I was thinking that a new blog design would be frivolous, and I should just write good posts. But then I ran the post about my new headshots, and the comments section was filled with people saying how much they hate the photo on my blog masthead.
That photo is from a time when I was just getting my big writing jobs—at Yahoo Finance and the Boston Globe—and my book was coming out. And the headshot was all about making me look older and wiser than people maybe thought I was.
But, really, I am not big on authority. I’m more about conversation. And I think it’s way more interesting to look a little off-kilter and ask good questions, than it is to look perfect and act like I have all the answers. So I knew it was time to change my photo.
Then I started getting excited about trying lots of new things on my blog.
Then I did what I do best: Found great people to work with.
The first person I chose was Jessi Pervola. She does the design work for my company, Brazen Careerist, and she is super fun because she thinks of new features and fun layouts that make people want to do more. So I thought maybe she’d do that for my blog.
Of course, all top-flight designers do what Jessi does, on some level. But the other thing that made me choose Jessi is that I love her blog. I love that the design is weird—with tons of white space that would scare most people. And I love that the first things you see when you go to her blog are these two links: What’s my problem? and The full list. It makes me laugh. And I think she must be really, really pulled together because she actually knows the number of problems she has.
The other person who worked on my blog is Clay Collins. He is the crazy, night-owl SEO guy who I have to stay up til 2am to talk to. But he is always worth the phone call, even though I usually consume 2000 calories in sugar-enhanced bread products in order to stay up that late. Clay has ideas like the poll. Or maybe that was Jessi’s idea. But that’s what is great about picking people who are great. They don’t bicker about whose ideas are whose. They don’t step on each others’ toes. They just come up with amazing stuff.
So here are some of the things that are new, and if you look around the site, you’ll find a bunch more:
My twitter feed is back. And for those of you who worry that I write too much snark about investors, you will be happy to read this twitter: An investor tells me don’t stop writing about investors. “It makes you differentiated,” he says. And he says, “Would that be a good pickup line?”
There is a poll. It will change every week. Maybe every Tuesday if I can stick to a schedule. There are so many things I want to ask you guys. Today’s question is about sex with your boss. But only because I wanted to ask if you thought I should change my photo all the time, but my editor—yes, now I guess I have a poll editor—said the sex one is more interesting.
The header is different. The queen of branding herself has a branding problem: I sold Brazen Careerist to my company, so I don’t actually own it anymore. So I really need to separate myself from the Brazen Careerist brand. I don’t quite know how to do it. Maybe Penelope’s Blog. Like Seth’s Blog? Or maybe I am too full of myself and I will never be Seth. (After all, Seth keeps getting book contracts to republish his posts, and when I tried to do that, my editor nearly canceled my contract.) So the header will probably change a lot—like, every night at 10pm when I have branding panic and call Jessi to make changes to the art.
It is no coincidence that I’m launching a new blog the week of Thanksgiving. Thank you so much, each of you, for being part of a community that makes finding success at the intersection of work and life a much less lonely process. I like that we all do this together.
This has been a tough year for me. Divorce, farmer tumult, funding a company in an economic crisis. And all of you have been a great reality check for me about what is going right and what isn’t and what we can expect from life.
You have also helped me to see that it’s been a great year. My blog allowed me to start my company, and my company allows me to have big, fun job and still pick my kids up after school. And believe it or not, I actually still have a fun dating life . . . but you’ll have to come back here to find out about that.