There are thousands of tech blogs out there.
Few are manned by a 12-year-old.
But “Good Morning Geek” from Max Swisher isn’t a gimmick that challenges child labor laws.
Max knows his stuff and has developed his own voice.
In the case of the latter, I wanted to learn more about how Max tells his stories. An e-mail exchange and the green light from his mom Val led to a late-morning meeting at Great Bear Coffee in Los Gatos.
After repeated coaxing – I said I don’t like to drink alone – Max joined me with my drink of choice, a hot coco, no whip.
Here’s the first half of the conversation that ensued:
Q: Let’s start with the cliché kick-off question; what led to you to start your blog?
A: I came across Blogspot (now known as Blogger) from Google and thought this is cool. I started off blogging about random things. After a while, I decided the blog would be more interesting if I focused on technology.
Q: Because you have a passion for technology?
A: Right. My dad is an IT manager and my mom’s company does technical documentation, so you could say technology runs in the family. I got a used Compaq computer running Windows 98 for my fourth birthday which got me started in tech.
Q: At four years old?
Q: How do you capture your own voice in your blog?
A: When I’m writing, I just let it go. It goes straight from my brain to the blog.
Q: But once you write the first draft, you don’t just hit the publish button?
A: Yes, I do … after I use the spell checker. If I analyze things too much, it won’t be an original thought.
Q: Who do you consider the audience for your blog?
A: Anyone interested in tech. I’ve noticed lately that I’m getting more teens coming to the blog, but I have all types of readers. I get e-mails from businesspeople who say that my blog has helped them figure something out. That’s a good feeling.
Q: How do you decide what you’re going to write about?
A: Whenever I get a new product, I write about it. I like free stuff. There’s a lot of software out there that’s free.
Q: I noticed your review of MindNode. I’ve been looking for a mind-mapping product, so should I check it out?
A: You should. It’s a good product and simple to use.
Sidenote: How does he know my technical acuity borders on sad?
Q: Are you familiar with the reviews on CNET?
A: Of course. I love CNET.
Q: How do your reviews differ from those on CNET?
A: My review style is more personal.
Q: I think all bloggers share a common plight to get more reader interaction. l saw your post when you “asked” readers to add comments.
Did it work?
Q: That’s going to make a lot of bloggers feel better. It’s not just them.
A: Later, I did a giveaway of a signed 4×6 print of Spewing Star to the fifth person who e-mailed me, and that got a decent response.
Q: What blogs do you pay attention to?
A: TechCrunch and Mashable and people like Robert Scoble.
Q: Robert Scoble follows you on Twitter, which is a compliment.
A: I’d like to interview him.
Q: You should DM him. I bet he’d be open to talking with you (even though he won’t return my e-mails). If Scoble was 12 years old, I suspect his blog would resemble yours.
We’ll publish the second half of the interview with Mr. Swisher on Thursday.