Earlier this week I was telling a friend at work about the recent domain change to Bootstraps.me. I wanted her (and others) to know that the blog will be much easier to recommend now that we’ve moved away from the very difficult to remember Joaker5.wordpress.com. Yeah, I know it was hard to remember. Shoot, even I forgot it every once in a while.
Her response was unexpected. She said that she thought the change was really cool, but “Why Bootstraps?”
“Well, it’s the official name of the blog,” I replied.
“Yeah, sure, I know that. But why? What does it mean?”
I made me wonder how many others wondered the same thing. Since we’ve switched over to the new site I think it might be good time to explain why.
When I decided to start the blog I knew that I wanted a relatively catchy name. I wanted something that was easy to say and easy to remember. At the same time, I didn’t want it to be overly descriptive or literal. I’ve seen a lot of blogs named things like John’s Rants and Ramblings or Harold’s Thoughts. While these names are perfectly fine, they didn’t capture the essence of what someone will find when they start reading. I realized that I needed to find a word that had a deep symbolic meaning. It needed to be something that conveyed a host of messages to the reader in a single short burst.
I kicked around a few different words before arriving at bootstraps. However, as soon as I said it out loud I knew it was right. Bootstraps immediately calls to mind the thought of bootstrapping which is the practice of starting your own business without any external help or capital. At the same time it called to mind the concept of picking yourself up by your bootstraps. This is the concept that really resonated with me. It’s the thought that no matter how far down you start, if you give it your all and work very hard then you can achieve great success. It stands for making a choice and doing it yourself, not letting anyone else determine your fate.
It was perfect. In a very real way I want the people who visit this blog regularly to feel like they can achieve anything. More than that, I want my articles to build them up and give them confidence. That’s very important to me. I know how far down I started and I know where I am today. I remember all of the work that I put in, all of the nights at school, all of the business books that I devoured to get here. Sometimes I had to let go of things that were holding me back, sometimes I needed to face them head on and defeat them. I believe that by sharing what I experienced and what I learned I can help other people realize that it’s possible and that they can do it too.
That’s great Jonathan, but there seem to be a lot of articles about things like religion and Christianity, politics, sports and other things too. What does that have to do with your vision for the blog?
I have to admit, I struggled with that at first. If you look back in the archives you’ll find that the first few months of articles are specifically focused on business and self-development topics. Over time I began to realize that I was missing the mark. The point that I gave my life to Jesus marked a dramatic turning point in my life. My longtime friends can tell you exactly how much of a change it represented. I firmly believe that a great portion of my success is directly attributable to following the precepts laid out in the Bible. I believe that I would not be where I am today if I wasn’t trying to identify and chase after God’s will for my life.
I think it’s important to remember that I’m not making anything up in these articles. When I give interview advice it is based on direct experience. When I talk about Jesus or Christianity it is also based on experience. I don’t think that I can help you very much if I don’t tell you about Jesus. I don’t think that I can be successful without him and I wouldn’t know enough to tell you how to do it either.
In regards to all of the other stuff, I have to tell you, it’s not easy writing a good article each week. One of the things that committing to weekly articles has taught me is that you don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. When inspiration strikes me then I need to write it as soon as possible. Some of the most popular articles on the site were created like that. I’ve come to suspect that the things that I’m passionate about at any given time are going to be the things that I write the best about and will be most interesting to the readers. So I’ve relaxed my structure a little bit and let the writing take me where it wants from time to time.
Ok so what about the header? What’s with the mountain climber, is that you?
Are you crazy? If you want adventure then I’d recommend stopping over at lesleycarter.wordpress.com. Her pictures are amazing. As for me, I’m more of a homebody. When I was first getting started I had a really hard time finding a good picture for the header. At first, I was going to be literal and get some real, well-worn bootstraps up there. Believe it or not, that’s not an easy picture to find. So then I moved in the direction of looking for a picture of an impressive accomplishment. After a few weeks of searching I found the one that I’m using now. I’m not a picture editor by any means either, but I downloaded GIMP and added the header and the tag line. I feel like it’s served me well for the last year or so. I’d be game if anybody wants to help me with something better.
Ok, that’s all for now. Have a great week everyone.
Posted on January 28, 2012, in Real Life and tagged Bible, bootstrapping, Bootstraps, Christianity, confidence, domain change, inspiration, Jesus, Jonathan, Jonathan Oakes, WordPress. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.