If there’s one thing that acts as a ‘leveller’ it’s time. However ‘successful’ or ‘rich’ a person is, there is still only 24 hours in their day. And time really does seem to fly by at a rate of knots. I can’t quite believe it’s been ten years—a decade—since I started this blog. You can read the first ever article ‘Taking the Customer’s Viewpoint’ here, although to be honest I wouldn’t bother—it’s pretty awful :). As with any skill, blog writing takes time to develop, and some of my early work is—well—a bit cringe-worthy. It does, however, show a journey.
In the past decade, I’ve written well over 400 blog articles; many for this blog, others for other sites and clients. I’ve written around 45 short ‘papers/e-books’ for clients, and two full-length books. I’ve learned a lot doing so, and I like to think (or hope!) each article is on average a little better than the last. If you’re going to read any of my work, probably anything after around 2012 is going to be better, that’s when I’d developed a more coherent style.
I wanted to say a massive, and heart-felt thank you to you for reading and subscribing to this blog. Thank you for your comments, thank you for connecting on LinkedIN and Twitter. It is the dialogue that makes the BA community as vibrant as it is.
The importance of Community and Contribution
Curiously, people often ask me about my “content marketing” strategy or my “personal branding” strategy. I was genuinely confused when people started asking me this, as neither of these things were topics I’ve ever spent much time thinking about. This blog started as an experiment, and as a way of sharing (and getting feedback) on my thoughts. Perhaps my content does act as marketing; but that’s never been the primary focus. Much in the same way my Twitter feed isn’t really a “work” or a “personal” account, it’s just authentically me, that’s what this blog has become. So much of what has developed has been a mixture of luck, and seizing opportunities when they arose. I suppose, beneath everything, I’m a believer in communities and contribution.
You see, lots of people consume from communities. They take, they read, they watch webinars and attend events. That’s fine, ultimately I’m really pleased that you’re consuming this article (I still can’t quite believe how many people actually visit this site). But communities need a balance of contribution as well as consumption to thrive. If everyone takes and nobody gives, the community burns out. Those that are contributing burn out, become cynical or find another place to hang out.
And contribution isn’t just about ‘broadcasting’ either; it’s (in my view) about cultivating conversations and ‘learning our way through’ the tricky situations we find ourselves in.
One of the things I love about the BA community is how much mutual support there is, and how much contribution there is. So many people have helped and continue to help me. We absolutely have a great balance of contribution and consumption. Blogging, for me, is a way of clarifying my thoughts and ‘giving something back’. The fact that you are reading this is an added bonus 🙂
So, if you’re a follower of my blog, or if you’ve seen a webinar or a video, I’d encourage you to think how you can contribute to the community. It doesn’t matter how “junior” or “senior” you think you are (after all, these are just labels. I’ve met new BAs that I’d trust to work on complex problems. I’ve also met ‘experienced’ BAs who I wouldn’t trust with a pair of scissors). If we all just publish one article, make one video, reply to one LinkedIN article a month, speak at one IIBA UK event, write one letter to our MP highlighting the importance of business analysis, then just imagine how much more connected we’d all become…
If there is one reflection I’d make on the past ten years it would be this: Sometimes we overcomplicate things. Sometimes the most important thing to do is to make the decision, do it, fail, get better and stick with it. The first blog article might not be great. The fiftieth might be OK. And by the five-hundredth, the landscape has changed entirely and new ideas and opportunities have emerged.
The joy, it turns out, isn’t in reaching the destination. It’s in the journey.
Travel it well.
Thank you. It’s been an awesome ten years. Here’s to the next ten 🙂
What are your views? Please add a comment below, and let’s keep the conversation flowing!
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About the author:
Adrian Reed is Principal Consultant at Blackmetric Business Solutions, an organisation that offers Business Analysis consulting and training solutions. Adrian is a keen advocate of the analysis profession, and is constantly looking for ways of promoting the value that good analysis can bring.
To find out more about the training and consulting services offered at Blackmetric, please visit www.blackmetric.com