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How To Write a Good Bio

Ha- trick title. I don’t know about you but I always feel like bios are a bit of a nightmare. I mean- what have I really done or achieved that is worth mentioning? My resume was traditionally pretty dry, but then I spiced it up a bit after seeing an outstanding, nicely personal bio from Anne Zelenka. Do you have any tips for writing a good bio? And while you’re here I would love some feedback on this effort:

James Governor lives and works in London with his wife and son. Principal Analyst and co-founder of RedMonk, he leads coverage in the enterprise apps space, assisting clients with application development and integration issues. His blog Monkchips, recently named one of the top three industry analyst blogs, looks at enterprise IT, but also issues such as business policy, corporate social responsibility, and social media. The RedMonk Team were recently named in the Top Open Source Thought Leaders for 2008 list by Linuxworld.

James is editor of the Greenmonk blog, syndicated by IDG UK, which examines how social media, open data and grassroots efforts can improve environmental outcomes. Greenmonk underpins clean tech advisory services for RedMonk clients. James serves as an adviser to the Movement Design Bureau think-tank and associated projects such as the Akvo water quality project for developing nations. He is co-author of the forthcoming O’Reilly publication Web 2.0 Design Patterns.

Before RedMonk he spent three years at Illuminata, Inc., where he led both the Application Strategies and Enterprise Management practices at the firm. He worked with both vendor clients, to establish product development and marketing strategies, and as an advisor on IT strategy to user organizations and service providers. He joined Illuminata from InformationWeek UK, where he was deputy managing editor.

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7 Responses

  1. There are a couple of things I like. Hey, it is prose instead of a boring listing of jobs. You link to organisations/blogs/whatever instead of just mentioning them. And it sounds pretty personal. Good job!

    Two smaller points:

    * “he leads coverage” sounds a bit strange. And “leading” is the most marketing-like word in your entire bio.

    * Try a version where you also link to (a picture of) your wife and kid. Perhaps it helps people connect better.

    Reinout

  2. hey reinout thanks for the great feedback.

    leads coverage – ha ha ha. i didn’t mean like “the world’s leading flyweight manufacturer” but point taken.

    regarding pictures of my wife and child- while someone could use the web to find such a thing, i certainly wouldn’t want to make it front and center. I live declaratively, but that doesn’t mean i should broadcast my family…

  3. These things are always a nightmare to write, but I think you’ve done a good job – nice balance – not too corporate.

    Couple of little points:

    * “His blog Monkchips, recently named one of the top three industry analyst blogs…” could be shortened to “Monkchips, recently named one of the top three industry analyst blogs…”, reducing repetition (“His blog … blogs) with no loss of clarity.

    * Link for LinuxWorld open source leaders – http://www.linuxworld.com/slideshows/2008/011108-linuxworld.html

    Cheers,

    Pat

  4. “coverage in the enterprise apps space, assisting clients with application development and integration issues”

    This part could be expanded a little bit more.. by mentioning a couple of projects completed..

    top ten source for– the sentence can be URL’ed

    next dont forgot to link to redmonk and monkchips within the the first para. And somewhere in the first para, it would be nice to see ” I believe in sharing my insight /research free to my customers blabh blah “- or something like that

    oh well, you asked. thats my 2 cents :)-

  5. I think my bio at http://www.acidlabs.org/meet-stephen-collins/ isn’t bad, but probably needs work. I’m growing progressively less happy with it (as I am with most of my copy).

    I think genuine voice and genuine statements are the key.

  6. First thing is to figure out how your biog will be used. Mostly for speeches and folks to read? As a background for papers etc…? Some big thoughts…

    1. Lead with achievements

    2. Highlight connections and the circle you hunt in

    3. Position where you sit in the world

    4. Use humor…

    5. Nobody cares where you live or who you live with…

    James Governor lives and works in London with his wife and son. Principal Analyst and co-founder of RedMonk, he leads coverage in the enterprise apps space, assisting clients with application development and integration issues. His blog Monkchips, recently named one of the top three industry analyst blogs, looks at enterprise IT, but also issues such as business policy, corporate social responsibility, and social media.

    Becomes….

    James advises the leading technology companies on earth on technology, community and customer strategies as a co-founder of RedMonk. A serial opinionator on the enterprise applications space and green technology, James works as both an advisor to brands like Sun, SAP, and IBM – and, blogger at Monkchips, recently named one of the top three industry analyst blogs . James and his business partners pioneered the xxx analyst advisory model, making insight and advise available to businesses without the constraints and proprietary thinking of traditional analyst firms. The RedMonk Team were recently named in the Top Open Source Thought Leaders for 2008 list by Linuxworld.

    Some fun stuff…

    When not opinionating James spends time dodging kids with slingshots on his ride home to be with his family. He enjoys cooking, wine and has absolutely no interest in American Football.



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