“Milestones are valuable markers of progress made but also reminders of goals yet to be achieved!” – Futurist Jim Carroll
A few photos of my online career from the time I signed on in 1982, through the ’90s and ’00s, up to today’s stage work. hey, I still have hair!
Yesterday was a big day, and while reminding myself for the last many months that the date was coming up, I almost missed it! I started blogging 20 years ago yesterday, on October 26, 2002. I’m sharing a long story of details about and around this milestone – but since this is more or less meant to be a ‘daily inspiration’ post with lessons on personal reinvention, leadership, and corporate reinvention, let me share a little bit of insight as to why milestone markers are important:
- milestones can help us to remember what we’ve achieved, what we have not, and what might yet still hope to do.
- they give us an opportunity to judge what has worked well, and what has not
- it’s a moment for a skills inventory, a time to understand what you’ve learned, but what you still need to learn
- it’s a chance to do a ‘baggage check,’ getting rid of what you don’t like and keep what you do
- it’s a moment for directional reflection, a time to determine if you are on the right path or if you need to change direction
- it’s a good time to run through the list of original goals to see if accomplishments have been achieved
- it’s a ‘commitment reinforcer’ – you set out on your path for a particular reason, and a milestone marker gives you a chance to reassess and reinforce your commitment to your cause
- it’s a pause for the celebration of what has been achieved and a marker to move toward the next milestone
- a regular series of milestones will help you focus on your achievements and not be as distracted by challenges along the way
Project managers live and breathe by their Milestone Lists: it’s a document that lists all achievable in a very detailed format, and
It is a list that identifies all the milestones of the project. It also indicates if a particular milestone is critical which is required by the contract or optional for the project. Optional milestones are usually based on historical information from a similar project.
They build Milestone Markers into their plans because they know it is a key method by which to examine, assess, evaluate, and challenge their progress. For me, my 20-year blogging anniversary has been a chance to do just that as I have watched the date drawing closer.
Here’s my story.
It was a prolific day 20 years ago – I actually had 3 blog posts on that first day! (I was somewhat late to the party, with ‘blogs’ starting up in the late ’90s – but only with the tech I was using – see below.) So for me, milestones like this are reminders of where we’ve been, as my quote goes – because, by 2002, I had already been online for 20 years!
By the time of that blog post in 2002, I was already an old hand at what is now called ‘content generation’ and an ‘influencer‘ (LOL). I had already written and co-authored 34 books about the Internet and technology which had sold a million copies, hosted 3 national radio shows about technology and trends, had written hundreds of newspaper and magazine columns, and been featured in literally thousands of newspapers, radio and TV interviews (I have copies!) My little boys had grown up in a world in which for a time, a news crew was coming to my home early each week to film a segment about the Internet that would be shown on TV later that day. Life certainly had become odd!
Not only that, but just a few months before writing this first blog post in 2002 I had received the 2002 Canadian New Media Lifetime Achievement Award – the glass sculpture award features a spot in my home office!
So for me, blogs weren’t some new-fangled technology – they were just another step in a long exploration of the technology voyage that I was already on. (I’ll toss out phrases like uucp, Gopher, Archie, Bix, and CompuServe for the oldsters who read this stuff.) (Another observation is that none of my early successes is on Wikipedia, and in fact, I don’t exist there, since Wikipedia didn’t exist when all this was happening. There was an entry about me for a time, but because of ‘link-rot’, it was eventually taken down.)
Back to my blog – so what did I write about 20 years ago? My first blog post had to do with a story involving my sons that would then go on to form a powerful stage story over many years to come.
I must have been exploring the blogging software because moments later, I posted a second item – also gone! – that featured a story that was floating around at the time about Microsoft. I don’t know where these early entries went – I must have deleted them or lost them during one of the many technological migrations of my site.
And then, minutes later, I did another blog post about a hilarious answering machine call that I had just seen on the popular site Boing Boing.
This post still exists as the first ever blog post on my site – I only just discovered the other two by looking back into the Internet Archives at the Wayback Machine. You can see it here – it’s kind of plain, without an image or other styling effects. Kind of interesting to look back at!
Looking at the post, the link to the original audio disappeared, but I reached out to a former head of BoingBoing, who located it for me at the Wayback Machine. It’s kind of fun to listen to! No wonder it caught my interest – you can find it here. It’s really kind of funny – no wonder I posted something about it!
So was my first blog post 20 years ago yesterday? No – that marked my official use of ‘blogging software.’ The idea of regularly posting insights and observations to a Web site had already been around for a time. And so a fun fact in this voyage – my Oct 26, 2002 post wasn’t really my first blog post – it’s just the technology to quickly do a post that didn’t quite yet exist. The result is that I used an HTML editor to create individual Web pages with information updates – the type of stuff that eventually made its way into a blog. For example, here’s a bit of what I was posting in 2000.
From a technology perspective, this type of post didn’t have longevity, and like much of the early Internet, has long since disappeared except for the magic of the Wayback machine.
Between this hard-coding era and Oct 26/02, I also used for a time an early blogging service from a fellow out in PEI, Canada – Peter Rukavina – a real blogging pioneer. He realized something profound was happening online with the ability of people to quickly publish things to the Web – and so he set me up with an account on his microblogging service because I was in the news quite frequently. Peter still blogs on a regular basis today – he’s at https://ruk.ca. Visit his archives – it’s a fascinating voyage as well. Hey Peter! Hi!
All in all, this trip down memory lane is kind of wild for me – especially when I rediscover the first version of my website from 1994! It rocked!
I digress too much into the past, so fast forward – 20 years on, there have been thousands of blog posts that I’ve written through the years – about keynotes, trends, innovation and disruption ideas, and personal stories. As of this point in time, my site tells me I have 3,816 posts to date, so this will mark number 3,817. The blog has been instrumental to my business – many people who have booked me for a keynote have found me because of the things I wrote and the way that search engines have indexed me. It has been a creative engine, a form of therapy, and simply a way to share things I think are worth sharing. A blog is a commitment to a life well shared.
The blog also became a tool to feed into my books in the next many years – I found that a lot of the material I was writing into my blog could be easily repurposed into various books along the way. And so, Ready, Set, Done: How to Innovate When Faster is the New Fast, caught many of my early posts from 2003 to 2007 about innovation, disruption, and trends, rolled into a cover, given some structure and commentary, and given new life as a book.
Then I released my 2012 book, The Future Belongs to Those Who Are Fast (The Best of the Insight from JimCarroll.com) which continued on with this trend. I was writing so much stuff that when it came time to write a book, I already had one
Finally, in January 2020, I released Think Big, Start Small, Scale Fast: Stories from the Stage on Disruption, Transformation, and the Accelerating Future which featured some of my favorite posts from my Daily Inspiration blog posts,” one of which you are reading right now.
You’ll find these books at https://books.jimcarroll.com. Couldn’t you just read this material for free on my blog? of course, you could – but these are like a Spotify playlist – it’s the best material, organized and nicely packaged! I’d be thrilled if you bought one!
So blogging! So what’s the plan? What are the lessons learned through my Milestone Markers as described earlier in this post?
I’m working away at that – the process of analyzing milestones need not be instant. But one thing I do know – this Daily Inspiration post has taken on a life of its own, and I have no plans to abandon them until such time as I can no longer post. My Daily Inspiration posts are my morning meditation, my momentary reflection, and my tool to start my day in the right frame of mind. In other words, my blog has become an inner part of my personal soul.
They’ve been part of my blog since a significant change in my life on June 26, 2016. You might have seen me refer to this date – suffice it to say, I have not missed posting one of these Daily Inspiration posts since the next day after that date! They are a core to my being; I write them to my blog as much for myself as I do for the many thousands who pick them up and receive them through a vast number of social media channels. (After being posted to my blog each day around 6 am, they go out to Flickr, Facebook x 2, Instagram, Twitter, a LinkedIn mailing list, my LinkedIn feed, Medium, Substack, and now – a video version to TikTok and Youtube Shorts!)
So my plan? Continuing! Keep reading – stay tuned!
It’s fun to look back, but helpful in doing so to look forward.