An Interview With Gina Trapani
Gina Trapani is the much celebrated founder of popular blog Lifehacker, a part of the Gawker Media blog network. She left the lead editor role just over a month ago and is now doing columns only, as well as writing post for her recently launched Smarterware blog. So where does she stand now? Let’s find out!
Congratulations on the launch of Smarterware, Gina! What can readers expect from your new blog, and how does it differ from your previous work at Lifehacker?
Smarterware is a personal tech blog, which means I’m going to take off the distanced reporter hat I wore a lot at Lifehacker and be a fan, and speak in the first person. Blogs are perfect for that, but when a news blog like Lifehacker grows its audience and its staff, it’s easy to get away from that and read more like a magazine.
Do you see Smarterware growing the way Lifehacker did? I know your position for the blog from your launch post, but if the readership really grows, how will you play it?
Nah, I’m sure Smarterware won’t grow the way Lifehacker did, and that’s ok – growth isn’t my goal. I won’t be posting at a rate that I did at Lifehacker, and I’m really shooting for a smaller audience at Smarterware. It’s way more of a personal pet project than a big online brand like Lifehacker aimed to be.
Smarterware is licensed under the Creative Commons Non-Commercial, Attribution, Share-alike license. How come you went with that one?
Well, I’ve always been a big fan of Creative Commons, and I wish I could license all my work under it. (My only regret about my books is that I didn’t fight for a CC license – it’s still a rare occurrence in the print publishing world). I asked for attribution mostly because I’d like to know when someone uses my stuff, and share alike so that re-users spread the CC love.
Do you think bloggers should be thinking more about how they license their content?
Yes. It’s up to bloggers to lead the charge in showing the rest of the world how good licenses that encourage (versus protect against) reuse really are.
You left Lifehacker, a blog you founded. How have it evolved over the years? Did it develop into what you expected it to?
Well, I didn’t leave, I stepped back from daily lead editor to a weekly feature writer. Lifehacker is the best job I’ve ever had, and the site’s development exceeded my expectations in every way. I’m enjoying my new role as a weekly contributor, and watching the site continue to grow under Adam’s leadership.
Of course! I meant the lead editor role, naturally. Do you find it hard to sit back and not be in the middle of everything Lifehacker anymore? Have you felt that you lost interest in the site since you left most of the work to Adam Pash?
It’s always difficult to let go of something you put so much time and effort into, but I know Lifehacker’s in great hands with Adam. I haven’t spent as much time on the site as I did when I was editing it for obvious reasons, but I do visit every day for sure and comment on posts as well.
I’m sure a lot of bloggers are contemplating turning their blog into a book, as you did, and quite successfully at that. Any advice on the process?
Lots! I’ve written two posts on what my experience was like, and my advice – which, in short, is: don’t stop blogging!
Here is the posts: Geek to Live: Turn your blog into a book, part I and Geek to Live: Turn your blog into a book, part II.
Finally, what’s in store for you? What are your goals for 2009?
My goals for 2009 is to slow down, and make stuff that means something to me – mostly writing and software projects. Keep an eye on Smarterware, there will be several releases as the year goes on.
I’d like to thank Gina Trapani for taking the time doing this interview. Naturally, you should keep an eye on Smarterware, it’s great already, as well as read her columns on Lifehacker.
Thord Daniel Hedengren is a designer, writer, and blogger, and also the former editor of The Blog Herald. He used to be a hotshot in the gaming industry in Sweden, but sold everything and went International. Most recently he wrote a book called Smashing WordPress: Beyond the Blog, and does loads of kickass design.