I started at VentureBeat exactly 10 years ago today, and l looked back at the post that my boss, Matt Marshall, wrote when I started. He referred to me as “Dean the Machine.”
Since that time, I’ve written about 15,621 posts. That comes out to 1,562 posts a year, or 30 per week, or 4.3 posts per day. That’s a lot of work, and I feel … tired. I suppose I’ve lived up to that nickname.
But it’s not just about the numbers. I still enjoy doing what I do. This is a people job. As I noted in my Christmas story about my life in game journalism, I don’t think of them as stories so much as the people I met along the way. I always wrote more stories because I was writing stories about people who wouldn’t have stories written about them otherwise. People who were doing Kickstarters, indie games, tiny startups, and other efforts that were off the beaten path.
I’ve enjoyed listening to people. I don’t like being the center of attention. I’m a quiet person, and yet I have taken on this very public role out of a passion for journalism, games, and technology. I can’t think of another job where I could meet all of the colorful characters that I have, such as Mike Morhaime of Blizzard or Jensen Huang of Nvidia. This job has taken me to places all around the globe: Iceland and Berlin, Tokyo and Shanghai, Montreal and London. It’s a good gig, if you can get it.
I’ve weathered personal crises, like my disastrous Cuphead gameplay experience. But I’ve soldiered on and bounced back, and I even had a great time last week talking to Maja Moldenhauer, the executive producer of the hit platformer and one of the fresh faces of gaming that infuses the $116 billion game industry with new energy.
Sometimes I feel like I’m on a treadmill, like when last week President Donald Trump blamed violent video games for mass shootings. Because I’ve been around the block, I know why this politician is bringing this up again, because there are a lot of people out there who don’t realize it’s a distraction. The industry litigated this territory already, and I suppose he wants to re-litigate it.
It wouldn’t surprise me if we have to go through that cycle again. We’re preparing for the annual Game Developers Conference coming up in March, and I expect we’ll see the cycle turn again, with plenty of old things and new things to write about. I would say that the only thing that I’ve learned in my time covering games and tech is that nothing surprises me. And yet I love coming across fresh stories and new people.
I’ve come to appreciate the craft of writing and journalism. I don’t always succeed in delivering my best, because I’m always on deadline and short of time. But I hope you all appreciate the dedication of all journalists, and I feel lucky and honored to work alongside the fine people in the journalism industry and at VentureBeat.
And I appreciate Matt Marshall for hiring me a decade ago, taking me out of newspapers and into the web. Matt was braver than I was. I watched him go out on his own and test the waters. When the ice didn’t crack under his feet, I joined him. For the most part, we journalists don’t get rich doing this. Support us if you can. But don’t worry about me. My job feels very rewarding.
Ian Dallas, the head of Giant Sparrow and creator of a couple of my favorite games — The Unfinished Swan and What Remains of Edith Finch — said last week that if he was ever getting an award, he was going to thank me on stage for my interviews with him and coverage over the years. That made me feel good.
I’m also grateful to my family, which has put up with my passion for this work. I couldn’t do it without them.
In honor of my 10th anniversary, I’d be grateful if you signed up for my GamesBeat Summit 2018 conference, which will be about the convergence of tech, games, science fiction, and entertainment. If you’d rather not, that’s OK. But please stay in touch. I’m looking forward to the next 10 years. It’s been a great run.