The Road Aheadby Anand Lal Shimpi on August 30, 2014 7:00 PM EST
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- Site Updates
- Anand's Final Words
Both of my parents were teachers, and for as long as I can remember they both encouraged me to do something in life that would help others. I figured being a doctor would be the most obvious way to do that, but growing up around a pair of teachers must’ve rubbed off on me. My venue wouldn’t be the classroom but rather the Internet. On April 26, 1997, armed with very little actual knowledge, I began to share what I had with the world on a little Geocities site named Anand’s Hardware Tech Page. Most of what I knew was wrong or poorly understood, but I was 14 years old at the time. Little did I know that I had nearly two decades ahead of me to fill in the blanks. I liked the idea of sharing knowledge online and the thought of building a resource where everyone who was interested in tech could find something helpful.
That’s the short story of how I started AnandTech. There’s a lot more to it involving an upgrade to the AMD K6, a PC consulting business I ran for 2 years prior and an appreciation for writing that I didn’t know I had - but that’s the gist.
I’m 32 now. The only things that’ve been more of a constant in my life than AnandTech are my parents. I’ve spent over half of my life learning about, testing, analyzing and covering technology. And I have to say, I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.
But after 17.5 years of digging, testing, analyzing and writing about the most interesting stuff in tech, it’s time for a change. This will be the last thing I write on AnandTech as I am officially retiring from the tech publishing world. Ryan Smith (@RyanSmithAT) is taking over as Editor in Chief of AnandTech. Ryan has been working with us for nearly 10 years, he has a strong background in Computer Science and he’s been shadowing me quite closely for the past couple of years. I am fully confident in Ryan’s ability to carry the torch and pick up where I left off. We’ve grown the staff over the course of this year in anticipation of the move. With a bunch of new faces around AnandTech, all eager to uphold the high standards and unique approach to covering tech, I firmly believe the site can continue to thrive for years to come.
It’s important for me to stress two things: this isn’t a transition because of health or business issues. I am healthy and hope to be even more so now that I won’t be flying nearly 130,000 miles every year. The website and business are both extremely strong. We’ve expanded our staff this year to include a number of new faces contributing to both mobile and more traditional PC categories. Traffic is solid, we are looking forward to a bunch of very exciting launches especially in the final quarters of 2014. On the business side we continue an amazing run of being self sustaining, profitable and growing for every since year since 1997. We don’t talk about business affairs much on the site but we set a number of records in 2013 and expect that to continue. In other words, you don’t have to worry about the ability of the site to continue to operate.
Even though I’ve been doing this for nearly 18 years, we’ve evolved with the industry. AnandTech started as a site that primarily reviewed motherboards, then we added CPUs, video cards, cases, notebooks, Macs, smartphones, tablets and anything else that mattered. The site today is just as strong in coverage of new mobile devices as it is in our traditional PC component coverage and there’s a roadmap in place to continue to support both sides of the business. Our learnings in the PC component space helped us approach mobile the right way, and our learnings in the mobile space have helped us bring the PC enthusiast message to a broader audience than would’ve ever seen it before.
Over the past year I’ve transitioned many of my personal coverage areas to other ATers. Ian took over CPUs not too long ago and Josh has been flying solo with our mobile coverage for a bit now. Even the articles I helped co-author with Josh were 90% his. Kristian has more or less been running our entire SSD review program at AnandTech for a while now and he’s been doing a tremendous job. I remember editing one of his pieces and thinking wow, this kid knows more than me. In fact I’d go as far as to say that about all of our editors at this point. We’ve got a sea of specialists here and each one of them knows more than me about the area in which they cover. I’m beyond proud of them all and honored to have worked with them.
On a personal level I’ve made myself available to all AnandTech editors for advice and guidance, however I have fully removed myself from the editorial process. I can offer a suggestion on how to deal with a situation so long as describing the situation does not reveal any confidential information to me.
Thank You All
To everyone I worked with in the industry - thank you for the support and help over the years. You were my mentors. You showed kindness and support to a kid who just showed up one day. I learned from you and every last one of you influenced me at a very formative period in my life. The chance you all took on me, the opportunities, and education you provided all mean the world to me. You trusted me with your products, your engineers and your knowledge - thank you.
To Larry, Cara, Mike, Howard, Virginia, Hilary and the rest of the LMCD team that has supported (and continues to support) AnandTech for almost its entire life, I thank you for making all of this possible. I learned so much about the business side of this world from you all and it helped give me perspective and knowledge that I could have never gotten on my own. For those who don't know them, the LMCD crew is responsible for the advertising side of AnandTech. They've made sure that the lights remained on and were instrumental in fueling some of our biggest growth spurts.
To the AnandTech editors and staff, both present and past, you guys are awesome. You are easily some of the hardest working, most talented and passionate enthusiasts I've ever encountered. Your knowledge always humbles me and the effort that you've put into the site puts my own to shame. You've always been asked to do the best job possible under sometimes insane time constraints and you've always delivered. I know each and every one of you will have a bright future ahead of you. This is your ship to steer now and I couldn't be happier with the crew.
To the millions of readers who have visited and supported me and the site over the past 17+ years, I owe you my deepest gratitude. You all enabled me to spend over half of my life learning more than I ever could have in any other position. The education I’ve received doing this job and the ability to serve you all with it is the most amazing gift anyone could ever ask for. You enabled me to get the education of a lifetime and I will never be able to repay you for that. Thank you.
I’ve always said that AnandTech is your site and I continue to believe that today. Your support, criticism and push to make us better is what allowed us to grow and succeed.
In the publishing world I always hear people talk about ignoring the comments to articles as a way of keeping sane. While I understood the premise, it’s not something I ever really followed or believed in. Some of the feedback can be harsh, but I do believe that it’s almost always because you expect more from us and want us to do better. That sort of free education and immediate response you all have provided me and the rest of the AnandTech team for years is invaluable. I’m beyond proud and honored by the AnandTech audience. I believe we have some of the most insightful readers I’ve ever encountered. It’s not just our interactions that I’m proud of, but literally every company that we work with recognizes the quality of the audience and the extreme influence you all exert on the market. You’re paid attention to, respected and sometimes even feared by some of biggest names in this industry. By being readers and commenters you help keep our industry in check.
I hope you will show Ryan and the rest of the AnandTech team the same respect and courtesy that you’ve shown me over the past 17.5 years. I hope that you’ll continue to push them as you did me, and that you’ll hold the same high standards you have for so long now.
In our About Us page I write about the Cable TV-ification of the web and the trend of media in general towards the lowest common denominator. By reading and supporting AnandTech you’re helping to buck the trend. I don’t believe the world needs to be full of AnandTech-like publications, but if you like what we do I do firmly believe it’s possible to create and sustain these types of sites today. The good news is the market seems to once again value high quality content. I think web publishing has a bright future ahead of it, as long as audiences like AnandTech’s continue to exist and support publishers they value.
As for me, I won’t stay idle forever. There are a bunch of challenges out there :) You can follow me on Twitter or if you want to email me I’ve created a new public gmail account - email@example.com.
Thanks for the memories and the support. I really do owe you all a tremendous debt of gratitude. I hope that my work and the work that continues at AnandTech will serve as a token of my appreciation.
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Doomtomb - Saturday, August 30, 2014 - linkHow do I get a job with AnandTech? I'm so envious now!
BubbaJoe TBoneMalone - Saturday, August 30, 2014 - linkBut the universe will collapse into nothingness! Now we can't have that can we? :(
barleyguy - Saturday, August 30, 2014 - linkAnand,
I've been a reader almost since the beginning, and just want to say: Best wishes in everything you do, and you will be missed. I'm worried this place won't be the same without you, but at least you're passing the reins to someone who knows the ropes.
No, thank YOU. :-)
ammacdo - Saturday, August 30, 2014 - linkLike many that have posted here I have been visiting this site on a daily basis since the late 90's. The level of expertise and quality writing that has gone into the countless articles has always been second to none. Your insight and knowledge will be missed Anand. I wish you the best with whatever your future holds!
srdowns - Saturday, August 30, 2014 - linkIn the 90's, I remember stumbling on to this page of the web, run by a kid who was reviewing a new motherboard. I was so impressed with the review, that I ended up purchasing the motherboard and found the motherboard every bit as “hot” as this kid said it was. Who knew what he would become and how he influenced so much of the technology sites on the web. He set the bar for everyone else. Keep in touch kid!
Rage187 - Saturday, August 30, 2014 - linkWhen I joined in 2000, I was a high school drop out doing construction work. 14 years later and I've worked in the software industry for 13 years and speak at tech conferences about computer hardware and test automation.
I owe a lot to the site, to you, to the AT community. Thank you!
LukeDK - Saturday, August 30, 2014 - linkMany thanks for creating what has become a mainstay of component and related reviews for me. I've always been compelled by the thorough nature and technical rigor you brought to your articles. Best of luck.
Fallen Kell - Saturday, August 30, 2014 - linkI can't believe that this is the end of an era. I think I have been following this site since just after its move off of geocities (I remember reading articles here from my freshman year in college, which would have been '98 in). I also remember the old forums before the end of October 99 when we were all needed to recreate accounts. The community here was truly built by your dedication and passion for getting us the best information as you knew it and keeping us up to date with the latest hardware releases. Back in those days, finding a place that really kept up with the changing hardware market was hard to find (well, not really, as there were only 2-3 good sources, but search engines were still not very good or comprehensive (in fact google did not even exist yet)).
I think I can say with many people here that we will miss your insights and pull that you had within the hardware industry. Over the years that pull is what resolved many serious issues, from consumers being abandoned by manufacturers when fatal bugs were found, to firmware being fixed, to flat out lies and misrepresentation of information spreading about certain hardware capabilities. I hope the new team can continue the good work you created and continued all these years (they have very big shoes that are now missing which can never be filled, but simply stood upon to hopefully continue the work).
orbster556 - Saturday, August 30, 2014 - linkThanks so much for all your work. I've been reading the site for almost 15 years and it was one the principal sites that fostered and developed my interest in hardware.
Thanks so much and good luck in your personal and professional life.
coburn_c - Saturday, August 30, 2014 - linkHuh, you were just doing video blogging and now you're stopping all blogging? I can totally understand the urge to never want to fly again and to step back a bit, but how about an opinion blog or something every once in a while?