According to Internet Marketing 101, a blog needs a catchy title, a clear brand. Something that readers can remember easily and that evokes associations and emotions. The blog author’s name will usually not serve that purpose well. Even if it’s a cool name. Even if it’s as noteworthy a name as “Claus Wilke.” Therefore, with this post, I’m relaunching my blog under a different brand. Henceforth, this blog will be called “The Serial Mentor.”
I thought a lot about branding my blog, because I don’t want to box myself into a narrow niche. I’m never really sure what I’m going to be passionate about six months down the road. And I don’t really want to start a new blog every few months just so the blog’s brand can match my current fancy. However, I think there is a pretty strong constant in my life, something that has never gone away and hopefully never will. It’s my passion for mentoring people, for helping them perform to the best of their abilities. It’s what ultimately makes me get out of bed in the morning and go to work. I just really like to tell people what to do and how to live their lifes.
I think that the concept of the “Serial Mentor” captures this constant quite well. I may change the topic of my mentoring; I may even do a 180 on some of the advice I’m giving. But I’ll always try to give the best advice I can, to my best knowledge and judgement at the time. In my day job I’m a tenured professor, and academia is really the only thing I know anything about. Therefore, the target audience for my blog will be primarily young academics, from undergraduates to fledgling faculty members. But hopefully, even if you don’t fall into this group, you may discover some interesting material here.
Because of my target audience, many blog posts will revolve around topics of interest to academics, such as writing, public speaking, analyzing and presenting data, and so on. However, I will not limit myself to these topics. I take a broad view of mentoring; anything that makes my mentees perform better is fair game. Thus, for example, my interest in nutrition and fitness. We need to be in optimal physical condition to perform at our best mentally.
In particular, the food you eat needs to be healthy and enjoyable. If either element is missing, you won’t be happy and you can’t function at your optimum. Similarly, exercise needs to be invigorating and fun. If you hate going to the gym, or if your exercise wears you down so much that you’re constantly tired and in a bad mood, then you’re not getting sufficient return on your exercise investment. Ideally, exercise should be a small to moderate time investment (~3–6h/week) that keeps you feeling strong and awake the rest of the week.
For the next few weeks, I have more blog posts planned about writing and about public speaking, and I’ll also do a few posts on nutrition and exercise. Beyond that, who knows. Maybe I’ll blog about body language, or about building rapport with people, or about choosing the right lab or research project. I might even blog about blogging. If you have a specific topic you’d want me to write about, please ask me about it in the comments.