Highland Park blogger read around the world

June 6, 2005

BY MICHAEL KRAUSS

Ed Brill, 36, is a mild-mannered Highland Park resident with a global following: He's a popular Chicago area blogger.

Some say bloggers, or Web log keepers are people with too much time on their hands. Actually, bloggers are people like Brill who develop Web sites like www.edbrill.com that focus on a set of issues.

In Brill's case, the topics are collaboration, technology and travel. You see, Brill is the sales unit for Lotus Notes covering worldwide executives.

That's IBM's way of saying Brill is the honcho responsible for making sure Lotus Notes software gets sold around the globe.

Brill could be living the corporate highlife in Boston or Armonk. Instead, he works out of his home here. He's more the ascetic technology monk than the ambitious business power broker. He keeps in touch with his global client base through his blog.

Brill's musings range from discussions of new Lotus Notes features to his frustration at being pitched to buy a product warranty on his digital thermometer at Best Buy. Traveling for IBM in China, Brill arose at 4 a.m. to share thoughts about the Great Wall.

The blog formula is simple. Brill posts thoughts on his blog. Readers around the world post reactions. Then Brill comments on the comments. It creates a community that's far flung and valuable.

Before blogs, Brill would query IBM's sales force for feedback on the next version of Lotus Notes. Sales would query customers, then send the word back to Brill.

"It was time-consuming and not effective," Brill says. Blogs provide a faster cycle time.

Brill was born to blog. He's been chatting on-line since the dawn of the Internet when Compuserve was king, and AOL was an unknown.

Today Brill's at the top of his game. He's one of Chicago's top business bloggers. But he knows fame is fleeting, and the blogo-sphere fickle.

"The blog world is self selecting," Brill explains. "If I'm not writing about interesting things, nobody is going to comment, nobody is going to post. The hit count goes down. Nobody is going to link. It's going to become obvious."

That's a lot of pressure for a blogger especially one with 60,000 customers.

Brill takes it in stride. "For me it's part of my job."

Speaking of bloggers, Kevin Kutz, technology practice director at Burson Marsteller, the global communications agency hosts a seminar on Midwestern views toward blogging Thursday at the Mid-America Club. Northwestern University's Clarke Caywood and Fast Company's Chuck Salter are among the panelists scheduled to comment on the business and social impact of blogs.

Notebaert Speaks

Motorola CEO Ed Zander welcomes Qwest Communications International CEO Richard Notebaert to the Executives' Club podium Wednesday. Watch for Notebaert, who recently lost his bid for MCI, to outline the future direction of Qwest and the consolidating communications industry.

Following Notebaert, the Executives' Club convenes a technology conference on the virtual workplace and boundless enterprise. Computer Sciences Corp. Managing Director John Gentry moderates. On the dais: Patrick Apfel, CEO, Chantry Networks; Phiroz Darukhanavala, global technology officer, BP; John Golden, CIO, CNA; Ann Harten, CIO, SIRVA, and Richard Lamond, senior vice president, Spherion.

Bits & Bytes

*Supercomm, the global telecommunications show, runs through Wednesday at McCormick Place.

*Illinois Information Technology Association President Fred Hoch convenes his group Wednesday at Microsoft's downtown offices to explore business intelligence and performance management.

*Accenture's global advertising director, Teresa Poggenpohl, and CDW CMO Diane Primo headline Thursday's national Business Marketing Association conference at the Knickerbocker hotel.

*Tech guru Jack Rockart is worried. Collegiate IT class enrollments are down as much as 75 percent. The MIT senior lecturer and Society for Information Management vice president for academic affairs thinks America's youth are over- reacting to outsourcing and the dot-com bust. "The demand for IT people in the U.S. will grow," says Rockart, who's monitored trends for 50 years. "If you think you're at all good. Go into this field" he urges college-bound students.

Michael Krauss is a Chicago area tech writer and consultant.

 

 ©2005 Marion Consulting Partners