Meet the New Bossby Ryan Smith on August 30, 2014 7:01 PM EST
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Meet the New Boss. Same as the Old Boss.
If you had told me 15 years ago that I would one day be the Editor in Chief for AnandTech, there’s a very good chance I would have called you crazy. Having read AnandTech since 1998, it seemed obvious to me at the time that I could never know enough to match wits with Anand. Even in the early days of the site Anand brought a high degree of skill and thoughtfulness that few people could ever match, a quality that kept me reading the site for so many years.
Consequently, to be here writing my first comments as Editor in Chief borders on the surreal. Having read AnandTech for 15 years and having worked for Anand for almost 10 of those years, it was until recently hard to imagine reading AnandTech and not seeing articles by Anand, or to be writing for AnandTech but not be writing for Anand himself. Anand has been a constant in the tech world both as a source of news an analysis for us all, and as a mentor to me. These days I can happily say I was wrong about not being able to match wits with The Boss, and now I am going to get to put that to the test.
AnandTech has been Anand’s baby since Anand practically was a baby, having built it up from the ground in the last 17 years and spanning countless generations of technology not to mention the economic booms and busts that come with it. Words cannot express how humbling it is to be asked to be the next Editor in Chief – to be the first person that Anand trusts and believes in to run AnandTech and keep his baby going. It’s an awesome privilege and an awesome responsibility, and it is a task that I aim to do as well as The Boss himself.
When it comes to taking on the duties as Editor in Chief, I suppose it’s the fact that Anand and I are cut from the same cloth that even makes this transition possible. While I wasn’t born to teachers, writing for AnandTech has been a job I have loved for nearly a decade because I love learning just as Anand does. And though it’s a gross simplification of the job, being a journalist for AnandTech ultimately means learning about technology and sharing what we have learned with the rest of the world, which is the ideal job for anyone who loves learning. What this means is that although we’re not interchangeable – I am probably a bit more excitable than Anand – it means that the same force that drives us both, and it’s that same love of learning that will continue to shape AnandTech.
To our readers, we wouldn’t exist without you, and it is my first and foremost goal to continue driving AnandTech to bring the kind of high quality content that you come here for. That content comes from passion, skill, and taking the time and care to do things right, and these are core values that will not be changing. At the same time the editors working for us are among the best, and I know that they will continue writing fantastic articles across the broad range of technologies we cover. AnandTech may no longer have Anand, but it will have the same quality content that it has always had.
To our editors, what little is there to say about you that Anand has not? An Editor in Chief is only as good as the people working under him, and it is the fact that I have you that makes me confident that I can take on this role and fill Anand’s big shoes. You deserve nothing less than the best leadership, and to you I vow to do as well for you as Anand has done over the last 17 years.
And to Anand, it has been an honor working for you for the last decade. To say that I have learned everything I know from you is only the slightest exaggeration – so much of what I know about both technology and journalism comes from what I have learned from you over the years. To be the new Editor in Chief is incredibly humbling, and I intend to prove that AnandTech is still in good hands.
For 17.5 years now the path of AnandTech and the path of Anand have been one and the same. And though that is no longer the case as Anand retires, it is my sincere goal that the next 17.5 years will continue down the same path that Anand has set. And that is to create and curate the kind of high quality content that enlightens and informs all those who wish to learn about technology.
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Coup27 - Sunday, August 31, 2014 - linkPlease do. Not being able to edit comments is a massive PITA.
Sad to see Anand go, but think it's in good hands.
hrrmph - Sunday, August 31, 2014 - linkPlease don't.
AT is one of the few sites that intentionally makes you think carefully before you post. It adds quality to the comments.
It's easier to spot the lazy, the drunk, the unstable, and otherwise unworthy comments when there is no ability to edit them after-the-fact.
Speaking of facts, the fact that I'm having to explain this to the new editor-in-chief reveals just how poorly this transition might go. I would like to think otherwise, but I believe that Anand had an intangible presence that added to his formidably tangible knowledge of his domain. Just how much the "silent hidden fear and respect" of Anand's smarts and presence has helped shape this site is yet to be seen, but I'd wager that it was considerable. Maybe even unrepeatable.
Ryan will have little time to develop that internal "herding of cats," while showing poise, confidence, kindness, and where necessary, firmness to the outside world. Retrospectively, this is sometimes best exemplified by Anand's occasional silence on particularly thorny subjects while fixing them behind the scenes, or, alternatively, intentionally not fixing them because they weren't really broken to begin with.
For all of our sake's as well as for Anand's legacy, let's hope this doesn't become another once proud franchise sliding towards mediocrity. However, the unfortunate reality is that AT is one of only a handful of tech sites left that are worth reading. Precisely how did that happen? For the most part, the founders of the other sites left. How AT will escape the fate of the others is beyond my immediate comprehension.
You see, leaders who possess the drive, competitiveness, and intangible's that Anand has proven to carry, typically cannot thrive in the presence of another "Alpha." It's not their fault... they just cannot. Their second-in-commands must, by the nature of the beast, be more docile.
Once having rolled over in front of the chief while in view of the others, it will be difficult to convince the pack that the new leader has the necessary fangs to get the job done and the cool confidence to not use the fangs when it isn't necessary, or would otherwise be destructive.
So Ryan, I hope this works. But, the honeymoon is fading already. Reality is here. I hope your future writings on the direction that the website is veering off to will offer more spark, pizazz, and confidence, as well as a healthy respect and understanding for what already works well.
If not, then a justification for change would be helpful. If none of the above is forthcoming, then silence would be better. Today's writings are a bit reminiscent of the proverbial "deer-in-the-headlights," not to mention too much rolling over in front of the old boss, and some subconsciously being demeaning to the staff.
So while everyone gets a little slack in the beginning, it's already time to tighten up. The critiques by others may come too late to help. As mentioned, this is after all, the honeymoon phase.
I wish I didn't feel this way, but the loss of Anand is huge, and you have little time to adjust to the new reality that running the site requires just as much attention to detail as the articles you write.
You will need to fine-tune your tone, while simultaneously being extremely cautious about what you say about the future of the site and the staff. Like it or not, you are no longer just one of the boys, yet you must always publicly treat them like brethren.
You might not immediately appreciate what I have to say, but I doubt that time will prove me wrong: You have just inherited "the job from he**." It is probably survivable, but not without extraordinary effort.
Again, I hope this works. If it does, we will all benefit. If not, then AT simply joins the list of the soulless, but somehow successful, walking dead (kinda like PCMag). Such a legacy is yours to be avoided, but only if you pivot quickly to the new reality. What happened today is already yesterday's news. Tomorrow needs to be better.
Coup27 - Sunday, August 31, 2014 - linkSo when you make a spelling mistake or miss a word out which actually changes your entire point, you have no facility to change it? Imagine if all forums worked like that, wouldn't it be brilliant. Not.
The rest of your post is total waffle btw.
wrkingclass_hero - Sunday, August 31, 2014 - linkSecond task: bring back Brian Klug.
Zap - Monday, September 1, 2014 - linkYour second task: Make comments remember logins.
(Or set the cookie to expire after a longer time.)
chizow - Wednesday, September 3, 2014 - linkDisqus plug-in?
nevertell - Sunday, August 31, 2014 - linkEditing the comments makes no sense, at least when the system has explicit replies. A trole can post a controversial comment that would attract replies and then just change the comment to whatever. Also, the only benefit I can come up with to allowing editing comments is that people will be able to fix their typos. And typos I can live with, more trolls would be a lot more painful.
boeush - Sunday, August 31, 2014 - linkMany sites that allow editing of comments, restrict the editing to within a few minutes of the initial posting - thereby largely eliminating your concern while still allowing people to correct themselves when they misspeak/mistype.
siberus - Saturday, August 30, 2014 - linkGood luck! No pressure :3
FwFred - Saturday, August 30, 2014 - linkAs a long time (mostly) lurker, best of luck Ryan. Thanks Anand for truly improving the state of tech reporting.