December 31, 2006
@ 04:19 PM

Jeff Simmermon wrote a blog post entitled Drowning Kittens In A River Full Of Cash which he seems to have deleted but which is cached here. There was a sentence from that blog post which stayed with me and I have reproduced below

Forget about trying to write under that kind of dread. Writing under family-friendly corporate constraints is a necessary but curious clusterfuck in the best conditions. Sometimes it's like reaching deep within your soul and pulling out a basket of kittens, then quietly drowning it in a river. A man's gotta eat, though, and I never griped about the paycheck. That was my choice, and I made it every day.

This year was the first year I considered ending this blog because I'd finally gotten tired of the hassle of people complaining about what I wrote here. The final straw for me surprisingly hasn't been work related although there have been stretching points from disgruntled coworkers who lashed out because I use competing products to people complaining to my management chain and theirs hoping to get me reprimanded or even fired for not toeing the party line. I stand by everything I've written in this blog but I've now gotten enough heat and taken enough inter-personal communication training classes to realize that some opinions are more trouble than they are worth. So every once in a while, a quietly drown a kitten of a half written blog post because I can't be bothered with dealing with the feedback. However that wasn't the breaking point, since I've considered this experience part of "growing up".

What I didn't expect to have to deal with was people back home in Nigeria reading my blog. Or even worse, certain posts in from my blog being printed out and republished in Nigerian print magazines. That audience which now includes quite a few members of my family is one I hadn't anticipated and one whose feedback on misconstrued posts is one I take more to heart than the other kinds of feedback I'm used to getting about my blog. This has now introduced a new set of filters I have to apply to my blog posts.

I've now begun to question the purpose of continuing to write this blog and considered ending it and perhaps restarting an anonymous one on some generic blog hosting service like TypePad or Blogger. I'm not sure what I'm going to do next but thought it only fair to let the couple thousand folks who read this blog regularly to know why it stopped if it does stop.

Have a Happy New Year.
 

Sunday, December 31, 2006 5:30:08 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Dare - I've also considering quitting blogging recently (see http://www.furrygoat.com/2006/04/abort_retry_ignore.html), decided to keep going, but now am at the end as well.

If you do stop, you will be missed - you're one of the few quality blogs these days.
Sunday, December 31, 2006 5:34:32 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
As one of the "couple thousand folks" it would be a shame if you stopped. I enjoy your posts for the very reason that some of your co-workers don't: because they are balanced rather than Microsoft-centric. I can appreciate (although not from experience) the impact of negative comments from co-workers but I am sure that there are others amongst the couple thousand who are co-workers and are appreciative of your perspective.

The fact that your family's profile has resulted in negative consequences in Nigeria must be much harder to deal with: perhaps you could use the anonymous blog to discuss the issues which result in the feedback your take more to heart.

Also, I wonder whether your are really questioning the purpose of the blog or its some of the negative consequences.

Sunday, December 31, 2006 6:42:17 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Dare,
I read your blog because you provide a lot of insight.
I find it valuable and enjoyable to read.
Please continue...
Sunday, December 31, 2006 7:35:45 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Dare,

With respect to the IE7 thing (and people internally, in general), I think that people would prefer you took a position similar to that espoused by Matt Cutts at Google (http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/the-real-lesson-from-this-week/).

In other words: demonstrate that you respect your peers at Microsoft enough to talk to them first, instead of airing your grievances in a non-productive way on your blog.

As it is, it feels like you're just looking for attention, as opposed to actually caring about the success of the company and trying to get things done. It's easy to be a pundit, it's harder to be someone who effects change.

Good luck with whatever decision you make about your blog.

Sean
Sunday, December 31, 2006 7:50:43 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Here's the dig Sean, I've tried the email route a lot of times too. It doesn't work 1/1000th as effectively as talking in public. Why? Because people are self interested in large organizations. They can always prioritize something else as "higher priority." And you do know Microsoft program managers do love their priority lists.

When you take something into public eye, then the priority list all of a sudden gets rejiggered.

This process pisses people off -- they don't like the whole world seeing their poor prioritization and don't like being forced by a mob into doing something they weren't really into in the first place. But it also gets a LOT more action than trying to be "nice" and keeping things behind closed doors.

You can still see this with all the sites at Microsoft that don't have RSS or Mac/Firefox compatibility. That's lame in this day and age. It takes more work to do those things and asking people nicely to do more work simply doesn't work. The only reason PM's will take on more work is if there's lots of eyes on their careers.

Blogging is the most efficient way to bring those eyes.

Dare's not doing this for "getting attention." I can tell you from personal experience that "getting attention" ain't worth shit. He's doing this to try to make your company better. He deserves your support and more employees might try using this tool to get Microsoft to pay attention to customers again.
Sunday, December 31, 2006 8:36:10 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
This is about you, Dare, not some general hoorah for weblogging and how all good Softies need to 'get it'.

I would personally miss your writing and your comments and your interaction. I can understand why you get tired of the hassles and the flack and the problems, and if you do go off quietly somewhere to write anonymously, please drop a hint or a hint of a hint so that we can sneak over there, promising mums the word. Because I would personally miss your writings and your comments and your interaction.

Happy New Years and be cool.
Sunday, December 31, 2006 8:55:06 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Hello Dare,

Although, this is the first time I am posting a comment on your blog, I have read each and every post you have made in the last 3 months (which is around the time I came across your blog).

It would certainly be a loss to see your blog go. It has been informative, inspirational, and interesting to be your audience and I want to thank you for that.

Hopefully, you will change your mind. Have a good life.

Regards.
Sunday, December 31, 2006 9:25:40 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
You have a good blog Dare. Keep going.
dos
Sunday, December 31, 2006 9:57:20 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Hang in there, please.

If "some opinions are more trouble than they are worth", and you still wish to publicly express them, then would a second, more private blog work? No need to lose your perspective as shown in this weblog; that would be like throwing out the kittens with the bathwater then, true?

jd/adobe
Sunday, December 31, 2006 10:44:40 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Re: "certain posts in from my blog being printed out and republished in Nigerian print magazines."

Plagiarism in any form shouldn't be taken lightly. If you can't be bothered to deal with this, I can understand, but please do us a favor by publishing the name(s) of the magazines/newspapers that used your materials without permission. Some cases of plagiarism were recorded in Kenya earlier this year, where blog postings were lifted and republished by some newspapers under different names. The kenyan bloggers spoke up and got a public apology!
Sunday, December 31, 2006 11:55:48 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Hey Dare, I've been reading for a long time now and very much respect and appreciate your opinions. I think better of Microsoft because of folks like you working there. I'd hate to lose your voice and thoughts on the news of the day, but I respect your situation. I hope things work out for you.

Happy New Year!
~Mike
Sunday, December 31, 2006 11:59:18 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Dare, I'd totally keep going. I've enjoyed reading you these past few months..
Monday, January 01, 2007 12:14:58 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
I don’t know what to tell you on this. On one hand, I enjoy your blog and would hate to see you leave. But on the other, as someone who gave up blogging specifically because it caused so much trouble I think I’d be a hypocrite if I said you should continue.

Now, I can’t comment on the home problems since no one in my personal life ever really read my blog but in a business sense I consider myself a bit of an expert.

The problem with business is that it’s all about relationships and relationships are all about “personal capital”. Do/Say something right and you build up some capital, do/say something wrong and you lose it. People are always judging you based on how much capital you have built up.

The problem with adding a blog to that mix is that suddenly you’re interacting with people who (a) you don’t know and (b) you can’t defend yourself to. So you say something that is correct but someone who doesn’t know you takes it in the wrong way and the next thing you know you have some unknown enemy out there who thinks badly of you even though you’ve never met them.

Even this would be fine except for one last wrinkle: In the blogosphere negative news travels faster and wider than positive news. Complain about something and your odds of getting on techmeme are much better than if you praise something. So casual readers will inevitably see you for negative comments way more than for positive comments and will ding you for every one.

Bottom Line: in the corporate world having a blog is a good way to get a lot of enemies. Sure, bloggers may love you but the majority of people aren’t bloggers. So while I really like your blog, I can totally see why you’d shut it down.

P.S. to imnakoya – Dare’s father is the President of Nigeria so I think he was referring to people quoting his blog in that respect not people stealing his posts.
Tom
Monday, January 01, 2007 1:28:14 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
At TechEd in Boston I met a young guy from Nigeria; we were sharing a bunk bed at the YHA Hostel.

I told him about my blog and then remembered that you were Nigerian so I told him how to find this blog. When he got back home he must have spread the word…..welcome to the world wide web....
Monday, January 01, 2007 9:20:20 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
imnakoya: when I worked at Microsoft an entire post of mine was reprinted on the Wall Street Journal's editorial page. They gave me credit for it, but it was pretty weird and a demonstration of how when you write in public your words can be reused in lots of places.
Monday, January 01, 2007 4:52:23 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Please continue! You'd be missed very much.
Monday, January 01, 2007 11:20:18 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Dare, blogging is about growing by sharing experiences. I do understand the difficulties you might be facing, but, because I learned from the insight you provided, I'm also encouraging to keep going.

Have a goood one.

Tom
Tuesday, January 02, 2007 2:16:53 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Dare, +1 to hanging in there. Press pause and just slide for a while. Re anonymous blogging, I doubt you'll like it much.
Tuesday, January 02, 2007 3:56:30 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Please keep writing - your words are very powerful at motivating people to do great things.
Leo
Tuesday, January 02, 2007 6:51:24 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Screw your co-workers. Seriously. They sound like the girl with the pigtails in 3rd grade who tattled on everything someone did. Those people are losers and won't amount to anything in the big picture. Blogging is about sharing your experiences and helping further the knowledge of your readers. They're getting a paycheck and drinking koolaid.
Wednesday, January 03, 2007 2:27:27 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Dare,

I've been reading your blog for about three months now, and I really enjoy it. My favorite posts are when you write about how race intersects with your work in the tech/web2.0 space you are the only one that I know of - THE ONLY ONE. Ironically it is a topic that generally doesn't interest me, but when you raise an issue, i.e. conference speakers, the topic resonates.

There are thousands of people out there, like me, who tune in to what you have to day. You have a voice...please keep using it.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007 8:27:21 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Besides, when we find an anonymous blog in which the blogger has an unhealthy fascination with social networking, RSS Bandit, and 50 Cent, we'll know its you. ;)
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