All across the world, there are at least 10,000 cell phones launched every day. Okay, maybe not, but there are far too many released every week. For about 6 months, I got a chance to write about some of the new releases as part of a gig, I was fortunate enough to land at ConsumerMate, an online portal that offers buyers advice on products like laptops, mobile phones, televisions and digital cameras. ConsumerMate is an initiative of 9.9 Media, the folks who do Digit, one of India’s most read technology magazines.
In this brief stint covering gadgets, creating content for a weekly newsletter, I’ve written close to about 200 articles on mobile phones, cameras, laptops, tablets and a few on televisions as well. The articles that I had most fun writing were the ones where I was trying to explain the technology powering things, like 3D TVs and DSLRs, in a way that would be easy to understand. Before I started writing, like a good well researched writer (as I had always read they are), I enquired about the target audience and I was told that I should assume that I was writing for the general “lay” public and not technology enthusiasts, and those are the people I wrote for!
Two of my favorites are — an article on how tablet computing devices are all set for a comeback, and another on the technology behind DSLR cameras. More here.
Most of the articles I wrote were about phones and after a while I began to wonder if handset manufacturers released phones just to give advertisers and marketing agencies practice. Of the many phones launched every week, at most only one seemed brilliant. Some phones were average at best with nothing to set them apart from other phones. Most were, well let’s just say, really not required or wanted and are somewhere simply polluting the earth, confusing, frustrating and eventually fleecing customers.
It seemed to me that in most cases, among the factors determining the success of the phone, the user interface played a bigger role than the features. If the phone was fun to use and the interface was intuitive, the features would be used. For instance, Wi-Fi and 3G are of no use to me if the screen is tiny and scrolling means going from one link to the other on the page. I better not start on the analysis, so more “insights” later. 🙂
Writing was one of my first experiments and was exhilarating. Although I started writing just for fun, it became more than a hobby and I not only enjoyed it but I grew with it. Writing six articles every week, given that I have a day job, was quite challenging and did take up a lot of my time. I want to get better at how I write and this is definitely only a start to my writing career. I do know for me to ensure people like what I write, I will need to keep on writing. That alone will help me know my readers better and pull me up in the way. The good reviews that I got in my writing stint have given me confidence to try out more stuff.
I am extremely grateful to Charu, a great friend and a brilliant editor, who pushed me to this opportunity and then helped make my articles better by doing her bit week after week, often at unearthly hours after she got back from work. I would also like to thank Geetaj and Ahmed from 9.9 Media. Geetaj gave me a chance to write for them even though I had no prior experience. Geetaj and then later Ahmed co-ordinated with me, suggested topics and gave me feedback. Charu, Geetaj and Ahmed made my ConsumerMate experience fun! Thanks guys!