Monday, 9 March 2009

5 Questions For Elisabeth Hendrickson

Still getting more answers to my questions - this time it's Elisabeth Hendrickson aka testobsessed

It's cool that I get to include her in this series as her Ruminations series on her Quality Tree Software site was one of the first testing sites I came across, I found a bug on the site, reported it and was rewarded with a copy of a Bug Hunters Journal that she was giving away.

1. Why did you start blogging and what were you hoping to get out of it ?
( and have you got what you hoped for ? )

I started blogging back in 1997, before the term was coined, by publishing short columns that I called "Ruminations" on my newly launched company website

I had two intents:

The first was marketing. I hoped that providing fresh content I could encourage people to come back frequently. This was back in the day when we were all talking about the need to get "eyeballs." I had no idea how I could convert Ruminations readers into consulting engagements, but I figured it wouldn't hurt to grow a readership.

The second was to give myself a soap box. I had developed various opinions about testing and quality and tools in my time in the industry, and I wanted a place to publish my ideas.

The people around me at the time thought I was crazy to expect to publish new content so frequently.

2. What have you learned from doing your blog ?

Originally I intended to publish new content daily. And for a while I succeeded. But I learned that writing every day is hard. Really hard. I just couldn't keep up the pace and also keep up with the rest of my business activities.

Anyone who has read my blog knows that weeks and sometimes months pass between my updates. I used to apologize about that on my blog. But these days I figure it's best if I just publish something whenever I have something new to say, and have the time to articulate my ideas clearly.

3. Do you track your visitors - if so, any unusual searches to find your blog ?

I used to monitor my visitor stats daily. After separating my blog (at from my company website (still at, I stopped being quite so concerned about visitor, page, and hit counts. These days I only occasionally pay attention to my statistics.

I am always amused by the search strings that land people on my site. Here are some recent ones that made me giggle:

"crank out some of the group 2 delivery test cases" (it seems an oddly specific search; sorry I don't have any group 2 delivery test cases)

"how to write an insect reports" (I'm assuming this is someone studying to be an exterminator)

"big white duck names" (apparently there really is *always* a duck)

"cool fashion jargon" (seriously? my site came up? someone doesn't know me very well.)

4. Do you have a favourite post that you have written ?

I have several favorites.
To understand the "always a duck" reference above, I suggest reading "There's Always a Duck" and the follow up post, "A Duck by Any Other Name"

Both as a testimony of how much I can write when I feel passionate about something, and because I think I managed to say what I meant, I like my post on "Agile Friendly Test Automation Tools" and the related posts on Next Generation tools linked at the end of the article.

And if only because it includes a random test generator, I'm rather fond of "Flush Specific Stack Fiercely"

5. Any advice to new bloggers ?

Be authentic. Say what you want to say. Say it as well as you can. Publish as frequently as is comfortable for you. Write the things you want to write, not the things you think other people want to read. Worry more about finding your voice than attracting readers. And turn on comment moderation or use a blog spam filter, because the nasty blog spammers are everywhere. (Ick.)

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