Last week while diving into my archives I realized that this blog was celebrating its 16th anniversary. 16 years of uninterrupted activity just interspersed with a year’s break due to exhaustion, which allowed me to be active elsewhere and start other projects.
At first it was out of curiosity after hearing about it in the media. The goal was more to have fun building a blog to see how it was technically done and I told myself that after 3 articles I would be bored and I would stop. 2209 articles later I’m still at it.
It’s always interesting to delve into 16 years of archives because you can find articles, memories, eras and the best alongside the worst.
The best is still some (rare) articles of which I’m particularly proud but we’ll talk about it a bit later.
The best is above all encounters and exchanges, online but also and especially offline. Contrary to the idea that many people had of it, digital does not drive people apart, on the contrary. It brings together people who are interested in the same subjects but would never have met if they hadn’t been able to share their thoughts online and find them on the other hand. In the first 5 years, I made the most qualitative part of my network. Some of them even became friends, colleagues, clients, even competitors, but whether it was online, in an office, on the stage of a conference in France or elsewhere, or even in a bar, we really spent pleasant, enriching and sometimes exciting moments together.
Then life did its work, each one followed his way which could take him away a little or a lot but there will always remain something of this time.
And then there was the pleasure of clearing a field. Today everyone exists online, sometimes even against their will. At that time Facebook did not exist, LinkedIn was reserved for an elite, Youtube had not been bought by Google… The right to make mistakes was allowed because there was little or no audience (at least nothing comparable to today). As a friend told me recently, there was no code, no rules, at the limit our experience even helped to write them. Trying to be interesting no matter what we were talking about, not taking ourselves too seriously, being curious and benevolent…that was enough to regulate a “community” that only wrote to give itself reasons to meet “IRL” during one of the many parties that gathered us at the time.
And then what was confidential became mainstream. So much the better for the industry, so much the worse for the mindset. Social networks replaced the media of the same name, Facebook came along, then Twitter and in the end everyone was online.
There is a lot of talk about the excesses of the Internet today, but it is only a reflection of society. It amplifies and accelerates things but it is nothing else than what people do with it and they do what they are. The web in which we lived at the time was not the real life nor the real world, it had a carefree side bordering on the world of the Care Bears. We knew it, we knew that it would not last and we took advantage of it. We made Tweets in 2007 that we couldn’t do again in 2021. It’s neither good nor bad, that’s life.
And then blogs have known the competition of other media/networks like Facebook, Twitter and many others after. They also experienced before them what I call the price of digital success and that I summarize as follows: at the beginning there are people and it’s nice, then the brands arrive and it becomes a mess.
Loïc Le Meur, in his time nicknamed the “Pope of blogs” said “blogs start conversations” and it could not be more right. Today the conversations have partly disappeared and in any case they have moved elsewhere. And even if there was certainly a little bit of ego in everyone to start the adventure, we went from a time when we existed because we published, today I have the impression that people publish to exist.
We went from “blogs start conversations” to “Youtube starts sales“. Before we shared experiences and thoughts, today people produce content. The hobby space has become a business and maybe that’s good because otherwise it wouldn’t have had the means to grow. As long as retrogrades like me can continue to operate the old way, I’m fine with it.
But delving into his archives is also a way to retrace one’ s professional life through the subjects evoked.
It’s remembering that many of the hot topics that will transform society and business don’t make it through the winter.
It’s a mix of pride and disappointment to see that things we wrote 5 years ago or more are still relevant. Pride to have been one step ahead, disappointment to see that nothing has changed.
It is also to say to oneself “ you have written so much rubbish “. Of course, when you deal with emerging subjects and you try to have innovative approaches, the judgement that you make afterwards on the first reflections once you know the end of the story or once you have 10 years of practice and hindsight are logically severe.
But it doesn’t matter, I assume. Because one lesson I learned in hindsight is that if you believe in a subject or an approach and you want to move it forward, you won’t get far if you don’t lay the groundwork to improve it. You won’t get far if you don’t share it to see how the idea is received, to receive feedback and improve your thinking. This is true when writing but also in all areas of professional life. It is better to improve continuously than to wait to reach perfection at the first attempt, and feedback from others allows you to do better and faster.
16 years of blogging summarized in one sentence would be: we change, we improve, the world changes for the better or worse and we can’t do anything about it but as long as we exchange and learn everything is fine.
See you on the 17th birthday.