The quick version
Tech Narratives is a subscription service offering commentary on roughly a dozen of the top tech news stories every day, along with context in the form of roughly 50 narrative essays covering the prevailing narratives in the industry, and various other features. You can learn more or sign up for $10/month (starting with a 30-day free trial) on this page.
The long version
Developments in the consumer technology industry don’t exist in a vacuum. Those reporting on the industry often attempt to tie stories into a broader narrative regarding the industry trend or company they’re writing about. This attempt to provide context is often itself overly simplistic and lacking in context, making false assumptions, drawing unwarranted conclusions, and finding patterns where there are none. Each of us also brings our own prejudices to the table, which often cause us to see news as part of a narrative of our own concoction.
This site aims to take a step back and place some of the biggest tech stories of the day within a well-grounded context, evaluating and challenging the narratives woven around the news. Every post on this site contains three things:
- A link to an original news article
- A paragraph of context and opinion on the content of the article
- Tags for the companies and topics that are the focus of the article.
These elements are intended to allow readers to quickly evaluate the news itself, and to allow them to find other articles relating to the same topics and companies by way of further context. Almost all of the posts on the site are also tagged against an in-depth narrative, which evaluates the stories being told about the company or trend, grounding them in reality rather than conventional wisdom. You can use the search link in the menu bar to find specific posts – the Search option is an open text search, while the Custom Search option allows you to find posts by company/division name and/or topic tag.
The site won’t cover every piece of tech news in the day – that would be overwhelming both for me and for readers. Instead, I choose what I consider the biggest but also the most interesting tech stories, analysis, and opinion of the day, which might be anything from five to thirty posts (but is usually somewhere around a dozen) depending on how busy things are in the industry. And though the tech industry is global in nature, this site comes at it from a US perspective – that’s where I’m based, and it’s the market I know best.
As of early April 2017, this site has a paywall which protects the newest posts, the narrative essays, and various other features behind a paywall – you can learn more about the subscription and what it includes here.
I welcome any feedback on the site, including any bugs or issues you discover, or any requests for additional content or functionality.
jan (at) jackdawresearch (dot) com
Answers to some FAQs follow below:
Who is the site for?
At a basic level, the site is for anyone who finds it valuable, but I have a few specific groups in mind. Anyone working in the tech industry, especially for any of the companies I cover, should get a lot of value out of understanding both the narratives told about their company and its peers and competitors, but also the truth behind those narratives. But I also see it providing value for reporters, financial analysts and investors, industry analysts, and others who cover the industry for a living, and even those who simply find the tech industry interesting.
How do you choose the news items you cover?
I have a pretty well-curated Twitter feed at this point which seems to bring me all the most important consumer technology news of the day, and that’s the system I use to help identify the stories I should be thinking about. I tend to whittle down the list based on those stories that either seem significant to the company or trend in question, or those stories which seem to be gaining traction despite not being as significant as they seem or which perpetuate a false narrative. I use Techmeme and a few RSS feeds to ensure I’m not missing anything, and I try to limit the stories to about 20 a day at most.
How do you choose which publications to link to?
As a practical matter, I tend to link to the publication that brings me the story via one of my feeds, unless it’s based on original reporting by another publication or does a poor job of covering the story. For some stories that are being widely covered by the time I write about them, I link to Techmeme for additional coverage. My purpose isn’t to promote or prioritize particular publications, though I inevitably end up linking to some more than others because they appear more often in my feeds.