Ch-ch-changes @StorageMojo

by Robin Harris on Wednesday, 9 July, 2014

As my 10th anniversary blogging approaches, I’ve been reconsidering the StorageMojo business model. Some changes are in order and I’d like your advice.

  • Hike blogging. The crack StorageMojo analyst team likes to go hiking and biking several times a week. Hike blogging is a picture or two that gives a flavor of the experience.
  • Sponsored posts. Despite many requests for sponsored blog posts – i.e. paid posts written by or for the sponsor – StorageMojo has resisted. But as sponsored posts, clearly labled and subject to the publisher’s editorial control, have become more common, perhaps it is time for a change.
  • Paid briefings. Vendors have been paying about $1k per head to brief IT bloggers for the last several years. There’s no obligation to blog about the briefing, but some do, as StorageMojo sometimes did. Won’t stop doing free briefings, but want to give companies the opportunity to buy attention.
  • How-to videos. StorageMojo’s most popular video is up to 375,000 views. These will be aimed at consumers, not IT pros. Continuing to do vendor videos, which are a wonderful way to get key info to people who don’t want the deep dive.
  • Refocus on emerging tech. 10 years ago object storage, flash, scale-out infrastructure and advanced erasure codes were in their infancy. Now most are mainstream. StorageMojo will focus more on cutting edge technology, products, companies and markets.

The StorageMojo take
I’d like to thank all the readers and commenters who have made StorageMojo the highest ranked (AFAIK) storage blog in the industry. These changes are intended to strengthen StorageMojo’s content and to allow me – the crack StorageMojo analyst team – to spend more time on research, conversation, reflection and writing.

But I also want your thoughts on these ch-ch-changes. They aren’t cast in concrete, so feel free to offer suggestions or concerns. Happy to keep comments private – just request it at the beginning of your comment.

Again: Courteous comments welcome, of course.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris July 9, 2014 at 7:34 pm

People come for the content. I suggest any changes maintain some focus on whatever content you want to drive.

I am personally here to read about insights into just over the horizon storage technology, unique or innovative approaches, and professional opinions on the industry and where it is going.

I am loving it so far and the only thing I would ask for is more of what you are already doing. :)

Cameron Moore July 10, 2014 at 8:38 am

PLEASE KEEP PRIVATE

Robin,
I’ve been (quietly) following your blog for years. I mainly do so because you keep me informed on emerging trends. The significant change that you’ve mentioned is sponsored content. If your reporting continues to be marked by candor[1], I think sponsored content and briefings are perfectly fine.

Some context: I’m a jack-of-all-trades sysadmin at a small, private university with little free time and money for trade shows and things. I lean heavily on guys like you to help keep me up-to-date and to help cut through the marketing noise. Your blog is a Must Read for me. I want you to keep doing what you’re doing and support yourself, so more power to you! Take all the sponsorship money they’ll throw at you.

[1] candor : being open, honest, or frank yet fair and impartial; sincerity of expression[2]

[2] I like Bill Bennett’s philosophy for his radio program: “The Socratic conditions for conversation over things that matter are that there has to be some – Intelligence, Candor, and Good Will.”[3] You appear to have a similar philosophy, which I also enjoy about your blog.

[3] http://www.billbennett.com/meet-the-team/

Garrett Kajmowicz July 10, 2014 at 12:33 pm

(Disclaimer: I’m a NetApp employee, all comments are my own).

My thoughts as a long-time reader:
* Adding coverage of any broad-interest hobby such as hiking is a great idea. It adds additional content while hopefully bringing you back more often to engage with your audience. It adds flavor to the blog, and helps leaven those moments when a lot isn’t happening.
* Sponsored Posts are a horrible idea. They clutter things up. Were you posting several times per day such that they made up <5% of the posts in a week, perhaps it would be okay. However, I come here for the high signal-to-noise ratio.
* Paid briefings don't bother me too much. I assume you'll be biased, but all sources of information are imperfect. Disclosure and/or disclaimers are nice, though.
* How-to videos: Maybe? I think there could be a lot of value here, though I don't know what to expect. Lots of opportunity for experimentation.
* Refocus on emerging tech: Very useful. I like to see different views of where the market is going and what technology customers actually care about (as opposed to what product management or marketing think they want).
I'd also add that digging into the research which is being done and presenting it is of great value. Simply finding what I should be reading is very helpful.

Jaro July 25, 2014 at 12:54 pm

I’m very late on this thread, but wanted to write that I come to this blog for your insight on storage trends and technologies. Your knowledge of technology and your historical perspective is unique, and very valuable. So, thanks for a great blog!!

To your specific questions, sponsored posts and briefings are fine with me, and you deserve to be compensated for your work. However, please label them clearly so that we know which ones those are.

The refocus on emerging tech is very useful, and the key for those posts would be to get your insight on which emerging tech is likely to be relevant vs which is simply a science project.

Hike blogging is probably harmless as long as it doesn’t consume the entire blog. I’ll just note that hiking pictures are easy to find anywhere, but the storage technology insight on this blog is what makes it unique. So it is the storage insight that will keep bringing me in.

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