JCL Blog

Parallel Universes

Anyone in tech not watching Cranky Geeks is really missing out.  In the past few weeks, John Dvorak and Sebastian Rupley have become the new Smothers Brothers with the straight man - slow guy routine.   Of course they claim to be covering the tech news, and they do regularly have good guests, but it is much more entertainment than anything else.

Now I don't know if either of the geeks has any musical talent, and their humor is certainly not  as widely appreciated, but I find myself busting up every time John Dvorak asks who Om Giga is.  One could say the Cranky Geeks are a parallel universe of the Smothers Brothers show.

This brings up something I wonder about often.  Of the people that participate in the technology industry we seem to have a few parallel universes.  Three that I think about are the Channel, the Geeks, and the New Media.  People and companies often operate in more than one universe, but sometimes it surprises me how much distance there is between them.  

The Channel is concerned mostly with how technology products are sold to businesses and the discussion is usually around the channel partner programs of the main vendors and how the go to market propositions differ from vendor to vendor.  The leading commentators are Everything Channel and Channel Insider and the leading association would be CompTIA.

The Geeks are concerned mostly with the technology itself and the discussion often revolves around new product launches, technology standards, and how the makers of the products are getting along.  The commentators include PC MagazineTechCrunchCnet and the leading association would be CEA.  The Cranky Geeks are probably in this group and maybe Robert Scoble and Leo Laporte.  I sometimes cannot decide where those guys actually fit.

The New Media are the bloggers and maybe some institutions like the New York Times.  The discussion in this group is mostly about how technology is changing the way we consume information and the impact on the newspapers, TV stations, movies, music, and ultimately our society. The commentators include Jeff Jarvis, Dave Winer, David Weinberger, and many others of course.  

As a follower of people and organizations in all three universes I am often struck by how the conversation in one universe can be disconnected from the others.  I will be writing more about this phenomenon and would be very interested in comments on your experiences.