When I started covering the CE industry, about 23 years ago, I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to understand the technology behind the products I was covering. I felt it was important to be knowledgeable when I spoke to people in the industry. It was hard, and I gradually came to the realization that I was a journalist, not an engineer.
As my frustration grew, I started to consider that maybe I wasn’t cut out for the technology beat. Then one day, Steve Smith, our editor at the time, was reading a piece by a now-former staffer and, by the look on his face, I could tell he wasn’t happy. When I asked what was wrong, he responded, “When someone asks me the time, I don’t tell him how to build a watch!”
His point hit home. Reporting is, at its essence, about telling a story. Every product I am lucky enough to see and touch has a plethora of technology behind it — chipsets and code, sensors and scopes, power banks and circuits — but none of that really tells the story.
The real story often lies in the people behind the product: the engineers who built it, the CEO who believed in it, the marketing guru who brought it to market. What I’ve learned is that this industry is made up of many smart, hard-working, sometimes visionary people who happen to channel all those positive attributes into the products they produce.
I consider myself lucky to have met hundreds of these people, maybe thousands, over the years, and some of my most memorable moments came from just simply having a conversation and getting their perspective. When you understand the motivation behind a product, you get a better understanding of that product.
My goal as editor in chief of TWICE is to make sure we are telling the stories you want to read, as well as the ones we think you need to read. Increasingly, that involves finding the story that a product has to tell beyond its specs and features. The story often requires context. Where does this fit in the marketplace? What is the message the manufacturer is trying to share with consumers? How does this product make a consumer’s life better or easier? What problem does this product solve? And, most importantly, who are the people behind this product and what is their motivation?
Starting with this issue we are doubling down on our emphasis on the people behind the products and retailing of the CE and majaps world.
We start with a look at 10 young execs who represent the future of the technology world. The fact is there are countless great young innovators in this business, but we culled it down to these representative 10, across a broad cross-section of the industry.
We present an exclusive Q&A with Lenovo’s Mike Abary, and gain his perspective on the evolution of Lenovo and the rapidly changing consumer computing sector.
We present our annual roundtable discussion, this time with a cross-section of distributors. As the folks who serve as a vital bridge between vendors and retailers, they offer a unique perspective on the state of the business.
In the coming months we will be digging up more details from the people behind the business and the people who are the business — people just like you. We want to tell your stories. If you have a good one, drop me a line!