High Variance

Happy Blogoversary!

The first time I saw the World Wide Web, I was hunched over an 8 lb laptop using a text based browser and a 56k modem. There wasn’t much to see and it didn’t seem like a big deal. Then about three month’s later NCSA Mosaic (the first graphical browser) was released and I “got it.” Within a week we redefined our product line and turned a generic set of “network publishing” tools into a web server and a web authoring tool. Within a year we were purchased by America Online to show that they “got” the web too. My point is that I’ve been deeply embedded in the web for a long time.

And yet, not including my professional web-based resume/cv, I didn’t have my own website until exactly a year ago when High Variance was born. I’m not sure why it took me so long to get here, but after a year of any project, I think it’s important to step back and take stock to see if the original goals are being met. I had three:

  1. Create more: As expected, the topics have been eclectic ranging from economic policy to kid book reviews to eighties pop music. The rate of production has been similarly irregular with a burst of activity last January (17 posts) and a summer hiatus. But the aggregate rate has been about one post per week. I’m happy with this.

  2. Learn to write better and more comfortably: Perhaps my biggest surprise is how enjoyable the whole process has been. I don’t get anxious when I write here and my anxiety level when writing professionally has definitely decreased. When my mind is spinning about a topic, writing about it actually gets me to calm down and figure out what I actually think about it. As for the quality of the writing, I think I’m getting better, but it’s hard to tell.

  3. Provide entertaining, useful, and/or inspiring content: My audience will need to be the judge of this, but I know I’ve given at least a few chuckles, a few bits of helpful advice, and even tugged on a few heartstrings. And in looking back on what I’ve written, much of the content seems to have aged well.

I suppose I should also say something about my readership. According to Google Analytics, over the past year I’ve have 2,070 unique visitors (5.7 per day) and 4,000 page views (11 per day). Not much, but if you squint at the chart, it does look like traffic is trending slightly up. There are even a few posts that get regular search engine traffic–zebras, pdf annotation on the iPad, and Mincer 1958 are the top three.

As I was about to blow out the candles on my birthday cake a few weeks ago I realized something very special: I didn’t have anything new to wish for. I have a wonderful wife and two lovely children. We’re all healthy and happy with our jobs and our house. I just want what I already have. That’s kind of true of this blog too. So here’s to another fun and fulfilling year!