Boy Genius

Secrets of the Boy Genius

July 29, 2010: 10:55 AM ET

The once-anonymous blogger is out now, with a logo, a PR agent and plans to build a brand

Jonathan Geller. Photo: PED

The shadowy figure who calls himself the Boy Genius racked up an impressive run of scoops -- internal AT&T (T) documents, pre-release access to nearly every BlackBerry, some big iPhone exclusives -- in the four years before he sold his brand to Jay Penske's Mail.com last April in a deal reported to be worth multiple millions.

Now that he's been bought -- and his cover blown -- Jonathan Geller (his real name), 23, is being trotted out to meet the press, which is how we came to have lunch with him Wednesday and learn some of the secrets of his insider sourcing.

It started, oddly enough, even before he convinced his well-heeled parents to let him drop out of Greenwich (Conn.) High School in 10th grade, having already missed 120 out of 180 school days. He'd had a cellphone since he was 10 and started a little Web design shop at age 12. He got to know some people in the mobile phone business and a few music producers, one of whom gave Geller his moniker. Somehow (he's a little vague about this) he started getting his hands on new-model cellphones before they were released to the public. And he started supplying them to a rarefied clientele: rap stars -- P. Diddy and Ludacris are the two names I recognized -- who got a kick out of having the newest thing in their pocket.

Access to products meant access to information, which by age 17 he was retailing to the gadget sites -- Engadget and Endgaget Mobile. In 2006 he launched his own blog, BoyGeniusReport.com, since re-branded as BGR.com.

Our lunch in a Manhattan hotel restaurant covered a lot of territory, from Apple's (AAPL) Steve Jobs to the imminent slide of Research in Motion (RIMM) to the weakness of Microsoft's (MSFT) mobile OS efforts. Highlights below the fold:

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