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Q&A With 12-year-old Blogger ...

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max swisher interviewTechnorati lists over 24,000 tech blogs.

I think I’m on safe ground in saying that only a few were started by 10-year-olds.

Now at the seasoned age of 12, Max Swisher sat down with me at Great Bear Coffee in Los Gatos for an on-the-record discussion of his blog, “Good Morning Geek.”

I published the first half of an interview with Max on Tuesday.

Here’s the second half of the conversation:

Q: I got a kick out of your Windows jab when you attended the Dolby event.

The event was fun, as we crowded into the theatre and watched the video without the left and right channels (they had a server error, welcome to a PC dependent company.)                              
                              Dolby Ok, go event
                              “Good Morning Geek,” December 10, 2010

Do you feel an obligation to only say positive things if someone invites you to an event or gives you a product to review?

A: Not at all. You can’t hide stuff. That wouldn’t be honest.

Q: I know you spent time with HP’s CTO Phil McKinney. What did you take away from this meeting?

max swisher interviewsA: That it’s tough to get your ideas used in a huge company like HP.

Q: So you’re probably more suited for a startup?

A: Yes. Right now I have an internship with Cooliris. It’s a fun place to work.

Q: How’s your seventh-grade English class?

A: I get OK grades. Here’s the thing: I hate structured writing. In English class, everything has to fit into a box. That’s what I like about blogging. There is no box.

Q: Does your English teacher read your blog?

A: My teachers aren’t interested in the blog. But they do come to me for technical help with the school’s computers.

Side note: For a second I thought he was going to say “but they did stay at a Holiday Inn.”

Q: Does your middle school offer any classes in computing?

A: There is one class called “tech,” but it only teaches applications. They don’t teach anything about the actual computer. I talked to a kid who took the class and he didn’t even know what RAM is.

Q: Your YouTube video on the iPhone antennae fiasco generated over 40,000 views and counting. Tell me how this came about.

A: I put the video and post out the same day that Apple held a press conference on the iPhone antennae. It was cool … every time I hit refresh there were more views. I had a few hundred views over the next couple days and then it became 1,000 and just kept growing.

Q: So you made a conscious effort to leverage a high-profile event?

good morning geek A: Not exactly. I was just curious. If Apple was having this problem with the iPhone, does the same problem exist with other phones? So I took my Droid to see if it had the same problem and it did. It turns out the people making fun of Apple were wrong. Of course, the Droid now has a new baseline version so it doesn’t have this problem anymore.

Q: Keep seizing the mouse.

A: Thanks.


Comments

  • Stephanie Slater @slslater

    I’m so impresssed – and just a bit intimidated – by the articulate insight Max offers. I’m also struck by how sad it is that his teachers aren’t interested in his blog! What a great way to engage young people – especially boys who aren’t always interested in traditional literature!

    It reminds me of when a teacher criticized my then 12-year-old son’s English assignment “my favourite school memory” because it was a wild sci-fi account of a future school w a robotic teacher whose head blew up. Creative, grammatical, proper spelling, good vocabulary – just not “real” (he didn’t have any favourite school memories – he pretty much hated school at that time)

    Let Max and the other creative kids out there remind us that there can be many ways to achieve the goal – and let’s try to remember what the real goal is! (and that it’s not usually well met by sticking inside ‘the box’!)

    Seize the mouse, indeed!

    Reply
  • Lou Hoffman

    Stephanie,

    I thought the same thing.

    If I was an English teacher and my students were blogging, what a great tool to cultivate writing.

    Thanks for weighing in with your perspective.

    Reply
  • Louise Roon

    Thought I would weigh in as Max’s English teacher. I will now read Max’s blog since I am now aware that he has one – a fact that is new knowledge for me. I do agree that creative writing is not an emphasis in seventh grade, but such is education today. I am in charge of teaching Max and his fellow students how to logically and concisely get their thoughts on paper in a format that is easy for a teacher to evaluate – this involves a certain amount of filling boxes. Max likes to write in a stream of consciousness fashion and does so in his blog. He has reasons for how he approaches his blog which make sense for the writing he is doing. Max also understands that he is free to write outside of class – a fact that I wish more students and adults understood. What a teacher is responsible for imparting to students does not have to be their only outlet for creativity. Max has an enthusiasm for his craft that is infectious and a mind that is sharp and I am sure he will keep on with his excellent blog – and that he will also listen to what I am trying to teach – each has a place and purpose.

    Reply
  • Lou Hoffman

    Louise,

    I appreciate it would have been easy to ignore this modest blog and move on.

    Thanks for adding your perspective.

    What you shared makes perfect sense.

    In retrospect, I could have handled Max’s answer to the question about his English class differently, providing more context.

    Reply
  • Louise Roon

    Boy – quick response. Max and I had fun in class the other day after I read his comments. I really was not responding to you and your questions, but to the other responders who seem to think that what happens in English is the only chance they get to be creative. Creative and passionate people tend to find a way to do so and don’t blame the one hour a day that is devoted to reading, writing, grammar, comprehension, formatting, organization – etc. etc. etc.

    I will keep reading –

    Louise Roon

    Reply
  • Corporate or Personal Blog? | Content Rules, Inc. (formerly Oak Hill Corp)

    […] about 2 years. Lou and Max talked about blogging and storytelling. Click here to read part one, and here to read part two.  Oh, and click here to read Good Morning Geek, Max’s blog. Thanks again, […]

    Reply

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