While we wait for the Top vBlog results I thought I would shine the spotlight on several prominent bloggers in the community to give you some insight into their experiences with blogging. Today’s spotlight is on Mike Laverick, one of the OG bloggers who started his RTFM (Read The Frigging Manual) Education website way back in the early days of blogging. Mike was also one of the early book authors as a member of the Advanced Technical Design Guide rat pack that authored some of the first books on virtualization. Mike is the host of the Chinwag podcasts where he uses his laidback, informal interview style to chat with guests about virtualization. A former Certified VMware Instructor, Mike’s great passion for teaching and helping others is evidenced by his blog posts, articles, books, podcasts and his unselfish eagerness to share and give back to the community. So without further ado enjoy a Q&A session with Mike Laverick:
What year did you start your blog?
[Mike] RTFM Education started in 2003, but I flogged that to TechTarget, so I’m not sure if that really counts anymore! As for mikelaverick.com (such a pithy name dontcha think?) started in Feb, 2013…
What inspired you to start a blog?
[Mike] Back 2003 it was just an honest willingness to share what I learned, and help others. The plans for Dr Evil style world-domination came later…
Describe your early blogging experiences and how you have evolved over the years?
[Mike] I’m going to be a bit vain here. But I would like to my style has influenced others. I read other bloggers and think, “god, that’s just how I would do it”. I don’t feel ripped off, but slightly proud. I told you I was going to be vain! But I like to think my style is one that blends just right of theory with a big dollop of “getting it done”. My most popular posts have been ones that fix a commonly experience problem, that everyone runs up against in their time.
What has kept you blogging over the years and not quitting at it?
[Mike] Aside from a passion to share what I learn, I do generally love writing. I guess that comes from my liberal-arts background. You see I’m a bit of interloper who’s technical knowledge wasn’t gained through academic qualifications but via combo of experience, and training courses. One day someone is going to work out that this particular Emperor has no clothes. But to mix my metaphors I will keep on pulling the levers like the Wizard of Oz, until someone pulls back the curtain. It’s been a while since I undertook a big book project and do I kind of miss that. I tip my hat to colleagues of mine who have held down full-time jobs at VMware, and writing books. I don’t know how they find the time or motivation. As for myself I do a project that’s been cooking away since last year (or if I’m honest the year before) it looks ripe for launch. I hope to do the big reveal in the next couple of weeks.
What was your best experience or fondest memory related to blogging?
[Mike] I guess my fondest memory, is when people come up to me at VMUGs and say they laughed out loud – at something I wrote in a book or blog. Humour is rather under-rated virtue in IT, I don’t know how many of us get through the working day without being able to laugh at the end of it….
Any advice for others who are new to blogging?
[Mike] Blog about you – your experiences and what you learn. Most of start blogging as way of documenting what we learn. Its a bit odd how you end up searching your own blog for stuff you worked out 12 months ago, because your memory synapses have made room for some other data. As for ‘making a name for yourself’ – I would recommend finding a topic that is unloved, and becoming the GOTO guy/gal for that. Get a reputation for being a really nice person who helps other people. If you lucky, you’ll hit upon a technology that just explodes in popularity – and will put a rocket under your career. If it happens 99% of that will be pure luck, the other 99% will be sheer goddamn hardwork. Then, rest on your laurels and dine out on your veteran status until retirement. Well, that’s what I plan to do anyway…