SM: April 2003 was still very early in the time period of blogging.
RM: It was, and there definitely was no money in it. I had a day job at the time as a Web manager, and I was not fulfilling my mind. I wanted to explore all of this different stuff, and blogging was my way of doing it.
SM: What did you write about?
RM: My first post was ReadWriteWeb, which was about Tim Berners-Lee and some web theories going around at the time such as those from Dave Winer. In the beginning I was writing about RSS and blogging software. It was an experimental time with blogging software.
SM: What was happening at that time in the blogging universe? Michael Arrington was nowhere yet.
RM: At that time the big blogging personalities were people like Dave Winer. I think of the current generation of tech blogs, I was probably the first writing on Web 2.0.
SM: What kind of traffic were you seeing, and how were you building up your readership?
RM: It was low traffic back then. The funny thing is that I was using it as a networking tool to reach out to all these people who were interested in the same things I was. It just so happened that most of them lived out on the West Coast of America. I made a lot of contacts in Silicon Valley through my blog and writing. I linked to a lot of those people, and that is how they found me.
In early 2004 I started some early consulting work through the blog. It was product and market analysis from Silicon Valley. One company was Rojo Networks, which was founded by Chris Alden, who is now the CEO of Six Apart. He hired me to do some product analysis about RSS readers.
SM: So your blog started generating some revenue streams for you as well.
RM: It was, although I was not advertising. It was more focused on consulting. At that point in 2004 I saw the blog mostly as a way to raise my profile. Sometime in 2004 I quit my day job and focused almost full time on consulting. In late 2004 I started getting some advertising revenue.
SM: Was your initial ad revenue through AdSense?
RM: No, I actually reached out to specific companies and asked if they wanted to sponsor the site. I think the very first sponsorships I received were from the Weekly Wrapup that I used to do.
SM: What dollar figures are we talking about?
RM: I honestly can’t remember. It might have been about $1,500 to $2,000 per month.
SM: What was your readership during 2004?
RM: I had a lower readership, but I also had a very influential audience. A lot of the early adopters in Silicon Valley seemed to pick up on my blog.