Walt in the New Yorker
It would be remiss of me not to mention the long piece on Walt Mossberg, my partner in AllThingsD.com and the D conference, that appeared today online and in print in the New Yorker magazine. Written by well-known media chronicler Ken Auletta, the piece, called “Critical Mass,” had the subhead: “Everyone Listens to Walter Mossberg.”
Here at AllThingsD.com, we not only listen, but encourage Walt (we don’t ever call him Walter, unless we are really cross) even more to write, blog and make videos, along with publishing his many columns on tech products and issues, which also appear in The Wall Street Journal.
The piece got a lot of play around the Web, and that was no surprise given Walt’s large following both on the Internet and, more importantly, off it, where all the regular folks live most of their lives. Walt’s true constituency are the masses of people who are not the tech elite, but who have an interest and a need to understand the digital tidal wave that has overwhelmed our whole world. What has always been interesting and instructive to me is that while Walt focuses on the proverbial little guy, the digerati follow along quickly, too. (Here’s a picture of us at our conference last year interviewing Microsoft’s Bill Gates.)
I thought the piece was fair and quite accurate, especially nailing the experience of someone coming to visit Walt in his D.C. office. I have sat quietly at Walt’s desk several times when company reps come to pitch their products and have seen much bigger nosedives than the visit of Sprint and Samsung described in the article, but this exchange over their music-playing phone was priceless to me:
How much memory for music?” Mossberg asked.
Titus said, “It will come with a sixty-four-megabyte card.”
“That’s trivially small.”
And I also always like to see again the first sentence of his very first Personal Technology column, 16 years old:
Personal computers are just too hard to use, and it’s not your fault.”
Unfortunately, despite Walt’s best efforts, that’s still true today, which means he–and those who have followed in his tremendous wake–will never run out of things to review for the rest of us.