When I was in high school, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I ended up taking a theater class as an elective freshman year (my mother’s suggestion) and loved it. I took more and more classes until I was eventually staring in almost all my high school plays (oh god, don’t click that link).
It only seemed natural to carry that passion over to college (as I still had no idea what I wanted to do) so I enrolled as a Theater major. But when I got to college, I just didn’t feel like acting any more. It was my creative writing classes that were the most fun for me, so I switched to an English and Creative Writing tract. For my honors thesis, I wrote a play.
But I still didn’t know what I wanted to do. When I graduated, I got a job in the mall at French Connection selling clothes. I was still working retail when I launched my first blog, IAmDann.com, and just wrote about random stuff. Seriously, go back to the first posts on IAmDann.com and check out the unorganized and unfocused content I was producing.
But I kept writing, and kept posting content. And after a couple years, I had a realization:
I was a writer who wrote a play and had a two-year-old blog.
As I was doing all that work, it didn’t feel like I was accomplishing anything. And even though I didn’t have much focus during any of that time, I suddenly had a pretty impressive sounding CV.
I used that blog to land a full-time writing job at LAPTOP Magazine, and the rest is history.
When people say that you should follow your passion and do what you love, it’s because someday it’ll be valuable. If you love video games, and write a short post after every video game you play, it won’t feel like work. You might not even get any traffic. But eventually you’ll have a massive portfolio of work and you can turn that into a real, paying job.
My guest today is Joe Osborne, Reviews Editor at TechRadar, who is passionate about technology and video games. Unlike me, he had focus from early on, writing for small local blogs and systematically working his way up to his current position. In this episode of the podcast, he shares exactly how he did it, what he looks for in pitches, and shares his thoughts on the future of tech.
This episode is just plain fun, and it goes to show that you really should be pursuing your passion, even if it doesn’t feel like you’re getting anywhere as you’re doing it.
Here’s what we chat about:
- How Joe used writing for free as a tactic for becoming a tech journalist
- The difference between full-time freelancing and being a staff writer
- How Joe spends his time as a Reviews Editor
- Different approaches to tech reviews: all-inclusive or extremely selective
- The trick Joe uses to manage his busy email inbox
- What happens when you send a product pitch to TechRadar
- Working smart (not hard) when pitching your product
- How paying attention to a website’s community can help you pitch
- The future of laptops…is it the new Microsoft Surface?
- Which devices people use depends on the time of day
- Will the laptops of the future be strictly work devices?
- What does it mean for a device to be “in development” for three years?
- How we’re moving more and more computing power to the cloud
Links mentioned in this show include:
- Sponsor: Planet1107 app development (10% off!)
- Second-generation Nest thermostat gets slimmer, more compatible
- MoDev UX Conference
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The Novice No Longer Podcast intro music was composed by the talented Will Larche.
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