The Most Importtant Post I Read Today – January 26

From Nick Bradbury:
CSS and RSS: Rivals or Partners?
When you consume/read blogs via RSS feeds, what is the role of blog design? What happens when your most important readers do not visit your blog? What does it mean to live in a feed-dominant world?
Nick’s take on this topic is, as usual, wise and fascinating, especially since he lives in both the CSS and RSS worlds.
As the developer of FeedDemon, the newsreader I am a huge fan of, Nick Bradbury is my clear choice as MVP of the Blogosphere for 2004.

A Conversation with Ernie the Attorney

If you know me, you know that I have a bunch of nicknames for the lawyer bloggers. Ernest “Ernie the Attorney” Svenson has long been “the coolest blawgger.” The new interview of Ernest on JD Bliss will help you understand why I think this nickname is appropriate. I also like to say that Ernest is even cooler in person than he is on his blog – no small feat. After you read this interview, you’ll understand why I gave Ernest one of my “lifetime achivement” Blawggies for 2004.
Ernest is the legal blogger who most inspired my entry into blogging and gave me the model for the approach that I have taken. I’m such a pure fan of bloggers and blogging that I still remember how thrilled I was the first time I got an email from “Ernie the Attorney.” I told him that and he told me that he was thrilled the first time he got an email from “Dennis Kennedy.” It was a good laugh.
Reading the interview made me wish that we had more chances to talk. Ernest and I stayed up until 4:00 AM talking in the lobby of the Sheraton Hotel at TECHSHOW last year – the first time we met. He then introduced me to one of his favorite haunts in New Orleans a few months later. We’ll get the chance to catch up at TECHSHOW and LexThink!, if not sooner.
I’m noticing that more and more of my phone calls and emails are to and from other bloggers. I also hear the term “community” used more often by bloggers. One of the reasons there is a sense of community is the generosity, creativity and good hearts of the early legal bloggers like “Ernie the Attorney.”
People often ask me what I’ve gotten from all the work I’ve put into my blog, usually in the sense of “what is the ROI?” I’ll always duck the financial aspect of that question, but the real reward is in the new friends I have made. I simply cannot put a value on friendships like the ones I now have with the Blawg Channel core group, Denise, Ernest, Marty and Tom, and the other bloggers I now have as friends – almost too many to list, especially without leaving out someone.
There’s a tendency for those who are new to blogging to look mainly at the marketing and other possibilities of blogging, which are very real, without appreciating the way that blogging allows you to connect and create communities of interest. I sometimes get criticized for not pursuing the commercial potential of my blog and my blogging as much as others think I should, but I’ve always placed a very high value on friendships and blogging is an amazing friendship-building tool.
So, read the interview with Ernest. Take some time to think about his wise thoughts and resolve to explore the ways that your blog can help you build friendships. To me, blawgspace is still a generous place, in no small part due to the efforts of people like Ernest.
I highly recommend the JD Bliss site. Josh Fruchter is doing great work with this project. For those of you who haven’t already gotten enough of my story, there’s an interview with me on JD Bliss that covers some of the important directions I’ve taken in my career.

The Most Important Post I Read Today – Jan 25, 2005

Maybe a new feature of my blog.
Gravy,” from Gaping Void:
The money quote (at least for me):
“In other words, when do the early adaptors get to take their well-earned seats on the Gravy Train, while the late adapators desperately try to play catch-up?
The answer is, basically, as soon as the early adaptors figure out how to turn their early discoveries into ‘Deliverables’.”

Seven Ways to Avoid Disaster in Your Disaster Recovery Planning and Procedures

What’s worse than a disaster? How about doubling your disaster with a disastrous set of discovery plans, policies and procedures?
While no plan can account for every contingency or be totally bullet-proof, the following seven steps will help you avoid adding insult to injury from self-inflicted disasters.
1. Determine Your Core Business, Really. They call it business continuity for a reason. Everything flows from accurately determining what your core business is, including priorities, policies and procedures. Pay attention to what they focused on for both the short term and long term. A common theme is enabling fee-earners to return to generating fees for paying clients as quickly as possible. It’s easy to focus too intently on technology issues when the big concern is generating cash flow to keep paying employees and moving forward.
2. Use Scenario Planning. Wipe out the executive committee in a scenario and see how you plan works. Question your assumptions. Run your disaster plan under the Die Hard scenario and see what happens.
3. Write the Plan As If You Will Have to Read it Someday. Imagine you are not there and someone untrained has to pull out the plan and use it. Can they?
4. Negotiate Great Agreements. Firms are starting to look at outsourcing many aspects of disaster planning. What are you third party providers obligated to do under the contracts you have signed? Is it adequate or even helpful? If you do not raise and negotiate issues, I guarantee you that the terms of any contract you sign will be more favorable to the provider than they are to you.
5. Adopt a Portfolio Approach. The modern approach to financial investments emphasizes diversification and mixing low-risk, low-return (“safe”) investments and high-risk, high-return (“risky”) investments in a basket that reflects your risk tolerance. The same concepts have recently migrated into the world of IT planning. Diversify your risks, responses and procedures.
6. Focus on Failure and Redundancy. Failures will happen and it becomes important to know what happens after the failure. Look at various points in your processes and procedures. Consider what happens when a failure occurs at each of these points and the options that you may have. Can you set up some “elegant failures?”
7. Test Rigorously and Repeatedly. It’s important to test your plan, practice your procedures and do so on a regular basis. Lackadaisical practicing and testing guarantee poor results when something bad actually happens.
Conclusion. My best advice is to treat these matters as if they actually matter. Make time for disaster recovery, be a pest at getting answers to your questions, challenge assumptions, develop a thick skin for deal with the ribbing you are likely to take for being “too serious,” and keep in mind that we live in volatile and dangerous world.
[Note: This post is an shortened version of an article I wrote for the handout materials for my session on disaster recovery at the upcoming ABA TECHSHOW 2005.]

Special Offers and Discounts for DennisKennedy.Blog Readers

I have two discount opportunities for readers of this blog – one runs out in a few days and the other is a brand new one .
1. Until January 31, readers of this blog may go to http://www.eddixllc.com/landing/dmk.asp to obtain a huge discount on EDDix’s EDD Supplier Landscape research report, which is essential reading for anyone who is really serious about wanting to learn about what is happening and what will happen in the electronic discovery industry. Reading this report will save any vendor in the industry hours and hours of research time.
2. Bruce Hause has put together a similar affiliate marketing arrangement in which my readers will receive significant discounts and I’ll receive some commissions in connection with Quickscribe digital dictation software and related products. Simply ask for the “Dennis Kennedy discount” when making your order.
Bruce says:
“Quikscribe has a number of unique digital dictation and transcription features that appeal to attorneys and law firms. Our “Intelligent Audio File” format allows the author to include attachments of text, images, or files embedded within the audio file. This means that you can reference a case citation from a legal database, highlight the text with your mouse, then press the “insert” button on the hand control to capture and copy the desired text. The attorney doesn’t have to dictate or print the citation, and the secretary doesn’t have to type it during transcription. We also have lots of info on our website for U.S. customers at www.digidictate.com.”