You see the names pop up all the time on the site, but what really makes the PhoneDog crew tick when they're not hard at work writing about phones? Welcome to Inside the Dog Pound, where we profile the members of the PhoneDog editorial team.
Taylor Martin, Contributing Editor
How did you get started?
Of all the questions I get asked about my job, this has to be the one I get asked most often and the hardest one to answer. I never applied for this job. I never pursued it either. And I never imagined this is what I would be doing three years ago.
But if I had to narrow it down (which I guess I finally have to do), I started working at Best Buy Mobile as a wireless sales consultant back in August 2009. Just a few short months after getting hired, I met Aaron. He was starting PhoneDog's BlackBerry-centric site, BBerryDog and he needed a volunteer to help keep the forums clean. Being the BlackBerry nut that I was back then, he asked me if I would be interested. A few weeks later, I was asked to write a short news piece. From there, my friendship with Aaron grew as did my role here at PhoneDog. I guess it was just a matter of being in the right place at the right time and having just the right amount of "useless knowledge", as my family used to call it, to pay off.
While I never expected to be here, I love my job and there isn't anything else I would rather be doing with my time or life.
What does your job entail?
I am a contributing editor here at PhoneDog, but a more descriptive title might be Op-Ed (that is, opinionated editorial) writer or editorialist. I wake up each weekday morning and immediately being scouring the four corners of the Internet for any and all mobile-related content that strikes me as interesting, frustrating or anything that moves me. My job, in short, is to give my opinion on any and all things mobile and strike up a conversation about it amongst you, our loyal readers and fans.
I am also in charge of writing a series of press releases for PhoneDog each month.
What's the one part of your job that people don't seem to understand?
This is a two-sided question. So I'll break it down into two parts. When I tell friends, family or anyone who isn't actively online and part of the online tech world that I "write about phones for a living," there isn't a single part of that anyone actually seems understand. I can tell them I write reviews or that I give my opinion on the daily happenings of mobile technology, but it all ends with a question I can't directly answer: "So your job is to play with phones?" (Seems like a common question amongst some of us PhoneDoggers.)
As for the other side, people don't seem to understand how difficult or how time consuming it is to come up with the vast amount of content I churn out in a day … or even in throughout a week. I write either two or three editorials per day, totaling 12 each week. I know that may not seem like all that much, but the physical writing aspect is the easy part. While still somewhat time consuming, it's something that becomes easier with experience and practice. But coming up with the content ideas is what is so difficult. Where Aaron may plan content days and weeks in advance, I focus more on short-term pieces that are a balance between news and opinion. It is a struggle each and every day, but I thoroughly enjoy it as much as I did on day number one.
What's the one thing that still shocks you about the wireless industry?
That's easy. Speed. The wireless industry can run circles around just about any other industry. Product cycles, price changes, news, reviews, rumors, etc. It all happens so quickly that it's hard for anyone to keep everything straight these days.
It's honestly hard to pick just one. There are a lot of things I enjoy doing in my free time, like building things (I used to do a lot of carpentry work as a child and young adult), rock climbing, photography (although I don't claim to be a photographer), learning different programming languages and playing video games. I still enjoy hands-on work more than just about anything. In fact, I'm working on building my own standing desk at the moment from a hodgepodge of IKEA parts. But there is nothing quite like winding down at night to some online video games with some of my closest cronies.
Heh. If you follow me on Twitter, subscribe to me on Facebook or even follow me on Instagram, you probably already know the answer to this one. I love food in general. But my favorite food, by far, is sushi. Any and all forms of sushi make me happy … except mackerel. I can even narrow it down to a specific type: salmon nigiri. All. Day. Long.
Mobile phone you're currently using?
I have three active phones that I have been carrying with me almost every day for the past two weeks: a white Apple iPhone 4S 32GB on Verizon, a white HTC One X on AT&T and an unlocked Samsung Galaxy Nexus with a Straight Talk SIM in it. Primarily, I have the iPhone and One X with me, and I'll leave the Nexus at home. I love all three (almost) equally. But if I had to carry just one, it would definitely be the One X.
Favorite mobile phone of all time?
Of all time? That's a seriously tough question, but not tough enough to stomp me. If I had to pick just one, it would be the BlackBerry Curve 8330. It wasn't technically my first smartphone, but it was the first one I settled with and the one I spent the most time with. I bought it when I turned 16 and carried it until my next upgrade, when I was 18-years-old. I think that's the only time I've actually ever kept a single device for the length of a contract.
Other gadgets you use regularly?
I could seriously take this section and turn it into a mini novela. Each and every day, I use a new iPad (16GB, white, Wi-Fi) with an Apple wireless keyboard to write my articles. I use a Sony NEX-5N camera to take pictures of devices, people, coffee, food and a million other things. I use a MacBook Air 13.3-inch for the brunt of my work, a Nexus 7 for my mobile entertainment needs and a Powerbag Deluxe to charge my devices on the go. I'm also looking for a nice, big monitor to compliment my Apple wireless keyboard and trackpad on my standing desk once it's finished, so feel free to leave recommendations.
My most prized gadget is one that I don't necessarily use "regularly" but plan to in the not too distant future. It's a Blue Yeti podcasting microphone that has been collecting entirely too much dust lately.
Things people may not know:
- Like Aaron, I am also left-handed.
- I am an aspiring mobile developer.
- I was given the nickname Casper because I am apparently so pale I am translucent.
- I learned how to drive a manual transmission car at age seven.
- I used to be the vocalist in a few bands, one of them was shred-your-face-off death metal.
- I once wrecked my street bike doing roughly 70mph in a sharp curve. I lost traction, hit a ditch head-on and was flung just shy of 100ft. I walked away with minor scratches, bruises and a broken arm that I didn't even realize was broken at the time.
- At age 19, I had eight prior jobs before working for PhoneDog.
- I loved boston terriers (the breed of dog used in the PhoneDog logo) long before discovering PhoneDog. I had two when I was growing up, Bandit and Chloe, and I have one now named Axle. My two sisters also have boston terriers, Banjo and Lucy. My mother and her parents had them as they were growing up, too. We're a boston terrier family!
Favorite place to visit?
I haven't done a lot of traveling in my days. Most of my vacations have been to either the beach or mountains, a pleasure of living smack dab in the middle of both here in North Carolina. But it's also a burden because it's the easy, (relatively) cheap vacation. The most influential vacations I have ever taken, however, was to South Bimini. It wasn't the intended destination, but due to some unforeseen circumstances, that is where we stayed for a week. It's not a popular tourist spot (read: there's not a lot there … at all), but it was an amazing trip.
That said, I would love to travel just about anywhere at this point. And my favorite place to go to recharge is the mountains of Tennessee or Boone, North Carolina.