Covering startups at Tech Crunch and writing fiction (check his sci-fi chapbook Love Songs for Monsters), Anthony Ha is the go-to opinion source for tech and Star Trek news. He is also really good at karaoke.
Tell me about the work you do at TechCrunch? What about it is exciting to you?
A lot of my daily coverage focuses on things like venture capital funding, acquisitions, and product launches. On a day-to-day level, that can look like we’re just writing about small, insidery tidbits—but hopefully, when taken together, TechCrunch is tracing the broader arc of what’s happening with startups and technology. I also think we’re in a position where we can take some fairly arcane material and make it interesting and relevant to a broad, non-techie audience. One example: while it’s easy to roll your eyes at the acronym soup of online advertising, I try to write about it in a way that illustrates its broader importance in understanding why the big Internet companies do what they do.
You write fiction and you write about tech/media. How do you balance those two kinds of work? How to they complement or contradict each other?
While people sometimes assume that I must be writing near future thrillers about Silicon Valley, I actually like keeping the two parts of my writing life separate. Granted, both of them involve thinking grandiosely about Where Things Are Going, but I like having spaceships on the one hand and smartphone apps on the other. Hopefully there will be more of a connection moving forward—TechCrunch offers a big platform and enormous freedom to say what I want, so I’m trying to take advantage of it by involving more of the creative and critical parts of my brain.
If you could show-run your own Star Trek reboot, what would it look like?
Hoo boy. Well, I think the next Star Trek show should spend less time worrying about what’s gone before and more about what a progressive, optimistic space opera would look like if it was created right now. So I’d jump decades or even hundreds of years ahead of the previous shows and movies. You’ve gotta keep the story moving forward, rather than running around in circles to reinvent existing continuity. And I’d set it on a spaceship with a crew that’s diverse by 21st century standards—the bridge of the Enterprise F (or whatever) should, on its own, be a repudiation of the whiteness, the maleness, the straightness of most Hollywood science fiction.
I’d want a team of similarly diverse writers, and I’d set them loose with very few rules or guidelines. Sure, there’d be ongoing storylines, but one of the things that made Star Trek great was the fact that it could have a sports comedy, or a caper set on a planet populated entirely by 20s-style gangsters, sandwiched between episodes filled with galactic politics and space battles.
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