MovableBlog: Six Apart and Dog Food
August 19, 2004
With the hiring of Brad Choate as a software engineer at Six Apart, I discover the existence of a list of 6A bloggers. (That's what I get for nor reading the HTML versions of weblogs.) I'm not as heavily involved with Movable Type in the creation of my personal weblogs—of the too many weblogs I write, this one is the only one powered by MT—nor with my independent consulting—there's a reason for that, although the details haven't been finalized—so my only real source for MT-related news is Anil Dash's links weblog. He pimps MT pretty hard in that section, but then again, can you blame him?
I'm probably not going to follow MT as much as I did in the past (see vague reference above), but I did whip up an OPML file of the Six Apart bloggers. This is not a comprehensive list, so I'd appreciate a heads up on errors and omissions, and I had to actually search for some of them. Why are the board members and executives and board members with weblogs not linked in the Six Apart about page? If it were up to me—and there are doubtless good reasons why it's not—I would link to all employees to show what can be done with the software they produce with a standard disclaimer about the opinions expressed on their weblogs being their own. Of even better, embrace their diversity of opinion without a disclaimer. Okay, that should be reason enough why it's not up to me.
Most of their weblogs discuss very little about the company itself. One just recently posted photos of her cat. (I hang my head in shame that, as a blogger, not only have I never posted photos of my cat, but I don't even have one.) I recently overheard a woman who said that she does not want her developers writing weblogs. She wants them developing software while on company time, and that's fair. If you're hired to do something, but instead you do something else, then by definition you're not doing your job. I subscribed to one 6A blogger who stopped talking about their code and what the company was doing and focussed on their personal life. (Don't worry, I won't say who it is, but that's only because I've forgotten who it was.) I unsubscribed from the feed thinking "This is not what I subscribed for."
I stand by my unsubscription (I stand by everything I've done and said as an accurate reflection of the way I felt at the time), but only by looking at the weblogs of 6A employees do I understand that they are more than "just" employees of a hip Bay Area software company: they're people who define themselves by more than what they do to pay their bills, even if what they do to pay their bills happens to give them great satisfaction. That's what blogging is supposed to be: it's about telling the world how human you are and how human you can be. It's about saying as much or as little as you want to say about yourself, which is why the company needs to, to use an ugly geek expression I only heard used repeatedly and unproblematically just recently, not only eat their dog food but show how their employees are eating their dog food. Because as the OPML file shows, they do just that.