Four Years of Lean Blogging

I always just slightly “miss” the birthday of the Lean Blog. My first post to the blog was January 3, 2005. I've been doing this for four years? The blog started off really slowly… it was just a place for me to dump links for my friends to read. It, thankfully, turned into much more than that.

Four years. A lot has changed — for me, a new job & new industry (Healthcare), new city (Phoenix to Dallas/Ft Worth). I'm not “the first” blog about Lean. When I started this blog, it was sort of hard to find other blogs… looking back, it appears that Evolving Excellence started in November 2004, Gemba Panta Rei started in November 2003, and Joe Ely's Learning About Lean started in September 2002 (!!!!).

Before I go any further, I want to thank you, the reader, for taking time out of your busy day to visit and read my blog. I know that with busy schedules and “information overload” that there's just too much to read and not enough time. So the fact that you give some of your time to me is something I appreciate very much. I appreciate the time you take to comment and participate. I'm glad that this has evolved into something collaborative instead of a blog where I just shout at the world.

The Stats and Data

For those who wonder:

  • 700 Blog visitors on an average weekday (highest ever = 1200)
  • 1700 RSS subscribers (there's some double-counting with the site visitors)
  • 1000 downloads of each Podcast

This chart, below, shows weekly site visitors going back to 2005. The precipitous drop in 2007 wasn't because of anything I said… that was my transition from “ to “” Google doesn't much like a transition like that, so I disappeared from search results for a while.

I've said this before, but nobody gets more out of this blogging experience than me. I've learned a lot from my readers comments and I've certainly learned quite a bit from the other bloggers in the “Lean Blogsophere.” Blogging is what led to the offer to write a book (thanks, Dean!). Blogging led to an offer from Norman Bodek to “do a radio interview,” which turned into a series of Podcasts that I'm really proud of. I tried starting a “message board” and that's sort of been a flop, but it was a cheap experiment. My board gets attacked constantly now by Russian spammers who attempt to register. Keeping them out means that legitimate attempts to register get lost in my spam folder and I might just shut the whole thing down or start again on my book's website. Such is the internet.

For what seems like a very solitary activity, blogging has turned out be an incredible networking opportunity. I would have never imagined that I meet so many new friends and colleagues through this medium. I've had many guest bloggers over the past few years (some have joined and some have disappeared) and I'm thankful what they've contributed to the discussion.

I've said it a million times and it bears repeating — we have an incredible Lean Blogosphere community that's nothing but helpful, collaborative, and sharing. Y'all know who you are (and it's a growing world, so it's hard to mention everyone anymore… but check out my blogroll…. and I need to update it).

Reader Survey

I'll keep blogging. I hope this is still of value to people. I think my readership has shifted a bit from manufacturing to healthcare, as my focus has evolved a bit over the past few years. I may have lost some manufacturing people who don't care as much about healthcare, but I'm not sure. I am a bit curious to learn more you and your background if you'll take this short survey. If you leave your email address in the survey, I'll enter you in a drawing for a free autographed copy of my book,  Lean Hospitals: Improving Quality, Patient Safety, and Employee Satisfaction.

Click Here to take survey

Lean Blog over the YearsThe look of the blog has evolved over the years. How it originally looked (v 1.0) in 2005 (thanks to the Internet Wayback Machine).


Here is LeanBlog 2.0, circa 2006. The logo was pretty manufacturing-focused. The gears represented technology and industry and the people represented the focus that I try to place on people in Lean.


So where do we go from here?

I'm interested in exploring more ways for people to collaborate online. As travel budgets are slashed, physically traveling to conferences might be a luxury that goes away. How do we share in free or cheap ways? I'd like to do more with video podcasts, so look for some experiments in that in 2009. I'd like to do a site redesign and maybe move off the “Blogger” platform, although it's like an old comfortable sweatshirt (one that your wife would like you to throw away). I know WordPress is a better platform… but it takes time to transition and I'm not quite ready to take that on yet.

If you have ideas or feedback, there's a spot in the survey I linked to above, or you can comment away below… in the spirit of “Plan Do Check Act” and “Kaizen.”

Previous “birthday” posts are below. I like revisiting them for reflection…

Thanks always,


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  1. Ron Pereira says

    Congrats, Mark. Keep up the great work!

  2. Andy Wagner says

    Congratulations Mark!
    I can’t say enough good things about the blog or the “lean blogosphere” in general. It’s been an honor to have the opportunity to a guest blogger, and I hope to continue to be (when our new baby and my new job allow).
    Keep up the great work!


  3. Dean Bliss says

    Congrats, Mark. Your blog is part of my morning routine. I appreciate the work that you do to keep it relevant and interesting. Keep up the good work.

  4. Matt says

    Congrats – I’m sure there were some trying times in the beginning trying to gain a consistent following.

    In looking for new ways to collaborate, have you heard about – you can essentially create customized social networks focused around any subject, for free (or a little cash, if you want to keep ads off the site). I’ve looked around there previously for a good lean network that was already established, and haven’t found one yet.

    Just a thought I wanted to share.

  5. Rick Foreman says

    Congrats Mark! I’ve certainly enjoyed the content and the lean network lunches in our area. I would hope others who read the blog would benchmark the “lean lunch” networking for those in their areas as a way to broaden the scope of continuous improvement in our society. I think one of the greatest advantages provided by the blog, lunches, and other good blogs is that it provides a level sanity check for all us leaniacs who are pursuing improvement.
    Awesome blog and great networking!

  6. rearden215 says

    Great work, Mark. Thanks for your terrific insights into that which ails us.

    However, when given the choice between an emesis basin and a powder-coated trailing link, I have usually come down on the side of the Dodge Daytona.. and the hearty crew that assembled that scion of all things trailer park.

  7. Jos de Jong says

    Congratulations Mark! Way to go.
    I like to listen to your podcasts in the car. I’m trying to keep up. Today I listened to #104. Hope you keep doing those podcasts in the future.

    – Jos

  8. […] primary interests have shifted from manufacturing to healthcare and also startups,but Lean is Lean. This post from 2009 has screenshots of version 1 and version 2 of the blog (this being version 3, from late […]

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