Thursday, July 1, 2010

State of the Blog, Q2 2010

Time for the quarterly review of how this blog is coming along (see here and here for earlier editions).

Overall, I'm pretty happy: traffic growth has continued (with a minor retrenchment in June, as February), comment discussions have been satisfying (I've been having difficulty finding as much time for them as I'd like, but it still seems like zero-comment posts have become less common, and comments are for the most part thoughtful and enjoyable to read).  The number of followers continues to grow steadily.  Of course in absolute terms, readership is still small.

Most importantly, I still very much enjoy the process of producing a morning blog post, enough that when the alarm goes off at 6am, I always get up.

New readership mainly comes when some other, more established, blog or forum with larger readership links to something I said.  In prior quarters, interest of this kind has come from The Oil Drum, Energy Bulletin, Sharon Astyk, Econbrowser, Kevin Drum, Andrew Sullivan, and others.  This quarter, two major new sources of interest were Ran Prieur (an anarchist dropout), and Paul Kedrosky of Infectious Greed (a successful venture capitalist).  I find it entertaining that I appeal to such divergent thinkers.

In any case, I am deeply grateful to all who comment, read, follow, or link Early Warning.

In terms of my blogging abilities, I have largely been relying on the "Govt stats + Excel" style of analysis I developed while an editor at The Oil Drum, but a major upgrade this quarter, that I'm rather proud of, was the ability to make maps from US state and county level data.  I imagine I'll continue to work on that as time allows in the future.

Speaking of time, a personal note seems appropriate - later this month, my family and I will be relocating from Sausalito, CA (where we currently live) to Ithaca, NY.  So the physical home of this blog will shift from the Taste of Rome cafe, which has been a very congenial early morning hang-out since the start.  Early research in Ithaca suggests that the Mate Factor (a very beautiful cafe run by some friendly Jesus people) will become the new home of the blog, but we'll see.

The major driver of the move is house prices.  We've been renting in recent years but events in our lives have made home-ownership a high priority for us.  Bay Area house prices still make no sense to me, the public schools suck in much of the area, and the cost of living makes owning a house in the kind of places we like, and that have good public schools, infeasible here, especially given our choice to be a traditional single-income family.  My wife (and her mother who lives with us) have roots in the North East, and we picked Ithaca as a beautiful walkable soulful community with lots of natural beauty and lots of smart people and shared values.  And $170k median house price.  We've rented a furnished house for the year while we look around and make longer term plans - we have fantasies of doing that zero-energy retrofit or new straw-bale ultra-sustainable carbon-capturing home.  I've been telecommuting to FireEye several days a week for some years, and they graciously agreed to give me a video-link and let me telecommute full time.  FireEye is doing extremely well, and values my contributions, so with any luck I'll get to arbitrage employment in a successful Silicon Valley startup with living in a low cost area.  We'll see how that works out.

In the meantime, as for the last month or two, my time for blogging will be a bit pressured by packing and moving tasks, but I imagine once things have settled down, I'll have more time again.


brett said...

Have a great time in Ithaca. The Finger Lakes region and Ithaca in particular are wonderful. Good Luck

Sam Norton said...

Friendly Jesus people! Yes!! :)

Stuart Staniford said...


They are kind of a pretty intriguing group actually - a set of intentional communities that started as part of the early seventies Jesus movement, and have been trying to live as the early apostles advocated since. Be interested in your take on them - their story is here.

(The Christian angle is not particularly the attraction of the cafe for me, more just that they've created a very beautiful and comfortable space with good coffee).

Robert said...

As you probably know you will see some nice pictures if you bing (because it's not google) images for "ithaca is gorges". Cornell is said to have the highest concentration of plant scientists in the world in addition to a hotel culinary program. You should not go hungry.

MisterMoose said...

My wife and I used to live in the Bay Area in the early '80s, back when Sun Microsystems had 50 employees and everyone was getting rich in Silicon Valley. The price of our house in Mountain View went up about $1,000 per week while we lived there. We thought it was crazy then, and it seems to still be crazy now.

Now we live in a town in Arizona full of retired Californians who sold their houses and moved here with enough money to double the local real estate values and still pay cash for their Cadillac Escalades...

jewishfarmer said...

We'll practically be neighbors (only three hours drive apart) - must drink beer or coffee or something one of these days ;-).


Stuart Staniford said...

Sharon - we'd be delighted.