How Om Malik Saved Me From a Life Of Caring About Technology

It’s not very often that someone has an actual epiphany.  I’m not sure that I’ve had one, but I did come to a realization that changed a good number of my adult habits.

I am, however, getting ahead of myself.

Up until a few weeks (months?) ago I was what you called a “gadget nerd.”  Being a gadget nerd meant that I lusted after the next shiny piece of tech.  I wanted desperately to own the latest bit of electronic goodness to fill the aching, Lumia 900 shaped hole in my soul.

It was kind of sad, really.

I was listening to This Week in Technology, one of the ten or so technology podcasts which I regularly listened to.  TWiT’s format is that one guy, Leo Laporte, gathers a revolving cast of tech journalists who offer insight and analysis on the tech news of the week.  Obviously the quality of the show depends on the quality of the people who decide to hang out on a Sunday afternoon.

This particular show featured John C. Dvorak, Harry McKracken (I believe, also, “unleash the McKraken!” how often do you think he’s heard that?) and Om Malik.  Om runs the not at all self referential where he, I’m not actually sure, I’ve never read GigaOM. On this particular show Om was in rare form.

First in a story about European cell phone carriers not wanting to carry the Nokia Lumia 900 he declared that the reason no one wanted the Lumia was that no one wanted a third phone system.  IOS and Android were all that anyone actually wanted and everyone else should really just stop trying.  Not 30 minutes later he argued that Windows Phone was awesome and he hoped that Microsoft kept working at it because we need more choice in the mobile phone market.

I know what you’re saying, “that directly contradicts his earlier point about there only being room for two mobile OSes and no one wanting a third option.”  Yes, yes it does.  You probably also think, “isn’t Om the guy who said that the reasons Android and IOS are dominant is because they’re “the only two” operating systems that when you turn them on your data is there?  I mean, surely legions of unemployed Palm engineers let out a giant “FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK YOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!” when they heard that and your own Windows Phone is currently showing a moving collage of pictures of friends and family in its contact pane.  How is this guy a tech journalist if he keeps saying things that don’t make sense about tech.”

Because, tech journalism doesn’t actually require you make any logical sense.  Much like politics tech journalism is all about staying on message, even if the message has no relation to reality.  What’s the message you ask?

Apple is all.  If you’re in tech journalism Apple is the pinnacle of all things awesome, even when they’re blatantly ripping off other people or when their products are sub par.   Apple rules, even though they treat their customers like crap and the press even worse.  The relationship between Apple and the tech press is much like that of a small town teenager and the big city pimp who turned her out.  I mean, he makes me have sex with other men for money and beats me regularly, but really, deep down inside he’s a nice guy who loves me.

Microsoft is dumb.  Despite owning its core business to the point that governments, literally, refuse to let it own it anymore.  Despite pioneering many of the very things that they love about Apple. Microsoft can do no right, even when they do incredibly right.

Amazon is secretly becoming a tech powerhouse.  I know this because every story about Amazon is about how they’re quietly/secretly/under coverly becoming a tech powerhouse.

Google is evil.  But we love them anyway.

Making fun of RIM is like punching a three month old in the throat.  Gather the three month olds.

Facebook is evil and wants to steal all of your private information.  You should not use it.  Like this post on Facebook and participate in our contest by friending us.

Patents are evil.  We will yell with impotent rage at how companies spend time to develop things and then won’t let Google other companies, ok, let’s be honest, Google use their technology for free to directly compete with them.  Oh and some other companies just buy up patents but there is no difference between people who utilize patents to protect their actual business and people who’s only business is patents.

You will only be happier if you buy a new whatsit which is vaguely and marginally better than the whatsit you bought yesterday.

It’s all basically bullshit.  The next thing isn’t going to be that much better than the last thing and neither of those things is actually going to make you happy.  The tech press is really just a collection of guys who got beat up in high school trying to be cool and it’s kinda sad that I gave them any mind for as long as I did.