Sources of Insight is Two Years Old



“And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” — Abraham Lincoln

Sources of Insight is two years old as of Sep 1st, 2010.  A year ago, I posted that Sources of Insight is one year old.

Two years old … Sheesh.  It’s hard to believe. On one hand, it feels like just yesterday.  On the other hand, it feels like forever.  And I hope this terrible twos thing is just a rumor.

Looking back, it’s been a good year and I’ve learned a ton.  To keep it simple, I’m just going to use a frame of “three things going well” and “three things to improve” as a way to take a look back, and to take a look ahead.

3 Things Going Well

  1. Viral posts.  A few of my posts went way more viral than I expected like my Lessons Learned from Seth Godin and my What 16 Movies Can Teach Us About Life and Leadership.  The irony is I created that last post because a friend suggested that a simple post on my lessons learned from movies would be a quick hit.  I tested and he was right.  The lesson here is always test your results, and test your assumptions.
  2. Featured guests. I continue to get some great contributions from people who know their stuff.   This past year included guest posts by Ali Hale on My Top Ten Lessons in Life, Dan Schawbel on Top 5 Lessons Learned in Personal Branding, Eduard Ezeanu on Top 10 Lessons in Improving Communication, Linda P. Jones on The 8 Steps to Wealth, Michael Michalko on Dancing in the Rain, and Nadia Ballas-Ruta on Top 10 Lessons Learned in Spirituality.
  3. Clarity.  The best way I can put this is that it’s clear for me that my blog is about empowering YOU with the best skills for thinking, feeling, and taking action.  I think of it as filling your bag of tricks with wisdom of the ages and modern sages for improving your mind, body, emotions, career, money, relationships, and fun.   There’s also something sticky about “insight and action for work and life.”  Whenever I change that people tell me to change it back – and they say that together with “Stand on the Shoulders of Giants” it would make a great t-shirt (Should I start taking orders now? 😉

3 Things to Improve

  1. Guest posting.  I know it’s the single most important thing to grow awareness, and yet I haven’t focused on it yet.  That said, I have done a few guest posts, including Finding Your Eye of the Tiger, Happiness is a Skill, and How Do You measure a Life? I tried to vary the style a bit and each one is a bit different.  I plan to guest post a bit more in the not too distant future.
  2. Growth.  I’m at ~2,700 subscribers, 30,000 visitors a month, and 50,000 page views a month.  I expected more growth, but given that I haven’t invested in guest posting, I can’t complain.  What’s important is that the people that need what I’ve got are finding it.  I also think that audience is a quality and relevancy game, way more than a numbers game.  Some experienced bloggers have told me that my numbers are actually pretty good so far and that it’s healthy growth.  They remind me that year three is where the real growth happens.
  3. Unique value.  While people tell me my blog is different, they can’t clearly put their finger on it.  Some say it’s because of the work-life blend.  Some say it’s because it’s action-oriented.  Some says it’s because I’m in the game at Microsoft.  Some say it’s because I keep things simple.  I’d like to get more clarity here.  I suspect it will be my “patterns and practices” approach to things that is really the important differentiator.  However, it’s not as important that I know the difference, as it is that readers perceive and value the difference … so that’s one for me to grow on.

I think the most important thing I did this last year was 30 Days of Getting Results the Agile Way.  The whole idea behind the system is to be the author of your life and write your story forward.  It’s a personal productivity system that helps you manage your time, energy, and focus for amazing results.  I wanted to give everybody in the world a simple system for getting meaningful results in work and life.  It’s an industrial strength system that I teach inside and outside of Microsoft.  It’s a system that I wish somebody gave me long ago, before I went through all the schools of hard knocks and learning the hard way.  It’s my way of helping everybody make the most of what they’ve got.

What does the future hold for Sources of Insight?  Well, I’m not a fortune teller, but I can tell you that I do have a whole lot more in my bag of tricks that I plan to share with you.

Together we’ll “Stand on the Shoulders of Giants!”

Photo by cambodia4kidsorg.


  1. Congrats for keeping your efforts on for 2 years. I’m a new reader of your blog and found it very inspirational and useful too (I’m trying to adapt your ‘golden three’ method).

  2. Congratulations on a great blog. I found you a few months ago and this is now one of my favourite sites. I know I can trust you to provide interesting actionable material.
    Keep up the good work.

  3. Great work JD. I’ve only discovered you recently and can see why you are successful. What I think makes you unique is your analytical approach. It is very direct, practical and free of fluff.

  4. Hi JD .. Congratulations .. the things Rob says above are absolutely write .. and your consistency, your reply to comments, and the fact that you make the time to pop over and comment on others’ blogs – including mine .. for which many thanks.

    The most important thing for me .. and now in this coming year I expect I will have more time and energy to take more cognisance – is that I know there is no fluff – everything you say is a real life situation & I can learn lessons from the content.

    I loved the “30 Days of Getting Results the Agile Way” and intend to follow the course .. as to your coming year – it’s excellent to know that your blog bank is open and ready to roll, and I know your mind is always ready to take more in ..

    I look forward to more of ‘the same’ excellent, interesting posts to help us develop our lives more fully .. great – Hilary

  5. Hi JD,


    What makes your blogs so great. You keep it simple, the article are structured and you create new article with practices from previous articles. So you are walking your talk 🙂

    Keep up the good work.

    JT from the Netherlands

  6. Happy birthday!!! I’m so glad we’ve connected, and I applaud you for making it to the two-year mark. I’m learning that there are a lot of people that spring out of the blogging gate but not so many that keep on going!

  7. Happy Birthday Sources of Insight!

    There is something unique here. The irony is that everyone thinks it’s something different! Maybe that is what’s unique! There is a profound wisdom in your approach that I think is very unique and difficult to find.

    I’ve learned so much here and am immensely grateful to you, J. D. I hope your success continues exponentially!

  8. Congrats!
    You set very high bar – both dedication and the ongoing results.
    Thank you for sharing all that great stuff here.
    I am looking forward to more goodness on SoI – it helped me a lot during these two.

  9. congrats – you are an inspiration to me…keep up your great work…

    I wrote on FB too…but can not make this into a tiny url for twitter – aargh I forgot how…

    I dropped down to 16 subscribers but have been using your agile results and got it back up to 105 still have a ways to go to get back to my 300… results…perseverance and dedication..don’t give up…just keep going.

  10. Congratulations JD… you have accomplished something greater than what you think… the added value that has been given per individual is something one cant measure. Its uniqueness is its asset because it meshes life-work…people are so accustomed that this are compartments that dont necessarily blend.

    I recently directed a friend to your site and she had trouble initially digesting things, being task-oriented as she was. after a quick call to me she finally understood that it is about a mind-shift from tasks to results. she also got used to having coaches prompt her for the next step. her a-ha was such and realized that for the first time here is a blog that works only if internalized, personalized and customized..

    she said your site is great!..:)

  11. @ Jonny — Thank you. Milestones are music to my ears.

    @ Lance — Thank you. I’ll go for it!

    @ Positively Present — Thank you. I’ll try to keep dishing it out, as long as you can take it.

    @ Joseph — Thank you. Welcome aboard and may the golden three serve you well.

    @ Steve — Thank you. Welcome aboard. I tend to have a strong bias for action and it shows up in the way I write.

    @ Rob — Thank you. I think you hit the nail on the head — I use a question-driven approach, and I tend to focus on distinctions and precision.

    @ Hilary — Thank you. I think you teased out something really important. I tend to share things from practice … it’s applied researchin in action.

    I think you have a great year ahead of you — your positive outlook, curiosity, and courageous actions will serve you well.

  12. @ Johan — Thank you. I think simplicity is an important aspect … it’s elegance in action.

    @ Louisa — Thank you!

    @ Jean — Thank you! I think what helps me keep going is self-awareness. I know my limits, and I try to play to my strengths.

    @ Sandra — Thank you! Ha, you’re right — different things to different people. I like that. One of my mentors always said that my strength was helping *anybody* get better results in any situation. She said it was my unique gift.

    @ Alik — Thank you my friend! The trick with a high-bar is to simply change the game … now it’s limbo time 😉

    @ Patricia — Thank you. You reminded me of a key formula — perseverence, passion, and play … there’s something about intensity that helps get us over humps.

    @ Riza — Thank you. … And, oh, what a *mesh* life is. I think the blend is the key, especially in today’s world.

    It sounds like your friend made a really important shift. Thank her for me.

  13. Two years. Wow! I can’t believe I’ve been reading you for two years. Those stats aren’t bad for two years. Helping 30,000 people a month improve themselves is an awesome achievement.

    Great job! I look forward to the next years.

  14. Sources of Insight along with Getting Results the Agile Way have been vital to my growth & success. I remain amazed at the depth, quality, & utility of your work. Congratulations, Happy Birthday, & Best Wishes for many more succesful years.

  15. Great content, very practical. I am one of your regular readers. Happy 2nd birthday !!! Keep up the good work. thanks.

  16. @ Akshay — Thank you. Hang on for the ride.

    @ Karl — Thank you. My main focus is “solving-problems.” Somehow that helps me stay on track, and help give folks an edge.

    @ Clearly Composed — Thank you! The future is bright.

    @ Jimmy — Thank you. Your feedback has always been insightful and it always helps me take things to the next level. You have a way with words.

    @ Kausar — Thank you. I plan to shake things up this year, and kick the tires a bit on this blog.

  17. Congratulations, JD!!!! Here’s to many more years of sharing your wisdom and insight!

    And thank you so much for inviting me to guest post on here. Writing that post came at the most perfect time. I will have to email you and tell you more.

    Happy Blog Birthday!!! Please take the time to celebrate because you earned it, dude.

  18. Happy Birthday!!
    I like your blog because it presents info in a clear, easily accessible way and you have an open style which is appealing.

    Good luck with the next year, now you have written your goals for all to see we will hold you accountable;)

  19. 2 years … wow! A big big happy birthday to Sources Of Insight. I think I found your blog on it’s one year anniversary. Can’t believe it’s only a year since I have been following you. Have learned so much from you. Looking forward to another amazing year.

  20. Hi J.D.,

    Excellent! You’ve stuck with it. I notice many blogs get abandoned when the going gets long. I like your posts because they present a new way to look at old things. You’re also a great commenter on other blogger’s sites. It feels very giving to me. Perhaps, that’s what I get from your site, its giving nature.

    Anyway, look forward to year three!


    p.s. need to up my guest posts too! And have some on my site. Only recently started doing that. good advice.

  21. @ Nadia — Thank you! I toast to that.

    Your guest post hit a perfect sweet spot for a lot of folks, and you were definitely in your element.

    @ Kate — Thank you! Clear, accessible, and open … I like that.

    Accountability is good … it helps me own my destiny.

    @ Avani –Thank you. I can’t believe it’s only been a year, either. I’ve learned a ton from you too. I always enjoy your mental models, lenses, and thought processes.

    @ Giulietta — Thank you! Like an old song sung new, eh. I like to give back and lift people up. It’s good Karma too.

  22. Congrats J.D. You are well worth the read at every visit. I think it is your dedication to comprehensiveness that makes Sources of Insight special.

  23. JD: Congrats on your 2 year anniversary. I am so glad to be one of your loyal subscribers and always enjoy stopping by and seeing what you have to say. Looking forward to an exciting road to year 3. Congrats again.

  24. @ Tom — Thank you. I’m glad it’s worth the trip. I find myself always trying to find a balance between simplicity and comprehensiveness. It’s a tough line to walk.

    @ Sibyl — Thank you. I am so glad to have you as a subscriber — you always add value and I enjoy your alternaview.

  25. Congratulations on two years, JD!

    You are doing a fantastic job. Your posts continue to share top quality info and you are skilled at presenting it so your readers can take it in. A job well done. High-five.

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