By Mike Spack, PE, PTOE
It’s hard for me to believe I’ve been blogging for ten years. More than 8,000 people worldwide visit Mike On Traffic each month, and I’ve posted more than 760 articles. The Institute of Transportation Engineers’ monthly magazine typically has four articles, delivered to about 15,000 members. With two articles posted per week and 8,000 monthly readers, I’m catching up to ITE!
Each week during October, I am going to share some insights about each of my companies and provide my readers with a variety of free and discounted items to help me celebrate our 10th anniversary.
[Sneak Peek…skip to the bottom of the article to see this week’s specials]
Small Beginnings – Big Ideas
I started Mike On Traffic as a tiny experiment in 2007. I already had a successful traffic data collection firm with Traffic Data Inc, and a well stabled traffic engineering firm, Spack Consulting with clients in multiple states. Our client list included local and state agencies, architects, developers, and site engineering firms and we were rapidly growing. (Check out some fun facts about Spack Consulting in the infographic)
Things were good. But, but I had a nagging feeling that there was something else I needed to do. I had a vision to improve transportation. My companies were doing that with the traffic engineering work we were doing with our clients. But there had to be something more.
Blogs were gaining momentum, and I was an avid reader of David Maister, Ford Harding, and JoelOnSoftware (inspiring my blog’s name). I read a book on blogging in my business book club and a friend of a friend talked to us about his blog.
The book and discussion inspired me to try blogging. Based on the book, I set a few ground rules for myself:
- Have an opinion. No one wants to read boring “corporate speak.”
- Write like a human, not a technical writer. Get rid of the jargon!
- Set a rhythm to the posts, so the readers get used to a schedule.
- Write about what I know.
Having an opinion was straightforward and so was writing like a human being. I settled on a weekly deadline, which resulted in several Friday afternoon panic sessions while I tried to come up with something to write. Not my best posts. I quickly learned to keep a file of ideas and to start writing before Friday.
Writing about what I know was a little harder. I knew I wanted to help improve transportation, not just on a local level, but on a global level. My passion is transportation, and my profession is as a traffic engineer, so that’s where I started. My goal was to share what I knew including all of the best practices I learned over the years with others. And so, Mike On Traffic was born!
Over the years, my team of traffic engineers and I have created dozens of free traffic engineering guides for our blog readers. Later we launched Spack Academy which has a variety of digital books and other tools to help traffic engineers be successful in their job.
A good example of what we sell at Spack Academy is our popular Signal & Stop Sign Warrant Analysis Spreadsheet. It’s a very easy tool for implementing the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices analysis procedure. You could create the spreadsheet in about a week, but we give you a shortcut with the unlocked spreadsheet (so you can tweak it with your logo or anything else you want to change).
And so…the Mike On Traffic blog has helped me reach my goal of helping others in the profession. Your feedback over the years, through comments on posts and personal emails you’ve sent me have helped fuel the fire for me to keep writing.
THANK YOU for your support over the past decade!
We are blessed to have a noble profession. Traffic engineers and transportation planners positively impact society by improving mobility and making travel safer. In my tiny little way, I like to think I’m helping the folks in our profession do our jobs better by sharing new ideas and best practices on MikeOnTraffic (as well as letting you learn from the stupid mistakes I’ve made).
Thanks for reading and here’s to another ten years of blogging. Let’s make the world a better place!
It’s our 10th Anniversary – But the Gifts are for You!
Each week in October, we will be offering free and discounted items for our readers. Here’s this week’s gifts for you.
FREE Guides: Download three of our most popular engineering (as rated by our readers!)
- Roundabout Primer
- Drive-through Queue Generation Report
- 16 Ways Autonomous Vehicles Will Change Land Developments
50% off Your Entire Purchase at Spack Academy. Now through October 31, 2017 get 50% off your entire Spack Academy purchase when you use code MOT10 at check out.
- Warrant Analysis Spreadsheet
- Roundabout Analysis Spreadsheet
- Traffic Study Manual
- Traffic Counting Manual
- The Engineer’s Guide to Citizen Requests
- Traffic Impact Study Templates
- Product packages and more!