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Five and One

fiveIt’s somewhat surreal that this month I celebrate five years living in San Francisco and it’s has most certainly been a while ride. September also marks the first anniversary of me working as a professional journalist/blogger at The Next Web.

In looking at the past 12 months, I must say that it’s certainly been a learning experience shifting gears away from working in a pharmaceutical advertising agency to writing practically non-stop for TNW covering news from the likes of Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter, Salesforce, Twilio, and many other companies.

On one hand, I got tremendous experience working in the technology industry, something that I greatly craved and sought after when I made the decision to move to San Francisco, but on the other, realized that it certainly was no walk in the park.

During the past year, I’ve had incredible friends helping me along the way, including “the band” (as I like to consider them) such as Alex Wilhelm, Matthew Panzarino, Harrison Weber, Brad McCarty, Josh Ong, Jon Russell, Emil Protalinski, Martin Bryant, and all the rest of the TNW editorial team. I’ve certainly grown quite a bit and have learned the ways of being a journalist and how to cover the news (I still hate trying to write headlines under 140 characters).

Let’s see where things stand so far. In the past 12 months, I’ve written 1,226 posts, of which 138 have made it onto Techmeme.

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Some things that I’ve learned over the past year?

  1. Pitches from PR people need work and I feel like I want to yell at them sometimes. There are the good ones, and there are those that need shaming. There’s no reason why you should be calling my personal number to talk to me, especially if I didn’t give you that number. Additionally, how difficult is it to find my TNW email address? Is there a reason why you’re spamming my personal email accounts? Does @thelettertwo.com match @thenextweb.com? Hint: no.
  2. Relationships are everything.¬†Just like how I fought to meet people and network when I was looking for work during my unemployment years, this is equally true in the press world. I need to get out there and shmooze with people in companies I want to cover — news is not going to come to me.
  3. Keeping up with the Joneses is hard work.¬†Always trying to break news before or follow competitors like TechCrunch, VentureBeat, The Verge, CNET, ReadWrite, AllThingsD, WSJ, and NY Times can be stressful and gut-wrenching, but when you see your article put up next to theirs, it’s invigorating…and humbling, at the same time.
  4. Blessed to have such access. In the past year, I’ve been able to interview some interesting people and cover fascinating companies. The access I’ve received is still very surreal and I’m still trying to comprehend why anyone would want to talk to me.
  5. It’s impossible to cover everything. I still see myself as a sponge in the technology space, soaking up every piece of knowledge and morsel. And while I seek to learn, I have to remember that I am but one person and cannot cover everything in the space. Supposedly this desire is why I no longer have a social life during the week as I spend every waking moment at the computer hunting for news, writing countless embargoes, and composing long-form pieces.

Google co-founder Larry Page

People often as me what is my beat at TNW and I tell them my official title is Bay Area Reporter, at least that’s what’s on the lil’ piece of paper I got. Of course, I half-jokingly say that I cover any company in-between San Jose and San Francisco. Whee!! Yeah, I get around… wait, not like that. Nevermind…

Yes, I know I make it sound like I’m a kid in a candy shop, because to this day, it very much is unbelievable…especially as I work in the same industry as some really great people.

As I start my second year with TNW, it will be interesting to see how things progress. I do have some ideas on what I’d like to cover and hopefully will be able to execute them. No, I’m not going to share them with you! Well, here’s to the next 12 months and the adventure that awaits.

Image credit: Doug Wheller/Flickr

Published in General News Headline TheLetterTwo