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What's so great about the iPhone X?

Michael J de la Merced, INYT Dec 31 2017, 20:03 IST
Michael de la Merced, a DealBook reporter for The New York Times, checks his iPhone X at a cafe in London, Dec. 23, 2017. Calling the new model a remarkable evolution of the smartphone, de la Merced said it is by far his favorite tool for his job. (Tom Jamieson/The New York Times)

Michael de la Merced, a DealBook reporter for The New York Times, checks his iPhone X at a cafe in London, Dec. 23, 2017. Calling the new model a remarkable evolution of the smartphone, de la Merced said it is by far his favorite tool for his job. (Tom Jamieson/The New York Times)

How do New York Times journalists use technology in their jobs and in their personal lives? Michael de la Merced, a DealBook reporter for The Times based in London, discussed the tech he is using.

Q: You cover mergers and acquisitions. What's your favorite tech tool for doing your job?

If I'm being candid, it's my iPhone X. It's by far the computer that I use the most; it's my phone; it's my primary camera; it's my main way of procrastinating ... I mean doing research.

Q: What's so great about the iPhone X?

As a gadget nerd, I obviously find it satisfying to have the latest and greatest toy, and it's much faster than my old iPhone 6S, with a better camera.

But to me, it's also a remarkable evolution of the smartphone, where the technology seems to melt into the background a little bit more, and it feels like you're just interacting directly with data, photos, movies and so on.

Q: But it's all glass. Do you fear breaking it?

Only about every other minute. I do keep it in a case. Even though I'd prefer to admire the design of the phone itself, I'd like to avoid shelling out hundreds of dollars in repairs.

Q: Are there any special tools like websites, filtering tools or apps that you use to stay on top of M&A news?

There are specialized sites and tools, like Standard & Poor's Global Market Intelligence (which once was called Capital IQ) and a really pricey Bloomberg terminal, thanks to our employer. But these days, curated Twitter lists are honestly one of the best ways to spot what people in the deal community are thinking about.

Q: You recently moved to London from San Francisco. How do you use technology differently there?

I'm a bit more mindful of social norms. Over here, as my wife reminds me, it's generally rude to check your phone at a meal or in a social setting. People here still care about technology, but outside-of-tech denizens seem far less obsessed by it. That's not a bad thing.

Q: What tech trends do you see emerging in London or Europe in general?

More regulation. Europeans value privacy much more than Americans do, and are really trying to impose their particular worldview on American tech giants like Facebook and Google, companies that evolved with a much different perspective. It'll be fascinating to see how that clash plays out in the coming years.

Q: When you're not working, what tech products are you currently obsessed with using in your daily life? What's so great, and what could be better?

Not a day goes by that I don't ask the household Amazon Echo something. "Alexa, what's the forecast?"

Then, in a much more exasperated tone because the Echo willfully ignored my request:

"Alexa, what's the forecast?" "Alexa, I didn't ask for the weather in that town 20 miles away." And so on.

I'm also weighing getting a GPS tracker for my dog, because (a) I'm curious about how much she runs around on her daily walks with her dog walker and (b) I've spent way too much time in San Francisco.

Q: You're a finance guy. Do you think people should be buying bitcoin?

If I knew the answer to that, that would probably mean I'm misapplying my talents right now.

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