I went to a breakfast talk over at the Quadrus Center this morning that featured Robert and Shel talking about their book to a bunch of startup executives and venture capitalists. Bank of America Ventures hosted the breakfast and I was invited by Carol Sachs at Tenor Communications, who has always been very generous in her compliments to my little blog.
It was interesting to hear the Q&A and realize "holy crap, we're still asking the same questions about company and employee blogs, it's all about mitigating risk." Can anyone point to an example of a company being sued by a customer about a blog post, sensitive IP being leaked by an employee, or some other nefarious consequence because of a company supporting blogging as a corporate activity or encouraging blogging by employees? I can't and I've looked. Get over it ferchristsakes.
Secondly, one of the BA Ventures partners said "I started blogging and gave it up, I wasn't getting anything out of it" (I'm paraphrasing a little, but not much). My quiet thought to myself was that if you are blogging to get something out of it and that's what you are looking for, an ROI, then you might as well give it up because not only is that kind of shallow but it misses the point of blogs in the first place. It's not that you should take an oath of poverty and chastity before you can blog, but at it's core blogging is about expression and if that expression is masked by some overt desire for reward then it probably isn't going to be realized unless you are really really good at self promotion. Blog because you have something to say, not because you want something, it's really that simple.
Lastly, I don't think the executives in this room realized the powerful shift that is underway in marketing and communications. We have gone full throttle into a world where people other than you define your brand and what your message is, and word of mouth networks have achieved a level of efficiency whereby a true level playing field exists for startups and gorillas alike. No longer does a company have to have expensive PR firms in their back pocket in order to control message, get exposure, and generate interest.
PS- I put my new camera (actually I bought it used) to work today, I'm stoked. (I had to send my MacBook Pro in for service so I couldn't edit the photo other than resize it… not bad for right out of the camera!)