Dilettantes need not apply

Gypsy writes: Didn’t like your column prior 9/11 (wasn’t into comps then) but found you extraordinary since. Your true vocation is commentary, not computers! Anyway, just wondering when you’ll get your own radio show. You’re more intelligent than Savage, Scot (Mark Scot, you may have never heard of him) or Rush. I truly believe you are an untapped talent, regardless of you being sanguine or not.

I very much appreciate the compliments which many of you have paid me in this regard, and I certainly am glad that the collective you also consider my writings to be worthy of reading, but I think it’s important to remember that talent in one medium does not necessarily translate into talent in another. While I have no doubt that I could easily dissect Bill O’Reilly, or, with more difficulty, Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage, in a debate on most subjects, I don’t believe that I have the necessary ambition required to become a broadcast media star. One thing that radio and television personalities on both sides of the spectrum demonstrate rather vividly is a combination of towering ego and an almost desperate need for the approval of others. While I am rather prone to arrogance, I simply don’t believe that anyone’s views, much less mine, are required for the world to continue turning and I have very little need for external approval. Also, what little taste I have had of the limelight has been arguably more distasteful than enjoyable to me.

If writing did not come easily to me, and if I was not aware that there are few people adequately expounding some of the views that I regularly put forth, I don’t know if I would still be writing this column much less maintaining the blog. Fortunately, both require very little effort on my part. Except for in the case of a few damaged psyches, ego boost is also subject to diminishing returns. Most importantly, success in a field as lucrative and psychotically competitive as broadcast radio and television requires a level of interest several orders of magnitude higher than I presently possess.

Gypsy alludes to my technological interests – it is actually rather stronger than you might imagine. I have been at ground zero for three technological shifts, each of which created significant markets in the past ten years, and only my youth, inexperience and lack of follow-through prevented me from exploiting the opportunities presented more thoroughly than I did. Six years ago I identified a fourth shift which I am now developing, and to be honest, the process is far more challenging and of far more interest to me than doing the Tastes Great – Less Filling thing on the airwaves. In the long run, I suspect it will pay better too.

Things are still in the feasibility stage at this point, otherwise I’d be quite happy to talk your ears off about it. Once everything has proved itself to my satisfaction – perhaps more importantly, to Big Chilly’s – and there’s something worth talking about, I’ll be happy to satisfy the curiosity of anyone who happens to be interested. As I said, I conceived the notion a while ago, but computers weren’t fast enough and I hadn’t figured out one vital link in the natural evolution of the market. What I can say is that if this works as I envision it, you’ll know about it because you will almost surely be using it within ten years.

Getting back to the media, the one new medium that intrigues me a little right now is Internet broadcasting. The notion of broadcast without a corporate filter or a need to pander to the lowest common denominator in order to survive is an interesting one. An executive of a large company interested in video blogging has talked to me about my willingness to participate in some new ground being broken there; if anything happens to come of it I’ll be sure to keep you posted.