In this sense, generating and maintaining the blog magnificently expanded my professional "RAM," or random-access memory storage capacity. Without that upgrade, I simply couldn't write or think at the level I do today, nor could I cover as much of the world or so many domains. Without that reach, I couldn't be much of an expert on globalization, which in turn would seriously curtail my ambitions as a grand strategist -- because nowadays, strategic thinking requires a whole lot more breadth than merely mastering the security realm. To be credible and sustainable in this complex age, grand strategy requires a stunning breadth of vision when judged by historical standards. So as far as this one-armed paperhanger is concerned -- no blog, no grand strategist.
And I have to tell you, just making that admission in 2010 stuns me. But without the blog's organizing and storage capabilities, I'd be reduced to a parody of "A Beautiful Mind": tacking news clippings on walls and feverishly drawing lines between them, desperately seeking patterns but constantly falling behind the data tsunami. The blog thus prevents the early onset of what I call "strategic Alzheimer's," which is what happens when a strategist's growing inability to process today's vast complexity provokes a sad retreat into the past and an overdue reliance of history-is-repeating-itself arguments.
John Hawks has said similar things at various times, arguing that his blog helps him organize his thoughts as he does his professional reading.
I don't think I've quite figured out that trick. It's difficult to make professionally useful notes about technical papers and write something that is comprehensible by a non-specialist, without spending a lot of time writing out a fair amount of critical background. And if you do write out such the background, can you just write it out once, and expect readers of future posts to just refer back to it, or should each post be written with enough context to be comprehensible on its own? Posts that aren't self-contained seem to be a great way to drive off new readers, who may not bother to read a post that that requires some prerequisite reading.
So blogging on technical subjects presents an interesting challenge. If you're going to write for a non-specialist audience, it's difficult to have your blog also serve as your reading notes.
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