Friday, March 6, 2015

Hello and welcome: Why I'm starting a tech channel

There are a million tech blogs out there. Why bother with one of my own? As someone who obsessively read every article on Engadget, without fail, from 2006 - 2011 — trust me, I know.

Earlier, I said that I wanted to write about stuff. For this channel, I obviously want to write about things related to technology. But what about it?

I'm actually more of a dog person.
Nowadays, “technology” is pretty much a part of everyone’s life: smartphones have saturated the market, Granny's got a social media profile, and apparently Apple is going start producing cars. That said, it's not so much that this is the part of technology that we see; it's the part that we're shown. And believe it or not, there's quite a big difference.

I want to write about technology from both the outside and the inside. "Good, Bad, and Ugly" style.

When I returned to California two years ago to join the startup scene, I only had a vague idea of what I was jumping into. What are startups actually like? How do they work? In what ways are startups and plain-ol' small businesses different? These were the questions that swirled in my head, as if I were launching a probe into an alien planet.

For all that has been made of how "tech startups" are revolutionizing every part of our lives in every way imaginable, the key to cracking the code is surprisingly low-tech and old-school: It's who you know. Luckily, I had a great network of contacts, attended a ton of events, and met some great folks up and down Silicon Valley.

The biggest surprise for me was that they are, for the most part, pretty normal people. Some can be very smart, immensely talented, but those are not prerequisites to have a dream or wish to change some part of our world. Things are not always peachy, and there are real problems that stand in the way of success. Of course, some of you may already know that startups failure rates are notoriously high. But the effect that such survivor bias has on our external point of view is less obvious.

There is, at the very least, a startup state of mind. The path from idea to reality has been so dramatically shortened, such that you could be forgiven for believing willpower alone could make up the entire gap between a washout and a billion-dollar idea.

Wouldn't it be fun to look beyond what we're shown, but see the other side of the picture, too? In all the big ways, when a cool new product comes out? Or all the little ways, when something that is life-changing is not more than a founder's idea? To me, the failures are at least as interesting as the successes. I want to write about them all.

Let's get started.

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