Noted Interviews: Anže Tomić

The tech space is full of creative people, exciting projects and interesting products. With Noted Interviews, we tap into the brilliant minds of the individuals behind such works, letting you know why and how they do what they do as well as giving you a better insight into who they are as people.

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Who are you and what do you do?

In Slovenia, I am the online editor of a political and cultural magazine Mladina. I write for the biggest tech magazine Monitor. I also do a weekly radio show on Radio Student (which is one of the oldest independent radio stations in Europe — it's been on air since 1969). Plus, I run a podcast network called Apparatus, which started with my interview show. I recently uploaded my 100th interview. The network consists of 6 regular shows at the moment.

How did you get into writing and talking about tech?

I was always into tech and when I was the online editor at the radio station I got an opportunity to try out for Monitor, the tech magazine. That was 5 years ago and I have been writing about tech ever since. Talking about tech on podcasts is just the logical path from writing about it. Since I review a lot of products every month I generally have a good overview of what the current trends are. I write about/review mobile products mostly, it fits really well with where most of the conversation is right now. I also review Wi-Fi routers so I am sort of Glenn Fleishman in his early days...

You just recorded episode 100 of your tech podcast Apparatus and you run the Slovene podcast network also named Apparatus. How did you go from hosting one show to creating a whole network of shows?

apparatus_artweb_mala.png

It started with my interview show. One of my early guests was Boštjan Gorenc who is a very good and popular stand up comic over here. He also translates books and he translated most of the A Song of Ice and Fire books. So I asked him to do a Game of Thrones podcast with me and in the two years we've done 55 episodes of a show that is sometimes a complete ripoff of The Incomparable format (Jason Snell knows of our theft and is so far fine with it). I use The Incomparable as short hand for what we do with that show since it's in Slovene and kind of hard to explain to others.

The other show on my network where I am a co-host is The Details Podcast which has an English site for the English speaking guests we’ve had on. I make the show with Boštjan Nachbar who is a professional basketball player, although the show is rarely about basketball. How he has the time to do the show with me and play for Barcelona at the same time is beyond me but he puts a lot of effort into it and it shows.

The other shows were either already in existence before they joined the network or were pitched to me. I think we have a good mix of topics but we can always do better.

Podcasting seems to have experienced something of a renaissance in recent months — what do you make of the mainstream chatter surrounding the medium?

The more of it there is, the better for all of us. I hope it goes really mainstream soon, although that might irk some people that have been podcasting for a while. But that is how it is with everything when it captures a broad audience. Serial was great for the medium but it's not the best thing since sliced bread. Radiolab is.

You’re most well known in Slovenia but do some English work with your Storming Mortal podcast and appearances on other English language podcasts. What are the fundamental differences between the tech scene in Slovenia and those of the U.S. or Western Europe? How does your Slovenian perspective influence how you view technology?

"The scale of what you can do here is definitely different"

I think the interests are pretty much the same but Slovenia only has 2 million people so when you calculate the percentage of people that are very interested in tech, you still arrive at a tiny number so the scale of what you can do here is definitely different.

We are a sovereign nation with our own language and our own context of existence by which I mean that something as fundamental as the onscreen keyboard on mobile devices was not really designed as for all our characters and most platforms didn't have a Slovene spell checker. So, when apps like Swiftkey come out and sort of take things like that into account you view them differently than an American or British person that just sees a "fancy keyboard that I don't need". It's the same with the system language which took a long time on some platforms to be translated. Here, the best phone in the world is worth a lot less if the company that makes it doesn't take the time to customize it to something other than English.

Those are some obvious examples but there are many more things like that and they add up so I see Apple, Google etc. a lot differently than someone oversees.

Do you have plans for more work with English-speaking audiences in mind?

I'd love to do something on a regular basis in English but with my time constraints it would have to be a panel show of some sort and not an interview show. The Slovene one already takes too much time.

How do you manage your time across your various writing and podcasting duties?

I honestly have no idea. That is my answer. I burnt out last year and now my interview show is bi-weekly so it's been a little easier. But I have not solved my time management problems.

Tell me a bit about your current set up. What tools do you rely on to get the job done?

I have a Nexus 5 which is great. Stock Android is wonderful for the way I use my phone. I also have an iPad Mini 2 which is awesome.

I record my in-person interviews on my trusty Blue Yeti and I have two Heil PR-40 mics at home that are plugged into a XENYX UFX1204 mixer. I also have a Blue Snowball that I loan to guests if we are doing a show via Skype. My main computer is an i3 powered PC box. 16 GB of RAM and a 250 GB SSD + 1 TB hard drive combo. It's great.

As a tech fan, what innovations are you most looking forward to in the next 12 months?

I really hope wearables turn out to be an actual thing. They most likely will, but it's too early in that cycle to tell.

What do the next 5 to 10 years have in store for Anže Tomić?

I hope I can make a living as a journalist into the future. The magazines I work for are great place to work. A goal is to turn this whole podcasting thing into something bigger, although I have no idea what that looks like yet.

Where can people find out more about you and your work?

You can find me on Twitter at @atomicxx. My English podcasts can be found at Storming Mortal and The Details Podcast. And if someone wants some Slovene stuff, go to Apparatus.si