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Blog Blazer Friday – Dan Lyons

Each week I am publishing an interview from the book Blog Blazers (in alphabetical order) which can be purchased on Amazon here. The interviews were all done in 2008 and the full list of bloggers interviewed can be found by clicking here.

This week the interview is with Dan Lyons of The Secret Diaries of Steve Job

Dan Lyon, forbes editor and columnist.

Dan Lyons
The Secret Diaries of Steve Job


Dan Lyons has been in journalism for 25 years, with the last 20 covering high tech. He initially started at PC Week and then moved on to various other trade magazines.

Dan is now at Forbes, where he has been since 1998. He has also published three works of fiction including: “The Last Good Man” (short stories, 1993); “Dog Days” (novel, 1997); and “Options” (novel, 2007).


Steph: What makes a blog successful according to you? Is it traffic, reach, revenue, etc.?

Dan: Traffic is a big deal, obviously. But I also care about who’s reading my blog. I have a great readership with lots of smart, funny people.

Steph: When did you decide you finally reached success with your blog?

Dan: I think when I had my first month when I had more than 1 million page views. That kind of blew me away.

Steph: How long does it take to become a successful blogger?

Dan: It took me exactly one year to hit the 1 million page view mark. I think you have to be patient and keep building the audience and keep writing even when it seems that the traffic is not growing.

Steph: Who do you think are the most successful bloggers on the internet today?

Dan: Andrew Sullivan is the best and most successful blogger, in my opinion. I also like Ryan Block of Engadget and Brian Lam of Gizmodo.

Steph: Which five blogs do you regularly read?


Steph: Which websites would you recommend for any new bloggers starting to blog?

Dan: Read Andrew Sullivan. It’s a great mix of serious essays and funny stuff.

Steph: Which book(s) would you recommend for new bloggers (these can range from marketing books, blogging books, etc.)?

Dan: No idea. I didn’t read any. Maybe the Robert Scoble book (Naked Conversations) just for ideas on what NOT to do.

Steph: What is your most successful blog post ever?

Dan: I wrote a post on the day iPhone shipped – June 29, 2007. It managed to be both funny and smart, if I do say so myself. Was widely linked and passed around, even mentioned as some of the best stuff written about iPhone anywhere.

Steph: What’s your biggest tip on writing a successful blog post?

Dan: Write about something you care about. Don’t censor yourself. Let it rip. Write from your heart.

Steph: How important do you think are the headlines of your blog articles?

Dan: Headlines are very important. I put a lot of work into them.

Steph: Do you spend any money and time on marketing?

Dan: No.

Steph: What are your quick and short five best tips for blogging?



  • Only do it if you feel like you can’t NOT do it.
  • Be passionate.
  • Write quickly and don’t edit too much.
  • Post frequently. At least five a day.

Steph: What is the most common pitfall new bloggers generally fall into?

Dan: Writing about their own boring lives. Who cares? Write about something else.

Steph: If you knew what you know now when you first started, what’s the one biggest tip you’d give yourself today?

Dan: Volume matters. Post frequently.

Steph: What repels you the most from a blog (animations, in your face advertising, etc.)?

Dan: Boring writing.

Steph: Do you make any direct money from your blog through advertising, product placements, etc.?

Dan: I get paid by Forbes and they go sell ads to run on my blog.

Steph: What’s your most interesting story related to your blog and blogging experience?

Dan: I was blogging anonymously and hadn’t told anyone at Forbes (my employer) that I was doing it. One day the publisher of Forbes wrote to me and, not knowing who I was, asked me if I wanted to come work at Forbes.

Steph: What’s the one biggest opportunity that came to you because of your blog?

Dan: I’ve published a book based on my blog. It’s called “Options: The Secret Life of Steve Jobs.”

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