We are pleased to have the opportunity to turn the camera around on David Stegon, reporter extraordinaire for Tech Bisnows daily dose of DC tech happenings. He spends so much time on the road covering our community, we wanted to hear more from him on what he sees, whats in store for us, and how he spends his personal time (when hes not driving up from Stafford to cover a 7:30 event!)- Elizabeth Shea
======================Youve been bringing us our tech business news now for a little over a year now, and have made quite an impact on the DC tech scene. How did get you get your start and what have you observed?
I joke that Im an 18-year media veteran despite only being 27, starting with a paper route in the 5th grade that I kept through the end of high school. I started my reporting career covering sports for a number of different publications in Philadelphia during college and my first full-time job was covering crime for the Potomac News in Woodbridge where I grew up. After a year of fires and murder scenes, I moved to New Jersey for graduate school at Columbia and covered local government for a paper in New Jersey with a brief stop as a desk clerk at a Red Roof Inn.
I moved back to Virginia when I finished school and lucked into the job at Bisnow
. My Dad worked for Westinghouse and later Northrop, so I knew a little about contracting and the local tech community, but never knew how large the community is. So far its been a blast, mainly because Bisnow is the positive publication opposed to the gotcha guys so people dont get scared when they see me coming. If anything they are thrilled to have us.Any observations to share from your time covering tech in DC?
Its been amazing to see the switch that has happened from the Bush Administration to Obama. It was a like a light switch went off. Theres a revived focus on technology and the leaders from our region now have high-profile jobs within the federal government, so its an exciting time to say the least.What trends have you spotted that we should watch for the rest of this year and into 2010? Any predictions?
I think well see more government regulations for contractors. Obama is showing that hes going to spend a lot of money, but also making sure he gets what he pays for. It goes without saying that it will be a great time to be a company that sells to the government. That being said, I can see how much harder government contractors and other IT providers will have to work this year and beyond. Everything is being scrutinized, which offers a lot of opportunities as well as challenges.What do you look for in a story what kind of companies would you like to meet?
One of TechBisnows
mantras is to provide non-technical coverage for technical people. So, we want to cover what a company really does, rather than its techno-speak. I believe that everyone has a story to tell, so I try to find the most compelling angle to share, and try to explain what they do in, you know, English. In general, I look for people doing cool stuff, doing something different, that want to share their story.
Other than that, I can be called a cheap date, as I am always on the lookout for good stories, especially when it comes to government officials.Whats your biggest pet peeve?
My biggest reporting pet peeve has always been people telling me how to write a story or what the angle is. I also hate when people cant stop talking. With Bisnow we write pretty short, but packed with information, so an hour long interview usually provides way too much information.What do you love the most about this job?
That Im not in the newspaper business anymore! Ive worked for 7 or 8 newspapers in the past, and its brutal right now. If you told me five years ago that I would be working for an online startup and Id feel more secure than being at a newspaper, Id think you were crazy. Thats also a testament to our founder and fearless leader Mark Bisnow, who has come up with a template that is incredibly popular, scalable and sells. Hes created a really innovative product that is fun to be a part of.What else is in store for the Bisnow Media Group? Any new newsletter angles?
Bisnow is doing great, and expanding. The model works for what it seems like the market wants, and we constantly incorporate feedback we receive. The model translates well to other cities, so you can expect to see more expansion on the horizon. Our Real Estate publication launched daily in New York a few months ago and we now have Real Estate publications in Chicago and New Jersey, so were always looking for the next hot place to be.What do you do for fun? Any other interesting tidbits to share? Personal updates?
I joke that Im like Dwight from The Office when he says, I dont take vacations, I dont get sick and dont celebrate any major holidays, so basically Im always around. Outside the office Im usually doing stuff with my girlfriend Tracy and her cat Timmy. I make it to the gym as much as possible and still spend too much time with a Playstation for an adult. I also like sports a lot, so that fills my time, and I can name any Metallica song within about three seconds.
This weekends much anticipated Billy Joel, Elton John Face 2 Face
concert included a great lesson in PR crisis tactics. PR crises run the gamut from a looming expose of an executive on 60 minutes to a pop superstar dying on the day of your major news announcement to the wrong dinner being served at a gala event.
Saturdays concert crisis was on the low end of the crisis scale. Billy Joel and Elton John emerged from underneath the stage and began the show on their individual pianos. The crowd was excited, singing along and enjoying the music. On the big screen we all saw Elton John yelling across his piano, four letter words apparent on his lips. Turns out, the pedals on his piano were not working admittedly a pretty major issue for a piano player but surely a tour like this had a number of back-up pianos. John stormed off stage leaving Joel to riff a series of patriotic songs (hes in DC after all) on his working piano. John returned to a still non-working piano. While he was complaining, Joel ripped off his jacket crawled under the piano and called for a screwdriver. Upon emerging he offers John his piano. Then Joel makes the call to just start his set and rallies his band from back and under the stage. He put on an amazing set without missing a beat.
While watching this go down I could not help but think of all of the mini crises I have overseen in my time in PR and how Ive always dealt with them with the attitude of, the show must go on. Some issues are so small that by avoiding panic no one is alerted to the problem. Other, bigger issues are best handled with an acknowledgement of the issue and a gracious detour to plan B, which is exactly how Bill Joel handled the situation on Saturday. Already a fan, I deepened my appreciation of him as a performer watching his calm handling of the unexpected and putting on a fabulous show.
(Photo Courtesy of The Washington Post Photo
Here's a recent article by Mike Musgrove, if you'd like to take a look: http://www.pressdisplay.com/pressdisplay/showlink.aspx?bookmarkid=OTGY8AY3QJK7&preview=article&linkid=e510b446-0ec0-40e5-a668-0b884931e824&pdaffid=ZVFwBG5jk4Kvl9OaBJc5%2bg%3d%3d