Let me begin by thanking everyone who has stopped by The Minnesota Skinny in 2017. Your text messages, words on the street, emails, comments, hearts, thumbs and shares all mean a ton. I mean that. Stephen King once wrote “Without Constant Reader, you’re just a voice quacking in the void.” Whether you’re looking for a restaurant recommendation, or merely stopping by my void for a good ol’ dose of my quacking, having you here makes me want to quack as sweetly as I can possibly quack.
Let’s recap 2017 and look ahead to 2018 here at the Skinny. Since I probably should have posted this last week, let’s do this quickly and get you on your way. Besides, I wrote about the best cheeseburgers in the world Monday and I’d rather have you read that.
A lot of significant life changes happened over a pretty short span last year. As I’m sure you know, blogging doesn’t pay my bills (I don’t think it really pays anyone’s bills). Last year saw me take on a much greater leadership role at my company, and my wife began at a new company. In the middle of all that, we moved into our very first house. Awesome as that all is, making it fit together without losing our sanity required some changes.
Some changes to the Skinny were big, some small, and some are ongoing. No change was bigger than my decision to stop recording the podcast.
After recording what would be my final episode in August, the plan was to just take a few weeks off and restart once everything settled down in the real world. Something happened during the break, though: I realized just how thin I’d been stretched.
When you heard a 40-to-50-minute episode, what you didn’t hear was my scrambling all over the area to record interviews. Sometimes the guest showed up, sometimes not. You didn’t hear the hours that went into editing. You didn’t hear the hours that went into marketing, thinking of questions, writing voiceover scripts, and reaching out to potential interviewees. I’m not exaggerating when I say 10-12 hours magically appeared every week once I stopped recording the podcast. I spent a lot of time thinking about it, and I ultimately decided not to re-stretch.
If I do a podcast again – and I might – it won’t be what it previously was. Anyone can do what I was doing (and almost everyone is now). I don’t have 10-12 hours a week for redundancy anymore. My vision is to create something more thoughtful, more involved, but with episodes monthly rather than weekly. The name will change, too. None of this washed-up rapper “WE BACK!” bullshit. It will be a completely different project altogether.
Food coverage on the blog right now is right about where I want it, and I’m going to carry that momentum into this year. You can expect a greater focus on restaurants beyond the Twin Cities area, and getting to know the people who operate them. I’ll keep getting condiments on my face in the metro, of course, but it’s The Minnesota Skinny and it reads too much like The Twin Cities Skinny sometimes. There are people and towns out there with incredible stories. I want to tell as many as possible. I have some ground to make up with beer and cocktails, since the podcast was the primary vessel for those, but I hope to employ the same strategy for covering those as I am for covering food.
Listicles? Hate ’em. Hate ’em, hate ’em, hate ’em … but I’d be lying if I said the listicles I wrote last year didn’t get tremendous responses from readers. This will never become a listicle site – I do this because I don’t want my soul to become an arid husk – but if people ask for the information, as was the case with my Twin Cities Freebies list and my Day-by-Day Burger Deals list, I’ll consider it.
The sports and gaming sections of the website have built up quite the dust coats. That needs to change. I’ve got a lot of resources available and a lot of people I enjoy working with in these areas. I owe it to our area’s local sports leagues and gaming communities to help get the word out.
Finally, I’ve been a little too Aaron Burr. When I spoke with Andy Carlson (who’s absolutely crushing it over at Purple FTW!) about growing his podcast, one of the key items he listed was having a point of view. I offer opinions very rarely here at the Skinny, and I’ve challenged myself to do so more often this year. Having a well-researched, intelligent opinion would be a good thing, I think.
This is a hefty list for one guy. Is it crazy that I like my chances?
Over the years, I think I’ve carved out a nice place for myself – not quite a household name, but definitely out of the basement. Early returns on the changes I’ve made so far have been good: four of my best five months in terms of website traffic last year were September-December, and we’re off to a great start in January. I think we’re going to have a lot of fun this year in my void. I hope you stick around for the quacking.
PS: I’m going to see Lana Del Rey Friday night at the Target Center. Judge me.