There’s a hand-painted sign that hangs over my desk at work, that my wife picked out years ago at a crafts fair in Virginia, that says:
“I’m not bossy, I just have better ideas.”
Anyone that’s worked with me, reads this blog, or follows me on Twitter, probably isn’t the least bit surprised by that. Publishing and marketing have been twin passions of mine forever — in high school, I published a newsletter for my fantasy football league, using my Commodore 64 and The Newsroom software — and I’ve been fortunate to have a day job related to them, in one form or another, for over 15 years now. I’m generally a laid-back guy, but when it comes to certain topics, I can be quite outspoken; that’s partly where the “loudpoet” moniker came from, a riff on the influential Aloud: Voices From the Nuyorican Poets Café.
At the beginning of this year, I shifted the focus of this blog firmly in the direction of those particular passions, with the goal of establishing loudpoet.com as an outlet to voice my opinions on things in the industry that had previously been limited to backchannel emails and happy hour debates with friends and colleagues. Poking back through the archives, the combination of Twitter and the Tools of Change Conference really got me going, with the discussion on the former about the latter’s “Building Communities Around Content” session leading to the first notable wave of connections being made there and traffic being driven here.
Since then, I’ve written several posts that I consider to be must-reads, including the four noted as “Features” over in the right-hand column, but the word cloud above, generated via the blog’s RSS feed at Wordle.net, highlights two prominent words that best represent what this blog is really all about: community and people.
The tag for “community” pulls together what I think are some of the best posts I’ve ever written in the seven years I’ve been blogging, and if you go back far enough, you’ll actually discover that the roots run deep, all the way back to my years in the poetry slam scene. My Nouns of Note page is tagged for community, too, for obvious reasons.
Reading through some of those posts, it’s clear how much being a part of the poetry slam scene shaped my understanding of, and opinions on, community building and organizing. It also sharpened my spider sense for bullshit and opportunism, two things that have plagued the publishing community forever, and that I have a particularly low tolerance for. I was also excited by the fact that I’ve remained relatively consistent in my approach to the concept of community, to its fundamental importance as a foundational concept for any endeavor, and that some of the projects I’m lining up for the near-future will be strengthened by that philosophical consistency. The things I’ve learned since then, especially over the past couple of years since I decided to literally put my money where my mouth was and move from marketing to sales, will be invaluable moving forward.
Part of that value definitelycomes from documenting my thoughts and opinions here, and from the feedback I receive from others, whether via comments and emails, or the personal connections I’ve made and strengthened as a result.
Thanks for reading along, for being a part of my community, and for welcoming me into yours.