It’s true: After 13 years at the New York Times, I’ve accepted a new job.
Leaving The Times is a big deal. My years there coincided with the explosion of just about everything important in today’s tech — the Web, social media, e-books, smartphones, tablets, duck-faced selfies. It’s been an amazing ride.
It’s not easy leaving the Times, especially when you admire it as much as I do. No matter what happens to prose on paper, the Times itself, as a gatherer and curator of news, will always be necessary and important. The culture may be changing, and the readership may be shifting, but this paper steadfastly focuses on responsible journalism, ironclad ethics and superb writing. I’ll always be a loyal ally.
I learned so much, personally and professionally, from the four editors who guided me over the years: Jim Gorman, Kevin McKenna, Damon Darlin and Suzanne Spector. And their bosses. And the Web and video producers who’ve encouraged me to infuse my sophomoric humor into everything I do. (Remember the Pogueomatic?)
But 13 years is a long time to stay in one place; we all thrive on new experiences. So I was intrigued when Yahoo invited me to help build a new consumer-tech site.
Actually, “site” doesn’t even cover it. I’ll be writing columns and blog posts each week, of course, and making my goofy videos. But my team and I have much bigger plans, too, for all kinds of online and real-world creations.
Now, listen: I realize that Yahoo is an underdog. I’ve given them a few swift kicks myself over the years.
But over the last few months, as I’ve pondered this offer, I’ve visited Yahoo headquarters. I’ve spent a lot of time with its executives. And what I found surprised me.
This is a company that’s young, revitalized, aggressive — and, under Marissa Mayer’s leadership, razor-focused, for the first time in years. Since she took over a year ago, Yahoo has regained its position as the #1 most visited Web site on earth. She’s overseen brilliant overhauls of several Yahoo sites and apps, and had the courage to shut down the derelict ones.
Above all, she’s created a “try stuff” atmosphere. She calls Yahoo “the world’s biggest startup.” People can really make a difference there. Yahoo is getting 12,000 résumés a week from would-be employees. Clearly, underdog status can be an incredibly motivating force. And for people who like to create cool new stuff — I’m among them — working to build the new Yahoo is a very attractive proposition.
So I’ll be starting there in a few weeks. (I’ll still keep up my NOVA specials on PBS, my “CBS Sunday Morning” stories, my Missing Manual books, and my Scientific American column.)
I hope you’ll join me there. We’ve got some amazing stuff up our sleeves!