Engineers Like a Good ...

Engineers Like A Good Story

We’ve discussed this topic before.

While professionals coming from a technical orientation gravitate toward the tangible, there’s also a place for storytelling in reaching this audience.

That’s why companies like Intel devote considerable resources to putting a “face” on the company.

That’s also why the editor-in-chief of EE Times, Junko Yoshida, applies storytelling techniques in her own writing.

For exhibit A, we turn to Junko’s editorial, “One Man’s Treat, Another Man’s Twaddle” that articulates the vision for the publication.

Look at how the piece kicks off:

The news business is dead. Toss in a few lilies and start filling the grave. At least that’s what a vocal coterie of triumphalists in the media and advertising industries—although not necessarily our readers—keeps saying.

This isn’t about facts and figure.

It’s a narrative setting the stage.

She moves on to sharing an anecdote from a reader and the genesis for “twaddle” in the headline (now, there’s a word you don’t see every day) who wrote:

“I don’t understand the strategy of turning EE Times into some kind of social media Web site experiment. It’s the same Muppets who post the same mind-numbing comments time and again. I want to view a media site with good journalistic content and opinion pieces from the best minds in the industry . . . not twaddle that fills 50 percent of the front page. Go back to the old format.”

Not a bad turn of a phrase, “the same muppets who post the same mind-numbing comments” and from an engineer no less (assumption on my part).

With the issue framed, Junko moves to the punch line: EE Times has embraced a model that combines building an online community (free) with a subscription service called EE Times Confidential (paid).

Again, the editorial depends on an anecdote to hammer home the point:

But what really got to me was when hundreds of our readers flooded us with responses after George Leopold posted a story asking, “Flush tech companies slow to hire. Why?”

That’s when I realized our readers should be heard by the wider world. They are articulate professionals who have something to say and the right to say it. They deserve a public forum where they can voice their views openly, exchange their ideas freely and vent their frustrations safely in a supportive environment. If I’m right about this, we have laid the foundation for that intellectual refuge within the EE Times community.

Junko closes with yet another anecdote, this one involving a foreign media executive who some time ago asked if the publication has a soul.

Fast forwarding to today, the question provides the inspiration “to ensure that the soul of EE Times is revealed in every venture.”

Folks, she’s a telling a story with the reader riding shotgun in the hero’s role.

How has the story resonated?

We’ll find out when Junko graces our stage in May as the guest speaker for our quarterly Lunch Bucket series.

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