By Caroline Kawashima
Harry McCracken, founder of Technologizer visited the Racepoint San Francisco office to discuss his new blog news site and share his personal experience on making the leap from 14 years as editor-in-chief of PC World to the blogosphere in “Confessions of a Journalist/Entrepreneur.”
McCracken says despite the fact that he left the secure world of an established print publication to launch a new site with no readers, no resources, no brand and no paycheck, he feels “privileged to be able to reach readers directly” with his blog and is convinced that if he writes something interesting, his commentary will get read. In fact, a key learning for McCracken is that the better the content, the higher quality of reader comments he receives on the site. “Technologizer is a collaboration between me, the contributing editors and the community,” says McCracken when contrasting the differences from his days of working in a primarily one-way communications channel in traditional print.
What does Technologizer cover?
At Technologizer, I’m trying to expose readers to the wider world of technology. Ninety percent of my content is focused on consumer technology, and to a degree small business. It’s nearly impossible to draw a fine line between consumer and small business these days as many consumer products and technology is also being actively used by small business. Web is critical and I also cover mobile. I think the mobile space is changing rapidly and it’s almost like what we witnessed in ’93 with promise of enhanced PCs – there’s more to come and it’s pretty exciting.
How do you decide what to focus on and what is your criteria for deciding what to cover?
Obviously a lot of what I cover is news driven but the major difference from my print days is that I will tend to do shorter, multiple posts on a news item vs. one long, in-depth article. I love consumer technology and get excited about new things, which is important in that I cannot cover everything, so I have to focus on what’s new and different. And, of course, the most exciting news is news you don’t know about yet, so you have to be ready to jump quickly on breaking news.
How do you find the balance between what you want to write about and what kind of content drives traffic?
That’s an important question because the key is finding the intersection. If I’m excited about the news, it will most likely be compelling to others and if the content I’m writing is interesting, then others will hopefully find it of interest as well. You can’t fake excitement on the Web and the long-term success for any site is being sincere.
What’s the most under-hyped technology right now?
Well, if I knew that I would already have been writing a lot about it right now! But I do think that graphic processors are now more powerful than CPUs and it’s interesting to think that CPUs have now become subservient to the GPU.
What do you think about the future of technology journalism?
Almost everybody (print media) have an online presence and are now aggregating the best content from the Web to print. So, Web first. But I don’t see magazine subscriptions going to zero. There’s a lot of talk that journalists will be replaced by the community but I don’t believe that’s true if you continue to provide value and good content. In print it used to be that a publication strived for story perfection, with the Web, timeliness takes priority so you have to give up a little on getting it perfect.
What’s the one piece of advice you would give to others starting a blog?
Don’t think of yourself as writing for your own audience – write for the world or nobody will read your site. Write for the Web.