Talking with Mike Ramm

Today, I am pleased to talk with Mike Ramm – one of the most popular bloggers in our Bulgarian blogosphere, project management consultant and a good friend of mine:

1.Welcome to our blog Mike. Since when are you blogging and what prompted you to start?

I started in the middle of 2007. Until then, I have been always looking for some form of public professional expression, but I couldn’t find the best fit for myself. I needed to share my professional views and experience in project management with my colleagues and at one point I have found that exactly the blog is the way and form that best fits me.

My first blog was essentially personal, and in content – professional. Naturally, I started writing in English, because most of the blogs I was reading at that time were in English.

A little later I started to understand the specifics of a thematic (or professional) blog, in which the focus is on problems related to our main professional activity, refracted through the prism of personal experience and opinion. In addition, I realised that in our practice there is no blog dedicated only to project management and focused in the field of software production, and this was the reason to start the blog PM Stories in addition to my personal blog.

Subsequently, for various reasons, I created a few more blogs devoted to various topics and written in both Bulgarian and English, and then I realised how difficult was my task. Now I think of some form of back merging my blogs, but that would have to be a very carefully thought out step.

2.What is most pleasing and what is the most difficult in maintaining a reader’s interest and your own interest in maintaining your blogs?

The most pleasing and most useful for a blogger is the feedback. It is pleasant when you see the statistics of the visits showing an increase in the number of readers, but much more valuable is the discussion in the comments below the publications, where readers share their opinion, their experience and their ideas. This immediately gives the author a guidance on new themes and materials and thus the blog becomes a useful place for its readers.

That’s why, I believe that successful blogs in a long-term perspective will be those that are dedicated to some range of issues their readers are interested in, not those devoted to issues that mostly their author is keen of.

3.Do you think that bloggers in Bulgaria make a difference or nobody cares about their existence (besides themselves)?

They certainly do. Especially political bloggers. This is easy to explain – in our country the masses are mainly interested in politics and political bloggers in a natural way acquire authority and influence. The most recent and most indicative example recently are the anti-government protests at the beginning of this year (2009).

I believe that other bloggers will gain authority, especially those who show to the world that they are valuable and thinking individuals. This will be a slow and heavy process, because in our society always the behavior of a silent particle of the crowd has been more valuable and only recently we begin to appreciate that each of us is unique.

I can give an example with myself.

I don’t know if I’ve personally been the cause of the change, but the fact is that it came very soon after one of my posts.

After the tunnel of Lyulin, towards the center of Sofia, on the Blvd. „Todor Alexandrov“ there was an electronic advertising dashboard. At the beginning, after they placed it, there was an inscription „Welcome to Sofia!“.

I decided that this is offensive to all residents of Lyulin, as if they did not live in the capital, and somewhere in the province and wrote an article in my personal blog titled „Welcome to Sofia, Lulin peasants!“.

A few weeks later, the dashboard started showing a phone number for signaling problems on the road, which is significantly more meaningful, and when there are repairs or traffic jams, it gave information about them, too.

Maybe the change of the text just happened to coincide with my blog-publication, but if not today, then very soon the authoritative bloggers will be a very serious factor in the formation of public opinion.

4. As a software project management consultant, do you use your blogs to attract customers (i.e., for marketing)?

Yes. At least I’m trying to.

My blog clearly shows my views on specific problems of practice and every potential client can decide what my approach will be in solving them, and thus could decide whether he or she wants to hire me as a consultant, lecturer or manager.

The power of a professional blog is exactly what it is, to demonstrate your skills, understandings and ideas; to represent you as a person and as a professional in front of the public, so that it is easier to be able to make the choice whether other people can rely on you or not.

Unfortunately, the readers of the blog PM Stories, which is dedicated to project management, are not so many to represent enough customer base. Therefore, other marketing approaches are required to attract customers. I think the combination of traditional methods of marketing and advertising, and the blog as a form of personal and business communication with the world, will be the most successful formula for a good business.

5. Do you think that more Bulgarian corporate blogs will appear soon?

I think there should be and will be more. How soon, however, I can’t tell.

The corporate blog is still a vague phenomenon. There is a big difference between a multinational corporation with tens of thousands of employees and a small firm of 10-20 people. It is logical their blogs to be very different.

The blog is a form of personal communication with the other people. Although it offers some anonymity, the message, the opinion, the asserted ideas are personal.

The very concept of „corporate blog“ violates this concept because the company is impersonal. Therefore, to successfully communicate with the surrounding world, a company should cease to be an abstract concept and should show something individual.

The company needs to demonstrate that behind its name and brands there are real people with their human virtues and disadvantages, and only thus, by raising customer relationships on a new level, subordinated to personal communication, the company could win their loyalty and make a successful business.

Thank you, Mike for your wish to talk again with us and translate this interview in English!

This interview was initially published on 16 March 2009 here.



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Pavlina D. Kozarova

Pavlina has worked for 20+ years as marketing specialist and business development manager in several Bulgarian and international IT and consulting firms. Her expertise is in the fields of project planning and management, business development, marketing & sales, innovation development and commercialization. Pavlina runs consultancy business with www.primavera88.com