Interview: John Biggs, Writer

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John Biggs

John Biggs is the East Coast Editor of TechCrunch, a leading technology news website. He’s the former editor-in-chief of popular technology and gadget blog, Gizmodo. He took a moment to share his EDC, offer advice to writers, and talk about his passion for watch collecting.

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View John Biggs’s full Everyday Carry

What’s in your everyday carry?

I carry a Ridge Wallet, which is basically two pieces of titanium held together with stretchy bands. It allows me to keep the few cards I carry safe and it discourages carrying cash. I also have a British Navy Knife from 1959. It doesn’t have the marlinspike, which is my favorite spike, but it has a great can opener and knife. I have a pair of Ultimate Ears molded earbuds and I also wear a Fitbit Charge HR. It’s the high techiest of my things.

What do you do for a living these days, and how does that play into your typical carry setup?

I’m a writer and I travel a lot. I’ve been writing about technology for about fifteen years and I’ve probably had every piece of portable tech ever in the world in my possession at some time in the past decade. I have streamlined my requirements, though, and have things down to a science when I travel.

You’ve been writing for fifteen years at many reputable publications. Are there any notable sources of inspiration that pushed you and kept you focused?

I’m inspired by a few people. I have a few writers I love but I’m really driven by William Gibson. He created a lot of stuff – journalism, fiction, short stories – and all of it was prescient and carefully written. He also knows good stuff when he sees it.

Considering how you mainly cover high tech gadgets, it’s interesting to hear you’re a huge watch collector. What draws you to the vintage, low tech hobby of watch collecting?

I love mechanical watches. They are wildly outdated and silly to wear but I will always have one on my wrist. The instinct to take care of a mechanical object is often lost on us these days because most of the things we own can’t be maintained or repaired. It’s nice to know that humans can still make amazing things with moving parts.

Why do you EDC?

Why did I pick this stuff? I love stuff that was made for the ages. A good mechanical watch will survive far into the future. A good knife is always there. I’ve seen so much ephemeral junk that it’s exhausting. I want something that has survived. If Ben Franklin came back today he’d be most interested in my Fitbit and then maybe my credit cards. The rest of the stuff he’d understand.

What’s your favorite watch in your rotation?

I like my Omega Speedmaster Mark II. It’s based on an old Omega from 1969. It melds a sort of post-Space Age styling with what was seen as modern in the early 1970s. It’s a beautiful piece and it’s really nicely redone.

Do you have any recent accomplishments or interesting projects in the works that you’d like to tell us about?

I’m becoming an entrepreneur and I’m working on a tech startup right now. That’s really interesting. I’m also about to publish a book about Marie Antoinette’s watch. I’m constantly flipping between old and new, high and low tech. It’s part of how I grew up. I was born in 1975 and I remember a time when there were no computers and suddenly there were. It’s a jarring experience and it defines our generation. We think TV is OK, but iPads aren’t, but I’d argue it’s still the opposite. And I think a good book is better than both of those things.

What advice would you give to our aspiring writers in the EDC community?

If you want to be a writer you have to write all the time. Reading is fine but it’s not preparation for true writing. Making a living by telling stories or by getting your ideas across is a real privilege and it’s almost impossible to pull off without intelligent and careful practice.

You can follow John on Twitter at @johnbiggs.

Header photo by Marina FIlipovic Marinshe

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