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24 posts categorized "BlawgThink 2005"

February 15, 2006

21 Tips to Better Blogging

Here are 21 great tips for better blogging, from  They’re all great, but a few got a hearty AMEN! from me, including:

6.  Start blogging about subjects that aren’t already being blogged to death, or write about them with a fresh perspective. Unless you are some kind of celebrity, the head of a major company, movie star, etc, just being you is likely not enough in today’s overcrowded blog space. If too much of your content is “me too” then readers will find it harder to stay interested and look elsewhere.

8.  Don’t slap a bunch of flashy banners and buttons (no matter how small) all over the place. The clutter effect will happen if you keep jamming more and more stuff onto the pages, so be picky about what gets on the pages — and keep the content relative — and when something doesn’t seem as important or relevant either remove it completely or move elsewhere.

16.  Don’t cripple the RSS feed. Some readers may actually prefer to read your posts in their favorite aggregator or portable device, so try not to punish them for their preferences.

20.  Are you having fun? Readers are smart and can tell who is having fun from their writing over those who are laboring. Don’t labor, have fun. If trying to follow too many things on this list is peeing in your cornflakes, then stop following this list. It’s not the gospel, although I believe these tips will help those who are seeking some guidelines and direction. 

While talking tips, if you haven’t already, check out Evan Schaeffer’s presentation from BlawgThink here.


February 02, 2006

Thank You, Yvonne

I love Yvonne DiVita, even if she hadn’t written these kind words about LexThink! when talking about a recent conference she attended:

1. Not enough audience interaction – because you didn’t plan enough time for Q&A. It wasn’t the speakers or the presenters faults…it was the organizers fault! Puh-lease! The Q & A is THE best part of the event. Say, you should talk to Matt Homann over at the [non]billable hour. He and Dennis Kennedy know how to run a conference where everybody wins. They’ll set you straight. I hear they're available to help plan your next event in the open space style.

If you are planning a conference, I’d love to chat with you and share some of the lessons we’ve learned at our two “unconferences,” LexThink and BlawgThink.

December 01, 2005

"Presentation‚ÄĚ does not mean ‚ÄúDocumentation"

This post’s title comes from a comment in this 43 Folders thread on presentation tips.  I’d also recommend this post from Particle Tree sharing some more PowerPoint/presentation resources.

November 18, 2005

Taking Blogging Personally

One of the topics at BlawgThink was how much a person’s blog should say about them personally vs. professionally.  Fred Wilson’s post The Soul of A Blog answers the question for me:

… most people like getting a sense of who I am.  They can quickly scan past the posts they don't want to read. But having those posts there gives them a sense of the other parts of me.

As I said to my friend when he told me about Dan's comments, "a diversity of post topics is the soul of a blog".  All head and no soul makes for a boring read.

November 17, 2005

Who else thinks conferences can get better?

Seth Godin does, and so does Garr Reynolds.  If I quoted the best parts of each post, I’d just end up cutting and pasting the whole things, so go directly and read them instead.

Present in Your Audience, Not to Them.

One of the things I was most worried about before BlawgThink was how the presentations would go on Day One.  We had a phenomenal lineup of speakers, but they were presenting in a non-traditional setting (Catalyst Ranch).  A lot used MindManager, some PowerPoint (or Keynote), and some nothing at all. 

As I wandered from presentation to presentation, the thing I noticed was that it seemed our speakers were presenting in their audiences, instead of to them.  There was very little physical separation between speaker and audience, and I think the presentations were better as a result.

Speaking of presentations:  One of my new favorite blog reads is Garr Reynold’s Presentation Zen.  For a great intro to Garr’s blog, check out his post comparing Bill Gates’ and Steve Jobs’ presentation styles.  I was particularly taken by the contrasting visuals used by each.  Just look at the slides and tell me which presentation you’d rather attend.

November 16, 2005

BlawgThink Backlash?

Monica Bay reprints an e-mail (originally sent to the 1000 lawyer-strong SoloSez) from someone who doesn’t seem to like blawggers, BlawgThink and/or Dennis and me (it’s not exactly clear from the e-mail).  Pretty harsh.

November 15, 2005

BlawgThink Reviews, Part Two.

I decided at the end of BlawgThink to take my own advice, so I asked our attendees for their thoughts on the event while still fresh in their minds..  I stuck up several huge easel-size post it notes and handed out markers.  Here they are:

“Thanks for a great, creative and open-minded event.  I especially liked how you left a lot of “white space” we could fill in as wanted/needed.  Lots of opportunity to meet, talk, conspire with each other.”

“Great Conference.  Dynamic and Stimulating.  Total Success.”

“Thanks for letting me come play @ the conference.  It was thought-inducing.”

“Great conference — highly interactive, tapping the collective experience and expertise of attendees and presenters.  Thanks.”

“Intellectual content of the highest order, future-minded participants and all the best aspects of pre-school in the Catalyst [Ranch] created the best group experience for me yet.”

“Marvelous forum.  Enjoyed both “think tank” aspect & networking.”

“Thanks!  I enjoyed it and actually learned something. :-)”

“Best melding of people + technology that I’ve seen at a conference.  The “open spaces” to the second day was brilliant too.”

“Thank you for the opportunity.  Learned a lot — can’t wait to start blogging & trying out all these fabulous products!”

“BT has got my brain firing on all cylinders!”

“Very content rich with a wide variety subjects and very engaging and interesting group of people.  The format worked very well and I’m taking a lot home with me that will be of use.”

“BT has fueled my passion to blog better.”

“Though here only 1 day, gained a week’s worth of great ideas.  Seriously —  found solutions to at least three different challenges, not just blog related.”

“Thanks to everyone for a great non-conference!”

“Yabba dabba doo!”

“Enthusiasm + Venue = Opportunity!”

“Open circle was terrific.  Definitely a unique 2 days!”

“I heard a lot of great ideas and have many more perspectives to consider and ponder.”

“Very cool location for the gathering.”

“Surpassed my high expectations.  Great mix of people (Day One Speakers and otherwise).  Day Two discussions were all fascinating and productive.  Looking forward to using the free software.”

“Thank you so much for allowing us to attend!  We had many of our questions answered and look forward to launching our blog very soon!  Carpe Noctem!”

“It was awesome — I learned an incredible amount. Thanks.”

“Blawgthink answered a few of my questions, but more importantly, it raised innumerable new questions.  Primary among them, it made me question how I as using this network I have created through my blog and podcast.  Thanks for bringing this creative, diverse and innovative group together.”

“A wonderful two days.  It will take at least a week for all the ideas to percolate on through, but I know my blog will be better ASAP.”

“Thanks for a great non-conference!  Learned a lot.  Thanks again.”

“Picked up ideas that more than paid for event!”

“Very cool — totally my style + everyone else here.  Heard nothing but good as I buzzed around.” 



BlawgThink Reviews, Part One.

BlawgThink attendees have been saying great things about the event.  I know there is a bit of navel-gazing going on here, but I wanted to collect these somewhere I could link to easily, and share them with family and friends who wonder what I’ve been doing for the last 90 days.

Kyle McFarlin:

“…a milestone event.”

“I think it’s a more accurate reflection of our psychology that we swarm around topics that interest our minds most at any given moment as opposed to the stale one-size-fits-all mega-loaf of typical events, ensuring that the minds present in a conference are as close to perfectly allocated as possible.”

“I look forward to a rich future of non-traditional conferences from LexThink!”

Doug Sorocco:

I will say this: there are some tremendous thinkers in the small corner of the blog-o-sphere where us lawyers hang out.  If I could find a way to corral all of these folks into one innovative and forward thinking organization, the world would never be the same from a client service point of view.  In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to see more collaboration and innovation occurring sooner rather than later —  the legal services industry is about to be shaken up.  And it goes without saying, Matt Homann and Dennis Kennedy are two of the most genuine and innovative folks out there – if you ever get the chance to spend some time with either of them, do not hesitate to take advantage of the opportunity.”

Dave Gulbransen:

 “When you have a two day conference and you can only generate three minor criticisms, that's a damn good conference!”

Jeffrey Phillips:

“The BlawgThink conference struck me as a great example of a critical mass.  What happens when you identify and bring together a lot of people who have the same vision and commitment to that vision?  For a positive vision, you can create such a groundswell of emotion that those people and others become infected by your vision and drive, and they jump on the bandwagon as well.  It was clear to me that most people leaving the BlawgThink conference were trying to consider how to take blogging even further in their organization.”

“I learned a lot about blogging at BlawgThink, but I think I learned a lot about driving change in an organization as well.”

Jack Vinson:

BlawgThink 2005 was a great event.”

Tom Kane:

“Joining the chorus of other attendees at this past weekend’s BlawgThink (a gathering of current and prospective legal bloggers) in Chicago, I want to especially thank Matt Homann and Dennis Kennedy for their hard work in pulling off this event.

Blogging is a terrific legal marketing tool, albeit only one factor in the overall mix of activities that should be included in a law firm’s marketing arsenal. But I truly believe, especially after BlawgThink that blogging will experience tremendous growth over the next few years.”

Fred Faulkner:

“So after two days of interacting with some of the best minds in legal blogging and meeting those excited on the topic here are some quick reactions:

* Awesome energy
* Great sessions
* Mind Manager Rules!
* Fabulous networking (wish I could have met more)
* Father + son with the same name attending same conference = topic of conversation
* Relaxing, yet energizing environment (Catalyst Ranch)
* Passionate people

…a great conference.”

Brandy Karl:

“I loved BlawgThink, and the unconference format was really just perfect. It allowed for a lot of interaction and sharing of insight that just wouldn't have occurred in a typical conference setting.

Passion + Purpose. It's one of those things I think about a lot, but like anyone else, you get busy, and sometimes these things take a seat on the back burner. Some events are so full of buzz and energy that they really make you think about what's important to you, what your next step is, and how you can get from where you are today to where you're going.”

Kevin O’Keefe:

“I owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to organizers Dennis Kennedy and Matt Homann as well as numerous other lawyers, marketing professionals and professional services business people who got together at BlawgThink on Friday and Saturday.

Dennis and Matt pulled off an excellent and rewarding event. To be honest, I had mixed feelings about the value of attending the event. I am busy as all get out with LexBlog's growth, working with new employees that entails, traveling to our new offices in Bozeman, Montana and being a responsible spouse and parent. It sounds really selfish but I've been limiting traveling to events that combine lawyer blog education and the marketing of LexBlog.

But at BlawgThink, I spent time with LexBlog clients, pioneers in lawyer blogging such as Ernest Svenson (Ernie the Attorney), and many others who taught me so much. Even when not listening to presentations, my discussions with folks and the questions they asked was a real education. Plus these were some of the finest folks you would care to meet.

Sure, I got the opportunity to do a presentation on marketing blogs, something I really enjoy, but BlawgThink was something more. For that, thanks to all.”

Bonnie Shucha:

“If I actually use one-tenth of the stuff I came away with at BlawgThink, I'll consider it a smashing success. This gathering of legal bloggers was, by far, the most invigorating conference I've ever attended. The sessions were informative and the guest list impressive.

But the best part was the networking with other blawggers. Yeah - you say that about every conference you go to - but this was some supercharged networking. In fact, it was built right into the the structure of day two which was based on the Open Space model. Imagine identifying everyone in the room who wants to talk about the same thing you do - then having a designated time to meet.”

George Lenard:

“Spending a weekend together with so many bloggers at BlawgThink chewing over so many issues with which we all struggle was a true blessing to me. I gained innumerable tips and ideas that will guide my future blogging activities. I solidified my thinking about my blogging goals and methods. Most of all, I broke out of the isolation and came face to face with this online community.

It was a bit like an immigrant who never speaks his native language, but only reads it, getting invited to a party at which everyone converses in the mother tongue.”

Russ Krajec:

“The best part of the conference, and one that was particularly emphasized, was the personal contact with other bloggers.”

“I got a good deal of tips, tricks, and technical advice from the conference, but the most important, most lasting, and most valuable portion of the event was to make deeper and more meaningful relationships with other bloggers. That was priceless.”

Diane Murley:

It was an amazing experience!”

Peter Flaschner:

“I just returned from the Blawgthink conference in Chicago. As the name suggests, this was a group interested in law blogging and law bloggers. You know, you’d think a room full of lawyers would be boring. You’d be wrong actually. This group was a blast.”

Michelle Golden:

“… an amazing and overwhelming day.”

Marianne Richmond:

BlawgThink 2005 was truly awesome! Matt Homann and Dennis Kennedy did an incredible job pulling everything together with an incredible group of attendees and speakers.  I will be posting further details and perspectives later in the week...suffice it to say I learned a lot and came away with some really valuable insights and ideas.”

BlawgThink Decompression

I’m still a day or so away from corralling my thoughts from BlawgThink together into an even semi-coherent post, but I’d be terribly negligent (if not down right rude) if I didn’t say this soon to our attendees, speakers and sponsors:  Thank You!

Dennis Kennedy and I feel like the hosts of a party where everyone had a tremendous time.  We are gratified and humbled by all of the amazing things you’ve said about the event, and we are working hard over the next few weeks to get our minds around what we’ve created and to figure out ways to keep the energy and excitement generatedat BlawgThink going.

Over the next few days, we’ll be putting all of the presentations, notes, and MindManager maps created at BlawgThink online (it may not be 6GB worth, but it’s a start).  We’ll post the photos to Flickr and create a BlawgThink blog roll to introduce you to some of the really cool people who were at the event.  We’ll also spend quite a bit of time following up with all of our attendees personally to find out ways we could improve our next LexThink event..

All in all, we are not quite sure what BlawgThink will become, but we know what it was:  fun, cool, interesting, informative, inclusive, and unique.  Thank you to everyone who made it what it was, and to all of you who will help to make it what it will be.