Sorry, Chief, but That’s Not Going to Cut It

Not long ago, I attended something called the Web Summit, a massive tech-industry conference held in Dublin over the course of a couple of days. The event had a two-tier structure: on one level, it was a vast, teeming trade show at which early-stage start-ups were given the opportunity to set out their stalls and sell themselves — to venture capitalists, angel investors, media people — and to network with one another; but on a more elevated plane, it was a grand conclave of the tech industry’s high priests, who came from all over the world (though mostly Northern California) to deliver talks and public interviews to audiences of several thousand.

Read the rest at The New York Times Magazine

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4 comments
  1. James Donahower said:

    Genius. And beautiful.

  2. Hello, already commented at The Millions but wanted to paste here as well. Love your writing! Maureen Murphy (“Moe Murph”)

    “I saw a keen absurdity in these barons of techno-capital, with their passionately held clichés and their cheerful belief in their personal capacity to change the world,”

    That’s the best phrase [Update: "sentence" actually] I’ve read for ages! Perhaps a compromise is in order, a bit less self doubt for Mr. O’Connell and his wry, on-the-spot observations, and a bit more for the tech moguls, given their habit of foisting bug-ridden, not-ready-for-market software programs on the unsuspecting public!

    Moe Murph
    Dreading Next Microsoft Office Suite Upgrade

  3. Anonymous said:

    Finding myself “struggling” to write, I took time out to read the NYT magazine. What a gift to find your article! (Yes, it was a good idea to write the thing in the first place.) You described my experience to a T — even the part about covering tech trade shows, which I used to do for a living, and the bit about persuading someone to give you an assignment and then immediately deconvincing yourself that it’s worth doing or that you’re the person to do it. Thank you! I didn’t feel so alone after reading your work. And because it is so brilliantly written, it has inspired me to return to my own effort with renewed self-conscious delusion. I can’t thank you enough!

  4. You make me feel as though I have a kindred soul. I used to write a column for a mathematics quarterly. That was no problem. But attacking non-fiction, non-math was a different story. Reading “Sorry, Chief” made me feel better. I “publish” on the website listed below.

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