Playing with Numbers

Very interesting tidbit tucked away in this TechCrunch article a while back (that I forgot to post about) about Google Reader:

On the stats side, the video provided some interesting insights: two thirds of all feeds only have one subscriber…

Keep that in mind if you’re starting your own blog. Just two RSS subscribers and you’re already in the “elite” minority. So when we rush to predict the death of newspapers and radio shows, realize that most of the Technorati numbers are totally worthless. Marc Andreessen called it “Tech Crunch 50,000” and now you can see what a disproportionate influence those types can have in implying influence. We can be cliche and call this the “Wild West” or a land grab or whatever, but this point is that the people in positions of “power” online now, will not be the same ones in 6 months or a year and certainly not 5 years simply because they’ve made significant relative gains but few actual gains. So all that stuff about RSS subscribers, hits, pings, trackbacks, Technorati authority, blogebrity, it doesn’t mean much. Here are the things that I think will matter:

[*]Do smart, normal people read your work?

[*]Do you get emails from a variety of people?

[*]Do you write about non-tech things?

[*]Do you have success/interest offline?

[*]Even so, are you flying under the radar of today’s pundits?

[*]When you link or recommend things, do people actually listen?

[*]If you reread you archives, are you still relevant? Are you impressed to read what you’ve written or do you squirm?

If you’re a relative nobody like me, these are all questions you should base your strategy around answering and benchmarks for who you should bet on. If you’re on top right now, and they might be signs to cash out while the money is still there.

Written by Ryan Holiday
Ryan Holiday is the bestselling author of Trust Me, I’m Lying, The Obstacle Is The Way, Ego Is The Enemy, and other books about marketing, culture, and the human condition. His work has been translated into thirty languages and has appeared everywhere from the Columbia Journalism Review to Fast Company. His company, Brass Check, has advised companies such as Google, TASER, and Complex, as well as Grammy Award winning musicians and some of the biggest authors in the world. He lives in Austin, Texas.