Yahoo Provides David Pogue With The Playground Of His Dreams, article in Forbes

January 14, 2014
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by Peter High, published on Forbes.com

1-14-2014

David Pogue has become a household name in tech criticism from his “State of the Art” column in New York Timesalong with multi-media contributions to PBS and CBS among others.  Last week, Pogue launched Yahoo Tech at CES in Las Vegas to much fanfare. The new digital magazine is quite sophisticated in its fit and finish, and it remains as such no matter the device with which it is accessed. Its innovative article tiles allow readers to read articles while all other articles remain on the same page. As Pogue explains below, this should make the site stickier and more psychologically satisfying.

When I last spoke with Pogue in mid-2013, he was firmly planted at the New York Times and referred to his post as “the greatest job in the world.” I wondered what had changed in the ensuing six months and what else he had planned for Yahoo Tech.

Peter High: David, congratulations on your new role as VP of Editorial at Yahoo Tech. When we last spoke in July of 2013, you described your role at theNew York Times you seemed very happy. What lured you away from your dream job to Yahoo?

David Pogue: Honestly, I never expected to leave the Times. I truly thought it was the greatest job. I thought for sure that I would be there until I died or until they asked me to leave. Yahoo approached me last summer, and indicated that they were going to make some sweeping changes to the company, and they wanted me to join them.

When I asked them what they saw my involvement entailing, they responded by saying, “we want this to be your playground.” I asked if it would involve a new website; they said, “yes.” I asked if it would involve apps; they said, “yes.” Conferences? Check. Staff? Check. When I listed my dream team of collaborators, the Yahoo executives indicated that they would hire them. Everything that I asked was provided. It really did feel like a playground was being built for me. It seemed like there were limitless possibilities. In fact, the site that we just launched is exactly what I had in mind. It is exactly the writers that I dreamed of and it has the tone, the slant, and the humor that most readers identify with me.

This is not the story of my leaving “old media.” It is the story of my jumping at a new, remarkable opportunity. It meant a much bigger audience. Yahoo attracts 800 million people per month. The company wants to develop a variety of digital magazines, and Tech is one of the first two along with Food.

Additional topics covered in the article include:

  • Yahoo was noticeably absent from many of the most innovative companies that you covered in your column in the Times, and the company has had a  difficult stretch in recent years. Were you at all worried that you were trading down in leaving the Times for Yahoo?
  • How will the content change relative to what you covered for the New York Times?
  • Why did you elect to pontificate on ideas that are pre-production?
  • As you mentioned earlier one of the things that Yahoo offered in the playground that they built for you was additional team members. As you thought about how to fill out a team, what did you look for?
  • Will you be able to continue your work with PBS and CBS among other affiliations you have beyond Yahoo?
  • At CES, you made clear that you would not have any banner ads or display ads on the site. What is the rationale, and how will you make up for the lost revenue opportunity?

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