Then there is the new and interesting genre of venture capital blogs. Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures, Brad Feld of Foundry Group, Bill Burnham of Inductive Capital, and Paul Kedrosky of Ventures West are some of the leading practitioners; you can browse them at the FeedBurner Venture Capital network. Mark Cuban, who made a fortune selling his Web 1.0 company, Broadcast.com, to Yahoo, and is now a new media investor and owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team, is always stirring things up and getting attention on his Blogmaverick. If you want gossip, try Valleywag, the Silicon Valley arm of Nick Denton’s Gawker Media. Denton himself was writing it for a while, which was great, but its future will depend on the skill of his replacement. And for an interesting window into what tech-culture aficionados (and cubicle time killers) find compelling, read BoingBoing. The four people who write it, Mark Frauenfelder, Xeni Jardin, David Pescovitz, and Cory Doctorow, are all clever and knowledgeable, and you’re almost guaranteed to learn something interesting that you didn’t know before.
There’s a lot of good stuff out there in the “old media,” as well. Walter Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal remains the single most powerful arbiter of consumer technology products, with David Pogue of the New York Times not far behind. (Pogue has also pioneered a popular video blog on the subject.) Heather Green of Business Week is very knowledgeable and offers insight both in the magazine and on the Business Week “blogspotting” blog. David Kirkpatrick at Fortune is also a skilled veteran who brings a lot of authority to his work, and John Markoff remains the go-to guy in mainstream media, especially on some of the more technical topics.
The biggest challenge in reading tech news day-to-day, of course, is figuring out what’s really significant and what will be irrelevant a year from now. The plethora of choices makes this harder in some ways: The job of the old-school editor was mainly to tell you what was important. But they were often wrong — predicting the future is a tough business — and now with the proliferation of choices, you can make a lot more editorial judgments for yourself. Let me know in a year or two how that’s working out.
Reprint No. 07211
Jonathan Weber ([email protected]) is the founder and editor-in-chief of NewWest.net, a collection of online communities focused on the culture, economy, politics, and environment of the Rocky Mountain West. He was formerly the editor-in-chief of the Industry Standard.