Exclusive: Interview With Jonathan Geller aka Boy Genius
Jonathan Geller is Boy Genius, founder of the Boy Genius Report. Since he left Engadget, Geller's website has grown to be one of the most influential tech blogs out there. Now that, the once infamous Boy Genius has been unmasked, we find out a little more about the man behind BGR.
Before the interview, I did a little research on Geller, and found out that he has a bursting passion for technology. He started young, and dropped out of high school to pursue his dream job, under an alias. Geller's seen it all: the early days of Palm, Research in Motion (RIM), and seeing Apple rise to the giant it is today. I asked Boy Genius 10 questions, which revealed a lot of interesting information.
1) When did your passion for technology start?
BG: Honestly, as far as I can remember. I have always been passionate about technology and mobile devices and how they evolve. I had my first cell phone around the age of 10. it was a grey Motorola StarTAC and one of my favorite phones. My parents also have a home video of me using a VCR at the age of 2.
2) When you started it, did you think BGR would grow to the size that it is today?
BG: I didn’t originally start BGR with the hopes of starting a business, but rather as a vehicle to share information I had access to, and I saw that people became incredibly interested in and excited about it. After this happened, I quickly saw that BGR could be a long-term, profitable business and brand, so I started devoting all of my time to it. I was working 20 hour days, 7 days a week managing the entire business front to back, and I only took around 10 days off in the first three years. Now that we’re growing faster than ever, I continue to devote an enormous amount of time to the site and business.
3) During your years of anonymity, was it a necessity to conceal your identity? Or was it purely a style thing?
BG: The interesting thing about my identity is that I didn’t decide to conceal it for the seemingly obvious reason of being afraid of what would happen after leaking sensitive and highly secret information about upcoming phones and devices sometimes years in advance of their debut. I wanted to create a brand—an online personality that people would enjoy. I think as far as the identity goes, it was a great decision and something I’m very happy I did. It also let me have two personalities before I started working on BGR fulltime, so I was able to work on other things while also, constantly breaking news on BGR.
4) Where did you get the nickname 'Boy Genius'?
BG: Boy Genius was a name that a close friend of mine, Just Blaze, came up with while we were hanging out when I was 16 years old. I first met Just through a mutual friend of ours and brought him an unreleased (and unannounced) Motorola MPx to play with. He’s a big tech lover and we just hit it off from that point on. He saw how well I understood different aspects of technology and devices, and the industry as a whole. He (along with other celebrities) would normally ask me questions or ask me to come help him or a friend out with a tech issue, and as a result, he started calling me Boy Genius.