Any night that ends in dancing is a success to me. And out of the events I’ve had the opportunity to attend this year – TechCrunch Crunchies, Women@Austin, SXSW and Pre-Commerce Summit – all have ended in dancing. Even more fun than the dancing, has been the networking. Seriously. It has actually been productive and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t shocked
This is no dig at the events. I knew their beautifully interactive agendas and speaker line-ups would make them well worth the time. I’ve just become so jaded when it comes to the “n word” – networking.
After spending the last two years networking and traveling, I started feeling as if any conversation at an event was some sick social experiment on breeding narcissism that I wasn’t in on. So far this year, I’ve welcomed a shift where I’ve actually left each event wishing “tech camp” was still in session. The Crunchies, for example, has out of nowhere become one of the best places for connecting pre-SXSW. This year it helped completely rejuvenate my March experience. Being a local and SXSW alumni, can often be a double jaded whammy and the best way I found to combat this unfortunate condition was seeing new friends, being present and meeting-up with first-timers.
Me: Been a busy couple of months, tell us what you’ve been up to.
Ron: It’s been a great year and a really busy one too. Lots of travel including Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and my first trip to South by Southwest (which was great). But the big news is that I joined TechCrunch as their enterprise reporter in April and I’m leaving FierceContentManagement next month after almost 6 years there. So big changes afoot.
Me: How has networking helped with some of your new gigs?
Ron: The TechCrunch job came as a result of a Twitter connection. I knew one of the editors from Twitter and I went up to her after a talk she gave at SXSW and said hello. Later I pitched a story idea to her and that got the ball rolling that lead me to being offered the enterprise reporter job. Note I’m still a freelancer though.
Me: Looks like TechCrunch is ramping you up in a big way, how many stories a week can we look forward to seeing from you?
Ron: Lots. 🙂 At least one a day, but it’s possible there could be more than that in any given week.
Me: How does the news cycle impact the stories you are looking to cover?
Ron: I tend to deal in breaking news, although I like to step back and analyze what’s happening or talk strategy as well. At a publication like TechCrunch, obviously breaking news is a big deal and we are trying to get out there first as much as possible. It’s not the only thing, but it’s certainly a big factor.
Me: Any enterprise topics in particular that interest you the most?
Ron: Obviously content management is near and dear to my heart after covering it all these years, but I also enjoy writing about cloud, mobile and big data and issues about the changing role of IT. But as enterprise reporter at TechCrunch, that means covering a lot of ground.
Me: What do you think is the biggest thing impacting enterprise technology today?
Ron: I would say the cloud and mobile. It’s changing how everything works and shifting roles in a big way. Instead of IT acting as rule maker, it needs to be a partner, while business units and individual have to learn to be more responsible too.
Me: What technology or company are you currently following? Which are you most curious to see how they progress over the next 3 years?
Ron: I cover so much ground that it’s hard to point to one thing, but I would say right now I’m most curious about how we will incorporate wearables into our work and personal lives and the social and cultural changes we have to make around them.
Me: What is the best way for communicators to reach you?
Ron: I really prefer email or even getting to know me on social media and contacting me that way. I really, really, really don’t like phone calls.
Me: If people want to network with you at events, where will you be next?
Ron: My next event is Gartner PCC in LA in May. After that I’ll be at the MIT Sloan CIO Symposium in Cambridge. I like to travel and hope to get to more general enterprise IT conferences later this year.
Me: Can we expect to see you at TechCrunch’s upcoming events this year?
Ron: I won’t be at Disrupt in NYC in May because of a conflict that I scheduled before I came on board, but I expect that you will see me at future events, yes. I’m excited to be working for a publication with a bigger audience and being involved with such a great team of co-workers.