A while back I unsubscribed from a whole lot of what I considered to be marketing blogs. The people writing them weren’t necessarily in marketing, but all they wrote about was what other people were doing and they weren’t technical. Meaning, they weren’t writing any code. Chris Pirillo and Robert Scoble are good examples of this. There’s nothing wrong with the information they are giving their readers, but it wasn’t helping me grow as a programmer or a leader. Most of what they say is either echoes of what other people are saying OR is echoed by other people eventually. I said I was smarter for not having read them and I still feel that way. Since I re-organized my reading list to contain more coders (do-ers), I feel my skills have improved and I’m much more knowlegable.
One of the reasons that I asked Gabe Rivera for a personalizable Techmeme is that my personal “A-list” is very different from the A-list that Techmeme tracks. The majority of these folks don’t build systems, and they are all doing variations of the same analysis. For my reading hours, the best values are the blogs of those people who are actually building systems, getting cut by the sharp edges, exulting in the delights of a new discovery, or just the downright cool hack. The tech blogosphere is getting “enterprisey”, for lack of a better description, and as it does, it gets less interesting.
I disagree a little, I don’t think the tech blogosphere is getting “enterprisey”. I think Techmeme is getting “enterprisey”. I stopped reading Techmeme back when Microsoft announced that Vista would only support Visual Studio 2005 and the top post for that day was a post by Michael Arrington announcing a closed beta of a Microsoft social network, Wallop. That was the nail in the coffin for Techmeme as far as I’m concerned. Look at that page and look how many other links the Techcrunch article has vs. the Visual studio article. When the VP of the worlds largest software corporation makes an announcement that affect millions of developers in EVERY country in the world, how can it not be the top story for that entire day? That to me, told me everything I needed to know about the algorithm and the blogroll that seeded Techmeme. Other times, I’ve seen posts by Techcrunch or Scoble or Steve Rubel get “ranked” by Techmeme above the actual announcements they are pointing to?! Techmeme doesn’t represent the tech workers, it represents the tech business. I don’t mind tech blogs talking about enterprise issues. If I had to make up a number out of thin air with no proof or basis in reality, I’d have to say that 70-80% of all of the programmers in the world are writing software in the enterprise.
My suggestion to other tech workers is to get off the “A-list” and start digging around in the tech blogs. Got a favorite framework? Check out the developer blogs. They often link to other developers or forums that are related to the technology they are using. The Reddit programming section is good as well as DZone. I mean, do you really, really care who Cisco has acquired, what Google might be releasing, or who Michael Arrington met with last week?