Sunday, March 12, 2006

Keynote - Heather Armstrong and Jason Kotke

Saturday's keynote was an interesting conversation between two very popular bloggers, Heather Armstrong ( and Jason Kottke ( This discussion demonstrated how bloggers can approach things in very different ways and still be successful. Armstrong is a full-time blogger, and her husband quit his job to dedicate time the site, so the entire family's financial well-being is relying on the blog. Dooced, by the way, has become known as "being fired from one's job due to one's blog." Armstrong blogs about her life, family, personal things. Her value is in her wit and quality of writing. She takes what she does very seriously and approaches it professionally. She is currently the 12th Most Popular Blog according to Technorati (

Kottke, on the other hand, chooses not to blog about personal things. Instead, he is known for the quality of the links he provides. He spends a good deal of time trolling the Web for interesting sites, blogs, etc., and makes those links available to his readers.

Armstrong and Kottke have embraced different business models as professional bloggers. Armstrong went to an ad-based model, even though it displeased many of her readers. Kottke experimented with a subscription-based service, but is rethinking that model. A good bit of the discussion was around the pros and cons of each. Kottke's blog is currently 22 on Technorati.

Really, both these bloggers are leading admirable lifestyles. They defy conventional career strategies, really set their own schedules, and are able to make a decent living. Armstrong described how important her time with her family is to the success of her blog. "I have to live the content." At something like SXSW, both Armstrong and Kottke are rock stars.

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