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In Memory of Tech Journalist Steve Wildstrom

Colleagues share memories of one of the great tech journalists.

Techpinions.com

A version of this essay was originally published at Tech.pinions, a website dedicated to informed opinions, insight and perspective on the tech industry.


When we started Tech.pinions in 2011, we searched for the best talent we could find to help us launch our analytical tech blog. One of the first people who came to mind was Steve Wildstrom, who for many years was the tech writer at BusinessWeek, and established himself as one of the great tech journalists in the world.

During our early days, he helped shape our design and editorial direction and, up until last year when he developed cancer, he was a weekly contributor to Tech.pinions. His writing style was informative, analytical, fluid and made even difficult subjects easy to understand for all who read his commentary.

Steve died yesterday after a long battle with brain cancer. And as I write this, I am overwhelmed by the loss of this wonderful partner and friend who meant so much to me, our other partners, and many others. I had a relationship with Steve for 23 years, and for me his loss is very personal. We served on various advisory boards, traveled together on occasion and were at countless Comdexes, CES shows and dozens of other events over the years. His professionalism and commitment to his craft has had a great influence on me and the other partners at Tech.pinions. While he is no longer with us, his joyful spirit, warm smile and the lessons he taught us will continue to guide our work. He will always be in our hearts at Tech.pinions.

I have asked our partners and some of his journalist friends who knew Steve well to share a brief comment about him.


Bob O’Donnell, President and Chief Analyst, Technalysis Research LLC: Before I had the honor of working alongside Steve for Tech.pinions, I was a huge fan of his work at BusinessWeek. For decades, I was a regular reader of his writings and learned a tremendous amount about the tech industry from his knowledge and experience. His ability to synthesize industry trends in conjunction with product knowledge enabled him to offer a perspective that was always fresh, useful and insightful.

Walt Mossberg, Executive Editor and Columnist, The Verge; Editor at Large, Reviewer and Columnist, Re/code: Steve Wildstrom was one of the finest tech reviewers and journalists I have known. I worked with him, and competed against him, for decades, starting when we were both young labor reporters in Detroit — he was with the AP, I was at the WSJ. He was as smart and honest as they come, and his weekly columns in BusinessWeek almost singlehandedly gave that magazine its first real credibility in the tech world. I always learned something from his BusinessWeek columns, and after BusinessWeek, he managed to actually raise his game at Tech.pinions. He was as smart and incisive as they come. He was a great person, father, husband and grandfather. Although he had been battling a terrible brain cancer in recent years, I was still shocked when I learned of his death. Rest in peace, Steve.

Edward Baig, Columnist, USA Today: I first met Steve as a colleague in the Washington, D.C., bureau of BusinessWeek. I was new to BW at the time, while Steve had been there for years. This was prior to either of us becoming full-time tech columnists. But he was very welcoming. Through the years and after I left BW to join USA Today I always enjoyed hanging out with Steve, which I typically got to do at conferences. Sure, we talked shop, and about the people we had in common. But we also discussed politics and a range of other subjects. You got smarter just by being in Steve’s presence. He was a good guy and he will be greatly missed. R.I.P. Steve.

Harry McCracken, Technology Editor, Fast Company: Steve was best known as a technology expert, but the better I got to know him, the more I realized he was endlessly erudite on an array of subjects: Hard science, mathematics, history, and much more. Spending time with him was both an education and a pleasure.

Larry Magid, Chief Executive Officer at ConnectSafely.org; Technology Analyst, CBS News; Columnist, San Jose Mercury News: Over the course of more than two decades, I had a chance to be around Steve at countless events all over the world, and always appreciated his insights and his friendship. Steve was not only one of the smartest journalists I knew, but also among the nicest. It was an honor to be his friend and colleague.

Ben Bajarin, Co-Founder, Tech.pinions: I remember when I first approached Steve about being a partner with us at Tech.pinions in June of 2011. I was so nervous — he was a legend in the industry and he probably had better things to do than help me start another tech-centric website. Surprisingly, he jumped at the opportunity, and validated that what we were working on was unique and needed in the tech industry. Steve was the only reason I read BusinessWeek for nearly a decade until he left the outlet. His ability to help people understand technology in their terms was rare and inspirational. He embraced me even when I was young and starting out in this industry in the early 2000s, and treated me as an equal rather than a novice. His voice and, more importantly, his friendship, will be missed.


Tim Bajarin is the president of Creative Strategies Inc. He is recognized as one of the leading industry consultants, analysts and futurists covering the field of personal computers and consumer technology. Bajarin has been with Creative Strategies since 1981, and has served as a consultant to most of the leading hardware and software vendors in the industry including IBM, Apple, Xerox, Compaq, Dell, AT&T, Microsoft, Polaroid, Lotus, Epson, Toshiba and numerous others. Reach him @Bajarin.

This article originally appeared on Recode.net.

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