Cooking with Tech Articles

2nd September 2013

As part of a marriage one is expected to get involved with your partners interests (up to a point) and for me that included watching MasterChef this season. The frustration is hard to bear as one watches these people, some of them with potential to become amazing chefs, be knocked out of the competition due to a simple mistake. The assessment is on a series of individual tasks with the decision to keep them or put them out of the competition based solely on the quality of what they’ve produced, against their quality of those their peers produced, at that moment in the allotted time.

Imagine if companies managed their employees in this way. Each employee in a group is given the same task to complete and the one that produces the worst quality result is fired. No consideration is given to past performance, specific talents that may be valuable to the company or overall experience. Companies that are run in this way are rare if not, non-existent as they should be. Such a concept simply doesn’t work.

The parallels with Technology opinion articles may not be immediately obvious but there is a striking similarity with the way in which these TV Shows progress and how many tech-blog-news sites have been producing content lately. Company X releases a new product: it is judged on its own: "A triumph" or "A failure: Company X is doomed" without taking past direction into account, understanding the company’s strengths, how long the company has been in the business they are producing devices for or strategic moves the company may be making.

Judgement is quick.

Pageviews spike (then fade) quickly.

Analysis is scarce.

The fact that TV cooking shows like MasterChef exist and are structured in this way demonstrates that people in the general populace aren’t interested in truly finding the best chef, but rather watching a series of manufactured challenges that rarely find the best but instead provide "more exciting" viewing. The reality is that reality shows have developed this way because the market (people in general that watch TV) responds to it.

Now consider the reality of Tech Blogs. They too have evolved to supply the market with sensationalised pageview-driven drivel. They too aren’t interested in finding the truth or writing the best possible article with proper research and context. They are however a product of the desires of their readers favouring the "more exciting" over the well researched.

That said it seems that this is unlikely to change any time soon and tech opinion-blogs or "news" sites will continue to produce this kind of content.

It’s sad.

It’s depressing.

Alas, it seems to be what WE want.