great conversations: Rick Klau of Feedburner

If you have a blog then you want people to read what you write and chances are you’ll use an RSS feed to do it. That’s where FeedBurner comes in, making your feed accessible to millions. Rick Klau is vice president of FeedBurner, a Naperville resident, and a Lawyer. He also has my dream resume. He is also a hell of a nice guy. Frankly, so are all the people featured in this post, namely

As previously mentioned in this post regarding the ABA Tech Show, this year I got the opportunity to meet some great people I knew by reputation (such as Rick and Matt), as well as practicing lawyers whose Internet smarts I respect (like Greg and Steve). After the show I was able to follow up a little with Rick (not easy to do — he is out a lot!) and I believe the conversation will speak for itself. You be the judge.

Me to Rick

I am interested in any insight you could offer about how I could get more involved in publishing and speaking about technology, disruptive business models, and professions (law for starters) — and still make a living. I have been blogging for several years — so much so that my practice and income have suffered. Is it realistic to seek a position that allows me to pursue my interests in writing, speaking, and technology while still making a living?

Rick to Me

I wish I had a clear, concise answer about how to do what you’re looking to do. In my case it was always a combination of the right place at the right time and being able to explain tech in terms that non-techies could understand. It sounds to me like you’re in a situation where your passion isn’t connected to your income. Most of the people at TechShow are consultants or vendors … not practicing lawyers. You need to find a way to connect your passion to your practice [or switch professions].

Me to Rick

It occurs to me that you and your fellow speakers (Matt, Greg, and Steve) represent the non-lawyer <==> lawyer continuum I have been working through: you and Matt are not practicing lawyers and instead have found success in entirely different, more exciting, fields, while Greg and Mark are practicing lawyers who use technology to boost their productivity and distinguish themselves. The 4 of you inhabit various points along the line from law in the service of technology <–> technology in the service of law. My problem is I can’t decide what point on the continuum I inhabit so I am caught in the cycle of “the grass is greener” doing whatever it is I don’t do.

A little background to put this in context. I was not interested in technology until I got out of law school and discovered the Internet. That was 1995 — you’ll remember that as the year the Internet shed its clunky DOS look and became graphic intensive. I was blown away and found the possibilities more interesting than torts and civ pro so in no time I was not only managing my own practice but starting up a legal portal (eLawCentral) with capital from my family and a maniacle work ethic. Predictably, I held down 2 jobs and wore a dozen hats from managing researchers, programmers, and web designers, to budgeting, vetting vendors, soliciting advertisers and users, etc., etc. In 2000 we had a booth at Tech Show, and by the end of the ear we were in Tampa working out the terms of a merger with a legal ASP (which was really forward thinking for the time). We agreed on it and waited for bridge financing that ultimately never came. Meanwhile my colleagues Tim and Stacey got their little portal (Findlaw) bought by Thomson and with that “.com” became acceptable in the legal field. Unfortunately that was also the deth knell for us, since the market collapsed soon afterwards in a single weekend (I knew every .com debtor in the bankruptcy courts for years afterwards).

So back to the point. Am I a Lawyer who blogs or a blogger working in the law? A frustrated consultant? All of the above? Frankly I saw things that I liked in every member of that ABA panel so I could see myself being either of the above and enjoying it … at least until I found something else I wanted to do even more.

One response to “great conversations: Rick Klau of Feedburner

  1. Pingback: GoogleBurner « practice management blog

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