Heim Föstudagsviðtalið Föstudagsviðtalið – Alex Wilhelm frá TechCrunch

Föstudagsviðtalið – Alex Wilhelm frá TechCrunch

eftir Jón Ólafsson

Samkvæmt venju þá er komið að vikulegu viðtali hér á Lappari.com í viðtalsseríu sem kallast einfaldlega Föstudagsviðtalið en þetta er viðtal númer 31 í röðinni. Markmiðið er að tala við venjulegt fólk, harða nörda sem sviðsljósið skín sjaldan á sem og einstaklinga sem eru áberandi í tölvu og tækniheiminum, leyfa þeim að segja aðeins frá sér. Eins og venjulega þá er tilgangurinn er fyrst og fremst sá að hafa þetta létt, skemmtilegt og vonandi áhugavert fyrir lesendur.

Viðtalið í dag verður allt á ensku og vona ég að það leggist ekki illa í lesendur…


TGIF and as usual it is time for our weekly interview but we have been doing them every Friday for the past 31 weeks. The objective is to interview people who are normally not in the spotlight of the mainstream media although we sometime try to mix regular people (whatever that means) with hard-core geeks and high profile individuals in the tech community. This has been their venue to tell our readers a little bit about themselves, where they are coming from and where they are heading.

Today´s interview is special in many ways but I manage to interview a person who fills all the criteria for the interview. He can be categorized as a normal man, a high profile writer and a geek. This is no other than Alex Wilhelm who is one of the writers over at TechCrunch and well established in the “geek community”.

It looks to me like Alex has been a writer all of his life, but I started noticing him when he was writing for The Next Web, he has been one of my favourite tech blogger/writer for years. I would say that he is a colorful person and I really enjoy following him on Twitter but he is very active over there.

I recommend that you take a look at his page over at TechCrunch as I suspect that his writing might interest many of my readers. He often writes about topics that are close to my heart or have been on my mind. I didn’t always agree with his conclusions but then again he usually has good and valid arguments so he tends to make me change my mind or at least rethink my opinion and that’s why I am a fan of his work….

But lets get this started and hand the mic over to Alex..


Who is Alex and where are you from?

For better or for worse at the moment I’m a writer. I live in San Francisco, but have lived in Chicago, grew up in Oregon, and also have done a good bit of time in Mexico.

It’s currently around 5 pm on Monday, I’m drinking a beer, and enjoying a beautiful afternoon sitting near the windows in the largest room in my apartment. Hello, everyone.


What do you do for a living?

The day job is writing. That’s how I eat, live, and travel. For fun, and by that I mean for free, I do a decent set of media appearances on television and radio. Though, I’ve never been paid for that work. Really, it’s just a nice break from writing.


What have you been up to for the past few years?

The last few years have been crazy. I graduated school from the University of Chicago in mid 2012, moved to San Francisco, ended up the deputy managing editor of The Next Web, and did some travelling to Holland, Brazil, Russia, and China (not to mention too many stops in Vegas) before joining TechCrunch last July. 

I was very lucky to join The Next Web at the start of my second year of university, I think in 2009, so when I got out of school, my career moved a bit faster than it otherwise might have.

Life is good.


Could you please describe a typical day in your life?

I normally work from home. I should go to the office move, but frankly I get far more done in my apartment, so my normal day is like this:

  • 8:30 am – Wake up.
  • 8:45 am – Shower, hit up the coffee spot.
  • 9:00 am – Writing, at the desk.
  • Between Noon and 1 pm, I generally order food to the apartment, so I can stay at my desk and keep writing.
  • Between 6 and 7 pm my main writing traunch is done for the day. I usually have one or two social work events or a dinner to go to.
  • 10 pm – A normal time to get home. Drinks, maybe tidying the apartment, thinking about what to do the next day. More drinks. Writing as needed for early embargoes and the like. Writing for fun if time allows.
  • 1 to 2 am – Sleep.


Favorite Quote?

Here are a few that I have fallen in love with recently:

“A life that partakes even a little of friendship, love, irony, humor, parenthood, literature, and music, and the chance to take part in battles for the liberation of others cannot be called ‘meaningless’” – Christopher Hitchens

“Only idiots fail to contradict themselves three times a day.” Friedrich Nietzsche


In a fight, who would win? Van Damme or Chuck Norris

Given that Mr. Norris is a right wing bastard, if I recall properly, the other person.


What OS (desktop) is on your main computer, your daily driver?

Up until a few weeks ago it was a Windows 7 box hooked up to a few monitors. However, my last desktop went to the great OS in the sky, and so until I get off my fat behind and rebuild my main workstation, I’m splitting my work life between a Surface Pro 2 and my Macbook Air.


What kind of a tablet and mobile phone do you use?

I almost never tablet. Frankly. The total hours I have clocked on my original iPad over the years would be depressing. The tablet I use the most is a Surface 2. My current cellphone is an iPhone 5, which I have become fond of.


What do you like most about that phone?

I just want a phone that will do everything, and leave me alone. I don’t need something special. I don’t want to mod it. I want a phone. Apple’s most recent handsets I feel are well featured, reliable, and generally strong options for their price.


What do you dislike about that phone?

iOS 7 can be wonky, and I wish I could move to Windows Phone, but it still lacks a few apps that I need.


What are your top five apps/tasks that you perform on the phone?

Well, I love to avoid texts and emails and phone calls, so there is that. I live on Twitter, so it has to be my primary mobile application. Lyft and Uber are key, to get around and do my job. I have meetings throughout the week that require me to scoot around the city.


Do you remember the first mobile phone that you got?

I do. It was a little LG fliphone that did little but I loved it. My parents had cellphones at the time for a few years, but it was still not too required to have one at my age. Finally having one was almost a social step up. I never got too into texting, though. Most of age cohort was addicted.


If you could pick any phone in the world, what phone would it be?

Hm. I think right now given its app strength, and the maturity of its hardware, I’ll keep my iPhone 5. It has a sticker on the back that is from a good memory, so I wouldn’t trade it in for a 5S. I like it.


Could you please tell us which tech sites/blogs you monitor regularly?

Oh god, all of them. Reading is the largest part of my job. It’s the main job of any writer, really. So name any English-language technology blog or site, and I read it. I also read political news as carefully as my time allows.

My favorite, shockingly, is TechCrunch.


Anything else that you would like to add?

I don’t read email much, but if anyone wants to kick it, I’m on Twitter nearly all the time. Salute!


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