The Road Aheadby Anand Lal Shimpi on August 30, 2014 7:00 PM EST
- Posted in
- Site Updates
- Anand's Final Words
Both of my parents were teachers, and for as long as I can remember they both encouraged me to do something in life that would help others. I figured being a doctor would be the most obvious way to do that, but growing up around a pair of teachers must’ve rubbed off on me. My venue wouldn’t be the classroom but rather the Internet. On April 26, 1997, armed with very little actual knowledge, I began to share what I had with the world on a little Geocities site named Anand’s Hardware Tech Page. Most of what I knew was wrong or poorly understood, but I was 14 years old at the time. Little did I know that I had nearly two decades ahead of me to fill in the blanks. I liked the idea of sharing knowledge online and the thought of building a resource where everyone who was interested in tech could find something helpful.
That’s the short story of how I started AnandTech. There’s a lot more to it involving an upgrade to the AMD K6, a PC consulting business I ran for 2 years prior and an appreciation for writing that I didn’t know I had - but that’s the gist.
I’m 32 now. The only things that’ve been more of a constant in my life than AnandTech are my parents. I’ve spent over half of my life learning about, testing, analyzing and covering technology. And I have to say, I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.
But after 17.5 years of digging, testing, analyzing and writing about the most interesting stuff in tech, it’s time for a change. This will be the last thing I write on AnandTech as I am officially retiring from the tech publishing world. Ryan Smith (@RyanSmithAT) is taking over as Editor in Chief of AnandTech. Ryan has been working with us for nearly 10 years, he has a strong background in Computer Science and he’s been shadowing me quite closely for the past couple of years. I am fully confident in Ryan’s ability to carry the torch and pick up where I left off. We’ve grown the staff over the course of this year in anticipation of the move. With a bunch of new faces around AnandTech, all eager to uphold the high standards and unique approach to covering tech, I firmly believe the site can continue to thrive for years to come.
It’s important for me to stress two things: this isn’t a transition because of health or business issues. I am healthy and hope to be even more so now that I won’t be flying nearly 130,000 miles every year. The website and business are both extremely strong. We’ve expanded our staff this year to include a number of new faces contributing to both mobile and more traditional PC categories. Traffic is solid, we are looking forward to a bunch of very exciting launches especially in the final quarters of 2014. On the business side we continue an amazing run of being self sustaining, profitable and growing for every since year since 1997. We don’t talk about business affairs much on the site but we set a number of records in 2013 and expect that to continue. In other words, you don’t have to worry about the ability of the site to continue to operate.
Even though I’ve been doing this for nearly 18 years, we’ve evolved with the industry. AnandTech started as a site that primarily reviewed motherboards, then we added CPUs, video cards, cases, notebooks, Macs, smartphones, tablets and anything else that mattered. The site today is just as strong in coverage of new mobile devices as it is in our traditional PC component coverage and there’s a roadmap in place to continue to support both sides of the business. Our learnings in the PC component space helped us approach mobile the right way, and our learnings in the mobile space have helped us bring the PC enthusiast message to a broader audience than would’ve ever seen it before.
Over the past year I’ve transitioned many of my personal coverage areas to other ATers. Ian took over CPUs not too long ago and Josh has been flying solo with our mobile coverage for a bit now. Even the articles I helped co-author with Josh were 90% his. Kristian has more or less been running our entire SSD review program at AnandTech for a while now and he’s been doing a tremendous job. I remember editing one of his pieces and thinking wow, this kid knows more than me. In fact I’d go as far as to say that about all of our editors at this point. We’ve got a sea of specialists here and each one of them knows more than me about the area in which they cover. I’m beyond proud of them all and honored to have worked with them.
On a personal level I’ve made myself available to all AnandTech editors for advice and guidance, however I have fully removed myself from the editorial process. I can offer a suggestion on how to deal with a situation so long as describing the situation does not reveal any confidential information to me.
Thank You All
To everyone I worked with in the industry - thank you for the support and help over the years. You were my mentors. You showed kindness and support to a kid who just showed up one day. I learned from you and every last one of you influenced me at a very formative period in my life. The chance you all took on me, the opportunities, and education you provided all mean the world to me. You trusted me with your products, your engineers and your knowledge - thank you.
To Larry, Cara, Mike, Howard, Virginia, Hilary and the rest of the LMCD team that has supported (and continues to support) AnandTech for almost its entire life, I thank you for making all of this possible. I learned so much about the business side of this world from you all and it helped give me perspective and knowledge that I could have never gotten on my own. For those who don't know them, the LMCD crew is responsible for the advertising side of AnandTech. They've made sure that the lights remained on and were instrumental in fueling some of our biggest growth spurts.
To the AnandTech editors and staff, both present and past, you guys are awesome. You are easily some of the hardest working, most talented and passionate enthusiasts I've ever encountered. Your knowledge always humbles me and the effort that you've put into the site puts my own to shame. You've always been asked to do the best job possible under sometimes insane time constraints and you've always delivered. I know each and every one of you will have a bright future ahead of you. This is your ship to steer now and I couldn't be happier with the crew.
To the millions of readers who have visited and supported me and the site over the past 17+ years, I owe you my deepest gratitude. You all enabled me to spend over half of my life learning more than I ever could have in any other position. The education I’ve received doing this job and the ability to serve you all with it is the most amazing gift anyone could ever ask for. You enabled me to get the education of a lifetime and I will never be able to repay you for that. Thank you.
I’ve always said that AnandTech is your site and I continue to believe that today. Your support, criticism and push to make us better is what allowed us to grow and succeed.
In the publishing world I always hear people talk about ignoring the comments to articles as a way of keeping sane. While I understood the premise, it’s not something I ever really followed or believed in. Some of the feedback can be harsh, but I do believe that it’s almost always because you expect more from us and want us to do better. That sort of free education and immediate response you all have provided me and the rest of the AnandTech team for years is invaluable. I’m beyond proud and honored by the AnandTech audience. I believe we have some of the most insightful readers I’ve ever encountered. It’s not just our interactions that I’m proud of, but literally every company that we work with recognizes the quality of the audience and the extreme influence you all exert on the market. You’re paid attention to, respected and sometimes even feared by some of biggest names in this industry. By being readers and commenters you help keep our industry in check.
I hope you will show Ryan and the rest of the AnandTech team the same respect and courtesy that you’ve shown me over the past 17.5 years. I hope that you’ll continue to push them as you did me, and that you’ll hold the same high standards you have for so long now.
In our About Us page I write about the Cable TV-ification of the web and the trend of media in general towards the lowest common denominator. By reading and supporting AnandTech you’re helping to buck the trend. I don’t believe the world needs to be full of AnandTech-like publications, but if you like what we do I do firmly believe it’s possible to create and sustain these types of sites today. The good news is the market seems to once again value high quality content. I think web publishing has a bright future ahead of it, as long as audiences like AnandTech’s continue to exist and support publishers they value.
As for me, I won’t stay idle forever. There are a bunch of challenges out there :) You can follow me on Twitter or if you want to email me I’ve created a new public gmail account - firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for the memories and the support. I really do owe you all a tremendous debt of gratitude. I hope that my work and the work that continues at AnandTech will serve as a token of my appreciation.
Post Your CommentPlease log in or sign up to comment.
View All Comments
savagemike - Saturday, August 30, 2014 - linkBeen reading you since the early days, Anand. I can understand the urge to move on or at least take a break. But I don't have to like it. And I don't. Not one bit.
With your absence I can't help but feel acutely that I'll be missing a trusted analytic voice. And that's not a common thing to come by.
I'll keep reading Anandtech because you've told me you've set it up with the right people to continue on with the same quality I learned to expect of you. I'll take your word on that as I've learned to take your word and value your opinion on so many things.
Hope to see you back some day.
OCZJess - Saturday, August 30, 2014 - linkWow. End of an era. I missed all the shake ups at Tom's, Sharky, Inquirer, etc. So this is "a first" for me. I've been at OCZ for over 10 years now. Pretty much everything I've learned about computers, I REALLY learned reading AT. I think I read The SSD Anthology at least 50 times. You are the reason I know what an SSD is and does and how it should behave. Not to mention you single handedly changed OCZ SSD firmware, warranties, and customer service initiatives.
I know you've been doing this for over 17 years, but I will kindly thank you for 10 of those. Before that, I couldn't name one component inside a computer...a sad existence!
I'm sad you are leaving this crazy world but I'm more sad this post didn't mention your favorite product you tested over the last 17 years...the OCZ "brain mouse." ;)
We wish you all the best in whatever you take on next. If it's basket weaving, they will be the most awesome baskets I'm sure.
Disclaimer: I've had two beers and this is 'sent from my iPhone'
LeftSide - Saturday, August 30, 2014 - linkI've been reading this site for over a decade. This is the best place to get informative reviews on tech. I'm sad to see you go, but I have no fear that you will be successful in whatever you do next!
Thanks for great reads!
at80eighty - Saturday, August 30, 2014 - linkaww dammit. You will be missed. Godspeed on the next phase of your life. Be proud of what you have done here, and im sure the community will continue to support the team.
plext0r - Saturday, August 30, 2014 - linkAnand, I've been reading your site for many years and I'm sorry to see you go; after all, the site's named after you! Thanks for all the excellent reviews over the years. We've learned a lot from them and we appreciate the quality of everything you've done. Godspeed!
cheinonen - Saturday, August 30, 2014 - linkI don't know how long I've read AnandTech. I know I started early in college (which I started in 1996) so it must have been very early on. I still recall one of our professors telling us in 1999 in our class on computer hardware that we should just read AnandTech and we'd ace the class. As someone that already was a reader, he was certainly right about that.
Years later, as my wife pursued her PhD at UNC, I still recall being amazed that one of my fellow programmers went to high school with Anand. At that point I had no idea that a couple years later I would start writing for the site as well.
The example Anand set has given all of us that write here something to strive for. I will never know as much about CPUs or SSDs that Anand does, but he helped me understand them better than I ever did before. We all have a lot to live up to here now, and we're all going to do as much as we can to do so.
Stacey Melissa - Saturday, August 30, 2014 - linkI started reading AnandTech back in 1999, and it has always been my first choice for high quality, in depth reviews. It has always been a cut above the rest. Thank you for helping me choose great parts for the many PCs I've built over the years. Best of luck to you in your future endeavors!
mclardass - Saturday, August 30, 2014 - linkThanks for the years of outstanding in-depth reviews, comprehensive industry news, and a depth and unbiased approach that rivals most journalist (not just tech journalist) working in any field. This has been my go-to site for a decade when I needed real information and not just fluff or top-10 lists. Your dedication will be missed and I wish you the best in your future endeavors.
YukaKun - Saturday, August 30, 2014 - linkGod speed, Anand.
The best of lucks and thanks for all of these years of hard work for us.
Silent Rage - Saturday, August 30, 2014 - linkThank you Anand for everything you have done!! I've been a reader of AnandTech starting back in 1997 when I was a student at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Because of you, I built my first custom-built computer and ended up with a Masters in Information Technology when I was planning to get an MBA. Out of the numerous articles I've read over the years, I always loved reading your articles. Thank you again for all you did and I wish you the best in your next adventure!