November 21st, 2011
I have a personal story. My friend John Pospisil passed away last week. And yet an hour after I’d heard the news, I discovered that he’d posted a new link to Twitter — about Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablets….
John was the editor of a technology blog, and his Twitter account was synched to the blog’s headline feed, so every time one of his reporters published a new story, its headline would appear as a Twitter “status update” from John. Eventually I figured out what was happening, but it was a big shock to see one more message appearing from John himself on the day after he’d died. “Kindle Fire: Comparing an Apple, an orange and a bit of a lemon,” the message read — under a smiling picture of John…
John jerry-rigged an empire out of old-fashioned ambition. He’d recruited technology reporters from Craigslist — including at least one who’d written for the Wall Street Journal‘s site. Whenever something new and exciting happened, John already had a reporter on the story, and they’d deliver quick blog posts filled with information and insight. Everyone wants to make money on the internet, but John was the only guy I ever knew who’d actually found a legitimate way to do it. Amazingly, his simple site seemed to earn him enough money to support both his wife and his two kids.
Search his site today for the word Kindle, and you’ll find 3346 matches.
John had recruited a multi-national team of reporters, including writers in England, America, and Australia, so they never missed a good story. They all converged on a single blogging site, and John watched over the whole thing from his home in Australia. In fact, I’d once thought about asking John if he’d like me to create a new section for his site that was all just about the Kindle.
We’d shared our ideas about the future and the web, and I felt like John understood that we lived in an exciting time. And there was always an implicit “we” — that we were both watching the world as it changed, hoping we’d find a way to make good things happen. The news came in the week that I’d decided to write an ebook — to take my first plunge into the world of self-publishing on the Kindle. I guess I felt my own special kind of sadness when I realized that he’ll never get his shot at 2012.
“Don’t miss any updates from John Pospisil,” Twitter urges at the top of his page, in an ad encouraging readers to create an account. (Strange and marvelous things keep happening on the web…) I always say that technology blogging is like being the first reporter on Venus, because every day you’ll see something amazing that no one’s ever seen before. Sunday I thought about the “we” that we’d once been, watching for more amazing changes, and I knew what I wanted to do next.
I hit the “publish” button for my very first e-book — a funny Thanksgiving short story that was written in rhyme for children.
And I dedicated that ebook to John….