Today, writing about technology is no longer elementary

Benedict Cumberbatch
By Ernie Wood   |   February 5, 2014

A recent online article noting that the BBC television show Sherlock, now airing on PBS, “is not a detective show, but rather a show about a detective” reminded me of the writing we do here at DeLaune and Associates. Because in our work for technology companies, we’re not producing technical writing, but rather writing about technology.

Now, Sherlock Holmes certainly does his detecting and we’ve certainly done technical writing. In my early work for a long-defunct PC clone maker, writing about 286-, then 386-, then 486-, and finally Pentium-based computers, it was all about the technology inside the box. And when the time came to write an ad, it was all about performance. How many ways can you say “faster”?

After a couple of years, we got closer to the heart of the matter with a headline that daringly told readers their computer was not what’s important. It featured a CIO and his children out on the family sailboat—free time courtesy of the productivity that his high performance computer made possible.

How simple those days seem. For most of us today, the high performance desktop is a given. The technology world now is about connectivity and the cloud, mobility and security. It’s about using servers for the heavy lifting, extracting business insights from stored big data, reducing energy consumption in cooling the data center, and much much more.

But individual products never go away. As I was working on this blog entry, I had to put the writing aside to edit a technical product description. And so the work goes full circle—technical writing to industry issues to business challenges and back to technology again.

Sherlock Holmes calls himself a “consulting detective,” and as we consult for our clients, we’re something of that sort, too. He can tell a lot about a suspect from the smallest details—mud on a shoe or a hair on an overcoat—to detect the solution to his mystery. We connect the dots across an increasingly complex spectrum of technologies and business issues to uncover insights, reveal the picture and tell a story.

Writing about technology is no longer what Sherlock Holmes would call “elementary,” but it does keep life interesting. We’ll let you know when our television show airs.

Ernie Wood

About the Author

Previous Managing Copy Director of DeLaune & Associates, Ernie is an author with more than 25 years of technology writing experience.

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