Gordon Kelly is a hotshot tech-journalist at Forbes. He was a key part in building Trusted Reviews from a general start-up to a top-notch news website that attracts more than 8 million visitors per month at present. Freelancing for websites like BBC, Wired and The Next Web, his articles attract millions of viewers. Regarded as one among the top IT journalists in UK, he has also started making waves in the US. Ladies and gentlemen! TL presents you Mr. Gordon Kelly, who spent some of his valuable time to have a few words with us. We appreciate him deeply from our heart for doing so. Here are a few golden words that he shared with us:
How long have you been writing?
Professionally I got my first job in journalism in January 2000, but I’ve been writing much longer than that. I worked for both my university newspapers (I highly recommend that) and I even remember writing my own video game reviews in a notebook when I was a kid!
How does it feel like to be a popular tech-journalist in the UK?
Given’s Forbes’ reader demographic, I think these days it might be more US than UK but for me, it’s the best kind of popularity. You’re not getting mobbed (or even recognized) on the streets, but when you talk to people who know your work it’s nice to be appreciated. Then again popularity also brings plenty of critics out of the woodwork, so there are plenty of downsides as well.
Here is a link to one of his recent articles:
Apart from smartphones, which gadget do you like to use the most?
I don’t use tablets much these days (perhaps due to smartphones getting so much bigger) and I have yet to be won over by smartwatches (give it a few more generations) so it’s probably my Chromebook Pixel 2. I’m a big fan of Cloud computing and while the simplicity/restrictions of Chrome OS mean it won’t be for everyone, I love its speed and convenience. The Pixel 2 is also the best-made laptop I’ve used, including MacBooks, and it has a great touchscreen (get on that Apple!).
What’s your opinion about Blackberry devices?
They still have a passionate following but, for me at least, they’re as good as dead. Blackberry made all the right moves with Blackberry OS but it made them 5 years too late. It’s a great shame as Apple/Google and Microsoft (ish) could really use more competition.
Your fav tech-giant? Why so?
It changes, which I think is a very good thing. Right now it’s Google for the flexibility of Android and multi-platform support of its services. You’re not going to see Apple Maps on Android any time soon (though that might be a good thing!).
Then again I think Google wasted the last year. Lollipop is ambitious but slow and buggy and roll-outs have been torturously slow which has cost Android a lot of momentum and the iPhone 6 has swept all before it. I do admire Apple for the incredible polish it brings to its walled ecosystems and Microsoft for Windows’ ability to run on just about anything, but I’ll stick with Google for now.
Do you find Windows 10 Mobile promising?
I think renaming it ‘Windows 10 Mobile’ recently was a good move. Windows Mobile may be a damaged brand, but time has passed and Windows Phone was a ridiculously restrictive name. Whether it will succeed, I’m not convinced. The proposed iOS and Android app support will need to be seamless to inspire switchers from the big two and there needs to be more (and better) hardware choices.
I really want Windows 10 Mobile to succeed because we need another strong mobile OS to keep Apple and Google on their toes. In running essentially the same platform as Windows 10 for PCs it’s also the most ambitious platform out there, but I do worry the boat may have already sailed – much as it did for Blackberry.
Some of your hobbies…
I have a few. Being active I practice Krav Maga and I love long walks in new areas (I’m a bit of an explorer). I’m movie and TV buff (almost anything by HBO gets me) and football (soccer) is my favourite sport. Then again I’m a Newcastle United fan (born and raised in Newcastle) and that’s felt like a curse for the last few years.
Do you like travelling? If so, what’s your favorite destination so far?
I’m a big fan of travelling. I’ve been lucky enough to get around a lot of Europe, North and South America and Africa though I’ve not done as much travelling as I’d like in the Far East or Australasia. I lived four months in Brazil which was incredible and I nearly moved there for good, but my girlfriend is from Finland and I’ve also grown very fond of the Nordics. So probably Brazil and Finland, even if they couldn’t be more different!
What advice do you have for young tech-bloggers?
Write. It’s a cliché because it’s true. The best practice for aspiring writers, bloggers and journalists is to keep writing. Study the writers you like as well. Break down what they do and, perhaps most importantly, break down how they structure articles.
Most bad writing comes from ill thought out or meandering structure. You get lost and the flow of your writing disappears then the reader loses interest. A good practice early is to write in sections as that maintains your discipline over longer articles.
Also remember editing is as important as writing. This is where you polish your work and you should be looking to cut down what you’ve written as much as you look for spelling mistakes and typos. Remember the golden rule: if something can be removed without detriment to your article, remove it. Aside from bad fact checking, there’s no greater crime in writing than being boring.
What are the basic principles do you use to make all your articles effective and eye-catching?
Headlines, intros and linking. This is the holy trinity.
For bloggers you need to be thinking about your headline before you start your article, while you write your article and before you publish. If you have less than 5 potential headlines by then you haven’t given it enough thought. No-one can read your article before reading your headline, so if you can’t create interest there then don’t expect anyone to start reading it.
It is a similar case with introductory paragraphs. If someone gifts you their time by opening your article then hook them straight away. The first line is the most important (it gets their attention), closely followed by the last line in your first paragraph (it compels them to read on).
Finally, take some time to think about how you move from one point to another. Great films and TV shows have great links from scene to scene and so should your writing. Don’t just cut without warning from one topic to another (unless it’s a listicle), either lead into a new topic (“…which brings us nicely onto…”) or lead out from it (“But XYZ is only half the story. What it also relies upon is…”).
Your reader is your guest. Make their journey through your work interesting, engaging and seamless.
Your fav sci-fi movie so far?
As a big sci-fi fan that’s really hard to say. You’ll know the classics, so I’ll pick out one that may be less well known: Moon. It’s directed by Duncan Jones (David Bowie’s son) and it’s smart, funny, plays its twist early and then keeps you guessing. It also has the best robot since HAL.
I’ll also give a shout out to Ex Machina, which I only saw this week. It’s the most thoughtful sci-fi film I’ve seen in a long time. It doesn’t have the dazzling visuals of blockbuster sci-fi, but it’s enthralling and leaves you thinking long after the credits roll.
What plans do you have for your future?
I know about as much as the next man: which is not a lot!
Sadly writers usually find their career advancement comes through giving up writing (you become an editor or director at a publication), but I’ve always enjoyed writing more than managing and I’ve been very lucky to find a platform which has allowed me build a big audience and take that to the next level so I haven’t had to compromise.
Having written thousands of articles over the last 15 years it is scary to think of the thousands more which may still come and I’m sure I’ll reach a time when I want a change from hammering away on my keyboard. I’d like to setup my own company one day (everyone has a great startup idea), but for now my keyboard remains in pretty good shape…