What is it about Horace Dediu and asymco.com most of us find so remarkable?
Horace is one of the best analysts around who focuses on the mobile space. He describes his site as “Using words to punctuate the lyrical tale told by numbers.” He’s also great at creating visualizations from those numbers, and some are innovative, multidimensional, and animated. He’s a favorite of other sites that repost his work because much of what he produces is information we need, but which can’t be found elsewhere.
But there’s something about the man himself. Why are we all drawn to him, gush over him, and can’t get enough of what he has to say? Why did Dan Benjamin at 5by5 Studios interview Horace on The Pipeline and then give him his own show called Critical Path? Even Horace himself probably wonders that too. His humility makes him all the more endearing.
(Photo courtesy of this GigaOM article.)
It appears that he has so many followers because of his style. People seem to be hungering for indisputable facts enhanced by his insight, straight talk, experience, hard work, and study. And he really knows how to turn a phrase.
He understands business, math, analysis, communication, and explains things well, using history, analogies and metaphors. He’s excellent at information interface and the art of the explanation - a couple of things I understand and appreciate in particular. But we all instinctively appreciate that greatly.
When we follow the tech space, we’re exposed to so much crappy writing, the parroting, reblurbination, sensationalism, and the lack of depth because nowadays it’s so easy to “phone it in.” So many writers are also apparently oblivious to the fact that they’re wearing their inadequate critical thinking skills on their sleeve. And there’s that slippery slope too, where some sites allow (and encourage) a measurable percentage of intentional BS in their articles, complete with linkbait titles, purposely meant to drive the pageviews and mentions for the benefit of their site’s advertisers, comment section activity, and their bottom line.
I believe it’s because of information overload, and complexity overload. When someone comes along and is able to describe complicated things succinctly, we absolutely love it.
As I say repeatedly, “Simplicity allows us to rise to a higher level of accomplishment given the fixed effort we have available.” We only have so much time and energy in our budget, so a quote from Horace is the equivalent of a bunch of work we didn’t have to do, and we can now move on to the next thing before our time runs out. And curiously the experience is a little Apple-like because there’s often a feeling of delight that goes along with it.
And his comment sections are insightful and illuminating too – the kind most other sites dream of having. He draws other smart people into orbit around him, and it’s fun to read their comments as well. It’s a wonderful thing.
It’s good for all of us to have a point of reference like him, someone many would say is first in his class, and represents something to aspire to. And Horace would be the first to wish that we would do even better than he.
Well, just be yourself Horace, don’t change. We’ll try to catch up.