In my wordpress draft folder there is a post with the title: “Blogger I admire – template”. As the title suggest I thought to start a series about some of the bloggers I really admire, or for some of the bloggers that I really consider an inspiration.
Well, I’m not going to use that template today, but I will be close. I want to talk about one of the fastest climbing bloggers today, a guy called John Chow. Although he started his blog in a normal an pretty plain way, he recently changed the orientation of it toward a much more focused activity: it’s about how to make money online.
John Chow is not a newcomer in this industry. As I observed by reading his blog, he survived the first dot com disastser back in 2000-2001. He carefully watched the market, and, when he felt he could make the difference again, he started again. I like that. I was in a somehow similar position, although from a much smaller perspective. In 1999, Romania was not even 1 percent worth of a value of the dot com’s market value, but I started my business in this field anyway. A lot of things happened in this industry since then, but I manage to survive pretty well also.
Another thing I like about John is the fact that, besides sharing tips and lessons about making money online, he blogs about simple things, like cars, and food. Well, believe it or not, I do own the biggest car portal in Romania, called masini.ro, and the biggest food portal in Romania, called culinar.ro. Together, the two websites are around 900.000 unique users per month. (I dont’t talk too much on the blog about that for a simple reason: this blog is about the journey, not the destination. It’s about the way you chose to do things, not the final result. Call it modesty, or lack of self marketing skills, I don’t really care 🙂 )
So, when I see a post about new car launches at Geneva Motor Show (which, by the way, is superseeded by the Frankfurt and Paris Motor Show in Europe) I think at my car portal. Most of the time I am right in the middle of these shows and seeing blog posts about what I see at several feets in front of me, on the John Chow’s blog, makes me intriguely happy.
I also like the way John is blogging his food experiences. We do have a somehow twisted food experience in this country. Coming from communism, food was a problem by not existing, not by not having the right taste, so we still have to manage – at an internal, unconscious level, of course – how to really enjoy a good meal, in a good company. It’s been more than 17 years from the end of the communism and a lot of stuff has changed, but I do like to see a real chinese restaurant in Bucharest, not to mention that we have only two Japanese restaurants (one of them being in a hotel). Well, there’s room for improvment here, I’m sure.
Back to John stuff. You’ll find a lot of good information there, a serious slice of humour and a bunch of self-promotion. Well, this is the visible part of the iceberg, but I would like to mention one or two things that caught my attention, but which are not easily visible.
One of them is the fact that John started to delegate his blog activity. He actually hired someone a few weeks ago (a freelance writer, with a style that I like) to help him with this job. This is really clever. It does not, by any chance, make you originality suffer, and, beisdes giving you a lot more time, it will also offer a newer perspective. Collaboration is such an underevaluated asset in our world.
Another one is the branding. John Chow is rebranding his blog right in front of our eyes and he’s doing this in a very effective way. As an entrepreneur, I do know something about branding, and I think this is a very courageous step to make. Changing the brand of a product – being it a blog – on the fly, requires a lot of knowledge, and, as I already said, courage. John Chow has changed his brand from “The Miscellaneous Ramblings of A Dot Com Mogul”, which was basically meaningless, to “Make Money Online with John Chow”, which is a completely different story.
I don’t really intend to make money online with John Chow, but I do like to read his posts every once in a while. And I really appreciate the fact that he’s still transparent enough to link back to you, if you review his blog.