First of all, my brother is powerful. Well, both of my brothers are powerful, really, because one is a whip-smart lawyer and the other is an administrator at a swishy private school. But the latter one is, according to GQ at least, very powerful. I suppose I already knew this his day-to-day involves a lot of people ingratiating themselves with him. Still, I had never bothered to dub this position as powerful per se, but it's true: my bro has wicked sway. I got a kick out of seeing his mug in the magazine. Fun stuff, J. But why didn't they focus on your true power: that spin serve to the deuce court?
Meanwhile, I met a guy the other day who is a techie force of nature with a very different kind of sway. I was speaking at a Society of Professional Journalists event last weekend, on the topic of covering science and technology. Well, the way I go about covering this "fast-paced beat" is to do so rather slowly. I try, here and there, to use a few new-ish tools, but my DNA is that of an old-fashioned magazine writer. I talk to a lot of people, visit places, take lots of notes, think too much and then, gradually, assemble a story.
Luckily for the audience at this SPJ event, a guy named Marshall Kirkpatrick was also presenting. A writer at ReadWriteWeb, Kirkpatrick is a one-man army of tech-industry info consumption, synthesis and reporting. It's not that I've never heard of the tools he wields--Ardvark, Google Custom Search Engine, Magpie RSS, notify.me, Delicious, Firefox extensions, Fever RSS, friend feed, Twitter--but that this guy really uses them, profession, in a big way. Very fast. Very often. And at a level of depth that makes him either a genius or borderline insane. I also wonder how his eyeballs have remained in their sockets, considering his dizzying rate of internet movement and multitasking, but then again there might be something in his eyeglasses that protect his eyes (and brain) from spontaneous combustion. In any case, I reckon anyone who would be so bold as to even say he follows 4,000 people on Twitter is someone to reckon with, and if you're someone who likes to stay abreast of developments in the technology industry, this is a guy you will want to follow.