Then You Evolve

I’d forgotten to mention it yesterday, but as a number of people have asked, I had a nice little quote in the New York Times yesterday, talking about Wal-Mart (and large companies in general) embracing blogging.

Though it unfortunately is pretty accurate in quoting the clipped, self-interrupting way that I actually speak, I think the point still comes across:

Anil Dash, a blogger at Six Apart, which makes blogging software, said the evolution in Wal-Mart’s thinking about blogs was typical. “You start with this total lockdown, suits read everything, one post a month model,” he said. “Then you evolve. A year later, you get one that is more open. A year after that, they start to do something that is far more authentic.”

Mr. Dash said Wal-Mart’s decision to let buyers do the blogging reflected a growing recognition that “trying to control who can speak and what they can say does not work.”

I’ve been obsessing lately over what it takes to make change happen, in both culture an technology. And the answer to me seems to increasingly be the embrace of iteration. I never imagined that I’d spend five straight years of my life advocating blogs, long after the novelty factor had worn off, but that’s where I’m at now. And It’s been enough time to see, for example, Wal-Mart start with a site that used Movable Type, but was barely a blog in any other sense, and then iterate their way into a site so human that it can easily have an individual post taken out of context by the New York Times.

There’s a little quiet victory for myself in the story, too. When Michael Barbaro asked me how I’d like to be credited for the story, I just said I was happy being described as a blogger.