Stop Flying Blind - A book by Michael Mace

A change in pace

This weblog is an experiment in developing a book online. I let it rest for a little while because I wanted to think about the feedback I was getting. A number of people seemed confused by some of the chapters — they felt the chapters were incomplete, or they weren’t sure what the point was.

I realized the problem was my fault. To adapt the book content to a weblog, I was taking the draft chapters and splitting them into digestible chunks, posting one chunk a week. Unfortunately, web posts are typically much shorter than book chapters, and have a different structure. In a book, a chapter is usually a fairly long essay. It constructs an argument in segments, like a gourmet five-course meal that builds from appetizers to soup to salad and so on.

A good weblog post is more like eating bon-bons. Instead of building a structured argument, it makes a single point concisely and then gets out of the way. By chopping the chapters into bits, I was giving you the worst of both worlds – you didn’t get the full argument you’d expect from a book chapter, but you also didn’t get the single clear point of a good blog post. Too many of the online chapters felt like fragments – because that’s what they were.

So I’m going to structure the writing a little differently in the future. Instead of trying to replicate book chapters, I’ll just write about the ideas that I want to cover in the book, roughly one idea per week. I think this will make the weblog a little easier to read, and I hope it’ll also encourage more discussion.

As always, I’m very interested in your comments and suggestions. Please don’t be shy!

3 Responses to “A change in pace”

  1. Scott Sehlhorst said on October 29th, 2006 at 8:24 am

    Hey Mike,

    Great insight – single idea per post. If I correctly inferred from the above, your strategy is “write a book, and along the way, post ideas to the blog.” I’m taking a different approach that is at least effective for the blogging part – “write a blog. after a year, attempt to create a book outline from the ideas in the blog. fill in the gaps to create the book”

    Food for thought, and I look forward to your ideas starting to pop back up again.

    Scott

  2. Mike Mace said on October 29th, 2006 at 11:29 pm

    Hi, Scott.

    Thanks for the comment. And yeah, they way you’re doing your book is probably the right way. My challenge is that while I was doing my job search post-PalmSource, I wrote about 75% of the first draft of the book, and then decided to do the weblog.

    I think the lesson out of this is that blogging is a separate medium, and you’ll screw it up if you treat it like you would some other medium. It’s like taking a radio show script and trying to convert it directly into a TV show. The same principle probably applies to podcasting and all the other new media types that the web is generating…

  3. Alfredo Aray said on October 1st, 2008 at 6:40 pm

    Wow! Your words make absolute sense to me! A great idea to write a book this way! Advice from the Wise: Mr. Mace, a hypothetical question: Suppose the normal, garden variety “zipper” did not exist today, and suppose that the complete zipper idea would come to you in its entirety in a dream, and then you went ahead and patented it. How would you have gone about selling the exclusive licensing of your super idea to the large companies??? Why do I ask? Because I have invented/patented the “not-yet-invented zipper”-Cel Phone. Because of this there will be a “before and an after” for the consumer goods world… Could you be so kind to contact me? I need your help. In fact, the total number of patents is TEN. All, very revolutionary. Please, get in touch with me. Because of your background and expertise, you are indeed, my guy. Truly yours

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