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So the question, and I suspect we've beaten this around before: Why does it always seem that the "Golden Age" was in the 80's and 90's? Is it because the computer industry was young and there was a lot of opportunity to write about software (and hardware)?
Or is it just something one feels after having so many years in the field?
In other words, is there anything in our field today that rivals that heady purpose of the projects in that era? I don't think content management and DITA have the same ring to them.
I think I mentioned before that the turning point to me seemed to be in the early 2000's with the advent of offshoring. Is it possible that that's when we sort of hit the wall with software documentation? (I remember in the mid-90's writing about how to use a 3-button mouse.)
So maybe the new entrants in our field get the "career pinnacle" assignments or projects. Is it possible that someone with many years in the field doesn't have ready access to these kinds of things? Or are they just so rare?
Just wondering out loud...
From: On Behalf Of Chris Morton
Sent: Tuesday, April 22, 2014 12:59 PM
To: Erika Yanovich; techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: Re: Anyone tried this in tech writing?
Before moving my family from Northern Lower Michigan (north of Al G.) and joining the Scottsdale, AZ-based company, one day I received a very poorly-conceived Windows tips newsletter entitled *The Graunke ReportâWindows Tips & Secrets*, mass-mailed by Mastering Computers. Perhaps you saw one of the early efforts, appearing on the scene about the same time as Brian Livingston's first edition of the bestseller, *Windows Secrets*.
The newsletter sucked, so I wrote Graunke to let him him know what I thought about it (more specifically, how I would improve it). After two get-to-know-ya meetings, hosting a trial *Inside Windows* seminar breakout session and soloing for a week as a Windows 3.1 instructor at Lyondell Petrochemical in Houston (a contract held by Mastering), I became *The Graunke ReportâWindows Tips & Secrets *author, layout artist and production coordinator. Simultaneously I was touring the country conducting the company's highly-successful seminars (in a city near you). Over 3-1/2 years I increased my salary three-fold, so it was a good run.
(I'm only sorry that, like Steve Ballmer, I didn't take out a second mortgage and buy more M$ stock during that period, where it was splitting
2-for-1 and 3-for-1 every few weeksâa precursor to Googlemania. *Sherman, set the Wayback Machine.... *And had I been a suck-up, I probably would have been given some of Mastering's stock before it was sold to Platinum Technologies for something like $20MM.)
I leveraged my Mastering Computers' experience into a similar gig at Learning Tree International, sans newsletter (but was freelancing for *Windows Sources* magazineâwhere I was briefly its "tips" editorâand Cobb Group newsletters). Those few years at LTree remain the absolute pinnacle of my career, before that company ran head-on against lower-cost, online training methodologies and the ubiquity of Windows OS/GUI knowledge.
Anyway, thanks for letting me reminisce a bit. All of that is to say that, yes, going out on a limb and writing a Magic Bullet letter sometimes works.
On Mon, Apr 21, 2014 at 10:39 PM, Erika Yanovich <ERIKA_y -at- rad -dot- com> wrote: