For those of you who are unaware of my history, I used to work at an unnamed Big 4 auditor before I made my move to writing. Back then, my life was one big blur of hard work, mental exercise and boredom.
My whole life I enjoyed technology and the world of gadgets, but I never seemed to have an outlet to express it. So, with quite a bit of luck, I was able to start in this business as a volunteer writer who wrote feature length articles that were assigned to me. From there, I was offered a position with Ziff-Davis as a part-time blogger, and then parlayed that experience into more writing gigs. Today, I'm lucky enough to be a tech journalist who spews his beliefs to people like you every day. And while I understand that you sometimes disagree with my opinion on a given subject, I respect your belief and welcome any retort you may set forth. Trust me, I have learned over the past few years that no one can be right about this business all the time, but if you love what you do and truly believe what you say, you'll never lose sight of the truth.
But with over 15 publications currently asking me to express my opinion or write up features on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, I commonly find myself reverting back to the days as "big bad auditor Don." When I was an auditor, I knew business inside and out and was lucky enough to see how CEOs, CFOs and the rest run a successful operation. But what always struck me was how different tech companies are from every other industry.
Tech companies are typically run by visionaries or young people that were the original creators of the product or service. And while other businesses have the same kind of operation, it always seemed that tech companies were different -- until they became too big.
Small tech companies don't have employees wear suits to work each day and more often than not, the employees will roam around the halls with a tee-shirt ans jeans on. Working for a tech company seemed fun, appealing, and more often than not, relatively laid back -- nothing like my job as an auditor.
Knowing business is important in tech writing. I'm a firm believer that if you don't know business, you simply don't know technology. Everything that guides these products from R&D to our store shelves is governed by the business world. If the execs think a product will succeed based on countless days of research and market analysis, you'll see it. If, after research is complete, those same execs believe a product isn't suitable for the market they are targeting, it'll die on the vine.
Sometimes, products slip through the cracks and perform poorly because of issues that were either unforeseen or ignored. Other times, expected junkers become hits because they fill a void in a market. Either way, this business is unique.
Try to find me another industry that's as unique as the tech industry. How many different sites are able to update news every single day with at least thirty or forty stories? More often than not, people read these stories because they share the same love for tech that I, and the rest of the journalists in my field share.
That said, we must never lose sight of the fact that business dictates this business and the dollar sign will trump all. Sometimes companies are wrong and other times right, but we're lucky enough to live in a world where the majority of technology products fall under the "good" category.