Walt Mossberg Has Penned His Last Weekly Column
Walt Mossberg is the coolest old cat I’ve ever met. I remember being at one Steve Leon’s CES events maybe 5 or 6 years back. Walt was perusing the latest technology, while off in the distance hip hop star T-Pain was pimping a new auto-tune app. This was before Thedroidguy was acquired and I was doing the rounds with then 15 year old Elijah Ketchum. I went to try and shake Walt’s hand, while Elijah went to meet T-Pain, “Who’s that old guy” he said. “That’s the godfather of technology writing” I replied.
Even worse than young Elijah’s naivety were the marketeers promoting the newest of products, often not realizing who Walt Mossberg was, as he started to poke and prod at their wizardry and gadgetry. Often moving to talk to the person with the badge from the blog of the month club…
I remember being in grade school still. Before my dad passed I would spend time at his office, waiting to get my little hands (at the time they were smaller than Donald Trumps) on the latest Wall Street Journal. My dad often thought I was trying to learn about the stock market, nope. I was learning about the IBM PS/2, Prodigy, AOL, Compuserve and whatever else was in Mossberg’s column.
I doubt Walt remembers that day at Showstoppers, but every time after that, when I saw him at an event he would smile or say hello. I also found that over the years, every now and then if I sent him a thought provoking email of some kind he would send one back to me. Then, three years later I wanted to get into the highly coveted All Things D event in California. I had seen one too many videos of Ina Fried unboxing the swag and I knew I had to be there. There wasn’t a chance in hell that our analytics even remotely qualified us for entry. We’re talking USA Today, TechCrunch, Engadget, Gizmodo (before they went nuts), and those kinds of publications got the golden ticket. On a whim I wrote to Walt and Kara, and three weeks later I was on a plane.
Technology has changed so much in just the decade that I’ve been writing tech. Walt speaks so well about that change in his last re/code Verge column.
In the early days, products could live or die by a Walt Mossberg column. The internet wasn’t so handy back in the early 90’s when he started. You were stuck with maybe 5 reviews of any given product, and Mossberg was printed in the Wall Street Journal. Times have surely changed. Computers used to be clunky and even reading the manuals wouldn’t help. Moving Mp3’s to a Rio player was far more difficult than iTunes, and you had to get out of your seat on the couch to change the thermostat. Mossberg saw all of these things in their infant stages.
I’m sure he has a long life ahead of him. We could see flying cars in his time. We sure have seen self driving ones. Good luck sir, and thanks for making technology writing, great.