Quality vs quantity – the blogging dilemma

When I write, I want to write quality articles; articles which interest, amaze and inspire. Mediocre content annoy me. If ever I write something which I consider of low quality, I never publish it – I will either review it or scrap it.

A Wordle of blogging wordsI want to make a difference in the world, be it a small or big difference (I would prefer big) I have to start on a personal scale. If I can improve your life by changing the way you think and feel (for the better), and enriching your knowledge and understanding, then I am doing my job.

I love reading Jonny’s posts every week, they always interest me and many have inspired me to make (usually small) changes in my life and have often caused me to write something myself. Jonny posts once a week, on a Thursday – with the odd exception. Would he be able to post such great content if he posted twice a week? What about three times? I don’t know.

I am not meaning to pick on Jonny, once a week is just great and very appreciated. One day Jonny will stop writing as often, and one day he will stop writing all together. I hope that day is a long way off, and by that time I have no doubt that we will have other writers writing the quality and quantity of content that he writes.

The same goes for me. I get a lot from blogging at the moment, I love the researching and crafting process that goes into making an article, and I also love the responses. But one day I shall probably stop too.

Think about your favourite TV show, how often does it air? Usually (with exceptions) the best shows/series take months to produce and don’t launch every day/week of the year.

Blogging is the same. I want us to post 6 great articles a week. Jonny gives us one of those posts. I am usually able to provide another, and we often get the third from another writer – like Steve, Ron, Alan or another writer. Usually we only post 4 or 5 articles a week, and that’s fine. I would like to post 6, but would rather post 4 quality articles than 6 mediocre ones.

Blogs that post less often, usually don’t have such a great readership. It’s a fact. There are exceptions of course. What would a news site be, if it only published once a week?

If I was able to monetise Technology Bloggers so that I could run it as a business, then I could dedicate more time to it, as it would become a job, not just a hobby. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes we do host the odd bit of sponsored content, to help pay the hosting bills, and fund competitions, but this site is never going to make millions. I am not sure I would still want to blog, if it was solely for money though, so I don’t want to monetise the site.

So, here is the dilemma I have: produce okay content, daily; or produce quality content, less often.

I want to post 6 articles a week, only 3 are provided, who plugs the gap? Usually me. If I don’t I feel bad, as I don’t feel I have fulfilled my duty to the site. If I post the extra posts needed, but they aren’t quite as good as content I have produced before, I am angry that I let the posts go live.

There is a very fine balance which needs to be struck, and I am not sure I am there just yet.

Would you prefer to read 5 star articles once a week, 4 star articles twice a week, or 2 star articles daily?

The reason I am writing this is because I feel we had a great 2012, I had a great 2012 as a blogger, especially in the last few weeks. That said, I know my diary for 2013 is already looking pretty full. Friends, family, education, work and recreation all take a lot of our time, and rightly so. However other commitments I have, do mean that I will have less time to write in 2013.

Rest assured, I am not throwing in the towel and am going to continue to do my best to keep us up and running at full capacity, but there is a lot to do.

If you want to help, I am more than happy to accept suggestions. I would love to promote more users to author status, and give everyone more control.

Advantages of working for a startup

Ask any recent college graduate today what their number one worry is and it will no doubt be “getting a job”. Today we are bombarded with the discussion of a failing economy, record unemployment, and the impossibilities of landing a job.

It’s a terrifying thing to face when the past four years your life has consisted of all night study sessions in the library, drunken weekends, and the endless hopefulness of a soon-to-be college graduate.

Graduation papers and a graduation hat

Graduation doesn't guarantee a job

While landing a job is no doubt extremely difficult in today’s society for any individual, there are numerous opportunities available out there for young graduates.

One idea is to apply for jobs at startups and SMEs, rather than applying to those cushy jobs at the major corporations, which are in high demand.

Here are three reasons working for a startup company might be a better choice than that corporate office high-rise.

More Responsibility

Yes, more responsibility means more work, which can also mean more opportunities. Responsibility is a good thing in the working world. Not only will job functions and demands that require more responsibility look better on a resume, it will also make your daily work more interesting and rewarding.

One thing about working in an ‘entry level’ job at a big corporation that can be really discouraging, is how little control and say you often have in the operations of things. At a startup company you will likely be working with a small, close-knit group of individuals.

Startups look for individuals with specific skill sets and drive, that are unique and useful for their specific job description. This means that you will be unique among your peers. You will have a voice within the group that wants to be heard. Much of this has to do with the mere scale of the operations.

At a startup company, operations are small and groups are small – every voice and idea is important. More responsibility means more work, but more work means more experience and more experience means greater rewards – potentially money. The bottom line is that it is easier to move up and forward in a small startup than it is in an established corporate office.

That said, startups often have flatter organisational structures, so there are less chances for promotion than in larger firms.

The Startup Atmosphere

If you’re looking for buttoned down corporate America, a startup is most likely not the right path for you. Due to their size and calibre, most startup companies exude an extremely relaxed atmosphere.

You won’t have to go out immediately after graduation and spend a small fortune on business attire. Typically, jeans and casual wear will cut it at a startup company. Of course, this casual atmosphere isn’t always the case and it will depend on the type of business the startup is involved in. You do get big corporations that have similar relaxed or non existent dress codes too, but it is usually more common among SMEs.

Furthermore, in a startup, the offices are typically small, young, and cohesive, hence the atmosphere in the office is more relaxed. I’m not saying you should count on this and this should not be your sole reason for seeking a job at a startup company, but it certainly can be a perk for a recent college graduate, or anyone who doesn’t like the idea of always having to wear a suit and tie.

Work Will Be Recognized (Good and Bad)

One of the most common complaints you hear from those in the working world is that their constant hard work goes unnoticed. This can be an extremely difficult thing to deal with. Feeling like you are putting in your greatest effort and doing a good job at it, but getting no recognition in return can be extremely disheartening. It seems that big corporations are the biggest offenders for this.

Of course, it can be nearly impossible to give your employees due credit for the hard work when you have hundreds (if not more) of them to oversee.

At a startup company, because numbers are so small and every ounce of work really matters, it is nearly impossible for hard work to go unnoticed. Typically startup employees work in small teams where every task completed is essential and credit is given. Your coworkers and boss know what projects you’ve contributed to.

This is a great way to feel that your work is being recognized and is a wonderful way to stay motivated to do the absolute best job that you can.

If things are noticed when everything goes right, things are certainly noticed when they go wrong as well. This will keep you on your toes, so that you produce work that both you and your employer are proud of.

There are also advantages for working for big corporations, however your personality and preference will determine which you are best suited to work for. Don’t think startups are the answer, but don’t rule them out either!

Is remote working the future for business?

In previous articles I have talked about how technology and business interact, and what the future of technology might hold for the world of business. In this article I am going to explore the idea that in the future, almost all business will be conducted remotely.

The number of people who permanently work at home in the UK, (known as teleworking) was estimated to be 1.3 million in 2010. The working population of the UK at the same time is believed to be around 30 million, therefore around 4.5% of the UK’s population (in 2010) were teleworkers. That said, is is estimated at the same time that 3.7 million UK workers sometimes worked from home, and sometimes went into their place of work. That means that of the working population, around 12.5% were, at some point, working remotely.

The figures are similar for the USA, and other developed nations. More and more firms around the world, are offering their employees the opportunity of working from home, but why?

Cost Advantages

Many people do not realise it, but it is often much cheaper to give employees access to the technology they need to work at home, than it is is to provide them with a workstation in an office unit. Yes that might mean you need to buy every employee a laptop, printer and make sure they have an internet connection, however that is often much cheaper than maintaining a workstation, in a fixed location.

If employees work in an office, then the firm either has to purchase or rent the premises – this can be very costly. Furthermore, an (often very expensive) IT mainframe system needs to be in place, to ensure that the entire building is connected internally, and with the outside world – including offices in other locations. Most employees will need a computer to work at, so why not buy them a laptop, give them their own printer, make sure they are internet connected, and tell them to work from home? It is often much cheaper.

Technological Advancements

Improvements in technology mean that working from home is more viable than ever before. Thanks to online storage systems, which allow simple, easy and effective file sharing among workers, employees are able to connect with each other, and share data from almost anywhere in the world. Outsourcing such tasks is often a much cheaper option for firms, than maintaining their own expensive IT infrastructure.

Advancements in communication technologies have also improved the viability of teleworking. I have previously wrote about QB Robots, robots which are effectively your eyes and ears in the office, which you can remotely control, whilst you are not in the office. These sort of devices mean that you can still connect with other workers, almost as if you were there in the room with them.

Anybots QB Robot

The head of one of Anybots QB robots – notice the webcam eyes and screen inbuilt into the head – such robots can improve the potential for remote working

You don’t necessarily need a QB robot to stay in communication with others though. Technologies like webcams, and VoIP mean that it is really easy to stay in contact, and in the loop, so you are just as up to date, as you would be, were you in the office.

Service Improvement Through Better Access

Technology has made it easier to work remotely, and it is often cheaper, but another advantage of teleworking, and a reason which I believe will be one which causes further growth in the industry, is the improvements in accessibility that teleworking offers.

In his recent article ‘Five changes in video conferencing for the next decade‘ Rashed wrote about how improvements in connectivity could improve the prospects for services like telemedicine. Being able to connect to people remotely, means that those who live/work in more remote areas, are more likely to be able to become connected.

Improvements in Productivity

Many studies have shown that working from home can actually boost productivity and reduce the time employees take off ill.

British Telecom claims that its teleworkers save it an average of £6,000 per year (per worker) due to the reduction in the costs of having to provide a workstation, the reduction in commuting costs, and through the increases in productivity. BT claims that its teleworkers are 20% more productive and take fewer sick days. This is probably due to the reduced stress associated with working at home, due to employees not needing to deal with the hassles of commuting, and the occasional hassles presented by co-workers, arguments and misunderstandings can cause stress!

In addition to this, the less time employees spend commuting, the more time they have to themselves, and the more time they can spend working. Say an employee spends an hour and a half commuting each day (two 45 minute journeys) then they could spend an  get an extra 45 minutes working, and get an extra 45 minutes to themselves.

In Summary

To conclude, working remotely is often a much cheaper option for both firms and employees, it has been made more viable thanks to technological improvements, it can improve the services that a firm can offer, and also improve the productivity of the workforce. These are some of the reasons, why I believe teleworking will become much more common in the future.