I was chatting to Darren over the partition this morning about this blog, and how much fun I was having starting arguments; about our company newsletter, the article I wrote for it, and whether I should submit my blog entry, Contracting vs. Consulting, for those who hadn’t read it. I’d heard rumours that some people in the London office liked it.
“Did you see the discussions that post started?” Darren asked (see here and here).
I hadn’t. I was quite surprised to read them, but it confirms something which I’ve been suspecting for a while: I really am being watched. I thought perhaps that given recent debates, and the treatment of my blog and particularly that post, that it might be worth a word.
I am not an authoritative voice on anything except my own experience, which is limited – growing, I hope, and nurtured by a great deal of enthusiasm and idealism – but to take anything I say as gospel truth would be dangerous. I like to provoke; I like to start discussions; I love to be told that I’m wrong, and even if I argue that I’m right until you and I are both blue in the face, I have never yet had a debate which didn’t open my mind a little and start me thinking.
I’ve come to realise that the interest in my blog, and presumably in the other blogs on the same feed, far outreaches the scope of the company feeding it; that my company is itself at the forefront of Agile, XP and the open-minded approach to software engineering; and that a large number of people are looking to it as an authoritative voice, and by extension to everyone in it. This realisation is simultaneously humbling and uplifting. To see something I’ve written being discussed by experienced, talented individuals around the world is very flattering, but also suggests a certain level of blog responsibility which I didn’t previously know I had.
Well, now I know.
There are a few things which I’m going to try to do differently as a result. Not many, but a few.
Please, if you discuss a post of mine or see that someone else has – stick a comment in and let me know! I love that people read and talk to me about the things I write, and I love to get other points of view. It’s useful to know when I’m wrong, useful to know if I’m right, and even more useful to realise that there is no spoon.
The PlanetThoughtworks aggregator is probably one of the more widely watched corporate aggregators. Certainly, TW has a disproportionate mindshare for its size – a reflection of the quality of people who work for it. (I know I’ve had the good fortune to work alongside about a dozen over the last three years, all of whom were excellent)
Don’t let it affect your style too much; I’m sure you’ve had a high readership for some time now, and presumably they like what they’ve read. I know I have.
As an ex-Thoughtworker (and ex-other consultancy), now independent I totally agree with your post and have one suggestion: don’t change your style, just be aware that TW is very different from most other consultancies both in terms of reputation & quality and also how they staff projects. Many such consultancies that staffed client projects with teams a few years ago are now not much more than “body shops”. Also there’s a difference between an independent consultant hired for their specialist knowledge, a consultant from a consulting firm and a contractor – usually hired to fill a gap.
Anyway, I enjoy your posts, keep it up!
I would certainly have borne that in mind, had I realised the wide context in which the word “consultant” and the term “consultancy” were being read. I’d also have been more careful (or at least, specific) with the term “contractor”, had I realised it would cause offence.
I didn’t appreciate that the post would be widely read by people outside of this specific consultancy, who might care about their reputations and job descriptions just a little more than I care about my former life.
To get some ego-surfing and see who is linking to you…try http://www.technorati.com/
Thanks for that; way to boost my ego on a Friday morning.