Quick Mobile Bio: Jack Schofield of The Guardian

SchofieldJack Schofield is The Guardian’s computer editor.  I’ve been reading his articles and columns in The Guardian since before I went to University.  In fact can remember chatting to the porter at my Hall of Residence about this new thing called ‘the Internet’ way back in… I think it was ’97. 

‘Ah hah!’ he exclaimed, ‘You want to be reading Jack Schofield!’  He then leaned back and retrieved the well thumbed copy of that day’s Guardian from behind the front desk. 

‘Ah, er, right,’ I said, getting ready to put on a possible fake smile.  At that point in my life, like a few young people, I read newspapers, I didn’t follow particular journalists.  Rarely did I ever look at the byline.  It just wasn’t something I did.  So I found it a bit ‘old’ to have an actual journalist recommended to me.   The other problem was that the Internet was one of those things people had heard about but rarely knew anything about — so  I was hoping I wasn’t going to be encouraged to have a look at some boring piece of know-nothing-copy by a a professional-know-nothing journalist.

I was shocked.  I’d actually already been reading (and rating) Jack’s work already — but hadn’t known.  Colleagues would cut out things and pass them to me or I’d come across them online or be forwarded transcripts.  At that point I was heavily involved in online communities for Virgin and AOL, so any mention in the UK press and I was on it.  I found Jack’s work reasoned, smart and ever present, head and shoulders above anything in the other national papers.  If you’re reading from the States, think Walt-Mossberg-of-the-Journal level of awareness, respect and recognition. 

So I started reading The Guardian properly — and more specifically, I started reading Jack regularly.  You might imagine the trouble it caused walking around cosmopolitan University College London with a copy of The Guardian.  All of a sudden I had people calling me ‘Comrade’ and drew smiles from some of the good looking dressed-like-a-hippy-but-dad’s-a-high-court-judge girls in the Union.   I found it strange to be judged on the newspaper brand I was carrying.

Mind you I turned up to University on the first day with a copy of the Wall Street Journal — I only discovered 2 years later that, as a result of this, half my colleagues thought I was homosexual, the other half thought I was a total arse.  I managed to eventually recover from this stereotyping by the end of the degree.  I’d bought the WSJ because I found it in the local newsagent outside Uni — it was exciting — you never got the WSJ in Shitsville, Essex. 

Back in the Union, I made a point of explaining to some of the landed gentry that I was ‘buying it for Jack Schofield and the Technology section’.  That went down perfectly fine as a reason.    Heh.   Still, today, people look at me if I’m sat flicking through MediaGuardian on a Monday wearing a shocking pinstripe suit. 

One of the best things to come out of one of the recent Guardian shake-ups were the blogs introduced late last year — Jack regularly posts across the day about all manner of technology related matters on the Guardian’s Technology Blog.  He also writes the popular Ask Jack blog too.  The ability to get Jack updates daily was a wickedly good update to the site.

Today Jack mentioned my post about Dave Winer’s News Rivers activities.  I wrote him a quick mail to thank him and took the opportunity to ask him if he could answer 3 ‘quick mobile bio’ questions for the site. 

Whaddya know? I got a response within minutes!  Kudos!   Here we go:


1. What was your first mobile handset and what network?
Philips, I think, on O2. (I was a late adopter.)

2. What’s your current handset and network?
Nokia 6630, still on O2. I side-graded from a Treo because I wanted to use Lifeblog.

3. What are the most used functions on your handset?
(1) Voice phone/contacts list;
(2) SMS text messaging;
(3) Camera.


Thank you for taking the time Jack!

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Quick Mobile Bio: Molly Goodson of Mollygood.com

All too often, us mobile geeks in the mobile related industries fail to grasp the realities of how people use mobile technology.  I’m very interested how non-mobile-geeks view the industry and their devices.   It’s all too easy to get carried away with press releases and super sounding forward looking statements from huge mobile and Internet companies.

To this end, I recently begun asking movers and shakers from around the Internet (but not the mobile industry) about their mobile phones and how they use them.

This week I’ve covered Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures and Guy Kawasaki of Garage.com (do check out Guy’s post as he’s recently posted an update to it).  To finish the week, I’m delighted to be able to publish feedback from Molly Goodson of Mollygood.com

Picture_9_8 This year I dumped magazines as a source of entertainment gossip — they’ve been totally eclipsed by some brilliant blogs — one of the best in my opinion, and a key visit every day, is Mollygood.

I’ve pointed countless friends to Mollygood.  Most of them look at me as though I’m slightly mad when I explain to them that Heat Magazine (at least here in the UK) is about 2 years out of date compared to the consistent quality of Mollygood.  Without a doubt, there’s a brief pause on the other end of the phone whilst my friend or colleague casts a glance over the Mollygood frontpage… then there’s usually a noise of recognition — some kind of ‘wow, and this is updated everyday’ noise from them.

‘Yup, I tell them. And it’s more or less real time,’ I explain, only to receive a comment similar to, ‘Omigod look what they’ve written about [insert D list Celebrity name here]’.  Heh. 

So if like me, you’re a consummate professional with a teeeeeeeeny weakness for Hollywood trashy celebrity gossip — from the horse’s mouth, complete with super dooper images and video (where appropriate), make sure Mollygood.com is in your RSS.

Molly, the site editor, is understandably rather busy, so to keep from hogging her gossip bandwidth, I asked her just 3 questions:


1. What was the make of Molly’s first phone?
My first phone looked like this (Nokia), but before that I was using my father’s phone which was more like this (Motorola Brick!) Oh, the late 90s, awesome.

2. What make is Molly’s current phone?
Thanks to my ability to drop, lose, and/or break every phone I get my hands on, I am currently using this non name-brand phone until I get myself some more multi-use device. (Can you tell how savvy I am?)

3. What’s are the most used features on Molly’s current handset?
Text messaging and rudimentary e-mail service. I can’t do my blogging from my phone (fingers crossed, someday), but I check my comments/read e-mail obsessively. I use my camera phone, but not as often as I should…if only I recognized more of celebs I surely pass on the street.

Molly, thank you so much for taking the time to answer. 

Do click on the links that Molly provided to take a trip down memory lane!

Now, for an entertainment news Queen like Molly, I reckon she should have a hot new 8700 Blackberry to write and reply to all her comments and emails.  She’d also be able to really easily blog from it whilst she’s sat on the train, for example.  Bit easier with a large QWERTY keyboard like the Blackberry one. 

While we’re talking dream configurations here, I also reckon she should also have a top of the range Nokia N90 with it’s 2 megapixel camera, complete with mobile service such as ShoZu, so that the moment she see a celebrity, she can take the pic and whack it right up to her blog.  However the Nokia also takes brilliant quality video too — so that would be invaluable for catching Kevin Federline in the local pizzeria. 

Oh how exciting that would be 😉

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Quick Mobile Bio: Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures

One of the blogs I read every day is A VC: A Market Dichotomy authored by Fred Wilson, Managing Partner of Flatiron Partners and Union Square Ventures.

[Side note: Flatiron invested in FusionOne which I used for years and absolutely loved!  It was a super service which synched your data, Outlook contacts, email, calendar and so on across multiple computers.]

If you haven’t checked out Fred’s blog before, I thoroughly suggest you add it to your blog roll, particularly if you’ve any interest in the Internet and mobile investment space.  Fred regularly gets you directly into the mind and perspective of not only a top level venture capitalist, but an acknowledged interactive industry expert.  For example, I really liked his reaction to Lee Gomes on Chris Anderson’s The Long Tail.   Also, his VC Cliches are spot on (recent example) — I’ve heard or observed almost every single one of them.  I defy you to name me a 70-hour a week VC with such a public and eclectic taste in music too 😉

I wonder a lot about what phones people use.  It’s just a thing I do.  So, tonight I emailed Fred to see if he’d be able to take the time to do an ultra quick 3 question mobile-bio for the site.  Yes, came the answer!

Now, while my questions to most mobile-related people tend to exceed 10 or so (e.g. Sarah McVittie’s 82ask.com Q&A recently) they are a little bit involved for busy people not specifically interested in mobile.  Plus I didn’t want to divert people too much from their day to day activities — hence my shortened questions for Fred.  I hope to do more like this for other movers and shakers across the world.

So, here we go:

1. What was the make of your first phone?
First phone – Motorola flip phone (first one that came out).

2. What make is your current phone?
Blackberry 8700

3. What’s are the most used features on your current handset?

  • Email
  • Phone
  • Browser
  • Contacts
  • Calendar
  • Instant messaging

Very interesting Fred – thank you for taking the time to answer them! 

Let me know if you’ve any suggestions for other people who I should contact to complete a quick mobile bio.

Plus, coming tomorrow: Guy Kawasaki!

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