I am redesigning the Kepha web site and now am the Admin. I do the same for my blog, and it is a fun hobby. It also helps me in my day job as a VC.
Digital media is a pretty broad landscape these days, and, when I work on a blog, I get to check out various plug-ins, apply security layers, experiment with CDNs, code a bit, engage in search engine marketing (SEM) tests for fun and understand better to where search engine optimization (SEO) might be going. From the host to the device, there’s a lot that has to be optimized.
I also get to play with social media channels, such as Twitter, Google+, Facebook and Instagram.
I’ve recently added ads to jtangoVC.com. I know it sounds lame, and it is. But, to get a practitioner’s view into the ad network sector is pretty valuable. In fact, it is pretty eerie how Google AdSense will scan your blog, understand who you are based on your browsing history, and offer up ads of interest.
Plus, I’ve never expensed the blog’s costs to Kepha and underwrote it myself. To keep qualifying for deductions, the blog eventually has to earn revenue, per IRS rules. So, there you go.
In no particular order, here are some observations:
- Engagement: For quick and easy virality, Instagram is #1. Google+ is nearly dead, IMO, and Twitter and Facebook are in the middle.
- Ad campaigns: Twitter is nowhere, and Facebook is the king. The latter lets you design extremely granular campaigns. So, when the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke, my reaction was: “That’s it?” I took it for granted that most people knew that Facebook was tracking every like and share and that those things said a lot about you and what ads might interest you.
- Google and Facebook are monopolies: There, I said it. Operating systems wield tremendous power and dictate how technologies above them work. Microsoft had this back in the desktop computing era. In the new world involving clouds and ubiquitous Internet access, the effective operating systems, the platforms, are controlled by a few vendors. It’s why Facebook can increase its prices each year, almost mechanically. Same dynamic exists for apps on the App Store. The biggest winner is the platform owner: Apple.
- B2C businesses are hard: Everybody is trying to find virality. Everyone is buying key words, creating UGC or white papers and doing grass-roots marketing. Everyone is calling on the same ad agencies for help. It’s why companies that can offer “new edge,” like Mavrck does, are important (N.B.: We are investors).
- SEO: It really works. It takes a while, but if you optimize your posts for keywords and have unique content, you really get ranked high. For example, old posts such “How Do VCs Get Paid?” and “How to Get the VC Meeting” continue to generate tremendous pageviews. You also get to play with ways to accelerate download times to increase your SEO rankings. And, last, it’s always helpful to get a feeling for how Google weights its SEO algorithms.
- The blog ecosystem: You find out pretty quick that WordPress is the best blog platform, hosting is a commodity, and GoDaddy’s customer service really doubles as a cross-sell/up-sell call center.
- Collisions: You also find out pretty quickly that technology collisions are inevitable. IMO, there will always be work for people who know how to problem-solve technology.
- Open and free: It’s great that WordPress is an open-source and free product. They tap into the crowd, and there’s a plethora of cool and free stuff available. Rather than pay for a security certificate, for example, I got one for free by tinkering around. And, you learn pretty quickly that those start-ups trying to make a living as a plug-in are in for a tough ride. People hate to pay for anything.
So, it’s been fun to tinker and valuable for the job, too. My job is my hobby is my calling. It really is, particularly when I get to play with some technology as a practitioner.