I’ve known Om Malik for quite a while now — in fact, it’s been such a long time our paths crossed that I can’t even remember when it was we met for the first time. Still, I’ve always liked him. The Silicon Valley technology journalism scene is, for whatever reason, populated by a lot of hucksters and full of self-aggrandising. In the middle of it all, Om’s one of the good guys: stuffed with honesty, insight and humility.
It’s been five years since he went solo with GigaOM, building what I think is one of the smartest groups of writers and commentators in the sector. There are other technology blogs out there, but it’s GigaOM’s commitment to quality and ability that convinced me to come on board as a regular contributor over the past few months.
But today, things are moving up a notch.
To mark the company’s fifth anniversary, it has announced a significant round of funding. At the same time, I am stepping up my commitment and links to them by becoming GigaOM’s European correspondent.
Here’s why: Europe is stuffed full with great ideas, strong characters and interesting companies, but it’s stuck. It doesn’t get the coverage it deserves, certainly not in comparison to the in the US. The big media organisations can be strong on technology — I was very proud of the work I did over 10 years editing and writing for the Guardian, for example. And I certainly think in many cases they are stronger here than the America.
But big media has its own peculiar demands and appetites that sometimes leaves Europe’s best stories untold.
Likewise, there are a few good dedicated European online technology news outlets. But they don’t always catch things, either. In particular, I think the strengths of GigaOM — critical thinking, strong expertise, a discerning eye — are precisely the things that Europe’s budding startups and successful entrepreneurs can benefit greatly from.
Having moved back to Britain from California at the end of last year, I can see the fault lines even more clearly than I could before. And I’m glad to be on board to try and improve the breadth and depth of reporting across the continent.
But I am going to be spending a lot of time helping GigaOM turn some more attention from America to the old world. So that means if you’re a European entrepreneur with something happening, or an investor who wants to chew things over, or just somebody who is doing great work, then I am all ears. From today you can get me on email at bobbie at gigaom.com, or on Twitter (as always) as @bobbiejohnson.
It’s going to be fun.