This morning, Team LexBlog (everyone) begins its move to the WeWork – Holyoke Building here in downtown Seattle. We’ll move, in stages, over the next month from our current offices a few blocks away.

While many may view WeWork as co-working space for startups and companies with a distributed workforce, I see WeWork as something much different.

Like software as a service, WeWork offers space as a service. Health insurance, legal services and a slew of discounted services from international providers are included in a growing list of benefits.

Rather than worry about phones, Internet, copiers, conference rooms, huge display monitors, event centers, receptionists and more, WeWork has it all. Plus free coffee, cold brew and beer — all I found pretty important to the team when we viewed WeWork as a group a couple weeks ago.

Perhaps the greatest value in WeWork is the networking. Networking for team member learning. Networking for product development. Networking for hiring. And who knows, perhaps networking for business development.

The Holyoke Building, one of four (soon to be five) Seattle WeWork locations is impressive. WeWork occupies all six floors of the building first constructed after the Seattle fire in 1889. It has historic charm galore – exposed brick and stone walls, high ceilings, and tall rounded windows – with polished contemporary Northwest interiors.

The separate offices, of which we’ll occupy four or five, hold two to ten people, all include modern furnishings. There are also plenty of common areas to work from including areas akin to a small coffee shop on each floor. Downstairs there’s a huge area to hangout or hold events — it’s akin to what you’d find in an historic four or five star hotel.

WeWork isn’t just for startups. Alaska Airlines, Airbnb, Lululemon and Perkins Coie were just a few of the establish companies we ran across in touring WeWork. It’s also not just for distributed workforces (people working remote), as LexBlog and other companies have their entire company located in WeWork offices.

No question we’ll use some of the other WeWork locations – 203 office locations in 50 cities around the world. I am already looking at Chicago for an event next month.

Stay tuned, this is all an experiment and we could be back in traditional offices such as the one for which we were about to sign a lease.

Recode’s Peter Kafka (@pkafka) reports that Facebook wants to help major publishers sell subscriptions while not participating in revenue nor harvesting any data in the process.

The tool to launch later this year would enable users to view 10 articles from a publisher for free. Users would then be prompted to go to the publisher’s site to sign up for a subscription.

Facebook isn’t operating a subscription service ala Apple, which takes up to 30 percent of monthly subscription revenue, it’s merely creating a paywall associated with its Instant Articles feature.

News veteran, Campbell Brown, which Facebook hired earlier this year to Lead new partnerships makes a pretty strong statement on behalf of news publishers.

Quality journalism costs money to produce, and we want to make sure it can thrive on Facebook. As part of our test to allow publishers in Instant Articles to implement a paywall, they will link to their own websites to process subscriptions and keep 100% of the revenue.

As lawyers and law firms you aren’t selling subscription based publications, Facebook’s new tool does not apply to you.

But you are publishing legal news, insight and commentary to raise your stature and nurture relations. The message you should take is that your publishing can and should be openly and freely distributed for reading and consumption across the net.

Holding onto your publishing and wanting everyone to come to your website to read your publishing makes no sense. Get it out there and make it easy to consume where people are.

Your audience isn’t spending their time mingling around your website anymore than all of the potential readers of the New York Times, Washington Post or Wall Street Journal are spending their time hanging around their websites.

These publications know many, if not most, readers are out on social networks. That’s why they’ll get their get their publishing out on the social networks for viewing — and just as importantly, for social sharing.

Sure, create your core publications on their own sites, but look to deliver your publishing, preferably at no cost to you, to other outlets and networks online.

As reported by the ABA Journal’s Debra Cassens Weiss, another large law firm is laying off a number of administrative staffers as it changes its staffing model.

Apparently this is nothing new as a survey (PDF) by law firm consultant, Altman Weil found that forty-eight percent of law firm leaders are cutting staff to increase profits.

Taking the firms at their word, layoffs are often coming from increased efficiencies and modernization. I’m sure in other cases staff layoffs are coming for exactly the opposite reason – a lack of efficiency, tech advancements and innovation.

In any case, I wonder what companies selling services and products are doing to help law firms on the cost front.

After all, these companies should have declining costs with innovation and efficiencies, in large part driven by their own technology. As a result, their costs of production and their own staff needs may be declining.

By turning the design and development into a “software” driven system (SAAS), we have been able to decrease production time on “sites” to about twenty percent of what many of them used to be. This also reduces staff time that used to be tied up in more project management.

As a result, we have reduced costs significantly, and in turn prices. We are now working on some things to further automate what we do, not to reduce the quality of what we deliver, but to deliver better solutions to customers in ways that they expect it and want it.

It’s not always easy to “right size” pricing when it means decreasing prices, but it’s not only the right thing to do, it’s also sound business. It turns out that many customers want levels of “concierge” service that command higher pricing.

For law firms, I’d be looking at how innovate your service and solution providers are. What are they doing with technology to bring innovation and efficiencies? Is the technology they are using today and the people working on it likely to drive greater value, while at the same time lower prices — or at least right sized pricing for what you want and need?

Times are a changing dramatically. Technology and innovation doesn’t wait for anyone. Law firms are going to see continued cuts because of multiple factors — some driven internally by innovation and some driven externally by their clients and the way people use lawyers.

Service and solution providers should feel the same pressure as law firms – the answer is innovation to bring better services and solutions at reduced costs.

WordPress’ domination of the web, particularly in regard to websites with a content management system (CMS), continues.

Here are stats I pulled from a piece in Torque Magazine by German entrepreneur and marketer, Nick Schäferhoff and a web technology survey from Q-Success.

  • WordPress is used by 28.4% of all the websites, that is more than a billion sites.
  • WordPress is used by 59.2% of all the websites with a CMS. Its closest competitor, Joomla is used by only 6.3 percent.
  • WordPress sites around the world publish over 24 posts per second. This is measured by sites that are part of the WordPress network (meaning sites hosted either on WordPress.com or externally-hosted WordPress sites that have the Jetpack plugin installed).
  • WordPress sites receive 22.17 billion monthly page views (just within WordPress network). That’s three times as many as people on Earth.
  • There are 2.7 million global monthly Google searches for “WordPress.” This does not take into account people looking for “WordPress templates,” “WordPress plugins,” and other WordPress-centric information or under the abbreviation WP. Google Trends sees WordPress 5.5 times more popular than Joomla and almost nine times more in demand than Drupal.
  • WordPress 4.6, its latest version as of the end of 2016, has been downloaded 21.7 million times.
  • There are 72 translations of WordPress. In 2014, non-English downloads already surpassed English downloads. You can set your WordPress dashboard to (almost) any language you like.
  • There are more than 47,000 WordPress plugins. One of the main reasons WordPress is ahead of many other web platforms is its extendability. Plugins are available for all means and purposes.
  • The WordPress development community is steadily growing. There were 89 WordCamps, locally organized events for developers and users, in 34 countries with more than 21,000 participants in 2015.
  • WordPress is most popular with businesses versus news sites. Among the top one million websites in the world, the lion’s share of those powered by WordPress are related to business.

We’re closing in on one big giant when it comes to websites and CMS’s, something law firms and legal marketers will want to consider in their long term planning.

Are you focused on the easy numbers (clicks, views, likes) when it comes to Internet marketing?

Rather than focusing on something easy, widely respected marketer, author and speaker, Seth Godin suggests that you ask:

What is it that you hope to accomplish? Not what you hope to measure as a result of this social media strategy/launch, but to actually change, create or build?

Focus on the real goal – where do you want to be at at the end of the day – not on numbers.

An easy but inaccurate measurement will only distract you. It might be easy to calibrate, arbitrary and do-able, but is that the purpose of your work?

I know that there’s a long history of a certain metric being a stand-in for what you really want, but perhaps that metric, even though it’s tried, might not be true. Perhaps those clicks, views, likes and groups are only there because they’re easy, not relevant.

Law firm business development and marketing will always be measured by growth in business.

  • What business have we retained from existing clients?
  • What new business have we realized from existing clients?
  • What business have we realized from new clients?
  • What business have we gleaned from new industries or areas of law we have not worked in before but developed a strategic plan to get after?

These goals can be and are measured by the bottom line, revenue. Lawyers developing business do not have a hard time knowing where their business is coming from.

Rightfully so, law firms and lawyers use blogs and other social media, including Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. These mediums, used effectively, build relationships and build a name, the two linchpins of business development in law.

However, lawyers and law firms take the easy way out in measuring success. They look at analytics – subscribers, web traffic, followers, connections, likes and comments.

Analytics are the golden calf worshipped by marketers and lawyers spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on websites and other Internet marketing. It’s as if their budgets and jobs depend on these numbers.

Every law firm claims to be different, while all focused on the same metrics. From Seth:

“System innovations almost always involve rejecting the standard metrics as a first step in making a difference. When you measure the same metrics, you’re likely to create the same outcomes. But if you can see past the metrics to the results, it’s possible to change the status quo.”

No question there are lawyers and a few law firms measuring the difficult — and the real goal, but sadly too many measure the easy numbers.

Spending four days this week at AALL (American Association of Law Libraries) I was blown away by the amount of legal tech driving the law. I was also struck again by legal tech companies failure to use Internet engagement to learn, to collaborate with other legal tech companies and to get known.

Legal tech entrepreneurs don’t seem to use the net to share their thoughts on what they are following in tech, to engage other legal tech folks, to share what they are working on so as to learn and get feedback or to get known.

It’s a little odd since much of the technology driving legal technology is open source. A lot of legal tech is driven and supported by the collaboration of open source tech communities regularly sharing, networking and learning online.

It’s also odd in that a lot of legal tech companies are starved for attention. They’ve got cool stuff of value to companies and law firms. They just don’t get heard among all the noise and wrongly think it’s going to take money for ads, booths, PR and marketing.

I have followed numerous people share openly online what they were learning and what they were working on. The result was their getting known, being trusted as an industry leader and getting business.

I was one of them. I didn’t have a clue what blogs were nor the technology they ran on – software, machines for hosting – and a lot more. I followed smart people online and shared what they said and wrote along with my take on my blog, Twitter and other social media.

I learned by what I read and from the network that I grew. The network in turned talked about me and what I shared. My company and I got known, trusted and we got business. I also got smarter from just formulating my ideas by what I read and blogged — “you don’t know what you know until you blog it.”

I talked to one legal tech entrepreneur at AALL about the idea of a legal tech network of blogs, kind of like the Law School Blog Network we started early this year. Everyone gets their own blog and the benefit of LexBlog’s WordPress platform for the law (seven turnkey elements), including coaching, visibility and a network site of curated legal tech posts.

I mentioned it to another legal tech entrepreneur online today. Both seemed interested. Rather than free, as with schools, we’d probably charge something around $50 per month to keep it affordable.

Legal tech is critically important. As Ed Walters, the CEO of Fastcase, said at AALL, “software is going to drive access to justice and access to legal services.” It’s not going to be people alone.

We need to help legal tech companies get better at what they do, collaborate with each other (for learning and integrating solutions where it makes sense), to get known so they have customers make use of good legal technology, to make legal services more accessible and to make money so as to fuel more development and growth.

I think publishing/blogging can help.

I’ll be attending the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) Annual Conference and Meeting in Austin this Sunday through Tuesday.

A couple of my friends and legal industry leaders, Bob Ambrogi and Ed Walters, have mentioned more than once that AALL is a good conference and that I should go. I’m following their advice and attending this year, the 110th anniversary of their Annual Meeting and Conference, for a number of reasons.

Most importantly to learn from some of the real leaders when it comes to legal information, legal publishing products, publishing for a competitive advantage and access to the law.

LexBlog is more of a managed WordPress platform for the law and legal publishing company than it is a marketing agency. It just happens that lawyers, like they have for as long as AALL’s has been around, appreciate that publishing builds a name and a network.

With WordPress on its way to being the digital publishing press for most everyone, and as a result the source of legal information, I want to better understand the role of legal publishing and legal information as well as the road ahead from AALL members.

As to AALL’s role in legal information and access to the law, look no further than their mission which is to be:

…[A] thriving professional association whose members and libraries-whether physical or virtual legal information services-are recognized as critical to the success of their organizations and as central to society. AALL members possess the knowledge and skills to maintain effectiveness in a constantly changing legal environment. Since the ready availability of legal information is a necessary requirement for a just and democratic society, AALL and its members advocate and work toward fair and equitable access to authentic current and historic legal information, and educate and train library users to be knowledgeable and skilled legal information consumers.

AALL’s backs this vision up by playing a role in helping shape federal regulations for legal publishing, copyright law and protecting access to the law for all citizens.

Maybe there’s an opportunity for LexBlog to serve members and the organizations they represent. The only way to find out is to get out and know people — it’s certainly not via blanket bombing marketing messages.

Inspiration is the leading reason I go to conferences. AALL’s looks to have some great speakers and presenters who are leading our industry whether it’s in the civil justice area, access to the law from the library of congress, social media’s role in legal information, technology’s role in access to the law and more. In three days, I hope to take in fair number of the presentations.

As way to shine a light on AALL, LexBlog is providing media coverage – interviews before hand, Facebook Live Interviews on site, Twittter curartion of some sessions via Storify and random Twitter and Facebook posts from me, personally, and LexBlog.

I am happy to get together to chat over coffee or a beer. Just email or call/text (206-321-3627)

Facebook is a great place for publishing. Clean mobile interface, easy to key in content (even with my thumbs) and a built in audience for engagement.

There’s also no intimidation factor. When you open Facebook, free flow thinking is easy to get down “on paper.” With WordPress, it’s somehow a big deal. A blank screen makes you think that something more seminal needs to be published.

I am not talking personal versus professional. I regularly post professionally, that is matters relating to tech, publishing and business development, on Facebook. So much so that I often copy and paste posts from Facebook to my blog. This one I am penning on WordPress.

But I can’t blog on Facebook – for any number of reasons.

  1. I need to own and control my publishing. Facebook doesn’t allow this. If Facebook goes away or decides to change what can be viewed, my body of work goes away.
  2. My body of work is something that people should be able to access and review as part of sizing up who I am. As with a practicing lawyer, people should have the opportunity to see my interests, how I adresss issues and how I give back to the legal profession as a whole. I need the books and my pubications I authored — my blog — on the shelf. My blog gives me this. Not possible with Facebook.
  3. Google has become the world’s reference library. Relevant information from influential sources is available at your finger tips. Not with Facebook.

Dave Winer (@davewiner), the inventor of blogging who’s gone back and forth publishing on his blog, Scripting News, and Facebook over the last couple years (always leaving a record of his full post at his blog), is now back solely on his blog – for a whole lot of reasons, including the importance of the open web.

Winer also points out four features blogs have, which Facebook refuses to add.

  1. Links. How do you reference and advance discussion without citations, let alone how you engage those you are referencing in your writing.
  2. Simple styling.
  3. Enclosures for podcasting.
  4. Titles. We need to be able to charactertise that to which we are “permalinking” and to have a title to be indexed by Google.

To which I’ll add a few more.

  1. Images
  2. Graphs, charts — may be included in styling
  3. Custom features — this could get hairy, just as plugins do on a hosted WordPress platform. In the law, a blog platform requires a built-in “primary law citator” so that links to cases, codes and regs are available and linked to “open law.” Items such as multilevel editorial controls are also required by many legal publishers.

Don’t get me wrong. I like Facebook and will continue to post and engage there, it’s just not blogging.

What I need to get better at — again — is blogging on blogging software, which in my cases is LexBlog’s managed WordPress platform. Reflect and gather my thoughts on what I am reading, like this from Winer, and blog.

Wall Street Journal legal correspondent, Ashby Jones (@jonesashby), announced last week that the WSJ’s “Law Blog” launched in 2006 and after 20,000 posts was shutting its doors effective immediately.

Law Blog’s closure doesn’t signal much when it comes to law firm law blogs. If anything, it suggests law blogs are stronger today.

No question, the WSJ’s jumping on the law blog bandwagon back in 2006 added credibility to the legal blogosphere. Jones is right,

It had a simple name but a novel approach to legal news in the pre-Twitter era: a one-stop place for breaking news, quick and clear analysis and lively takes on the most compelling stories, trends and personalities shaping the profession.

Law Blog was the first of its kind at the WSJ and was an immediate hit, attracting readers from all corners of the legal world. Its success helped usher in a sort of Golden Age for blogs at WSJ and encourage the growth of a wider, legal blogosphere.

Some in the legal community saw the news of shuttering Law Blog as a sign that law blogs were dying. Like we haven’t read the death of blogs headline any number of times over the years.

Looking at what WSJ is doing though is a sign that just the opposite is true. It demonstrates the strength, not the weakness of legal blogging.

WSJ which makes its money by selling subscriptions to content behind paywalls, is moving all legal content penned by Ashby Jones and other legal reporters on the Law Blog onto the main Journal site — and available only if you pay.

Robert Ambrogi (@bobmbrogi), a veteran journalist who headed a couple legal newspapers and now, blogger, responded, elsewhere on Facebook, to the theory that shuttering Law Blog was a sign law blogs were on the decline.

This isn’t about blogs. It’s about a news organization trying to funnel its readership towards specific products. The problem for the WSJ was that these blogs were diverting readers from the main content pages. If anything, that suggests the strength of the blogs, not the weakness of blogging.

A business development head in large law was right with Ambrogi that we’re comparing apples and oranges. The WSJ was restricting access to subscription-only content, while law firms don’t directly derive revenue from their legal blogs.

Lest there be any doubt, the 20k+ blog posts that Ashby Jones said would continue to be available at their original URL’s are already behind a paywall. Even Jones’ post that Law Blog is behind the paywall.

Title: Social media is more about the connections than the information and likes.

Author and Professor Deborah Tannen recently explained to Judy Woodruff on PBS that everyday talk and shares on social media isn’t about information we need to know. It’s about staying connected to the people we care about.

I think of social media as an extension of the how-was-your-day conversations that let you know someone cares about you, so you feel less alone in the world.

What someone is having for dinner, what beach they’re on with their family or a selfie with a friend, and the likes and comments that may follow aren’t necessarily important.

It’s the connections that ensue that are important.

Per Tannen,

Social media haven’t transformed human relations. They have intensified them. While that means ramping up some of the stresses and frailties of friendships, it also gives us new, more immediate, more creative ways to stay connected to the people we care about, who care about us.

I’d take it a step further. Social media give us the opportunity to meet, know, and care about those whom we’d never have met otherwise.

A week ago I talked with a lawyer friend across the country whom I met and got to know through social media. We talked about his wife’s serious illness. I felt good to be there for him. He told me it felt like talking to a brother.

Lawyers are often told by marketers to look at social media as a means of distribution — as a way to get more eyeballs on blog posts or other content authored by a lawyer. That’s totally missing the mark.

“Content” is a the currency of building relationships. Without words at a networking event and without content on social media, there’s no vehicle for us to communicate and engage.

But the words and how many people hear or see them are not the end goal. The end goal is relationships. Relationships with people you’d like to get to know and with whom you would like to know and trust you.

When I see Scott Mozarsky, the President of Bloomberg Law, share on Facebook things such as pictures of he and his son in Ranger’s Jerseys at a NHL playoff game, it’s the not the game nor the jerseys that interest me, it’s the connection and relationship I feel.

A relationship that results in Scott and I getting together at this week’s American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) Annual Meeting in Austin.

When I see, Despina Kartson, the Global Director, Business Development and Communications, at Jones Day, on Facebook dropping her daughter at graduate school or Despina working with the disadvantaged in New York City, the information itself is not what is most important.

What’s important is getting to know Despina better, what she values in life and the enjoyment she receives in being with family and helping others.

I have talked to lawyers who say, “So what. Who cares what others do personally. Why would people share such items share on Facebook? Why would anyone care to look?”

But like Scott has shared with me more than once, “Business development isn’t all that hard, it’s about relationships with people.”

Social media, including Facebook, is just another way that Despina, Scott and I build relationships founded on knowing each other and trust, based in part by sharing personal events on social media — and in part by sharing professional items on social media.

Don’t be like the woman who complained to Tannen, “I don’t care what somebody had for dinner, all this stuff out there that nobody needs to know.”

It’ll be your loss, personally and professionally.