Some journalists’ individual presences far outreach their publications. If Walt Mossberg wrote for NY Times or CNET, he’d still be Walt Mossberg. Most industry people know Gary Krakow by reputation, the fact that he’s on MSNBC is just a small part of his story. In some cases, however, the brand of the publication carries the weight. For example, I read National Geographic every month, but couldn’t name a writer there. A few lucky people straddle that world, and one of them is my friend Ryan Block, the managing editor for engadget (a tech blog that a few people seem to read occasionally).
Ryan hit his 5000th post today (here it is), which puts him just a wee bit ahead of the ~290 I’ve written, and in roughly the same time span I might add. I chatted with him for a bit, was curious to get some of his thoughts down, and rather than get all prose-y, here they are in nice, easy to read Q&A format…
Ryan, do you think you have another 5000 posts ahead of you?
I honestly didn’t think I’d make it to 5k because I thought I’d run out of things to say about technology - I guess I was wrong!
What are some of your personal favorite posts?
I have a lot, actually, many are sentimental…
The Engadget Reader Meetup: The Aftermath (part I, NY) – that’s the event where I announced I was quitting my day job and blogging full time.
Engadget Lovecast 069 – 02.14.06 – it was really fun to play romanceologist for a day with nerd-love questions (plus i got to tell my lady I love her on the air).
Were there any stories that you personally broke/covered that you were really proud of?
FairUse4WM strips Windows Media DRM! – one of my proudest moments writing about technology.
Live from Macworld 2007: Steve Jobs keynote – where literally millions of people followed our liveblog coverage of the iPhone launch.
As the managing editor of the top tech blog, I’d assume people have a lot of mistaken thinking about your glamorous life. What are some misconceptions you’d like to clear up?
The biggest misconception about me, and thusly engadget, is this perception of bias for/against certain companies. I’ve been called an Apple fanboy and a Microsoft fanboy by readers in the same day. It’s super frustrating because we feel it’s very important to be equally critical of all companies – large and small – and these perceptions of bias are usually reflections of peoples’ own biases.
Another interesting one is the idea that we swim in gadgets and get tons of free gear. While we do play with lots of toys, we don’t keep anything. We give it back or give it away, always.
On average, how many hours per day do you think about gadgets?
How many hours a day am I awake? That’s totally fine with me though, it’s a lifestyle, you have to really love it.
If you could go start a brand new blog, far far away from tech/gadgets, what would the category be?
Well, i had a kind of pseudo-blog a couple of years back where i published short fiction.
But if I were starting a new one today and it couldn’t be about robots (i’ve always wanted to do a robot blog) I think I might do something of a book, magazine, publication, and media revue
No! Moby sometimes though, it drives me crazy.
Now to give us a better, more well-rounded picture of Ryan, I pinged a few people who are close to him.
I asked Dave Zatz (former Engadget blogger) for his favorite Ryan Block post:
Blu-ray vs HD DVD: State of the Division – the post was written before either platform launched, and at a time when there was tons of uncertainty and speculation – I think Ryan did a great job laying out the situation and specs. Plus it had charts. And I like charts.
Peter Rojas, cofounder of Engadget and Chief Strategy Officer of Weblogs, Inc (a.k.a “Ryan’s Boss”), selected the Live from Macworld post as well, adding:
Ryan’s amazing coverage that day helped established Engadget as more than just another gadget blog – it showed we had the chops to be a world-class tech publication. I’ve never been prouder.
I threw this at Peter as well, “Tell us something about ryan that we all don’t know, but should”:
He really loves Ultravox.
Bake Engadget a birthday cake… – it’s creative and fun, for one, and as a person that works to build online communities i can appreciate what a great morale booster it is for the readers to participate in contests like that. Plus, I love cake. And gadgets. And cake that looks like gadgets. Although, if there were a gadget that looked like cake, i might be more inclined to purchase it…
I also asked her what video games she could kick Ryan’s butt in:
Wii Sports! I’m easily better than him at bowling. Crushingly better, really.
Thanks for the time, Ryan, Peter, Dave, and Veronica, and congrats again on 5K. If you still can’t get enough Ryan Block, you can watch this video interview I did with him and Peter Rojas at CES 2007.