Dan Lyons didn't want to know what bloggers had for breakfast, or read anyone's online diary.
So when the Forbes technology columnist started a personal blog in 2006, he did it with a twist: He wrote it as someone else.
Lyons assumed the identity of Fake Steve Jobs, a cartoonish version of the Apple CEO, for The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs blog. About a year and a half after the first post, the blog is part of Forbes.com and attracts more than 1 million unique visitors from around the world each month.
Lyons was inspired, he said, by stories of CEOs writing their own blogs, which were supposed to be transparent, but were often bland and filled with spin.
"My idea was 'What if the CEO really did a blog and then went off the rails?'" said Lyons, a panelist at the "Finding Your Voice Online" session at the Online News Association Conference Friday in Toronto.
The voice Lyons uses as Jobs is captured in the blog's tagline: "Dude, I invented the friggin' iPhone. Have you heard of it?"
Lyons, who published two fiction books before joining Forbes, drew readers to his blog early on through word of mouth and a mystery. Fake Steve's identity was a secret until August, when the New York Times unmasked Lyons as the author.
Lyons said he knew the blog had caught on before that, though, when a friend at a software company, who didn't know Lyons was Fake Steve, asked him if he read the blog and told him, "Fake Steve rocks!"
The posts are funny and snarky -- Fake Steve calls Bill Gates "Beastmaster" -- but grounded in the news similar to "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart." They're an alternative to blah business news, which Lyons said is often preposterous because of "the doublespeak and the way some companies will announce bad news as though it's good news. Some stuff you want to call bullshit, but you can't as a straight-up reporter."
Lyons, 47, also likes the feedback he gets on the blog. Readers contribute comments and story ideas much more often than they do in his day job writing a column every other week for the magazine, he said.
His advice for people still struggling to find their own blogging voice is to "really let it rip, and forget that anyone's reading it."
Lyons' next book and first as Fake Steve, "Options: The Secret Life of Steve Jobs," comes out Monday.