2007 Review, 2008 Preview

by Venkat on January 16, 2008

I launched ribbonfarm on July 4, 2007, which means it’s 6 months old as of the New Year. Here is a comprehensive review, with a full list of articles to-date, as well as selected highlights, including guesstimates of the “most popular” and “least popular” articles, and thoughts on what I am likely to write about in 2008. I hope you take this opportunity to look at some of the pieces you may have missed (especially those who came in late). I have a request — please forward this heavy-duty review post to your colleagues, friends and family, with specific recommendations on the articles you personally enjoyed. I am hoping to snare a lot of new readers with this review.

(p.s. If you don’t like endless editorial analysis, you can scroll down to the full list of 50 articles).

In Numbers

I published exactly 50 articles, which elicited 161 comments, 4394 spam comments (all efficiently blocked by Akismet), 6513 visits and 13,333 page views. I am pretty pleased with my output, since almost all the articles were long, original pieces, and very few (less than 5) were links or roundups. Feedburner tells me subscriptions climbed slowly and steadily from 0 to about 45 today. All this with no promotion beyond 3 mass emails to friends and some desultory use of LinkedIn, so I am pretty pleased, since this is all pretty much word-of-mouth traffic. In 2008 though, I plan to be much more proactive about promoting the site, and I hope you’ll continue to help me cultivate a great audience. Frankly much of this site’s value lies in the people reading it. Raw numbers don’t mean as much to me as intelligent conversations, and I am glad to see that the traffic is shaping up to be quality-first (though I’ll certainly take quantity).

In Segmentation

When I started, I really had no idea what I’d be writing about, since my interests (and drafts) seemed to span the spectrum. Well, there’s nothing like revealed behavior and real data. Assuming my tagging is sane, I have been most productive in the categories of Business (19 articles), Philosophy (16 articles), Economics and Culture (10 articles each). I wouldn’t read too much into that though, since some of the highest-effort pieces were in the numerically weak categories. Still, the numbers and the readership I seem to be developing (as well as incoming links) seem to indicate that empirically speaking, this blog is about business and innovation, even if I insist on my email signature of ‘a blog about everything.’

Some Highlights

These are all based on very rough eyeball estimates applied to Google analytics, since I don’t have the right widgets installed, and it is pretty hard to account for time discounting (older articles accumulate more hits, but site growth benefits newer articles more).

Most popular articles:

#1: Visualizing the 2d World with Cartograms
#2: Book Reviews: The Trouble with Physics and Not Even Wrong
#3: Book Review: Wikinomics

Most commented (will list 5 here, since it is my favorite category)

#1 Book Reviews: The Trouble with Physics and Not Even Wrong (18)
#2 Framing the Consciousness Debates (12)
#3 The Parrot (9)
#4 The Fifty-Foot Rule Reconsidered (8)
#3 Work-Life Balance: Juggling, Spinning or Surfing? (7)

Most cited

#1 Strategy, Tactics, Operations and Doctrine: A Decision-Language Tutorial

Least popular

#1 Iron Filings on your Brain (this is a very rough guess, since I couldn’t parse the numbers properly at all)

Personal Favorites

#1 The Parrot
#2 An MBA in Gordon’s Restaurant
#3 The 15 Laws of Meeting Power

2008 Preview

Looking at my pile of drafts and scribbled ideas, I see a whole lot of raw material on innovation in business, particularly with a historical slant, and a bunch of stuff on thinking skills and cultural/socio-economic commentary. Not so much on fundamental physics or philosophy — those seem to be developing into more private interests. In 2008, I also intend to write my first book based on material from ribbonfarm (I might also do a quickie “best-of” compilation, but I mean an actual separate effort that develops a blog entry/set of entries into a more thorough, extended, and carefully edited work. Some ideas floating around in my head are:

  • Real-world communication101
  • Conceptual, Qualitative and Metaphoric Thinking
  • Mental Models of Organizations

Any of these sound particularly interesting? Drop me a line and let me know what you might buy and read!

The List

Here is a chronological list of all 50 articles published on ribbonfarm so far. I can’t resist a little bit of editorializing, so I am marking the ones I am most proud of personally with between 1 and 5 stars, 5 being “proudest.” Note that my subjective starring does not necessarily correlate with “popular,” though that is often the case. A few times, a very personally rewarding piece of hard work drew a blank from you guys. 4 and 5 star articles are further highlighted in boldface.

  1. Book Review: Wikinomics (*)
  2. Concepts and Prototypes (**)
  3. The Silo Reconsidered (*)
  4. How to Define Concepts (**)
  5. The House of Tata and Indian Innovation
  6. Book Reviews: The Trouble with Physics, Not Even Wrong
  7. Harry Potter and the Concept of Magic (**)
  8. Silos and the art of Empirical Theology
  9. The Third Dimension is Not Simple (**)
  10. Harry Potter and the Leaky Genre
  11. The 15 Laws of Meeting Power (****)
  12. Visualizing the 2d World with Cartograms
  13. Harry Potter and the Cuaron Slam
  14. Book Review: Competing on Analytics (*)
  15. Disruptive versus Radical Innovations
  16. Framing the Consciousness Debates (***)
  17. Breadth-Depth Metaphors and Beyond
  18. The Fifty-Foot Rule Reconsidered (**)
  19. July 2007 Roundup
  20. Book Review: Blue Ocean Strategy (***)
  21. The Parrot (*****)
  22. Ten Years in America
  23. Digital Philosophy – I: The Real is Unreal (***)
  24. Open Innovation, or is Business War? (**)
  25. The Twitter Zone and Virtual Geography (****)
  26. Dan Pink, Howard Gardner and the Da Vinci Mind (***)
  27. Meditations on Cataloging the Telluride Library (**)
  28. Seth Godin’s Dip and Multi-armed Bandits
  29. Digital Philosophy II: Are Cellular Automata Important? (**)
  30. August-ish 2007 Roundup
  31. Book-Reading Meme
  32. BBC Documentary Featuring Gregory Chaitin
  33. Work-Life Balance: Juggling, Spinning or Surfing? (*)
  34. Strategy, Tactics, Operations and Doctrine: A decision-language tutorial (****)
  35. The Dawn of the Century of Food
  36. Where is I? (**)
  37. Is Jeff Bezos the New Jack Welch?
  38. Whales are Trees (**)
  39. Meditation on Disequilibrium in Nature (**)
  40. Iron Filings on Your Brain
  41. An MBA in Gordon’s Restaurant (***)
  42. Personal Brands, Identity and Perception Management (****)
  43. The Age of Speed by Vince Poscente
  44. How to be an Idea Person (***)
  45. A Surfer’s Exceptionally Simple Theory of Everything
  46. The Deeper Meaning of Kindle
  47. Visual Thinking with Triangles
  48. Clockspeed and Business Genetics Reconsidered (***)
  49. The Fine Art of Opportunism (****)
  50. Sapir-Whorf, Lakoff, Metaphor and Thought (****)