SXSW Notes: Jason Kottke/Heather Armstrong

Loose notes from SXSW 2006 session with Jason Kottke and Heather Armstrong

Keynote conversation between two hardcore bloggers. He’s opposed to ads and went with a micropayment subscription model, which failed after a year. She’s fine with ads. She’s bad at collecting links and has made writing about motherhood a full-time job, he rarely says anything about his personal life and is all about being a great link aggregator. She’s a funny/snarky extrovert, he’s a shy introvert who was clearly uncomfortable on stage.


Jason Kottke kottke.org
Heather Armstrong Author, Blurbodoocery

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“The witty voice behind dooce.com, Armstrong was fired in 2002 for blogging less-than-flattering accounts of the dot-com startup where she was employed.”

“Currently living in New York City, Kottke announced in February of 2005 that he had left his web design job to work full-time on the kottke.org.”

Attempted to make a living from blogging, failed. Why not advertising? Don’t like ads, pretty simple. A lot of advertising is bad. Went with micropayments (called subscribers “micropatrons.”) Having micropatrons changed his relationship with his web site. “It became more like a job. – I felt like I had 1500 bosses.

Taking micropayments took the “personal” out of the site. Kottke was lost in the process.

Armstrong: “In the past I’ve crossed over boundaries that have devastated my life.”

What would Kottke’s standard for having it “work” have been? He didn’t know. And still doesn’t. Seems vague about everything.

Armstrong on comments: Such a struggle to get people to be civil to each other. TypeKey is the most effective thing she’s implemented — civil so far (because you weed out the weenies).

Kottke on comments: Rarely uses them, not trying to build a community or personality around the site. When people start fighing, doesn’t want to have to go in and broker agreement.

Armstrong’s husband deals with the web host, deals with the MT back-end, deals with the advertisers. She experiences life and blogs about it – it’s a team arrangement, a collaborative semi-business.

Kottke: “My audience is the bored-at-work network.”

Sometimes funny, but not a particularly enlightening conversation…

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