books - Show Your Work, Austin Kleon

A few days ago I received a box of books from the folks at altMBA, and this is the first one I picked up.  Show Your Work is a solid little manifesto about how sharing what you're working on can be vital to improving the quality and quantity of your production, regardless of what you produce.  In my case, it's usually words.  I've been blogging on a few different platforms, for a few different purposes for about 15 years now, and I've been doing what I do professionally for 10-15 years now, depending on how you count.

I firmly believe that the most important skill for online community managers is writing.  When I'm hiring new people I look for people who have a clear personality that is immediately apparent in their writing.  I want a community member to know who the writer is by the end of the second sentence of any blog or message board post without looking at the byline. 

A while ago I was looking over the site created by a small startup and talking to the CMO about what they could do to launch a community.  One of their founders had an established blog, and I knew as soon as I read it that the blogger was Russian.  His language and communication of the concepts he was sharing was clear, but it was also clear from his word choice and grammar that English is not his native language.  The CMO was worried about that and was thinking of hiring someone to clean up his blogs.  I voted no on that one - the minute I met the man in person I knew it was his blog - same grammar, same voice.  Same personality.  We can't really connect in any context if both sides don't feel human.  His blog connected. 

So, back to Show Your Work - here I am, showing my work.  It'll be interesting to see where this one goes. Right now I think it's about community and how to build a good one, but it might evolve into something different over time.