A couple weeks ago, a rant of mine on technology journalism kicked off a firestorm that has yet to fully subside. The talking points have evolved beyond my initial ones and yes, I too have re-fueled the flames a few times.
I knew the reaction would be strong (for obvious reasons), but I didn’t expect the tech press to get as riled up as they have for this extended period of time. In my 5+ years covering a whole range of topics in technology professionally, I have never gotten as many requests for comments, interviews, etc, as I have about all of this. Which is pretty silly when you think about it.
The tech press, like most everyone else, clearly loves to talk about itself. The difference is that we have a bigger soapbox from which to do so. And the past few weeks have resulted in more mastubatory self-reflection than usual.
The other day, I got an email from a gentleman named Seth. As a regular reader, he wanted to give me some honest feedback on my writing as of late. I wanted to share a portion of what he wrote:
For me, it’s usually the first sign that a band is about done making good music when their songs stop being about love and girls and starts to be about how hard it is to be on the road, or to be famous, or to be attacked, etc. I really prefer writing that tries mightily to avoid ad hominem attacks, and that avoids self-referential topics—critique the arguments and ignore the attackers.
All fair points. And the music analogy is an especially good one, I think.
I maintain this blog for one reason: I like writing about technology (and occasionally other topics as well). While it’s no longer my primary job to write about it, I still follow technology as closely as ever — in many ways more closely than ever. And it’s great to have an outlet to talk about what I love.
I’m humbled that so many people read my thoughts here. It was only a few years ago when I used to get extremely excited if 10 people read what I had written. I need to remember that. Sometimes I forget, and I think Seth’s critique is completely fair.
It’s important to me that I continue to write about technology because I love technology. That doesn’t mean every post is positive, obviously. In fact, I write negatively about Google so often now because it pains me to watch them — in my opinion — fuck up. They’re a great company, but I legitimately do believe that some of the decisions they’re making are damaging their core.
I write because I care.
But I agree that I should keep the focus mainly on technology, and all the excitement around it (both good and bad). From a technology perspective, we live in the most amazing times right now. And I have no doubt that things are going to get exponentially more exciting in the coming decades.
With that in mind, my “songs” should be about love and not about how hard it is to be on the road. I should feel lucky that I, in my own small way, get to be on the road.