Why I Left 9rules
With all of my preamble on sharing ones side of the story, I felt the need to share why I left 9rules. I wanted to share it because a few people have asked about why I left. I want to avoid and correct any misconceptions. Whether or not this was the right thing to do remains to be seen.
In the beginning
Like any story, we need to start at the beginning. I joined 9rules back in 2005. I asked to join because I saw the opportunity to be part of a community, one founded on the idea of quality content — something I hoped I brought to the table.
For almost two years I continued to participate as best I could. In the beginning, participation within 9rules mostly came down to getting involved within the 9rules forum, a private area for members only. Like any other forum, it gave everyone a chance to share. We talked about what we were working on, helped each other out with problems, and even helped each other find a job or two.
In fact, I link my current livelihood as a freelancer to the friends and opportunities that came from being a member of that forum.
As time passed, things changed. 9rules continued to expand the network by increasing the membership. To handle the influx of new members, the site saw itself redesign once or twice. New features got added such as Notes and my.9rules. As time moved on, I saw the traffic I receive from 9rules slow to a trickle.
On the flip side, my life was getting quite busy. Client obligations were making it harder to be involved in the forums any more (and any participation was often a distraction from what I should have been doing: work). I had barely used either the Notes or my.9rules which many members had said improved their traffic.
With 9rules no longer sending traffic my way and I no longer able to participate in the forums or on the 9rules site, I felt my time within the network had run its course.
Here is what I sent to Tyme, who helps manage 9rules:
I think the time has come for me to bow out of the 9rules network.
I’ve been mulling this decision for some time but have come to the conclusion that the 9rules network and I are simply heading in two different directions.
I had decided to wait until the redesign (Ali) had launched but the push to more inclusive community efforts (like Notes and my.9r) has ultimately meant little to no traffic coming from 9rules. The communities within which I belong are crowded and my site is getting lost in the crowd. On the flip side, I also no longer have the time to invest in the new 9rules features like the Notes that may have contributed to greater success within the network.
The members forum has been the biggest plus and the people within 9rules that I’ve met has ultimately been a huge factor in allowing me to go freelance. For that, I am eternally grateful and throughout the (almost) two years I’ve been a member, I’ve continued to speak highly of 9rules and will continue to extol the benefits of 9rules membership to anybody who asks.
I commend the 9rules team for what they have accomplished and wish the best to you, Mike and Scrivs in the future.
I had intended that my email clearly stated why I left: I didn't think either of us were getting much out of me staying.
However, it seems that some felt my ego had simply grown too big. I'm sure helped in no small part by the somewhat recent forming of Sidebar Creative and the rather brash statement that "we're the best." And coincidentally (or maybe not so), Steve Smith, Bryan Veloso and I had seemingly left at the same time.
As it turns out, I left 9rules back on March 25th with Steve leaving of his own accord a couple weeks later. While I shared my experience and my plans with Steve, by no means was our leaving calculated or orchestrated. Finally, with Bryan's return from a month off from blogging, he was removed from 9rules in May.
Back to the point about ego, I'm a little surprised. I've certainly never considered myself an egotistical person. Have I crossed that line and not even realized it? If that's the case, by all means let me know.
What are the lessons I should be taking away from all of this? Should I have come out right from the get-go and shared what happened? Does anybody even really care?
Clarification: To be clear, this post was intended to clarify my reasons for leaving 9rules and not to blame Tyme (or anybody for that matter). In retrospect, my clarification may in itself have been unclear (oh the irony).