot of things online. The process usually goes like this:
- Do what I know to make money and keep that steady.
- Always learn a new direction. And dive straight in. Focus on it until it's second nature.
- Once I feel comfortable with the new direction, add it to my list of tools and use it. Sometimes I have to check it to make sure it is getting used. I didn't learn it for fun.
- Find something else I need to learn based on what I know I am weak at.
My Investigation of Blogging
For last few months, I have investigated the social aspect of blogging. My mission was to cast my net wide and see what was other there, interact and discover some of the rules of etiquette and get a general feel for how all of this works. In other words, get a definition of what blogging is.
During that time, I would keep my affiliate thing at the level it was. This I prepared ahead for. I cut time in that area of my work. I wrote a tracking system and macros so I could click and button and see results. Once a week, I would adjust my PPC campaigns and add new ones. You see, moving ahead not only gave me more to work with. It gave me a reason to cut the fat.
During this time, the feeds in my reader ballooned to over 1000. I was casting a really wide net. I would also randomly jump on any topic I could comment on because I have a lot of general knowledge rattling around in my head.
Along the way, I got really wrapped up in a few head trips, like a MyBlogLog contest, the top 100 Make Money Online list, and Entrecard. Great. Fine and dandy. But they were sidetracking me from what I really was doing.
Now it is time to clean up Google Reader and start tagging feeds, to take a little randomness out of the process. It is also time to stop being sidetracked by the latest and greatest when I know the direction I am going. The randomness allowed me to navigate and categorize. I had incomplete information to even start the research. If I had targeted too early, I would have missed big chunks of information that could have been important.
Now that I have a broad picture, I will look for targeted details when I need them. Less surfing and browsing. More directly going to what I need.
Does this mean I am quitting blogging? Not by a long shot. Does this mean I won't be commenting as much? Nope. All it means is it's time to tighten up the ship a bit. From the research done with this blog, I should be able to get Digital Products Review off the ground quite nicely, which will be the test. If it goes well, move on. If not, time to reevaluate things.
I have met some friends and have their blogs tagged to check daily. My reader still has 700 feeds in it. I only deleted the ones that hadn't been updated in a month for now. I check it all the time to find the newest posts in my huge neighborhood. And for research, I search those feeds first.
Will I still learn along the way? Damn straight. But that is not the focus now. Now I will use what I learned.
Because there will be other blogs which, for now, will be going into a central Wordpress MU installation, which will allow me to keep all my blogs data in one location even though the blogs are distributed across various domains. I will have a post on the general idea before the end of the week. It needs it's own post because it involves more than just installing MU.
So where am I going in future studies. Let me just tell you the blogs that I am currently digesting post by post:
And now the weaknesses I will be hitting:
- Social Media Marketing - I'm an SEO at heart but buzz can do wonders too. Which brings up a point that I have to beat into my head. If someone else can get effective results with an internet technology, I can too. I learned this first with Adwords which I attacked and lost money on twice in a row. After each time, I said so much shit about how Adwords sucked and was worthless, similar to the words you hear about SMM when SEO's talk about it. Now, it is ATM that gives me $2 for every $1 I put in. It's hard to know the learning curve going in and not one person really helped me get it. They could lead the way, but I still had to find things out for myself. Sometimes it takes a few runs. And sometimes it takes going out of my comfort zone long enough to realize I am just talking shit so I won't have to.
- SEO - Anyone who says they are an SEO at heart is a little arrogant. I need to brush up. Actually, I need to use it more often and stop talking about it. But if I address it through reading constantly about it, it will get stuck in my head. And if I put the software I use in my taskbar, it's a big freakin' reminder. The concept is very simple. It's how far you take it that works ranking miracles.
Things I may possibly be playing with as an amateur, keeping in a holding pattern until those above have hit a steady state:
- Video - I need to know a little about this. I am a book person. I can read the complete course while you are in taking the first lecture. If I had a chance to go to college or do it online, I would pick online because I can go at my own pace which is "See you later, I'm reading". But not everyone is like this and I need to step up. My starting point will be screencast tutorials.
A New Leaf
The newest tool in my pack is hiring freelancers. I had got some graphics done and now I have a plugin for Wordpress halfway finished. Paying someone $100 to do something that would take me two weeks is more than cost effective.
Questions I ask myself now with all my activities:
- Do I like doing this?
- Am I efficient at doing this?
- Is this something that requires me?
- How much would it cost to get done?
- How long would it take me to do it?
The End Result
Doing less of what I don't want to do and doing more of what I want to do. I like blogging. I like writing. I like the blogoshere. I like interacting with other people there. Everything else is just a tool to make that full time. Look for my post of Wordpress MU and the rough outline of building a blogging network where most of the rest is automated. I don't want to cut out bottlenecks. I want to ask, "What's a bottleneck?"