Media Interview with Désiré Athow, editor of TechRadar Pro
Read on to get the lowdown on TechRadar Pro with editor Désiré Athow.
Hello Désiré! So you’ve recently taken over at TechRadar Pro. Can you tell us a bit about the site and some of your plans for it.
TechRadar Pro, unbeknown to many, is a massive B2B website in its own right. It is currently a channel within TechRadar but is considered and treated as a separate entity altogether. As such, I am very lucky to be standing on the shoulders of a giant. Comscore figures put our global traffic at more than nine million page views and nearly five million unique users. My immediate focus is on producing more content across a broader spectrum and a wider range of content types. Beyond that we have a number of exciting plans for 2014 coming up but I can't say more. My lips are sealed.
You moved to TechRadar Pro (TRP) from ITProPortal.com, what prompted the move? How have you settled into the new role? Are the two publications very different?
I started at ITProPortal (ITPP) as a one-man band and transformed it from an aggregator into a reasonably successful B2B website. After nearly eight years at its helm, I wanted to see what other opportunities were available. I am still learning about Future since it is an altogether much bigger company (compared to where I was before) but it is fair to say that I am staying true to myself, I am a conversationalist at heart. Surprisingly, both TRP and ITPP share similar grounds; they are B2B-focused, are creative and face a challenging market that saw the demise of the likes of Silicon.com.
Tell us a bit about your new responsibilities.
Succinctly, short term is all about raising the profile of TechRadar Pro through an outreach program and in the long term, position it as one of the best B2B websites in the country and beyond.
What have you been really enjoying so far in your new role?
It has been really fulfilling as I have been given a lot of freedom to roam, which is always good. I like the flexibility and of course the team here, from whom I'm constantly learning.
What information from PRs would be useful for TechRadar Pro? How do you prefer PRs to approach you?
I usually ask them to provide me with a list of their clients and what they can cover. I prefer to get PRs to email rather than calling (and I am sure I am not alone).
What’s TechRadar Pro’s approach to freelancers?
They are free to pitch ideas to me, directly, or to my deputy, Dan Grabham.
How useful do you find social media? How do you think this has changed how you communicate with other media professionals?
I am not an avid social media aficionado because I find it time-consuming. I tend to keep a low profile on Twitter and on Facebook, posting only occasionally. For a foreseeable future, I am sticking to email and telephone: two tried-and-trusted business tools.
You moved to the UK from Mauritius – what persuaded you to swap an island paradise for grey, cold London?
Opportunities, opportunities, opportunities. London is beautiful in Summer and I still keep in touch every day with my parents who are still in Mauritius.
You’ve worked as an IT consultant and also have expertise in computer science and engineering. Do you find this knowledge helps you to be a successful tech journalist?
Great question. I am a geek who happens to be good at writing rather than the opposite. It helps tremendously when you are able to discuss niche topics with VPs or engineers. I have been following technology for 20-odd years so it is comforting for them to talk about companies they used to work for or decade-old products that they helped to build.
Got any tips for tech that’s going to change the way we think/live/do business in 2015 and beyond?
Internet of things, Big Data and BYOD. Everybody talks about those but very few understand the impact that these three will have on our lives. Believe it or not, but these three are very tightly intertwined.
And one last one, what do you want for Christmas and have you any New Year’s Resolutions?
I will be with my family for Christmas in Mauritius, can't ask for more than that. As for my NY resolutions: be more organised and socialise with PRs even more!
You can socialise with Désiré via Twitter @desireathow.