David Pogue

Vice President and founder of Yahoo Tech

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON November 02, 2015

Discussion

David Pogue@pogue · tech columnist
Hi All, David here. As the last of 3 children, I was the one who craved attention. This might explain my presence on “CBS Sunday Morning” and PBS’s “Nova,” my columns and videos at YahooTech.com (which I founded), my column in Scientific American, my 13 years as the NY Times personal-tech columnist, the 85 tech books I've written (and rewritten), my 3 Emmies and 2 Webbies, and even the ten years I spent conducting Broadway musicals in my younger years. I'm now very happy to also have your attention for the next hour ;) please, ask me anything!
Hash_tag_jeff@jeffumbro · Book Marketing and PR - get in touch
Hi @pogue - 85 books is a remarkable feat, and on top of everything else it's no less than astounding. How do you manage your time so well?
David Pogue@pogue · tech columnist
@jeffumbro Well, I should first admit that of the 85 books, many of them are revisions--new editions of Windows and Mac books every damn year, for example. (Why couldn't I have specialized in something that doesn't CHANGE--like Renaissance painters?) Anyway, I'll admit to being MASSIVELY organized. My laptop and phone are rigged to the hilt with typing expanders and shortcuts and data detectors... My email Inbox is my to-do list and taskmaster...and my assistant Jan takes care of all the travel, contracts, and other stuff, leaving me free to do just the creative parts. I'll just say it: I'm the luckiest dude alive!
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Community and Marketing, Product Hunt
Hi David thanks so much for joining us today! What moment in your career to date a) are you most proud of? b) has most surprised you? c) would you change? thanks :)
David Pogue@pogue · tech columnist
@ems_hodge (a) My proudest moment was getting the NY Times gig. I was 37 years old, and the prestige and renown of the Times helped open a lot of other doors! Plus I'd grown up muttering, "*I* could write that column!" :) (b) The biggest surprise has been the viewership of the NOVA specials I've hosted! It's unbelievable how many people watch those specials--and then stop me in airports to say hello! (c) I spent 10 years out of college trying to make it on Broadway. I mean, I had fun. But from a career-of-today perspective, it was a decade kind of wasted!
Harry Stebbings@harrystebbings · Podcast Host @ The Twenty Minute VC
Hi @pogue thanks so much for joining us today. How have you seen the writing and journalism industry change over the years with the prominence of blogging and new media forms such as Buzzfeed and Vice? Do you think journalism itself will still be such a dominant force in 30 years?
David Pogue@pogue · tech columnist
@harrystebbings It really looks as though journalism--if that's the right word--has split in the last decade. There are sort of two camps now: The BuzzFeed/Vice/bloggers, and the established outfits... the new guard and the old. Newer stuff tends to be written very fast, with click count in mind. Typos, misspellings, very often just rehashes of other people's stories; interviews and research is very rare (especially BOTH sides of an issue). That's blogger journalism. It has an important function, of course, but it's not quite the same one as the more established operations like the TImes, Wall Street Journal, NPR, and so on. I imagine that newsprint will either go away or become a rarity, a luxury. But I don't think that pro news-gathering agencies will go away; they'll just become digital. I think we'll always need someone to do actual research, curation, editing, and reporting.
Hash_tag_jeff@jeffumbro · Book Marketing and PR - get in touch
Can you speak more on this, @pogue? I totally agree with your assessment, but I also think the money is going new school. Eventually the old guard will have to face the fact that their way of doing things is too expensive and the system needs to change. Any thoughts?
neeharika sinha@neeeharika · Google, Threadchannel
Hi @pogue great to meet you here. What are your best resources to collect information in tech or in general? Any must reads on a daily basis? How do you relax?
David Pogue@pogue · tech columnist
@neeeharika Well, of course I'm going to say this--but YahooTech.com, my new site, is designed to be precisely what you describe: a daily, single source for USEFUL information on the tech world. We don't care much about corporate mergers, executive swaps, and stuff--it's "what to buy and how to USE it!" I also check in with TechMeme every day just to see what's happening in the big world. As for relaxing: I'm a HUGE movie nut. I'm also trying to start being a runner. I hate running, but I love HAVING run. The rest of the day, I feel relaxed and awesome. :)
Jake Crump@jakecrump · Community Team with Product Hunt
@pogue @neeeharika What kind of movies are you into? What's the best movie you've seen recently?
David Pogue@pogue · tech columnist
@jakecrump @neeeharika OH man, I'll take ANY kind of movie. In general, crowdsourced reviews (IMDB, RottenTomatoes) is the best thing that ever happened to movies, because I'm guaranteed never to waste time on a stinker! Best one recently was "The Martian." The book is brilliant, but a pretty repetitive story by a first-time writer... so the breathtaking part is how they adapted it into a movie. What they kept, added, and changed.... absolutely stunning job!
Ben Tossell@bentossell · newCo
Hey what would the you of 2 years ago think of the you today?
David Pogue@pogue · tech columnist
@bentossell Cool question! Two years ago, I was in the process of leaving the NY Times after 13 years of writing the weekly tech column--to join Yahoo, a company I'd mainly made fun of during those 13 years! But I could tell that things were quickly changing under Marissa Mayer's leadership, and the whole thing had a hot startup feel to it! I knew that I'd be trading away the old-world prestige of the Times, in exchange for a huge boost in creative freedom and resources. Yahoo basically said, "We'll give you money and people and engineers--go make us something cool!" ...which is sort of like catnip to a creative guy like me! As it turns out, I'm now exactly where I expected and hoped to be: No longer part of the safety of the Times universe, but poised with unbelievable creative freedom. And Yahoo Tech is doing pretty well, too--most months, we're either #2 or #3 among all tech sites...after only 1.5 years!
daniellevine@daniellevine · Fireside
@pogue Hey David! Thank's for doing this AMA. I'm wondering, what's the best thing you've come across in the last 30 days and why? Could be anything, a product, an article, a tea, a quote. Anything! Thanks for answering.
David Pogue@pogue · tech columnist
@daniellevine Best thing so far is what I'm reviewing this week: the Microsoft Band 2. It's this incredible fitness band/smartwatch that's MUCH more fully equipped than its rivals. Continuous heart rate. Built-in GPS, so you can run without carrying your phone. Skin-temperature sensors. Even a UV light sensor--it'll warn you when you're going to get a sunburn! And all of this is beautifully, cleanly designed. The original Microsoft Band had most of this, too, but it was this uncomfortable, blocky chunk. Now it curves around your wrist and you don't even feel it! (Don't tell anyone. My review won't go up on yahootech.com until later this week. :) )
Corley@corleyh · COO @ Product Hunt
@pogue what role do you think journalists should play in creating space for women in tech? (By space, I mean so often women tend to be behind the scenes - so I think of creating space, like you might create space for people to speak-up at a meeting, etc.)
David Pogue@pogue · tech columnist
@corleyh That's a fraught and tricky question. On one hand, I truly believe that it's true that there are fewer women in tech to CHOOSE from. Every time I put out a "casting call" when we want to hire a writer or editor for my own Yahoo Tech, I get 10 resumes from men for every 1 from a woman. The pool of women seems to be simply smaller. So why is that? Is it because women are made to feel like outsiders in science and math from the very beginning--elementary school? Or is there a lower lack of built-in interest? Or both? We don't know. On the other hand, it does seem as though many institutions sort of EXPLOIT that lower visibility... to devalue women's roles and their prominence, as in the examples you give. I guess the one unassailable conclusion, though, is that things are getting better. The numbers of female STEM graduates are slowly improving, and prominent public discussion of marginalized women's roles in tech is shining a light on the problem.
David Pogue@pogue · tech columnist
Hey, that was so much fun, everyone--thank you! My god, what excellent questions! Anyway, if you have any followups, feel free to email me (poguester@yahoo.com)... and I'll see you online. Ciao for now!
Jake Crump@jakecrump · Community Team with Product Hunt
What's something you've changed your mind about in the last year?
David Pogue@pogue · tech columnist
@jakecrump Fitbits. Wearable health trackers. I used to think they were pretty much just glorified pedometers. I did this huge roundup of 22 different models, and really immersed myself. Learned a lot. For example, the Fitbit lets you (with effort) record everything you eat. If you bother, it shows you this graph of Calories Consumed versus Calories Burned. Everyone knows how to lose weight: burn more calories than you eat. Duh! But HOW would you know how many you've consumed/burned? Most people are shooting blind! But this Fitbit graph makes it instantly visible. It was easy to lose weight, just by monitoring those graphs--really changed my entire approach to eating. I lost a few pounds, and know exactly how to eat. It's that kind of visibility into our inner biological lives that's turning out to be really profound. I now evangelize these more sophisticated bands everywhere I go!
Russ Frushtick@russfrushtick
What's your take on VR? The future or just another 3D TV situation?
David Pogue@pogue · tech columnist
@russfrushtick Good question! I'll be honest: I'm a little baffled. I mean, for games, I get it--totally immersive. But I'm surprised at how pixellated Oculus Rift looks--we'll laugh at its quality in 4 years! Will we wear VR headsets for regular computing, watching movies, etc? No.
Erik Torenberg@eriktorenberg · Former Product Hunt
What life advice would you give yourself if you were 25 in 2015?
Jacqueline von Tesmar@jacqvon · Community at Product Hunt ⚡️
I'm listening to the soundtrack of the 2008 Broadway recording of South Pacific right now. What Broadway musical productions were you involved in? You say you were the conductor.. of the orchestra?
David Pogue@pogue · tech columnist
@jacqvon Yes, that's right--I arranged, conducted, and played keyboards for a bunch of shows. I was the musical director (conductor) of a Cy Coleman flop called "Welcome to the Club" (ran 6 weeks), and assistant conductor for "Kiss of the Spider Woman." I also worked in various capacities on "Anything Goes" at Lincoln Center, "Will Rogers Follies," "Pajama Game" and "Godspell" Off-Broadway, and a few others.
Jeff@jeffpar
@pogue @jacqvon You're right about the pixelation. When I checked out the Game of Thrones "Climb the Wall" demo at EMP, it felt like I was viewing the world through an old VGA 256-color lens.
Dan@dcubed4
@pogue hi David, what new piece of technology has impressed you most this year?
David Pogue@pogue · tech columnist
@dcubed4 Truly? Anything from Microsoft! Yes, Microsoft! I have no idea what's going on over there, but their new hardware products--Surface Book, Surface Pro 4, Microsoft Band 2--almost out-Apple Apple, in terms of polish and design and simplicity. I NEVER thought I would say that about Microsoft!! I guess when Microsoft's back is against the wall, they come out fighting. It's classic underdog syndrome--and it's working!
Dan@dcubed4
@pogue @dcubed4 yeah its hard to believe that, from the company that made the zune but I'm hearing it a lot. also what features would you like to see on the next apple watch?
David Pogue@pogue · tech columnist
@dcubed4 I'd love to see Apple fix the interface design. I mean, the Apple Watch just has WAY TOO MANY different ways to interact with it! And guess what? Fixing the design actually turns out to be pretty simple. I actually wrote up my suggestion here: https://www.yahoo.com/tech/a-hum...
Inlovewith01@inlovewith01
@pogue Hi David, what's your vision on streaming and broadcasting? Do you think all channels should become social? (like the interaction you have on Meerkat, Periscope, Vine, etc)
David Pogue@pogue · tech columnist
@inlovewith01 I'm crazy excited about live personal streaming. Periscope, Vine. I think we're only in the Neanderthal era of it. What news event lately have you watched LIVE, flipping among dozens of people's phone views for different angles? What hurricane, war, election? Probably none. But why not? What an exhilarating prospect! It'll be like you're actually THERE--in fact, like you're actually EVERYWHERE! Someday soon, there'll be some news event where live streaming changes the game...and we'll never look back!
Samir Damle@samirdamle
Hi @pogue, recently there has been a lot of speculation about a tech bubble and over-valuations of startups. Since you have been observing the tech industry for decades, what is your opinion about the tech bubble? Are we in it now?
neeharika sinha@neeeharika · Google, Threadchannel
@pogue What is the most effective way startups can reach out to you ?
David Pogue@pogue · tech columnist
Email, baby. Email. (This is an answer to the "How should startups contact you?" question ... sorry!)
Niv Dror@nivo0o0 · Words @ProductHunt & @AngelList
What has working with Marissa Mayer been like? Any particular stories you can share? :)
David Pogue@pogue · tech columnist
@nivo0o0 I'll share two stories. First was when I went to Sunnyvale to meet her while considering Yahoo's job offer. I was amazed at her combination of good design sense AND razor-sharp focus. It was almost Steve Jobs-like, the way she had walked through Yahoo on her first year in the job and ruthlessly canceled products, clearing out deadwood. I mean, that's brutal if it's YOUR project that's being canceled--but how else are you going to turn such a huge, entrenched company around? Second, there was some advertiser event where Yahoo asked me to interview Marissa onstage. To my astonishment, they had NO questions they wanted me to ask as softballs, and they had NO interest in seeing my questions beforehand. There was no handholding, no PR spin--they said I could ask her ANYTHING, even the tough questions. Said Marissa actually likes that stuff! So I did! I asked some of the delicate questions, too, and she didn't bat an eye. That whole thing was REALLY impressive to me.
Silviu St@silviust7 · iOS Developer
I'm seeing everywhere talking about VR and all kind of tech made for our needs or entertainment and I'm kinda feeling it slowly takes us away from nature. Will tech transform/replace the world we know just to make life simpler, easier and more profitable?
David Pogue@pogue · tech columnist
@silviust7 I think smartphones have done that, to a degree. A lot of face-down walking going on. Nobody looks out the car window anymore. (Except the driver. Mostly.) But VR? No. I think the Google Glass failure teaches us something essential about how far people will go in putting tech on their heads and faces. There's a fundamental vanity at play, and a social awareness, that will be hard for these companies to overcome. I think of VR goggles like the Segway scooter: Something that will become commonplace in certain niches--like gaming, of course--but is otherwise being a little overhyped.
Stephen Bradley@stephenbradley
What's your take on the dynamic between social platforms capturing and controlling ever-larger audiences, and audience time share, vs. publishers who are still trying to reach and manage their own audiences effectively? Are we headed for some kind of showdown?
David Pogue@pogue · tech columnist
@stephentbradley My observation, after 30 years of analyzing the tech industry, is this: Things don't replace things; things usually just ADD ON. TV didn't kill radio. CDs didn't completely kill vinyl. And so on. It's very human for us to crave things to be simple--for X to replace Y. (How many times did we read reviews of some phone that's supposed to be the "iPhone killer"?) But that's just not how things work. So there won't be a showdown between various types of media and journalism. It will all just add on, fork, splinter. Having to make sense of all the noise and clutter--well, that's our problem!