Interview: Cam Bunton, contributing editor of Pocket-lint
We recently caught up with Cam Bunton, contributing editor of technology blog Pocket-lint. Based in North Wales, he makes a living by reviewing the latest gadgets.
Speaking to Tech Dragons, Cam reveals how he got into technology journalism, the innovation that excites him the most and what his average working day is like.
TD: Who are you, and what do you do?
CB: I’m Cam Bunton, and my official working title is Contributing Editor at Pocket-lint.com, although that title doesn’t particularly describe everything that I do. When I explain my job to people that aren’t in the industry, I tell them I write and make videos about gadgets.
TD: How did you get into technology journalism?
CB: I’d been working in phone retail a few years and decided that I wasn’t particularly enjoying dealing with customers, but loved technology (have for as long as I can remember) and loved writing. So, I left my retail job, started university with the aim of getting a degree in journalism.
Thanks to only having one A-level, I needed to do a foundation year, where I discovered a knack for making videos. I got persuaded to join the film and TV production degree instead, skipped the foundation year and while I was studying took up a volunteer role for an iPhone blog.
By the time I graduated I’d shown my reliability and work ethic, and ended up being offered a full-time paid role for the media company that owned this iPhone blog, and kept going, eventually moving from there to 9to5Mac/Google, and then on to Pocket-lint where I am now.
TD: What’s your current role, and what does a normal day look like for you?
CB: Every day is different because I’m not just a writer. I look after our YouTube channel and recently started managing our social media channels too.
Some days I can be shooting and editing videos all day, while other days I can be writing reviews or updating features. Others, I’m shooting photos and editing those.
Still others, I’m travelling down to London to go to a briefing, or spending the day working with the rest of the team who also work remotely.
A “typical day” however, normally involves an hour or so checking in on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and our Disqus comments, then writing a couple of thousand words and either shooting an hour or so of video, or editing a video to upload.
TD: Which technology topics captivate you?
CB: If I’m completely honest, it’s always been smartphones. Even as a kid – before I knew they were already in existence – I used to think the idea of having a phone I could take anywhere was magical. Then as the industry all developed I was swept up in that. I was one of those enthusiasts who rarely had a phone longer than 6 months, even before I was reviewing them professionally.
As they got more and more capable, and inevitably became tiny super computers, they slowly started becoming that one, powerful, super portable gadget I’d long dreamt they would become. I still find new smartphones exciting even though they don’t tend to change that much over the last few years.
Now it’s about seeing what AI/Machine Learning can enable in our portable powerhouses. Whether that’s having a really smart on board assistant for controlling the home, or making your photos look really good.
TD: What are your favourite gadgets?
CB: Apart from phones? I’m really getting into drones at the moment. DJI has been releasing some stupidly impressive flying machines that record really great videos from an angle that you’d previously need a helicopter-mounted professional camera for. There’s not a lot cooler than getting a cinematic shot from a device that costs less than £1,000 and can fit in your backpack.
TD: Where do you see the tech industry going?
Currently, there’s a lot of bus around AI and Smart Home products, and I think a lot of our gadgets (smartphones included) are becoming way more focussed on how they integrate with those services and help bring everything together into one efficient system of automation and convenience, as well as helping build a knowledge of our use and understanding how we use those devices together.
TD: What’s it like working from Wales?
CB: There are benefits and challenges, but the former definitely outweighs the latter. A lot of our PR contacts are based in London, so meeting with them for coffee or a catch-up isn’t the easiest. On the flip side, the direct train from my local station can get me to Euston within three hours, which actually isn’t terrible. At least once a month I pop down and spend the day in England’s capital.
I grew up in Wales, it’s home. I love Snowdonia and living by the coast near family and friends. I feel extremely lucky and privileged to be able to do my job from here. Most people in our industry need to live in/around London, but thanks to being part of an entirely remote team at Pocket-lint, I get to do the job I love without having to live in a big city.