Why amateur is not a bad word.

FM Publishing quotes an essay by Paul Grahamabout why bloggers and Open Source software ventures are sometimes better than the corporate equivalents. (newspaper coverage, proprietary software, etc…). Its because amateurs do things for love, and people working for love often surpass those working for money. Thanks, guys: youre speaking to my condition.

Thats love in its widest sense, meaning interest, enthusiasm. It sums up what this blog is all about. I started it because I thought it might be interesting. Since I started it, Ive been invited to speak to a conference at Oxford and appeared on a BBC programme. Readership has grown steadily. I even make a (very small) amount through Google Ads: enough to cover the hosting charges, probably.

But whats really interesting and rewarding is the opportunity to find out for myself and to develop my own understanding of a complex field, which gets more and more intriguing as I research it. Being read by other people – not many yet, but the numbers are growing steadily – is the icing on the cake.

Its also the challenge: to explain things to myself, in such a way that they may be meaningful or even helpful to other people. If that sounds vague, or just implausibly altruistic, to you, it means you havent tried it yet. Its fun. It generates more ideas for me personally than I can cope with. (They dont all go on the site, at least not till theyve grown up enough.) It gives me an excuse to exercise my mind two or three times a week, and to read widely and think out of my own box.

So thanks, Paul. Incidentally his VC company is one of the most interesting VC ideas I ve seen for a long time. Care to do it again in England, Paul?

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