Go Fish: A Technology Journalist’s Torpedo Term
If I tell you to “Go Fish,” you’d better do so and realize that there’s something awry with the product in question. I’m warning you about something and you should use your Google powers to find out what it is that I’m trying to tell you. I rarely resist telling and writing my opinions, which should be refreshing to you as a reader and as someone who wants to be educated on a particular technology, service, or company.
Allow me to explain.
As a technology journalist, product reviewer, technology writer, columnist, podcaster, videocaster, and full-time “in-the-trenches” technologist, I look at hundreds of products, services, and companies every year from one angle or another in the context of testing them for their print worthiness. I draw on my many years (20+) in this business to make those determinations and I do them with great discernment and caution. I consider it my duty as a journalist, as a writer, and as a fellow technologist to give you honest answers and assessments of those products, services, and companies. You might not always agree with me in those assessments, but know that they are honest and they are well thought out on my part.
The reason that I’m posting this is that I’m asked pretty often on Twitter, on Facebook, on LinkedIn, and through email if I’ll evaluate a particular product, service, or company. Most of the time, it’s for potential inclusion in an article or in a review. That’s the way it works. Public Relations professionals, company representatives, and interested parties ask me to look at something because they want attention for it. For those that deserve it, I’m more than happy to help out in that effort. However, there are those that don’t deserve it for one reason or another and I don’t bother with them. I don’t normally ‘pan’ a product, service, or company unless it’s something so vile, so dangerous, or so ridiculous that I have to do so.
If you ask me if I like product X, service Y, or company Z, and I do, then I’ll tell you that I do. I also tell you why I do. I’ll probably also suggest that you read my articles about that product that you can easily find using your Google powers.
If you ask me and I simply direct you to an article, then it’s a signal that you should ponder it more extensively. It’s not a no, but it’s also not a yes. It’s rather a “You should look into it further and draw your own conclusions.”
If you ask me and I tell you to “Go Fish,” then brother or sister, you should beware. ‘Go Fish’ doesn’t mean that I’m telling you to go jump in the lake, but it does mean that I’m telling you that either I’ve looked and decided not to touch or I’ve looked and am a hater. In either case, you should proceed with caution. You should use your Google powers and search for “Ken Hess Product X” without the quotation marks, where ‘Product X’ is the product, service, or company in question.
Endorsements and Reviews
Just so you know, I’ll never endorse a product that I don’t like. If I like a product and would recommend it to a friend or colleague, then I’ll endorse it. That goes for reviews as well. If I review a product and give it a great review, it’s because I genuinely like the product. I recommend most of the products I’ve reviewed to other people. For example, my wife’s boss was looking for a cover for her iPad mini. I reviewed the Dux case by STM Bags back in January 2015. When she asked, my wife and I recommended this case to her. She promptly bought it and loves it. See how that works?
Now, if she had read the review first and purchased the case based on my review of 10/10, and been unhappy because I didn’t give an honest review, that would ruin my credibility with her and with anyone else who read it and bought it. However, we loved the case. My wife uses it on her iPad and won’t ever use anything else (probably).
This is also why it takes me longer than most people to do reviews. I use the product. I don’t just open a box and mess with it for a few minutes. I put the product or service through its paces. I’m not an ‘unboxer.’ When I tell you that a product is good, great, or awesome, you can believe that my experience was just that. As always though, your mileage may vary, but I do my best to give you an honest look.
I love cool technology. I love great products. I get genuinely excited about products, services, and companies. For example, I’ve written several times about a product and company called 2X. It’s an incredible product that’s easy and fun to use. Parallels (another company I’m really excited about) bought it.
I write about my experiences with products and services. I actually use the products that I review. If I wouldn’t use them or if they don’t live up to the marketing hype, I don’t review them. For example, a company sent me a product for review and I was super excited about it and couldn’t wait to show my son. When he came over the next day, I brought it out to show him and during my demonstration, part of the product broke. He tried to fix it. I tried to fix it. I told the company about it and they offered to replace it, but I said no. I just wanted them to know that it had broken and it shouldn’t have. I didn’t abuse it; it just wasn’t made well. I didn’t post the review. It was a $99 item that didn’t last 24 hours under normal use.
I write about technology. If I see a technology that I like, I write about it. I don’t have to be prompted, prodded, or coerced in any sort of way. I don’t write about everything I see. Some things I prefer not to mention because I don’t like to give bad reviews. I write about technology that is innovative, creative, important, intriguing, disruptive, or a combination of those. If I haven’t written about it, either I haven’t looked at it or I have and I’ve decided against writing about it.
You can ask me (please do) if I’ve seen something or taken a look at a product. If I have and I like it, you’ll know it. If I’ve looked and decided not to touch it, for whatever reason, please heed my advice and go fish.