Connecting with Bill Sobel

David Pogue thinks science, technology, language and humor go together quite well. "That’s been my experience, anyway, in my years writing columns, presenting science and tech on TV, creating how-to books and doing a lot of public speaking," he explains on his website.

Pogue, the former personal technology columnist for the New York Times, is the founder of Yahoo Tech — a "consumer-technology website for normal people."

He’s also a monthly columnist for Scientific American, host of science shows on PBS’s “NOVA” and a correspondent on the CBS News Sunday Morning.

In his spare time, he authored four titles in the For Dummies series of books and teamed up with O'Reilly Media to launch Pogue Press, the company that creates the Missing Manual books. If you haven't heard of the Missing Manuals, they're a series of "warm, witty and jargon free" manuals for popular consumer software and hardware products … the "books that should have been in the box."

A Busy Guy


Pogue has won two Emmy awards, two Webby awards, a Loeb award for journalism, holds an honorary doctorate in music and is a popular speaker at TED conferences.

What's he talk about? "After happily weathering installation nightmares, customer service hiccups, and an overwhelming crush of backups, upgrades and downloads, Pogue reports back with his recommendations via his many columns, TV appearances and how-to books," his TED bio explains.

Recently, he shared his insight with CMSWire, too.

Sobel: You're a musician, composer, writer and everything in between. Can you share with us a bit about your professional journey?

Pogue: It certainly has been a peculiar journey! It began at Yale, where I was a music major. I moved to New York City, where I spent 10 years conducting and arranging musicals on Broadway, trying to make it big. Clearly, that didn't happen.

On the side, I began writing reviews of music software — and, eventually, all kinds of other software — first for the New York Macintosh Users Group (NYMUG) and later for Macworld Magazine. My interests in music and writing have always overlapped. Anyway, my big break was joining the New York Times in 2000, which led to all kinds of other opportunities —TV appearances, speaking engagements, and so on.

My other big break was getting Yahoo's interest last year. The company offered me carte blanche to create a new tech website for non-technical people — told me I could hire whomever I liked, create and design whatever I wanted — it was irresistible. After 13 years at the Times, I was ready for a change.

Sobel: As many of our readers know, you and Walt Mossberg were the gold standard of technology journalists … you writing for the New York Times and Walt writing for the Wall Street Journal. Ironically you left the Times at around the same time the WSJ decided to end Mossberg’s All Things Digital. Seems a bit ironic. Or is it?

Pogue: Without being aware of it. I guess it's easy to conclude that there is some kind of overall trend here — print journalists moving to the web or whatever. But I think our departures came from very different motivations.