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In January 1996 my editor (and later, good friend) Ben Rooney was setting up a new venture - The Daily Telegraph Technology Supplement - and he asked me to become a regular columnist. He initially asked me to write a column every week for a year and then he would review how it was all going. My reaction was to offer 10 weeks - I just couldn't see me becoming that productive.
About a week after our first meeting I shipped him the first 14 columns, and the first one was published on 16 April 1996. To my very great surprise this column became the first in a near 6-year weekly run until November 2001.
Nothing lasts forever, and following the dotcom bust of 2001, the powers that be decided to close the supplement. By this time Ben had moved on and after a year as my editor it fell to Becky Barrow to orchestrate the closure. In every respect Ben and Becky were great folks to work with and I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the Telegraph. Moreover, I enjoyed the many letters, emails and phone calls that my columns prompted. And as a measure of our progress I have seen ideas and notions that were repugnant to many 5 years ago become accepted by almost everyone today.
During the near 6 years I developed a routine of constantly writing the 600 word columns as subject and opportunity presented on my global travels. I only had a few golden rules: never write about specific people, companies or products, and never get to the point where the editor is screaming for copy! By this mechanism of always writing 3 to 10 columns ahead I had a stockpile of articles ready to roll for November and December 2001 and nowhere for them to go. In addition, I was receiving a lot of email from regular readers requesting more:
And then in July 02 came an invitation to write for silicon.com