Silicon Alley Insider on the King of the Apple Geeks

Screenshot of the "Daing Fireball" blog Silicon Alley Insider states the obvious – at least it’s obvious to Macintosh fans: John Gruber is King of the Apple Geeks.

On the off chance that you hadn’t heard of John before, he’s the one-man force behind Daring Fireball, one of the must-read sites for fans, followers – and yes, even evangelists for the competition — of Apple. He’s been writing the blog since the summer of 2002 and over time has acquired a legion of readers that includes higher-ups at Apple, Inc. His recent article about how Ninjawords, an iPhone dictionary and the latest app to get rejected by Apple’s Kafkaesque approval process was not just spot-on; it also got linked to by a large number of influential tech sites and managed to garner a response from Apple senior VP Phil Schiller, which he published as a follow-up article.

As with any site created by an Apple True Believer, Daring Fireball devotes a number of electrons to taking on The Empire, the most recent set being Microsoft’s Long, Slow Decline, a long but interesting (and also much-linked-to) article on the company’s current state and the challenges it faces. Whereas  lesser, more rabid fanboys — Daniel Eran Dilger of Roughly Drafted, I’m lookin’ right at you – would’ve been content to prematurely dance on the company’s grave, John enumerates the company’s missteps with solid reasoning and soberly (well, mostly soberly – hey, I’m not going to deny him his little bit of glee on behalf of his team). Even when he’s pummelling the organization for whom I work, I have to credit him for going beyond mere tribalism and penning some of the best-thought-out tech articles on the web today.

Why do I read him?

  • For starters, he’s good. I’m working on becoming one of the web’s best writers, and it pays to learn from the pros.
  • It’s also partly out of habit; I was a Mac user prior to my hire as a Microsoft Developer Evangelist.
  • It’s also my job. I do both Microsoft and its customers a disservice by not looking (and learning) outside Microsoft’s walls, especially since I was hired for my outsider’s perspective.
  • It helps me with my job. His blog is practically a laundry list of things I need to focus on.

Here’s a question for which I can’t easily come up with an answer: is there a Jon Gruber analogue in the Windows world? If not an analogue, any close approximations? Let me know in the comments.

3 replies on “Silicon Alley Insider on the King of the Apple Geeks”

Joey, I would argue that you are the closest John Gruber analogue in the Windows world. I’d probably also throw Jeff Atwood and Joel Spolsky in there as well, if we were going on a more hard core technical bend.

Jeff and Joel are basically the problem with development in the Windows world: they are probably the best things the Windows world has to offer. It’s like saying the closest analogue to an In-N-Out burger in the McDonald’s world is a Big Mac.

Feel free to drop me an email, though. I have a lot of opinions and ideas about how Microsoft and Apple could better deal with developers; especially solidified after having worked with Microsoft myself.

Steven Baker: Thank you, Steven — flattery will get you everywhere — but I think I’m a very long way from being that analogue or even a close approximation.

I will take you up on your suggestions and drop you that email.

I wasn’t going for flattery, it’s true. John Gruber does semi-technical writing that folks at many levels of understanding and experience can read. The reality is, there isn’t really anyone pro-Microsoft that does the John Gruber thing: that you’re a Microsoftie that does similar makes you the closest analogue.

I was suggested just as much about my positive feelings of your writing ability as I am suggesting the poor technical landscape in Microsoft land.

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