Pragmatic 28: The Changing Face of Writing

9 July, 2014


Jason Snell has been writing for 25+ years - the most recent two decades in the Tech space. We dive into how writing styles for tech have evolved recently, how to structure and focus your writing, understanding editors and having passion when you write.

Transcript available
Welcome to pragmatic pragmatic as a weekly discussion showed the practical application of technology exploring real-world trade-offs with our great ideas are transformed into products and services that can change a thing as a simple as it seems sponsored by life visit life X spell LIF more information take advantage of a special discount of their amazing LED pragmatic listeners on your host John Geagea and joined today by my guess is Jason Snell I'm doing great things are happening thank you for coming on art I been following your work for quite some time so it's sort of a bit surreal to be talking to you that are I want to get on specifically talk about one thing and it's it's interesting I find in engineering one of the things that I never thought when I was younger was just how much writing that would be involved are so much so much documentation and summit writing and one thing I've struggled with is bridging that gap from starting out with I can put words on a page to near what are the right words upon the pages sound simplistic but it's really a lot harder than people think so in terms of your backgrounds arm if I remember correctly and please keep me from wrong arm you went to university over California San Diego and worked at the UCSD Guardian and I was starting about 1988 is at the background is only given really my Wikipedia. It's quite possibly page 2 congratulations I think yes you used updated its its canal is given can all that and I'm not allowed to better myself asking about you can edit your own Wikipedia page I learn that lesson the hard way down hearing John Syracuse in the back of my head right play about that earlier today I got I got to witness the authors of Wikipedia was once submitted page me yes I would use his San Diego arm and was really good school people there and then our love their winter arm when I graduated I went to graduate school in Berkely at the that you secretly special school journalism met an editor for Mac user magazine back in the day and I was always interested in media and rating and things like that as well as technology and so that was a perfect fit and I was actually Mac user reader and so I got an internship and then they like me so they hired me and I have been doing this every sense so it's been our in January it was it was made basically 20th anniversary of being paid full-time to be technology journalism guy while okay call world definitely definitely a fair amount of experience there and I don't mean that in a way to make you feel culturally sorry about but nine and one I've been doing engineering not coming close to 20 years now but arm it's a sort of thing that in engineering you're paid to be an engineer not paid necessarily not really pay to be a writer but what you inevitably learn as you end up doing a heck of a lot of writing and submits a sled this is a lot different subtle drivers in that technical writing compared to the sorts of writing that you do but it is unexamined interesting exercise to look at compare and contrast sincere ways people can improve so arm I guess everyone and in their in their life that has gone through some form of formal schooling knows how to read and write and I guess it's sort of a broad statement about the first world, statement but I'm expecting the majority of people listening to this are have been through school and can read and write a if not all that the vast majority of and I guess my issue is that a lot of people seem to have this concept that AI can put words on a page therefore I'm a writer you and I can start a blog starter website write a book be a journalist and that if you just keep doing that that successful has happened to them and I think that that's well perhaps somewhat simplistic I think that's it's a matter of understanding the different styles of writing and I guess Maya my my background is that I don't think about this enough made as part of my problem when it comes to writing stuff my site tech distortion is a is getting my head in the right space clicking out of engineer mode as it were but only might be instincts talk about that the different styles of writing as quickly and arm so first of all are those expository writing and descriptive writing persuasive writing and narrative and when you're writing for our fat factual information about a subject you almost I think almost exclusively sort of September's's live in expository writing and is because you're just describing the detailed a subject you're reviewing a product or if your are if you have a commentary on on on an event that happened whereas if you going to descriptive you to end up get the screen using lots and lots of adjectives and putting lots of detail around events places characters those sorts of things but there sorts of detents to be sometimes it can be a lot of blend of descriptive in with the expository I suppose arm persuasive is the opinion piece if the I'm the editor of of the magazine and on the right I guess I guess from your point of view that something that you would probably do arm more so than I would arm but narrative is pre-much out I think is you as the author bring themselves in position of a character or narrating a story that has no real place and what what either of us do not like I could argue that I use all those techniques are a it is not that upset the before it's lights of different kinds of rating we shall you can arguably narrative a little bit less so obeyed arm one of the subtle glitz and writing a review of a new iPhone part of that is going to be me describing what the new iPhone looks like and what the ports are and how does it feel when you know how happy does it feel and how does it feel you hold and all those things there is going to be some persuasion because you have an opinion about what is good and bad about it there is going to be are some some dryer sort of like our recitation of of information about it and potentially there is gonna be the story barred the storytelling aspect of it which is how to make this piece that you rating more interesting and almost no light reviews are no lotteries later but that does happen from time to time where the act of using the product becomes part of the story is well in your sort of telling your your story as a way to explain some aspect of the of the device late guard maybe none iPhone for an example but maybe something like a GPS out where you tell the story about getting lost in your car arm as a part of our explaining why you use it or explain why the app is very good as you can if you got last while you're using it is all too also that that arm you know what when you're when you're being tight how to rate you very much sort of told you rate a persuasive essay or or a raider rated descriptive piece our and are in and that those are all good muscles to Titone and entering online but in the end arm I do think that you end up a lot of times using all of those techniques in different places and even in I found that remaining attack that that you do that in its night there was a time I think when writing about the stuff was considered more are straightforward even felt even a little bit when I started and in the 90s that this idea that your review is going to be this perfect pristine thing that has no personal bias and it's just you just of detailing the facts and the new walkaway in these days that you know that this is no this is a Houston yet and I'm glad you brought up as I did actually whatever point talk about that because it my recollection and is arm go I guess I'm on on getting on so in years but hey when I was younger and I was reading this sort of stuff back in the OB the early 90s laser study get more of an interest in and started buying are you magazines and so on about that technology and wow look at these portable computers that way the eight 1015 kg or something crazy arm you hope was that it is all very factual very much written a lot like our you would read a newspaper a job as a potent might say read a newspaper I'm in knots not an opinion article but factual yet as you say no yet sides is this of these are hard facts and you know when you get this fact India and as it rose networkers in the Brit last probably 10 to 15 years perhaps more so the last 10 and maybe I'm wondering if this is an influence of blogging platforms and that and whether or not people feel that that there is more of a connection with your reader if you are less factual in our little bit more descriptive and more persuasive into the ring to the pieces you're right what you think arm it's saw an old mastermind Rick LePage used to point out in and I think he he had automatic week and I and then he will in a MacWorld and was my boss for several years and he would always talk about arm how reviews are at the point of view of the person who rates them and they're all personal and they are all subjective and that you can use objective evidence but that in the end a review was one person's opinion and that was counter when I think when he started making those arguments before I worked with him it was probably equate are iconoclastic to do that that that you are very much saying going up against this are feeling that everything is very scientific and there is no personal opinion and we take with us our drivers that because of the best hard drive and you know the fact that a lot of the stuff he really is like Reading movie review more than a lap report and and I always in what Rick said really really struck me that arm not only does that make it entertaining to read and one of the reasons you rate the where you know you need to radius to make people want to read it but also you getting across your perspective is useful because people understand we're coming from and if they trust you and they understand arm that you know about the staff they're going to give your opinions wait at whereas if you just sort of coming across as a rabbi they don't really know where you're coming from just relate from on high but there is no authority there except like the brand name the PC Magazine said this and therefore you should believe it which is definitely what all the computer magazines were like an 80s and early 90s are but I like that to because that takes a little bit of the pressure off of you you can you can be who you are and explain why you think this it also honestly want this when my reviewer pet peeves is it also makes you are as a reviewer/to think about what your own bias is our end and note down which I think makes the review better because I think what arm this is another think of anybody in particular there are a lot of people who do this but one of the things that I bite that bothers me about a lot of reviews in general not just tacked reviews but book reviews are regular reviews or whatever it is is that people are very focused on their opinion and I know this sounds crazy but they may come from a background and they are concerned about the way they would use this product let's say in their life and if it doesn't fit with them than it's bad Yan and that's terrible because you know you do need to put yourself in your good rater a good product reviewer you need to put yourself in an inner understand your place and that that there are other people who have different different lives in different needs and think about using your knowledge as a reviewer think about those people and who might like this why was this brother created is it something that other people can use and if you cant do that at the very least say like this is in for me are which is different and think this is bad and any so that that was just that was a lesson that I that I learned much of home you? That this is this assault this is a lesson I learned I really have taken her honestly I think the way that the rating on the web these days about technology and an ageing rating in general these days it will everybody seems to have come around to that to some degree it as it is about a personal thing some people get really focused on them and eat them miss that a larger prospective are which I tried always hold all then I made in a way so don't like something else say like I have an 11 inch MacBook Air arm this does make sense for me bite like maybe this is why they did it maybe if you have a bigger screen then then it would be fine but a sigh can criticise something but also can recognise that it's coming from a specific place which is which is me and the way that I use this product and little like if you if you if you read our own album review of the new a new album that just gets that just got released and it's from somebody who has heeded all the previous output of that proof that artist arm and your fan about artist that review tells you nothing because they you know i.e. we want is a refuel from the perspective of somebody who is where you are and that always you know and so so when you lose perspective like that I think you not doing anybody any favours so I think are writing a review for your up for yourself and not for anyone else what fine I guess but what's the point of Katrina the purpose of writing is to communicate with other people and be persuasive arm length codes on the table which people used to be afraid of what your bias is when you come from why you rating this but it actually is a strength because people understand and then they can they can choose to agree or disagree but they are listening aware that we're coming from and you did use it's funny you didn't used to be awaited very much was the strain of our needs come from on high you gold allowed data are MacWorld air and I think others by cider macro when I started I sent a spreadsheet usable to fill out so you do your opinions and then you put in a spreadsheet and with numbers you number five and it would hour-long gladiator and with better reading and that was the reading you couldn't like say this feels like a 3 1/2 out of five it would save know what this is for witnesses at one point there was like this is 3.6 and 12 there was off vacant stupid because it was trying to arm trying to make this thing completely robotic and and and a calling court objective and I was doing was using the bases of the spreadsheet and whoever admitted the spreadsheet another person actually use the product which I allocated your ideal me as soon as I have the ability throughout spreadsheet weight: excellent call something something I eyed I had I know that's for sure mean fascinating some things you said is well equipped with follow-up on and I guess one of the problems that I've I sort of see with them while not problems but part of the evolution of what we've seen with this so this change of tone and an perspective of the author went when when when we do a review has to do with our the originals of the journalistic style of the new style of reporting whereby everything is sort of explicit precise use of arm Yukon arm you show a balanced perspective and is for you while you try to shop with your mother if you're good at it she shall balance perspective and is you you take that opinion out as use of move away towards that it's it's what just a paraphrase it's okay to add a little bit of your personal opinion salinity temper that with some with some balance and say well here's my use case arm is what matters to me that in terms of my criticisms how many criticise you this product service whatever it might be well on your item on your back that up with here are my reasons why own by the way he is also my personal bias and and then up by a guess as you say all cards on the table and so the reader can then make a more informed decision and I think that balance is critical and I completely agree and I think that that's that's something that is that is sorely lacking in the vast majority of arm I do not say bloggers as it sounds almost dismissive because it's not it's just that there are people in different stages when they're developing their own online writing and is I guess one of the things that I will I always enjoy reading your reviews is that you all of that is already there it's that yes we reach that point after all this all these years of of refinement and then you can read summaries around the web for a year or to any reader and cycle are okay I can't put my finger on what it is but part of one want to get you in and talk about this is one of my own benefit as well I guess to try and get my head around as I can I cover my finger on it and I'm starting to be able my finger on it now exactly what's wrong with some reviews so glad you brought that up so I guess one of this the next thing I want to talk about is arm jargon and detail and his wallet here I know it's one of those things that I have struggled with and I know a lot of people struggle with and is from engineering point of view I struggle with that as well because different documents are for different audiences and knowing your audience is extremely difficult earlier so arm writing for a magazine like MacWorld is a pedestal call a magazine UNITA magazine physically to the summit online presence I don't even think of it that when worry we really already for the website and in its some of it gets in a magazine that some people see but you so for a publication perhaps is the best way of putting it then you why what what would the how do you refer to internally arm that the warehousing I'm sure the service site we we we would just see the state or a roar that will the night but you know we waiting were all basically focused on the say you levels when levels and levels of goodwill usually reaches with the big question when you rating anything Raiders who is this for yes actually so when you're writing for such a diverse audience is you you're going to have people that have got our very small amount of experience that have heard of MacWorld were picked up something off the shelves or have wandered across the website after doing a Google search and I see you know Jason Snell's review of the iPhone 5 awarded five celebrities are all Yosemite mom almost recently are and they're going to have a very different level of someone a technical knowledge versus someone who's been following Apple for the last five years or 10 years the open how do you balance and take control of the depth of that that detail when you're writing you you you you have to you have to know who you rating for you do and and you cannot just say arm well this could be anybody on the Internet in the because it could be a could always be anybody you have to say what is my target audience were my limo trying to reach you any and ideally you you will internalise that eventually and you realise again you can head everybody and he wouldn't have had feedback arm I think I even wrote in one of my Lake 7000 word long iPhone reviews at one point I made the point that arm there is a good be a group of people who read this article he wishes it was 15,000 words in another group of thanks 4000 words too long and and you just have to make a decision on it when I rate arm and OS X review it's 1/3 of the length of John's accusers OS X review and that's not because I couldn't wait 20,000 words about OS X because I most certainly could not saying it would be better than chines but I certainly could could match mine volume if I really tried arm but it's not what my state is for and I was waiting for our P&L for CNN and Yahoo are in the San Francisco Chronicle of the New York Times I would probably rate 600 words are either under words about it and have to start because of the different guardians is that always you internalise a supernatural I got my answer amount about what you know who these people are which is the day they are excited about our staff and want to know I arm and that the tactical enough that they have come to this website to find more detailed than Gartner in a newspaper or something like that that are also night your own night searching at the level of Ars Technica where i.e. I'm speaking to developers and people who understand the tier incredible and want to get down into that level of like detail of what's happening behind the scenes at a at a super nerdy level I am trying to be at a level up from that and that's just the level that I've I've sat you know can be able to please everybody but you try to imagine that that is always the case is you're trying to figure out that audiences are there it's it's almost impassable to rape arm anything if you don't have some idea of who your speaking to and that can be you know it's a bell curve race use of imagining the peak of the bell curve in the end and the that the range around it like an elevator will see that there's like it's totally are like a sitdown Lego Kuwait were demographics are targeting today because that's not what I'm doing but I am thinking, writing this for and and and you know Silver Lake when I'm writing about OS X Yosemite that is free from MacWorld it is for people who are probably using mavericks are and certainly aware of the March of OS X over the years I'm not raiding that story for somebody who is using Windows and thinking about switching to the Mac because that's not what my story is about those people are out there and they made in finance around the Internet and if I think that there is a market for lack of a story I will say to the editors at MacWorld we maybe we should do a story about steel for switchers you thinking about going to Yosemite but that is a different story and is not a stream ratings if you don't have that in mind even if it's just a default and then a chemical difference to any narco talks about this a lot he and I are in sync about a lot of this review staff are the incredible importance of knowing the radiance is handling all your cards on the table about your own bias is and where you're coming from and trying to steal reachable rider in a brighter ideas and trying to understand why other people might want or not want a particular product in track trying to brighten it out from there because my audience is also not me rate we talked about that appear it has to be this brother guardians and I read John Syracuse's review of OS X I'm I'm happy to go down that deep but that's not my that's not my idea and so arm that that's that's part of the trip to his picturing a person who is in you and trying to reach them and it while also channelling your own experiences and places and things like that it's you now when I think about a lake that it Silver Lake arm like reading or writing a bike where it something you do all the time and you don't think about collecting issues if you try to break down how you tie your shoes into little bits it's just a fall apart because you realise you just internalised it as a pluck and yea I tie my shoes and then you start to pick your partner gets it gets all weird this is a lake that were are it's not a sitdown every day and think about these points but there definitely going back there and it was back to your point about somebody who has an ratings lying business experience with it may night you know you may not have all that stuff internalised they are still in overtime distilled in a learn those lessons in and figure out harder harder separate level absolutely and I think that part of the part of the experience comes back to feedback that you've received along the way from various readers as well as your own personal choices as to where you would like to take up the writing that you're doing and obviously when you've got a sights are like MacWorld is obviously much larger is a lot more momentum behind a lot more history and is a different set of expectations but I think that a lot of people need to ask that question and it's something that I will admit I will confess to having struggle with a little bit with extortion is how deep do I go you my audience so that I have on my side is not huge value dates from the moment we are minuscule compared to MacWorld's but that that the point is that you have to have some kind of conscious decision and say I'm going to consistently right at this sort of debt because if you don't like what I fear happens is that you will lose the people that are not technical enough you can't retain the people that are technical enough you try to brighten your focus you end up not having a focus on then yes writing brightening your focus generally does not mean you have a bigger ideas it means you have a smaller ideas because now nobody is happy and is and that's the lesson I learned arm and actually since you're not a listener that this is a cliff that is the lesson I learned within comparable wedges I wanted to I wanted to be that my pike as I wanted to be arm what I wanted to be and it is it is unabashedly the stuff I'm interested in in this pin this particular area and nothing else and that's just what it is and that's that has resonated with a lot of people incredibly more people than I ever expected and a resin resonated more with them than I ever expected it really has proven to be the power of pie gassing is medium that said it is not for everybody and I think those built together the reason that it is arm it is sticking with the things that delayed me gives it an energy that wouldn't have if I felt like I needed to make some decisions to try and have more popularity you have it be brighter and likewise I think it would maybe not resonate newly strongly with the people it does work for arm because of that and so that that's you that's a choice I could make it super narrow or I could make a trader had the superbright appeal and instead I've kind of hit exactly what I wanted to be an end and when it works it works really well and it doesn't work for everyone and that's okay with that to rate accepting the fact that this thing I made you know I needed the way I wanted to I didn't I didn't make it for everybody you not to use and that's fine because it were nothing would work if I met for everybody nobody would like it I met you not everybody out there because I be rethinking second-guessing myself in and pandering and doing all sorts of things that which make about product absolutely and in some respects I also think that that's part of what's wrong with mainstream journalism lease traditionally is that they tend to go for the things that will will get the will or will sell the product get them while the modern equivalent page views and so alternate it's more about reaching out biggest demographic or arm having a sections of the newspaper although the news report all whatever that the target slightly different demographics to cover as many as possible whereas the it seems to be a trend with with with blogs and with arm pod casts as is a far more personal about what an individual would like to do and not concerned with getting a massive audience they're concerned with doing something that their passion about what you say within comparable it's only that you're passionate about the same way that I'm passionate about pragmatic it's almost things that you are in that adds a different spin on things that market well over 7 miles of market share I guess it is kind of like market shares that that's not what it's about all it's about it's about focusing on that audience specifically but you only focusing on because that's where you're interested in and I think that energy gives it that that special something something that didn't exist 15 years 20 years ago I think the all these tools that have come into the hands of people like you ourselves and our everybody really is it someone can choose to do that it's so much easier now the bar is a summit alignment is it easy to get into this than it used to be in armed 200 absolutely uncomfortable I had a conversation with John Syracuse and Emma and Serena, we were talking about are being minimum nerdy teenagers and feeling isolated and how armed the Internet has really changed at an end this is what were tucking about here is that the Internet has aggregated together in a large parts of the world to the point where you can have the most esoteric interest and find lots of other people who share it and that means that there is a market if you want a colour that the things that were previously never considered things that would be that would have enough of a critical mass to be worth serving because the Internet puts all those people together and maybe one person in a town but there are white towns and you end up with thousands of people who are interested in is esoteric subject it's funny ideally the Internet I'm actually are recording pike is leading their woodland placement about the version of the same typographical unit is really polarised body in our lease media in terms of finances where you either need to be serving trying to serve the widest possible audience which is what you are just saying or you are serving the most engaged the people who are the most enthusiastic about a particular subject and that seems to be where we are right now in terms of media and the Internet you're either training or for everybody amassing a viral videos and media websites like The Times or Yahoo or at places like that or you are super narrow lake low-tech websites would like we are here for people who really care enough about tachy beginning with 20 articles about tech from a website every day and what is missing which I think is interesting is people who are mildly interested in things are crazy now later either not interested in anything and feel no passion except really is a cats or your super into it and there is a website for you but this I think that that this leads to another challenge which is what if you're into into it but not super into it I was listening to our what was that it was hours though it was random track which is the spike is that something orchestrated out of the incomparable and are one of his guests were admitted to having not watched a couple of Star Trek series and he was like old Star Trek fans are gonna kill me I'm like I like the original series in the next generation and I can start watching and either easy there is an interesting Internet if fact which is your somebody who is actually interested in the subject but your notice for a deep down into it as the true fans are and so you started so if you like you either have to go all in a reactor back away and I think it's a weird place were in my now culturally and I'm not quite sure what the what the solution is but I think it's interesting that that this sort of like you either have to lay completely commit to get this feedback from my podcast to rate like what you just talk about comics every week one just like about TVR every week and the answers are not interested in any of that was enough to make it the same every week that's why it is not about the same thing every week I just cant get that deep down here and are yet so I think that I think it is just a funny place we are sister in society where the people who are super enthusiastic about something they can find the people and that's great and then a sort of the bride are you again click here to see pictures of cats and then there's this vast in between that is are we humbly figured out how to make that work yet the clinic answered by magazines and newspapers and things like that we disregard a general interest publication and that's coming faded away absolutely right and the idea is of pause for a moment and some quickly talk about our sponsor before we continue and dumb sponsor this this week is our life X dispelled LIF X and it's a smart lightbulb that gives you previously unheard of control of 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fall which you are causing Australia call before we call a awesome but that's not really the point the point is that were out six months exhibiting shifted because of the tilt of the earth so were exact fit somewhere you are but it's actually not it's snout winter where I am right now in Yate Australia so that's that becomes a rather interesting dilemma in some people and not as that is also the whole issue of of publishing times and time zones and what I find interesting is an that a site such as MacWorld has such a large audience internationally fair enough I Isis I suspect maybe can confirm that the majority of your readers would be based in North America so perhaps it in that respect some of those taking care of but I would expect that there is still a reasonable slice of the international audience and I'd like to see what you think about how we approach in-flight internationalisation for the want of better word of the articles like so it's that's a great question that allow their arm think one of the one of the challenges and this will probably go away in the next 5 to 10 years one of the challenges is as a media company we have we have our business unit is in the US and ATG is worldwide and is neither there is an 80 in Australia's Nigerian UK and Germany and many other countries as MacWorld in Australia as a MacWorld in the UK there is a MacWorld in Germany arm and day and yet we are a nights arm directly tied to them we are in business unit for the US that that runs are macro in PC World and in a couple other websites in the US air and so the US is arm it was only a predators ad serving which is our sales force sells ads in the US to companies that largely want to buy US traffic light of the sales that they that they do are specifying US traffic they are buying them their budgets are US budgets to reach US audiences and so if how far traffickers from outside the US which is I think roughly the case then how the traffic we generate cancer can fulfil the ads that are sold by our RR RSL for so if they want to buy 6 million page views we have to generate 12 million page views because we can really it's very hard to rate US specific articles that generate US traffic you really are writing articles in English and people speak English only and only the predominantly English speaking countries but really the world over and so you know this is a problem because I think a survivor 10 years as this will be sold I suspect that with a rise in our networks we are all going to get a lot better at monetising sorry to use that word but now about Internet ad sales so it's if you revenues that work now is the time arm monetising international traffic that a lot of companies don't make mediums don't make a lot of money and are asked of this cover traffic and you know it would make sense that IDG for example with its UK our business unit were done arm would let those businesses that themselves people in the UK also have access to all of ATG's worldwide traffic from the UK from UK visitors so that for example they could sell that the ads on our estate for UK visitors and that they would get a cut and we would get a card and that doesn't happen yet I think I think eventually ad networks will make that all different self part of it is that which is although we are we know we are reaching how the variety is outside the US arm almost all of our revenue comes from the US from you at that the US audience and so on that level we are you will have either I told people that you sent on Twitter which is where it be known where USA will focus on the US and we are aware of the rest the world exists but we are USAID you about this was a little angry people in the UK relate various MacWorld UK you now there is a new and the other thing is local localisation is horrid i.e. would make our jobs a lot harder if we if we try had to mention that it's US dollars or hear what the prices are elsewhere or that this rational rationalisation about why this product is best doesn't work in certain countries because this product is different there are other products that compete there at night here in and when we read about Amazonian people safe harbour now resigned that you know doesn't doesn't work except in the US and the UK for all these different media types think that's true you will we cant only we could do that and if we really felt that that our duty was to cover the entire world in detail I suppose we would do it but in reality we are in the US speaking for a predominantly to a predominantly US ID and is an outsider focused self which we will mention the rest of the world that arm but it's hard arm in a the upside is that being in English our publication opens you up to this enormous worldwide market where or wherever you are in the world in the example I would like to give his rhetoric of ATG who is in Italy but he chose to do Mac stories in our English and so as a result he can reach the entire English-speaking world including people who speak it as a second language with that site and he chosen to do an Italian act say we would probably not not know who we will who he was and I will be a shame because he's great I tuck to arm on Jeter IJ Tommy chimed in a slot based on lunch on shared time each year are from from our young atomic elector: armoured XXL AER ER ER is in our a very tiny country with Lake 2 million people and as a result arm if he does he does all the stuff in his native language and you now arm nobody can amend that attaining ideas and then he does drumming model in English and that's got a huge audience that potentially rate because it's addressing everybody speak English to soak it up it's a beautiful thing but it's also a problematic thing arm and as personally as a as a writer on MacWorld I'm very focused on the US and four of the incomparable IM a little less focused on the US but at the same time I live in the US that is my prospective AIA can be opened other perspectives but that that is that my that's my my place where we are with you but it is funny like if you are if you're a for-profit corporation Lake ATG is and almost all revenue comes in the US you really actually not motivated to serve people outside of the US and Telegraph American flags everywhere in the USA USA address scare people away outside the country but but it is as a cut of our it works against us being more focused on the rest of the world because as you know those you know it we don't actually make any money from outside the US essentially at this point and I think if I think it would be the awareness would change if that if the business needs change Barre now it's very hard to how people come to us and just say you now it's your US traffic and I will tell them we can control that we just read stories and people calmly get Lake rate rate US stories that's not how it works yet understood absolutely and it's it's an interesting point about the about the financial drivers behind the advertising and I think that part of the problem with the advertising was two problems I suppose there's the tax element because if you have a company that spread around the world the individual tax laws in individual countries can be it can be an issue with getting revenue shifted around between you countries if you get ad revenue that comes from Australia shifting that across to the US or vice versa and so on and gets difficult and and and you Apple makes profits and other countries for example and they can't bring that money back to the US I can tie understand that that issue is also the other issue which is a lot of this company is likely mention Amazon perfect example you are there any reactive and a very small handful of countries and most the stuff is really only available in the US and now when I get upset about that in an article and upset with you or with Neo are MacWorld or anything on island upset that was on yardstick ICP here please on Amazon prime alliance stuff to that sum you alas is an hour of and sometimes rings down in a stripping bearer of that that infringer a writer of those frustrations I registered your messenger exactly AIA registry for a crazy Upper room restated a few years ago when it was active arm because it's probably 10 years ago in a journal to state that are always the headline was iTunes Store and never ever coming to Canada and that was my getting my frustration about every time we would read about iTunes in the early days of the iTunes Store we would get angry comments from Canadians who were just furious because it's not clear yet and you know they were directed doesn't think how many times do we need to mention it's odd that I wrote a story that was a literally Eddie Q and Phil Schiller announced that Canada just forget it Canada you can get it just because it was the yell I can totally get a it's it's a it's it's you I think we are all aware of the international audience and that that a lot of stuff that is a little less traditional is much better at being able to serve that but it is true other businesses to abate the amount their budget is with that from one country and are so you see something up with a where B is international but large other reports of where money is in the world are night and that includes things like why is Emma's own night in more countries part of it is rights issues in a worried part of it is that other businesses or night like movies and TV and things like that require seven mood music even require separate deals for every country even though the Internet doesn't work like that and all of us who've been on here for a while were citizens of the Internet it shouldn't matter you know it shouldn't matter where that company is that selling software because I can just download it and give them a cracker number and they get money and I get software and were done our it shouldn't it shouldn't matter and yet it in a lot of other places and we know it won't matter eventually but right now it does and so I gave that all factors into it too. I love the fact that stuff reaches a bra Adi and Selena with incomparable but that podcast reaches a amazing number of countries and I love that it's it's fantastic but arm but you it as it is it is a real challenge but when I'm doing it despite anybody not in Camden nice and this is the thing is I didn't expect that the obviously that I can expect that you would be it's just that is one of those things that I might try and and I just might buy backgrounds is a busy very different because I'm not I'm I'm I'm writing a yarn over a tiny little blog in in a corner of the Internet if there is such a thing as a corner and the Internet are technically the point is there's a little very soon very small.blip on the radar on the corner radar somewhere and you I want to make my articles when I write them to be that when to internationalise it simply you strip out the stuff that is not location specific radio you instead of saying is only in the fall you say that would be ins likely September October or something like that arm go on a course I will sing this but that was before the show thought myself or what if you're not working on a Gregorian calendar I suppose and I guess your reliance on point if it a night this article I have open renowned BBN actually uses the freeze do this fall for a western Yosemite is difficult because the other the alternative various immediacy due between September and November redo between September at mid-September and mid-December of this year which is here again to foreign girl but flow rate and and I could see do this while spring in the southern hemisphere but again that's a little hello either its China gear so it's hard but if you're in if you're an Australian you're trying to reach the boroughs in the larger selection of your potential audience is in North America and the and the Europe rate so you you you you know Anna does with the TG probably goes through every day which is in his year his modelling I think kind of a US centric ideas to Austria's rebate but it also is just this knowledge that the brighter they are the more people are appealing to but it's true it's fun it's great but it is these are all problems that we have our unit every time we list price you know everything we do what Mac should you buy rated that the way Apple does it strike its prices and in especially in Australia where it here often completely out of whack with exchange rates and therefore horribly overpriced was always the Nikon Apple in Australia was that they they didn't adjust the prices for the exchange rate on very often into you'd end up with these you're just ridiculously out of control prices arm you know that that would completely change matters and unite guess what I would say to that is I'm glad is an Australian MacWorld to tie about that and regular horror stories and they can fix them medically actually relevant for us to hear you let it that's true and and I did it when I do read MacWorld of alternative it may sound strange by actually read a bit of both and you I can you can tell the stories that they farm that they've taken from the domain US site and then go sort of filtered them for the Australian site rate at any as a poster ones are locally written but you're right they do they do tend to our localised little bit are so that it's it's good to have not every site has of course so in any case at some I think we've talked about that than another is one of on if we can ensure so okay arm the next thing to talk about is managing the length of arm of your article of recent touches briefly before but it's it's a little bit about the technical depth that one of the problems that I've that I've seen is that's there seems to be our it's hard to draw the line between what is technically a longform article anymore and what is considered to be the right sort of length if you look at a site like The Verge for example where most of their articles are really only several paragraphs long if their reviews are a very depth then you they can be much longer prove that the 5000 6000 word kind of length that it's it's interesting and difficult at the same time to do for me anyway to gauge how long an article should be I guess I'm curious about your thoughts as to how you manage the length of the article based on while I suppose based on the topic more than anything I would expect you are a great Seo that the constants are answer question I a arm partly because back to wait why are you arm retrain a ridge and do they want more into their one lesson and and you know we had this we have this back and forth over time do we Wanna relate rate a thousand word article about our pair of headphones probably night that's probably too much detail we're not a headphone website we Rating 1000 word article about all the headphones we looked at in which one was best known lever to marker like out you well exactly visit this is this the thing is that is that you can you go that to find out when you notify the other way and and not have enough information and people get people get angry about that need it every story every story is different in a new train imagine that that audience that that the is gonna be is gonna be receiving it length you know I i.e. suffer from this I rode along a right way to an arm and sometimes I think that's a legacy that some people think that's great and some people think that it's way too long and mum in the great camp I am and I will sign that made my target guardians does not feel bad about need thousand word long-review that's that you know immediately about another 15,000 word long one but II rate as long as I think it takes eight and I do I tend not to shoot for a word count for those things but there are other there are other times when you just try to get information out there solely and I gonna call the other day about Apple killing aperture and I wrote to thing that was probably 700 words that said you no applicable aperture here is what they said he was with this means is one paragraph the background about late when it was introduced and when Leitrim came out and you know I was done and there was no more than need to be sad in the news I think that's a catalogue of registries of two paragraphs on the news that sheep they move onto the next thing there is a search engine optimisation happening there whether just trying you know it's the economics over the pain somebody you know whether paying ability received 50 bucks for a post in the workshop you have the day and the posted ministries as they can in it and gets people to the state but they're not the prestige stories that there are the doing self it's a great question I not only have a great answer other than to say that I try very hard to just sort of rate what I think is relevant and see what the length is arm that that said sometimes the length is on scene and our yard then it's a challenge from my editors to decide if they want to cut the air that's just a little bit briefer side than a bounce editing because your job title at the moment I are you still editorial director because I lost track of your player, I am editorial director for IDCs consumer arm right business units are so if you're the editorial director who edits the editorial director stuff you who watches the watchmen were everybody's everybody needs an editor so arm a are when I I don't email the editors ministries are used to be the leader is from a website and an yes and this always been the case that when I write something somebody else that it's that we have a peer review system we settle have car builders working on a website anymore it's all here review you have somebody else who looks at it you might put it in your IMAP and a content management system myself and are and get ready to go before it goes live in the Senate link to somebody and so could you look at this or other smell them the markdown filed in a row and they will edit that put it in themselves so I can vary are with my iMac. These days it's mostly Dan Miller or Dan Morin doing that arm that it it has varied over time arm when you were frustrated South used to do a lot of my stuff to install Michael's looks at my staff are sometimes in and you find somebody who is responsible for that story annually and then added and and you know if we have disagreements 889 I try I try not to demand you may invoke my privilege and say no I wanted to run away at a very very very rarely do that I like I like to my argument is that I wrote this way and their argument is they don't they want to change it and usually that's where it goes occasionally else they were actually I was doing that for this reason here's why and if they say okay that's fine that it's up then it's good and if they see well the recent changes less than a while in a letter go and it's a conversation I try very hard to have that be not something were my position is that isn't because everybody does needed (and and I ate whatever I tug about handing something into my elderly people get very baffled because the lake but I thought you're the leader in general I am but you know I there is still somebody who's expecting that story who is gonna read it and and see if it makes any sense and get ready to go in and that's all you that that's also case of United my level of your unused person who is then rating a feature story first that you're waiting for someone else you you know you can add your own story that's not possible it's an interesting challenge for people of writing their own blog where technically they have no editor and it's I find I'm not really sure what the right answer is meant is it if you were and this is arms and I've sort of struggle with because I've arm I worked with a few editors on and off over the years Bert's arm more often on actually but anyway and some it's it's been a very eye-opening experience having a different person's perspective especially someone who's been doing it for a long time as an editor but if you're doing your own blog I I almost think that there is some value in as it were getting some peer review from people that you know either on on Facebook or on twitter if you really want to polish what you're doing rather than just putting it out there without having any kind of peer review but finally enough I don't think a lot of people do that and I'm wondering if there is that it is there theirs like fear or a stigma of some kind because it's meant to be can just blog about whatever I want as opposed to the point of a peer review is to improve the quality of what you're putting out and in some respects to give you a different perspective and that helps you to focus I want if it's something that people should consider and maybe a thing I should be considering as well but it's borrowed its own unemployment is that the blogging systems generally don't let you do that TVB you gals overnight and then you like what I do to wait to send them the text that I got a piece again and I can see if there are any images whatever it gets it gets complicated it would be Nace EF that you if they all had sort of a preview URL that you could go you could send the people and they could see it but nobody else would know that it's therein and and darker that's what we do with internally as we Wilson around the preview stuff that someone that is on a staging server another life server and people can look at add even just to give a thumbs up when I'm doing stuff on my own that you know what that arm you reread it all the more times and you are you know I from big things I would see as a very hard for things rather day to keep pestering your friends and could you look at the schedule look at this I think you know if if if you've got a lot of friendship you unless you get somebody who also has their own Satan user like a back-and-forth and so he could use it could you check this out and then they say could you check this out you can like helping each other out I could see how that would work on the Arty and some in the beautiful thing about the web is only print where it gets printed and that said the web is changeable so you I hate to say it but one of the great things about the weather there is arm if you if you put something and your aliens as you can be there can be paying attention and they're gonna tell you the casino that's not true I did this the other day Wanamaker 70 pieces eight I wrote a thing about private browsing and did mention the fact that there is a private browsing mode in all the versions of Safari because I never use it and I know it's variable edges never use it in such a typical Safeway actually pro browsing is in Safari now and within five minutes of that story going live that paragraph to be rewritten and then rewritten to make it more clear that there was no approval window private browsing mode and that the all private browsing mode wasn't I didn't find very useful because it was under the Safari menu and it was like everything went private and then you go back to public and and so in that case the audience help those people who some link on Twitter and give me comments back in its first 5 to 10 minutes within yelp presumably Lynette was in the people read that story never aside those issues because the audience had had to fix them for me arm you and I yell I would try very hard to have everything be perfect before because other factors you know if it's just you arm other people and in this case my editor didn't see that I've so the drying of the audience I think is a good thing I think that's okay I think I think relying on them arm to notice things and be able to fix you is fix those things is perfectly fine arm although it is always better to have a second sublicense of all yeah its Internet interesting our way of thinking about things is that my I then start to see that the your audience essentially become your assistant editors and the larger your audience the more that assistance but wanted or unwanted assistance) but anyway right could also I think you need to keep moving on and the next thing I want to talk about and because there is a seek it's I was surprised I thought you have enough to talk to Jason about there actually is quite a lot to talk about and one of the things I really want to touch on is what are the elements that you think go into making a good article on on the status of my lesson and will go from there I guess raised I think that in order to make the best possible possible article is that Unitas need to start a stick with the message would first will be clear about the message that you try to convey and stick to it so I think that rambling is the enemy arm indefinitely and I'm guilty of that time and again on and I like to say on working on it's a hand up and work on our I tend to start when I'm building article with arm are beginning and ending more so than outline although then I sort of sin fill in the outline in the middle and is and I guess that that arm sort of mixing the two of them but I guess for me it's about the message it's and we wrote about understanding audience of that sort of implied majority talked about Abbott I decide find this so many articles out there that is aren't focused enough and so I guess yes what are your thoughts arm that silly little pressure and less that you I'm so I have a longer list I just realise that we've covered off a perfect I will rarely rambling is the enemy arm there is light when I'm editing stories by people who have not done a lot of writing before the Lamb throat clearing we: which is the arm as a in a pry think I think professional rater is far I only monitor professional experience radius because not all generators are professionals arm experience raters they are as guilty of through clearing as anybody else by the arm they learn to do it and then get rid of it because it's not what the article is in this is the you know you take a long run up to get started with what you're saying is well you know old bring system releases are are annual now from our ball and are you somebody is the latest wine and in the past I had issues with the included apps that were there there was a time when there was the letter of texture was on the calendar around them and that the last one of the pens and the contacts out because of secure more affairs well near Yosemite is here and it's many years and with since the first movements on this front when they did that you know any rate any and our banana tell you about the arts in Yosemite are there and that there just is everybody does that and you sort of thinking you taken a relatively what is this really about is the background and try to figure it out and the fact is that you need to you lead your first paragraph a couple paragraphs have you want to structure it needs to be what is this thing about and answer you rate a long thing and a new look and say what I really need to say is hey lesson I did mean apps get updated and a bunch that's collected who they are and they said that all you you know that's all you need to say there so that that happens all the time is through clearing the personal anecdotes that are asked typographic personal anecdotes can be really funny as asides arm best air and if they are everything to eliminate what your rating but there are like that assertively why is this year I don't want to hear about this trip to I don't know I don't read every one of your articles and so I don't know the did that the story you've been interweaving in every single article about your own personal life I do want to hear it arm it doesn't answer the question of what you would here to do so I think that that's always the question I asked myself what I'm looking at leads what is the story you to do what is its purpose was to try to get a Chrysler stories I can anything written itty-bitty machine to have an impact on someone else's brain you are trying to change the way they think will inform them or do something and and one of the things you have to do is say upfront he is with Austria can be about otherwise digitally close the browser tab the vernacular reline unless you say here is what I am here to do arm and a news about having a beginning and ending are more than outline I pay I will have outlines that are generally not islands but the list of things like these are things I want to cover and as I go I'll see them and I'll are in middle justly down below in my text editor is rating on the lives of our points only to hit the keys and something will come to me and put it in as a point only to head and when I get there I'll headed elderly dilator but it's more like a list of things to be crossed off that I should mention these things are and I do think arm good beginning to get like I just said and you want to know what you therefore and tying up and by the end is great as long as it isn't in a country ridiculous at it's always nice to be able to say are to let the reader know leverage the end in some way tonally night to see the end but say you know something that wraps it up and make people feel like okay I completed this experience if they get to the end with a lot of readers don't usually give them a word in and see you at the end good job but less interesting you should say that psychotherapists are second a lot of readers don't make it to the end you okay lottery to stomached negatively and if you look at some electro B which is our real-time analytics daughter we use our indexing measures were where people are on the page and whether suppressing so many ankle so many people don't get more than halfway down any any given article people just inability page and on the go away arm some people to this way journalist trend about the inverted pyramid which is with the most important things on Tarpon and Europe continue running your own article in decreasing order of importance until you get to the bottom and that was partially because newspapers would sometimes just cut the story I've had an arbitrary point and others also because strip readers would abandon the story at an arbitrary point and that there is some truth to that even now although I don't rate most my stories in that in that fashion because I'm not rating your whole new story so much anymore but am having ornamented as is working with my daughter who is 12 and she is frustrated often by raiding there are a couple things I tell her as a radiator first operating are for everyone including raters so don't get frustrated just because it's hard for you and think I can rate because it's hard because even professional success raters also find it hard it's just horrid but she gets stuck in beginning she get stuff and in southern introductions and so when you mentioned it is important how beginning and ending one of the things I tell her ears you have the other a beginning now you don't really know we'll rate necessarily linearly you don't need to rate the beginning that you can keep forever real beginning rate how to be terrible have to be generic ever be a place holder… This is the beginning of the story I'm gonna tell story about this and then get into it and when you dine you can see the story you told and an ad beginning as we were easy rate because you know where you're going because you got the rest of itself that something that is arm also important is not just having an idea of the story that you're telling but that the introduction that we get through clearing a somebody doesn't know whether rating about yet is just a placeholder put something generic put some terrible beyond never use and the rate of story and then come back to the type and say are well-known almost areas arm that's a good technique that that I think more people could probably do and I think a lot of people don't think don't think about a lot of people don't think of a rating as it is a craft that I think about that there are techniques and tricks and that you know when you're you know when you're another less when you're writing a novel arm and I were on this as I was reading one of my unpublished novels of the written glaciers is something you put in arm all the foreshadowing and symbolism and and everything is leading up to the plot twists are when you rate rate through the first time you know something raters have everything down in the narrator from start to finish in a press print anecdotes to the publisher and its dine stickleback and bleed lead all that stuff in after-the-fact when the when it taken the journey in the know whether story is going on even on short form stuff like what we read on the Internet about technology the same holds true you don't yell your rating from start to finish you can rate it from the middle with something generic appetite and then go back and fix it when you when you are at the end herself in a people either raiding its get some men treated mystically and is mystified in aware that it needs to night it doesn't need to be that it's the after tricks and shot you absolutely and and that that's that's a very good point legend the next thing a lot of talk about which is revision but before we do I think the problem that the probable face is that they see it from the outside looking in if they try to get into into writing more professionally if they do see the finished result they don't see the steps in the process that the riders gone through to reach that final result and you and I think there is a certain degree of war that there they're such a good such a good writer for the Argyle I discovered my finger on why that are whereas if they learn more about the difference yet it is okay to start in the middle if you want a bit went just the way I personally do it and this is this deftly not my my the one way of doing as you were doing it sure as heck isn't that simply there's different ways of attacking the problem and it's okay to 2 this approach right writing anything in and that includes documentation in engineering as well as for now blog as well as for a site like MacWorld is it's okay to revise it because you can start an article in think you know I just get the words down and then I will I will polish that later this seems to be a bit of a perception I think he's a perception I think that people will like the idea that good writers are just able to sit down churn out a piece not too much revision and it's all good and it that is somehow a measure of whether your good good blogger or writer for the Internet because that so I can sit down in 30 minutes churn out piece hit publish in its source and is all good whereas I tend to prefer and I think and I visited my personal bias here I acknowledge but I prefer to look at articles that have had more consideration in our little bit longer than I know have have been through revision and have been refined to a point where you they are more fully fleshed out and I tend to shy away from the ones that are the eight typed in quick review hit publish because they tend to not have the depth and I guess revision is one of the next topic, talk about was revision and one the problems I face is that I go through varying levels of revision based on what con of your article on writing at the moment I'm in the middle of a just finished a review for something and is I am I am finding myself revise our going back and rereading it and I think every rate yesterday and we read it six times and I'm still tweaking it and how at what point is the right point to draw a line so right that said and hit and hit lazy stop and hit publish and how do you know and I guess that's a question I've always I do ask you are holy hours so that the way that I was use and I can remember who said it originally but it's its own orders finished on the abandoned are good at and that that is that is you could go on forever in that that I used to love reply counselling this is critical literally and apply gas forever and just to get just do it at night I and and I don't either but our distinguished your rating you know you either it is hard finally and arm it can vary based on what the story is I had stories that have a plague me where I have spent a lot of time going back and forth and on on how things are worded it you rate to RA I do a lot of editing as a as a girl from my articles for a four MacWorld where I am arm now I will I all rated and change it in and move along an integral attic as a rater in general I am thinking in the spectrum of raters I am probably a cleaner first draft person than many arm a lot of my stuff is not dramatically changed from my first draft when it gets to the end by arm you know II do more structural things move things around arm I'll leave oftentimes leave things in the mill that are marked to come back later because I don't know the answer or I am not able to check on any given time and I'll just wait around it I'll just say you put lab test results here and just keep going in order to keep the flow going on and in the end you come back and you gonna send off all those little blemishes and get it get it into into a better condition sometimes rated dummy leader because you're not ready to go and after you come back to it and do it later when I am arm the novels I've written a bobbin enduring national non-operating month which is this something general dental Raimo done that aroma go to and I'm on the Board of Directors of man aroma now because I believe in its eyewash enamel those either the poor point when the analyst is not to start and use alternative self editor and just keep moving forward in a 50,000 words in 30 days a lot of times would raters get bogged down as there are so obsessed with the sense that they've written that they will go on to the next one and I would see that for all kinds of rating that is a good that is a good tip that if you are afraid if you if you believe the rater's arm just make these amazing things appear full-blown radar for their fingertips as the taping into into the keyboard and that you will never measure up you would that you should be paralysed about that sentence but the fact is that's not how it works and raters rate great raters rate terrible things and fracture them later self I guess I'd say as if you're if you are having trouble raiding the first thing you should do is arm start editing yourself arm get the words down and make a commitment to go back and watch through it again when you deign to make it better because what you'll find is that you're getting the weathermen a lot of stuff you rater note in that scenario will will be good arm and you fix the stuff is bad but are you will have written it and having it be written is believe it or not number one not having it be good as number two number one is having it be written and a lot of people get so hung up a number to the number one never happens and you can do that so your my I would see my novel is the reason why novels haven't been published results published arm because I would sell publish my I would never promised to get them out there are the reason they happen then is because I know I need to rewrite them I need to revise them and arm and there are huge and so that's become kind of dieting from me but are not on my small-scale stuff my tech rating yell at the same thing applies AI trader I try to write it and if I come to a point where I am up against the wall I will usually put something in brackets that is as arm you know something about this here and I just keep going and I'll come back to the something later either when I'm done or when I'm at a better point and I can I can grasp that thing moving ahead in continuing the rating sides are revision is a great tool to help you the existence of revision is a tool to help you get the words down that that that is most important thing and everybody does need either a second set of eyes able to add much rather have editor of then revising myself arm yet I will do some revision myself if I have a chance I will give it a second read of my own and make changes but the number one thing would be to get somebody else to look at it if I can afford the time and if I get somebody was willing arm bite that for me the most important thing about the existence of route revising your rating is that it gives you a blessing to keep rating even though you're not sure what your rating is good enough because in what cases it actually will be good enough when you read back by arm you know it's so easy that to keep your inner inner editor on a never be able to get off that sentence awesome ballot that is that is good advice and soliciting only to start and I need to stop revising my character review and just move on Wednesday when you have to rate 1800 words where a 1666 words per definition aroma you get really good at just getting the words down and there's something to melamine as a professional writer says the rating a couple thousand words a day and this is what they do is they will get it down and then there is a revision. Later but you just gotta get the words down and don't let it I darted as the still like a sad and is you know you just cant let yourself get paralysed that is the number one problem with raiding is you know you get paralysed about what is the sentence good enough and you know I don't know what to do here and scattered get the words out once the word/slowing you can flexibly excellent right arm so just one more thing before wrapup and so I just want to talk about working with an editor and swear we talked about the people reviewing your work and so on and I know… All that is previously on on on previous episodes so of the show about so about different kinds of review design reviews in particular but handling criticism and taking well II say handling criticism taking on board feedback there's a whole bunch of different expressions that the cover that this the same sentiment which is you putting your work around out there publicly of course when you do hit publish bites in order to work with a site like MacWorld or are you to get to get work in say the magazine or that there's a whole bunch of different note is that the list is endless out that you do have to work with an editor and is because in the end the editor sets the tone for that publication/site sorry and what I found interesting is that the people that haven't worked with well okay maybe I shouldn't be able rephrase this from my point my perspective is that I had not worked a great deal with editors per se until the last few years and I started to work with some editors on and off about about four years ago and it was quite a shock to the system for me and as I think that a lot of people that I will be listening to this that don't at the haven't actually worked with an editor before and when I first started working with an editor it was that was difficult because my my perspective of what they were trying to convey to me was it was highly critical and was very much like will arm you this is needs more detail all that's not really the right way of putting dance and is who is your audience is a solicitor talked about but I guess one of the things is that want to explore because you've been an editor for quite some time is when you are actually working with an editor I guess it's about not taking it personally and and learning from it and in the end you have to care about what you what you're writing being on what's the the editor is in is in a minute in many respects as a gatekeeper and you have to provide things in the format for the publication that you're writing for as opposed to taking as a criticism of this is the way that you write and I don't like it is a well-known open and I mean it's like you've got your head in the right spaces like the editor is there to help you and I just am curious from your perspective perspective on the other side of the fence you do you perceive a lot of fast frustration from people that are trying to get their work published when when it comes past your desk as an editor you and I want us to unite Andrews generally have also been rated as the narrator is and they've been on the other side of the two I would say a yell a few things. It is a collaborative process on the bus we think of it especially if you're doing something on an assignment from somebody else is you are collaborating with your editor your editor give you the assignment there actually hiring you to rate what they want for their website or publication arm and so it is night are your you know your canvas you know it is not your spaces there is space in the know the guardians and they ask you for the story and so they would like it at this especially true of its revenues are review its different little different as an opinion piece but even then there may be a format issue where the editor knows what the pieces awaken and maybe you don't so the best thing to do in a situation is always just think of it as a collaboration the editor is not there to embarrass you the others jarred the owners there are ideally two things the first thing is they will work with you to get the story in publishable forum for their publication so arm in electronic are better than I try to make you feel bad and if you listen to what they have to say and learn from it and this is the key in its harder for some raters to get this knows if you learn from your learning white they want so that you can give it to them because again urinate into their publication you can educate them on how are you rate so that they will accept your particular style you are are learning with their lake so you can give them what they like and you know what professional raters you know the real pros they know that if a rating from acts that you do it this way in the rating for why they're doing it this week even even potentially for the seam website or a magazine or whatever you might sell this person like this categorical this personally this categorical and and that's just that's just part of Barbie narrator is knowing who your aliens as you know Eileen's number one is the prisoner was only that story so heavy that you need to you need to do that sort ideally number one it is you need to think it's a collaborative price is there a help arm there want to get what they want arm but you can learn something from that an end ideally number two is that there is thinking I am helping you will be a better writer I'm helping you arm by using my experiences and editor are about what we like and what we don't like to let you know now because Alana raters don't know they just don't know and how are used to how you do know before you try are about dinner we like to do with this wherever there is a kind of thing you could do work or you should call the company for a comment hero I didn't think about that I like I can do that rate it is so ideally editors also view themselves as as developing larger stories but developing raters I will tell you there is nothing more precious to an editor than a reliable good rate they are going to want to find those people they want to cultivate those people because eventually then it's just like taking you to the story sure and they give you the story no chlorate and you publish the story with very little work and that's really great and slugging through changes maybe in the days of huge staffs and big budgets this was different where it was sort of like everything had to be a Vanity fair article but these days later with small staffs and very little carpeting and things like that editors really do want to work with you to to make what you give them better because that makes their jobs easier and it makes you have a good connection and a market for your work that that you understand and you know how to provide whether asking for self yell I would say it's easy to take personally there may be disagreements it may not be what they want may not be something you are willing to give or are prepared to give an that's fine arm that you don't have to view it as you failed to necessarily amend that happens sometimes people are not good raters and that I do want to pretend that it is not the case but there are still other times where the issue is not that the issue is what you do is not what they want and that's night about you know there is a judgement there but the judgement is and you suck the judgement is ENL you know we need this and if you can give it to us then we should work together and that's okay to you but I do that if it isn't and enters collaboration and the best editors I try to collaborate and communicate that as always, cry sometimes you declare yourself as a writer you have to look at what they did to your article and so why did they do that in media and ask why so why the changes I will learn here that will help editors are happy in most cases to explain why they made the changes they made if you ask because again it showing assignment narrator wants to learn and improve arm you know and and it is this isn't especially true doing things attack raiding its night it's not orange it doesn't warrant to enter but it is also something that you're on your own site you can do whatever you want but I'm there estate they they know what they want and you they're gonna give you money for the product that they're asking for anything if I ordered a table and the table a garden from the table megawatt is like it had too many legs in the wood was different and that she was didn't look anything like we agree on I would not pay them for that table I would refuse that terrible rate I'm paying for the table the night I may have consulted with them we may have had a good conversation we agreed on what we wanted but in the end I'm paying for the product that I pay I desire and and sell you and you know if it's fiction things like that that relationship is very different because arm you know but even then I would I would encourage raters to think about as as as arm as collaborators and that that the rating process is you now is improved by collaboration may not always agree and that's fine but it is there trying the goal is generally to make what you rating better and hence that should be teamwork and your raters not out there by themselves there are the unit that ideally this is the real property many editor is in in your corner arm or you know they want you to be in their corner if you know if you rating for them and they want a certain thing because that's how their website does it then they won't yell they want you to get what it is like to write for them so that the next time you do it you have to have a conversation it's just you cut it you know what rating review for mackerel dislike and then that's it and in the beginning of a beautiful friendship I set out so okay excellent while the little the last question, wrap up on is some is about advice and this is the sort of further how I'll tell you what I what I think but I'm far more interested in unsolicited information what you think and that is some I was I was asked recently arm in real life about arm howl what what advice they would I would give them regarding getting into quite" arm blogging in my wallet really easy actually arm you just get you to turn up and write but I think if I had to give any one piece of advice about anyone that wanted to actually get their writing publish professionally on the wrong guy to ask because my work hasn't really been published are professionally and now months of working towards that at some point that now I I have a new careers and as an engineer and I don't have have to do that I want to but the point is that there is a lot of people either do want to have their work published and I guess my my my advice based on my perspective at this point is visible to care about what you're writing and to acknowledge the fact that you need to improve on is always room for improvement that that's probably loveless interest to what you would suggest that if there is a single piece of advice that you could give anyone that was interested in getting and taking the step from from blogging whatever they felt like to actually writing professionally and actually writing for a site like MacWorld what advice would you give them well and in the euro euro scenario has actually I touched on some of my advice which is one of the great things about the web today is that you can write without arm without anybody's permission and that's a good site that's a good start because if you show interest in what you rating and you got examples of the things that you've written arm and you put those up on your own straight straight on you worried attack/contact log and read some stories and show that you arm sure that you care about admit you want to do a good job doing that because as an editor I look at that if somebody says all yah A for you and I see what you written about attack and they say nothing that's a lot over conversation that there is a wealth of Idlewild were a possible just us a different kind. Check it out and that's good because then I have writing samples from you and I have seen that you actually care about this and you can after supper I will I will blog about your pet subject whatever it is and that that all that goes into it as long as it is really like to find good raters it's it's arm there aren't especially similar technology we are to understand the technology and be a good writer like it's hard to find good decorators and and it's it's great when you find somebody like that so that I think step one is having stuff out there I used to say things like contact an extensive and so you want to read some of the tidbits which was yes I was just turning people over and out and seeing godlike time tucked out but in attendance was an example of a nonpaying market where they were really good at working with unpublished raters and you wouldn't you know you would make a living at it or even necessarily get paid by you word get your name in our imprint or at least on their website and in the newsletter if you if you work with them and that was a good sign in on your mackerel would say hey you been published in an tidbits that's great arm that was a good sign lake from something else so some of it is is are finding somewhere else if you want to go work acts in a media start with ratings of the four wires Ian eventually make your way up to axe that that can happen but I think number one is demonstrating you your interest in having our will be used: printers clips having rating samples online and if you cant do that for somebody else's blog where you're in a contributor because you don't know anybody then I would start with your own and even if nobody ever goes to your your blog RW will have immediate response to your blog and night night will work for anybody else that's fine just do that and if it even if it's just a means to an end of you being noticed by the people and having someone appoint you and say I did that I'd love to do this sort of thing for you that goes a long way so I think that's number one arm when I hope people for jobs are just throwing this in here were 100 people for jobs demonstrate again demonstrating your enthusiasm is always comical for you know it if if you're if the mackerel job and you are demonstrably into Apple stuff that helps because if it's a mackerel job and you are not in doubt. And don't really care boy now that's a bad fit but then you but then I would say just as important as demonstrably into media integrating into polishing things on the Internet into being in a living on the Internet III would have job interview applicants from entry-level jobs are MacWorld and I would say you know what you know what you written and that it was Nicholas magistrates who did you wait for your school newspaper arm you know did you do a school magazine now did you have a website now so what it what you rating samples I have some papers in a romantic journalism class like you did no extracurricular anything now no one I'm probably not a halo prison because they are not showing a passion for being a rater arm and that's bad that's just a really bad sign that somebody was theoretically like asking about Frank trying to find a job that they want their winnings measures ameliorating this for them by if there if they really wanted to do it with there will not be able to keep it in they would have found an outlet for it and I'm not interested in somebody who is just sort of lake mildly interested in possibly being a rater as a career path I want somebody who is is is demonstrably into it and and so you know again having a website you can point to and say I did that when I was in school I did this whole thing those those helper light if you're an editor who is looking for prospective raters giggle other people the rate some stuff and you have no way you've no way to gauge the level of interest and commitment of the catholic out a new and an entity really care about the stuff if you can say I'm super into Apple stuff and I rode you not review as of 30 different apps on my blog about apps that I have over here and I want to rate our reviews for you I'm in a undersea wow We should give this guy shut down and then then and yelled media reviews are terrible we don't use your maybe the good and we we have some notes and you get better and maybe the great and we again beginning of a beautiful friendship but demonstrating that you care and having examples of what you what you want to do is the best call and I'm really glad you brought a passion because our I did an episode of the show are episode 10 core passion over academic proof that was in engineering it's the same kind of thing I want to hire people to work for me that's you know maybe I don't go home and program appeal see all this gutter system at home to control their houses something may but I do that although I she had one guy work for me that did do that which is kinda crazy to me but still I want the people that are that are keen that that that that love what's what we do what were they doing more say an old weight that morphs more heavily than the marks they got what I went through university so are its it's I'm really glad you brought up as a passion is a big thing so you can detect when somebody doesn't have patient you can yes you can tell passion you have to have a good boy it makes a huge difference of some is that I passion for you again in this business passion for technology a passion for parading and making videos or whatever it is that that is what separates the the good the good from the great I would say certainly and so on terms mediocre from the good you now fair for comment so I think we should do was to be wrapped up they were gone longer than I normally like to arm but that's okay are expended with an Honor Roll's K arm so if you would like to talk more about this you can reach me on Twitter at John CG and that you get my writing attack sentiment or writing are if you like this any feedback please use the feedback from the website and that's where you'll also find the show notes for this episode under pod casts pragmatic you follow pragmatic show on Twitter to see show announcement Jonathan's other related materials are also really like to thank my guest hosted a Jason Snell and Jason what's the best way for people to get in touch with you are this was probably Twitter Jason L on Twitter GS and PLL and you can now also will find me an acrobatic arm and all my many fantastic I'd also like to personally thank you wife expert sponsoring the show if you're looking for a great LED bulb with energy-efficient remotely controllable colourful and just plain fun to use remember specifically visit this URL my thanks that spelt and use the coupon code pragmatic 50% off the total price of your thank you everybody for listening and thank you Jason thanks thanks everybody�
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Jason Snell

Jason Snell

Jason appears on the The Incomparable Podcast each week and for a long time was the Editorial Director of Macworld, PCWorld and TechHive but now runs his own site Six Colors and also podcasts on Relay.FM.

John Chidgey

John Chidgey

John is an Electrical, Instrumentation and Control Systems Engineer, software developer, podcaster, vocal actor and runs TechDistortion and the Engineered Network. John is a Chartered Professional Engineer in both Electrical Engineering and Information, Telecommunications and Electronics Engineering (ITEE) and a semi-regular conference speaker.

John has produced and appeared on many podcasts including Pragmatic and Causality and is available for hire for Vocal Acting or advertising. He has experience and interest in HMI Design, Alarm Management, Cyber-security and Root Cause Analysis.

You can find him on the Fediverse and on Twitter.