What inspires you?

Walt Mossberg is the author and creator of the weekly Personal Technology column in The Wall Street Journal, which has appeared every Thursday since 1991.  With Kara Swisher, he currently co-produces and co-hosts D: All Things Digital, a major high-tech conference with interviewees such as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and many other leading players in the tech and media industries. The gathering is considered one of the leading conferences focused on the convergence of tech and media industries.  In addition to Personal Technology, Mr. Mossberg also writes the Mossberg's Mailbox column in the Journal and edits the Mossberg Solution column, which is authored by his colleague Katherine Boehret. On television, Mr. Mossberg is a regular technology commentator for the CNBC network, where he appears every Thursday on the mid-day Power Lunch program. He is also a regular contributor to Dow Jones Video on the Web.

In a major 2004 profile of Mr. Mossberg, entitled "The Kingmaker," Wired Magazine declared: "Few reviewers have held so much power to shape an industry's successes and failures." Mr. Mossberg was awarded the 1999 Loeb award for Commentary, the only technology writer to be so honored. In May of 2001, he received an honorary Doctorate of Laws from the University of Rhode Island. In May of 2002, he was inducted into the ranks of the Business News Luminaries, the hall of fame for business journalists. That same year, he won the World Technology Award for Media and Journalism.

  • Transcript


Walt Mossberg: There is a conventional wisdom kind of idea that this is the greatest period of technological change in history. And certainly by some measures, there have been immense changes that are hard to imagine having been matched in the past.

As we said earlier in this interview, I don’t know that there’s been a period of time when people have so rapidly gained access to so much information. But there have been other big eras where technology changed very fast. The beginning of the last century when the automobile, the airplane, the telegraph--all these things came along very quickly. The telephone.

Even further back in history, various developments in medicine, and sanitation, and other things that really had huge outcomes in the way people lived and worked. And what gets me up every morning is that I am living in one of those periods. It doesn’t matter to me that it’s the biggest or the fastest or whatever. It’s one of those periods of amazing technological change.

I work for a publication that is respected and that has resources for me to cover these changes. And I get to see a lot of these things not only early, but in the context of how they were developed. The developers come. They want me to write about it, and so we have a conversation about, “Why did you do this? How did you come to doing this? What was your idea?”

They love talking about it and I love listening to it. It also gives me a chance to meet important people; I think are important historical figures.

I used to go to the White House. I used to go to the Kremlin. I used to go to all these places; 10 Downing Street, these various places.

Now I go to Google. I go to Microsoft. I go to Apple. I have spent many hours of conversation over the years with people like Bill Gates, and Steve Jobs, and the guys who founded Google, and Steve Case who founded AOL, and numerous other people. And so I’ve learned a lot from that, and I feel like it must have been like if you had modern journalism covering Henry Ford, or Thomas Edison, or whatever.

So that gets me up in the morning. It’s fascinating.


Recorded on: Nov 13, 2007