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Meet Peter Judge, Editor of TechWeekEurope UK

April 3, 2012

By Rose Ross, @Rose_at_O

Q. Hello Peter.  Would you start by telling us a little about your professional self and your publication?

I have been a journalist for 25 years, aaargh.  To my surprise, I now find myself editor of TechWeekEurope, a proper news site which, after three years, continues to go from strength to strength.  TWE is for technology decision makers.  Our aim is to examine the business implications of IT developments.  As you might imagine, that means we are particularly interested in mobile, security, the public sector, the cloud, and sustainable IT.

 Q. What are the hottest topics in mobile?

This is a tricky question, because in mobile the hottest thing seems to be stuff that doesn’t actually exist – like unannounced Apple products – or stuff that’s not that exciting – like the new iPad.  Where Apple is concerned, people tend to see it even if it isn’t there.  We took a survey before MWC and readers told us that the iPhone 5 would be the show’s top news story – but Apple wasn’t even there! To be fair, we did fool people a bit, because we stuck Apple leads in a list of possible “top stories”, so maybe they assumed it was a list of actual news planned for the show.  Mind you, the list also contained something called Android Jellybean…

What actually is hot are things that have actually been talked about for so long that they aren’t actually news anymore, not really. What is really hot in mobile for our readers is BYOD [bring your own device].  And that segues into security and management implications too.

 Q. What’s hot in IT security?

Erm, can I phone a friend on this one? Eric Doyle has been doing some great articles on this, while Tom Brewster has just arrived from IT Pro and will be covering the security beat too.  But for me, the answer is: activism and politics.  These two factors mean that every business is a potential target even if there is no obvious reason for it to be a target.

 Q. What’s the public sector looking like, from your perspective?

Public sector IT is dominated by a tangle of horribleness overlaid with the hope that things might actually get better.  Old style contracts have to go, while civil servants, unions and service providers fight what needs to be done.  CSC’s contract for the National Programme for IT in the NHS is a prime example of the uselessness of old style contracts.  There is also pressure to do as much as possible in the cloud.

 Q. Ah, the cloud.  What’s your view there?

The cloud is, I think, the backdrop to most of the stuff we have just talked about.  For example, changes in the public sector are only even possible because of the cloud.  The whole IT industry needs to be, or already is being, fundamentally reshaped by the cloud.  That’s why we’re launching a channel business stream on the site.

The channel is pretty much in denial, and assessments such as “over my dead body” will probably prove correct!  The reality is this: the cloud brings efficiencies.  So for how long can people go on and on about efficiencies but still pretend that this doesn’t mean less money for somebody?

 Q. Tell us about green, or sustainable, IT.

This started as very much one of our main points of focus.  In fact, we talk about “sustainable” instead of “green” IT, because this enables us to look at economic sustainability and efficiency under the same heading.

Irrespective: whether you call it green or sustainable, it still has an image problem.  There is a lot of excitement about making data centres more energy efficient through technology like virtualisation and new kinds of cooling, but the suspicion is that this excitement is vendor-led.  There’s quite a lot of evidence that, out in the real world, people are ignoring it even when a green energy tax appears to be just around the corner.  We’ll keep plugging the issue: the environmental effects of IT are something for which we as an industry need to take responsibility.

Might I mention that, by chance, we have also just talked our way through the subjects of TWE’s daily newsletters, and how to get in them?  Monday is public sector, security is Tuesday, mobile is Wednesday, sustainable IT on Thursday, and the cloud is on Friday.  Ideally, the lead-time for newsletters is 2-3 days beforehand, but please note that we can only make a newsletter once the news in it is live.  This makes embargoed news very hard to include – unless it is truly massive.

 Q. How many events do you go to?

[PJ laughs].  I go to big events: to MWC (except this year), to RSA Expo, and to Infosecurity.  With the recent acquisition of CBS Interactive Germany, we now own a lot of German tech press, including Silicon.de, Zdnet.de and Cnet.de – so, unfortunately, I had to buy my own frankfurters this year instead of sampling the delights of the Münchner Halle at CeBIT.

Q. What’s your favourite event?

At the moment I enjoy the data centre events: Data Centre World and Data Centre Expo, for example. I like them because they have an actual message to get across: They are delivering the powerhouse behind the cloud. They face real issues like power, capacity, and changes in technology to which you simply must have an answer.  I’ve also been close to those events for the last few years, so I know who I’m going to meet there and what I want to ask them.

 Q. How many interviews do you do per week?

There’s no right answer to that as it varies a lot from week to week, and it could be an exchange of emails or a face-to-face interview.  I reckon an average of 50 interactions per week is probably realistic, but clearly not all of these lead to a story.

 Q. And how do you like to be pitched?

Email me first; then, when you ring, I can deal with you quicker.  But be warned: it may be to get shot of you more quickly!

Please, please don’t ring up to say “can you send me an email”.  OK, the exception to that is if you know I am really interested in an embargoed story or the news is happening right now.

 Q. What genre of stories interests you most?

Truly game changing tech, big names getting it right, or – even better – big names getting it wrong.  I’ll look at interesting end user stories sometimes, if they’re genuinely really different.

 Q. Whose opinions do you value?

I quite like Florian Müller’s views on intellectual property.  He’s founder of the NoSoftwarePatents campaign.

 Q. Do you have a favourite restaurant?

What?  No.

 Q. What has been your favourite press trip ever?

Unisys once took me to see BB King play in the south of France.  That was enjoyable.

 Q. What’s the worst press trip?

I once attended a systems vendor’s press event, which took place an hour out of London.  When I got there they handed me an NDA, which they didn’t seem to understand meant that I couldn’t use the news. Ever.

 Q. Are you a social media lover? Which ones are you on? FB? LinkedIn? Twitter?

All the above.

 Q. Tell us something no one knows about you.

 I’m sure everyone already knows I’m a Morris dancer. Are you looking for something more embarassing than that?

Copyright ©Launchpad Europe 2012. All rights reserved. You may copy and distribute this material as long as  you credit the author where possible; the copies are distributed only for non-commercial purposes and at no charge; and you include this copyright notice and link to Countdown2StorageExpo.com, the original source of the work.

If you have any questions, please contact Launchpad Europe, info@launchpad-europe.com.

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