Results tagged “blogsoftheyear”

Blogs of the Year: Ask the Wizard and Fortuitous

December 14, 2007

Today's Blog of the Year Picks: Ask the Wizard and Fortuitous.


Between these two blogs, there have barely been twenty posts this year. Yet either one alone could be the best small-business (or small tech business) site of the year. Dick Costolo, co-founder and CEO of FeedBurner (now part of Google) writes Ask the Wizard, and Matt Haughey, proprietor of MetaFilter, is behind Fortuitous. Both these guys are a little too busy running their businesses to post more often than they do, but I'll take what I can get. And both are creative, funny, honest writers whose openness and candor are inspiring.

Ask the Wizard is about the financial and organizational building blocks for creating and launching a company that is venture-backed and designed for growth. Dick's done what a lot of tech entrepreneurs consider the holy grail, starting up a little tech firm, getting some first-rate funding, and then flipping it to Google. He and his team even did it in Chicago, of all places. And it's not the first-time this team's built a successful company. (Shout out to Spyonit!) So there's a level of credibility and experience here that goes way beyond the endless sea of would-be tech business pundits who are mostly just talking out their asses.

And from the side of the independent entrepreneur who worked his ass off for years and self-funded a business into being a nice little stable company with a great set of ethics, nobody's got better credentials than Matt Haughey. MetaFilter has grown from one of the earliest and most influential group blogs into a whole network of related sites, including Ask MetaFilter, which I raved about last year for beating Google and for being one of the best sites on the web. Appropriately, Matt's not talking about venture capitalists and boards of directors -- he's talking about the nuts and bolts of starting up a company and running it every day. And this stuff can be downright nerve-wracking, since there isn't exactly a school you can go to for this kind of stuff. If you have a little company, tasks like talking to the press and hiring an accountant are the kind of things that can keep you up for a lot of long, sleepless nights. So Matt walks through his own process of how he figured those things out, accompanied by a remarkable honesty about the intimidating situations and neophyte's mistakes he encountered along the way.

Best of all, both of these guys are great storytellers. You don't have to be an entrepreneur or a geek to get into the narrative of what they're saying; It's just a really modern retelling of a story as old as the American dream.

Pick of the Posts:

If you like this, try: Worst name ever for an amazingly good blog. Marc Andreessen should have been blogging, oh, about ten years ago. But I guess he was busy. He's made up for lost time with an astoundingly frequent set of posts that are up-to-the-minute in their topicality but informed by the fact that no matter what part of the geek business world you're in, he's done it bigger, louder, and earlier. I usually try to play it cool with the name-dropping and the fanboyism, and I'm very fortunate that I get to meet and work with a lot of my inspirations, but I'm not ashamed at all to admit that I was totally geeked out to see one of my posts referred to by Marc as "the smartest thing anyone has said today", even if it was only in the context of Open Social.

This is one in a series of posts about Blogs of the Year for 2007. They're my subjective picks about blogs that inspired or influenced me this year, and you can check out my introductory post to find more.

Blogs of the Year: Some Bits - Nelson's Weblog and

December 12, 2007

Today's Blog of the Year Picks: Some Bits: Nelson's Weblog and


These two are just for me, some real old-school-blogging nerd picks. Some Bits: Nelson's Weblog is the work of Nelson Minar. Formerly of Google (where he helped pioneer their API work), and lately assisting with Twitter, Nelson is a geek's geek, reveling in coding and gaming and exploring the edges of web culture. But honestly, there are lots of blogs that try to cover that territory. What I love is that there's a real humanity to the way Nelson presents his posts, and he frequently veers from the technical to the political or even the worlds of food and travel while retaining that characteristic warmth. Frankly, if you've been reading or writing blogs long enough, you can remember how blogging used to be, and Nelson's Weblog is old-fashioned in a great way, not least because he still calls it a "weblog". That the sidebar linkblog is so incredibly well-curated and consistently good is the icing on the cake.

In a similar vein, Rafe Colburn's is a blog for people who appreciate code, sure. But it's also a rich discussion of politics, community, and culture. For those of you who are newcomers to the blogosphere (that means you showed up in this century), this is what most blogs used to be like. Now, neither Rafe nor I is posting 100 links a month like we used to 8 years ago, but the evolution into a more considered set of brief essays interspersed with interesting links is still satisfying to see done so well, and so consistently, for so long.

Pick of the Posts:

If you like these, try: Hack the Planet. A full 30% of the time, I have no idea what the hell Wes Felter is talking about. Another 20% of the time he's either wrong or just infuriating. These are just two of the best things about his blog if you're a geek.

This is one in a series of posts about Blogs of the Year for 2007. They're my subjective picks about blogs that inspired or influenced me this year, and you can check out my introductory post to find more.

Blogs of the Year: Serious Eats

December 11, 2007

Today's Blog of the Year Pick: Serious Eats.

Serious East

I love food, but I could never quite put my finger on what was wrong with the food blogs I'd tried to read until Serious Eats came along. As it turns out, I like cooking and I like learning about restaurants, but what it turns out I really love is simple: Eating.

Ed Levine's assembled a team of extraordinarily talented food lovers (which, it should be noted, includes my wife), and they stay true to the site's mantra of being passionate, discerning and inclusive. I feel like an old-timer in the way I look at blogs, because I still think of them as being fairly static affairs consisting largely of text. But Serious Eats features a formidable video section with original programming from Mario Batali, a burgeoning recipe section and a guide to eating out that all complement the site's own editorial blog posts. Wrap it all up in an incredibly well-designed, beautiful aesthetic that combines elegant details with frequent fun illustrations, and it's an unquestionable winner.

Pick of the Posts:

  • Talk: This Q&A section is the heart of the Eats, for me. I'm mostly a lurker here, but I never cease to be amazed how often I'm saying, "I wish I'd asked that!"
  • Serious Eats Thanksgiving: Sure, the holiday's passed, but if you want a look at how the site does well-trod topics in a unique way, this is it.
  • Extended Meatloaf Coverage: From recipes to National Meatloaf Appreciation Day to photos of dozens of loaves, I discovered this staple of mashed meat this year thanks to the site.

If you like this, try: Elise Bauer's Simply Recipes gets me every time -- not because of the recipes, though they're great. It's the photography, which is simply beautiful.

Blogs of the Year: Ill Doctrine

December 10, 2007

Today's Blog of the Year Pick: Ill Doctrine.

Ill Doctrine

Put simply, Jay Smooth's Ill Doctrine is the best video blog on the web. (At least the best one that's in English.) As you'd expect from the founder of, Ill Doc starts from a base of reporting on hip hop music and culture. But from that starting point, Jay branches into ruminations on celebrity, culture, politics, and art with real feeling. I don't think anybody else could make me both roll my eyes at and empathize with Amy Winehouse in the space of just a few minutes, let alone turn "Chocolate Rain" into a non-ironic jam. And for casual viewers, nobody does a better job of breaking down complex topics like the bust of DJ Drama by the RIAA than Ill Doctrine.

The editing's tight, the videos frequently feature original music and interviews, and there's a bracing honesty to much of the conversation that really connected for me.
Pick of the Posts:

If you like this, try: Catching up on Ze Frank's archives for The Show. I wasn't kidding when I said he was our I Love Lucy.

This is one in a series of posts about Blogs of the Year for 2007. They're my subjective picks about blogs that inspired or influenced me this year, and you can check out my introductory post to find more.

Blogs of the Year: 2007

December 9, 2007

This week, I'll be highlighting the sites that I think stood out this year. July marked the 8th anniversary of my blog, and over these past eight and a half years, my appreciation of what it takes to run a successful blog has really grown and changed. As a result, many of these picks are admittedly subjective, and are based on the fact that I think the best blogging is an art, a skill, and a craft like any other form of creative expression.

That's not to say blogging can't also be a business, or just an outlet for venting, or all of the above -- some of the best sites alternate through these different modes of communication. But these are the ones that moved me or inspired me or just entertained me this year. Each is accompanied by a brief description, a screenshot, some sample posts, and some suggestions of related or similar or complementary blogs you should check out.

As always, your recommendations of other sites, especially more obscure ones, are very welcome. Astoundingly, it's been five years since the last time I recommended some blogs. I think there may be a few more blogs around now. (Last time I did say that Gizmodo was a promising newcomer, so lookit me, I'm a geeenius!)

The Picks: