If Alex Cranz were a participant in this post, she would almost certainly include a photo of the “bye bitch” vape she has or any number of GIFs that are surely criminal in at least half a dozen states at whoever was being roasted. Unfortunately for all of us, after five years, she is not a roaster but the roastee. Her talent at sharing cringeworthy GIFs was surpassed only by her skills as a journalist. Scroll Cranz’s archive is like whiplash from anything related to consumer tech to a shockingly wide range of fantasy and sci-fi coverage to a post inexplicably headlined “I Thought It Was an Ugly Titty Purse.” That, in essence, is Cranz. Incredibly focused energy and dedication to a number of beats, punctuated by something that makes you chuckle, shake your head, and then want to learn all about it. To say Cranz is only a good journalist with a mild obsession with Xena, Warrior Princess would still fail to capture the essence of Cranz. She was one of the leaders of the newsroom, someone who built a diverse consumer tech team and empowered them to tell the story they wanted to. Roasting her is at once easy, and impossible given the huge positive impact she had. While nobody has a vape emblazoned with “bye bitch” and the pickle dog has been banned in GIF form, we nevertheless gather to do our best to send off Gizmodo’s inimitable former consumer tech editor.
Ryan Mandelbaum, former senior reporter, Gizmodo
First off, you should all know that there was a several day (week?) period last year where Cranz and her dog, Igloo, were being attacked by a mockingbird. That continues to be extremely funny to me. Also, I still have her blowtorch I borrowed for this story and I am sorry about that and hope to return it one day in the distant future.
But anyway, I am (mostly) so thankful to have gotten to work with Cranz. First off, she is just so extremely smart, and understood the workings of consumer technology better than anyone I knew. Cranz knew when a product was good, when it sucked, and encouraged us to dig deep into the tech we were reviewing so that if it did suck, we had the ammo to say why. Also, Cranz really pushed the limit on what a consumer tech review could be, so I’m thankful for that. Cranz was also one of the chillest people ever who could talk to anyone about anything, which was especially fun when we’d occasionally end up on the same subway home together. Finally, Cranz had several horrible masks that she would occasionally wear around the office. These were terrifying and I am not thankful for that.
But overall, most of the writing Cranz touched at Gizmodo were awesome, Igloo is an extremely good dog, and I think I would have a lot less respect for the state of Texas if not for Cranz’ well-thought-out opinions about the state, its pluses, and its flaws. Cranz is the best and will surely improve (and terrify) whatever office she works at next.
Victoria Song, consumer tech reporter, Gizmodo
I suppose this means I get a reprieve from nightmare-inducing gifs peppering my Slack channels and unhinged blogs about extremely expensive mechanical keyboards that no one with common sense should ever buy. Also that Sonic mask, though I believe I did get compensated $1 for wearing that cursed thing for a whole minute. It smelled so bad.
Cranz is the reason I reported on the taint bandaid, a few other brain-poisoned blogs that pissed off readers, and maybe a few good ones sprinkled in there, too. I guess I could say I’m deeply appreciative of having had an empathetic editor who always encouraged me to do both my best—and most cursed—work, on a team of incredibly whip-smart consumer tech bloggers. I could go into how I never had that opportunity to really write what I wanted before Gizmodo, and how I know Cranz was a big reason why I currently do. And that wherever she lands, I know she’ll foster that same kind of environment and help so many journalists be their best selves. But that’s some real mushy shit, so bye bitch and thanks for letting me scan your CES badge for 25% off at Planet 13.
Rose Pastore, science editor, Gizmodo
Love you, Cranz. You should have named your dog “Pigloo.”
Catie Keck, staff reporter, Gizmodo
Alex Cranz is one of many wonderful editors I’ve had the great privilege to work with during my time at Gizmodo, and it was Cranz who assigned one of the first product embargos I ever wrote during my time as a nights and weekends editor over two years ago. It was an embargo that, frankly, I did not pull off particularly well and that she ultimately rewrote for me—a traumatizing experience that I still recall distinctly as a result of the wit and accessibility she so easily brought to the piece upon reworking. It was for this reason that I was terrified of Cranz for most of the time I worked in this role—never mind her encyclopedic understanding of technology or her frankly disturbing sense of humor, both of which made me admire and fear her in equal measure. That all changed when I was brought on as a staff writer six months later. I can’t adequately capture what a powerful influence Cranz has had on me personally in the time since. Working on her consumer technology team has been one of the great joys of my career, and she quickly became not only a wonderful boss and leader but someone I now consider a close mentor. She is also a fierce advocate of diversity in the workplace—Cranz built one of the largest women-inclusive consumer technology teams in media—and a vocal and ardent proponent of her colleagues and employees.
With all of this said, Cranz is one of the most deranged people I’ve ever encountered. I’m likely not the first to mention her infamous and egregious use of the “pickle gif,” which I remember, specifically, our boss Kelly Bourdet loathing but nonetheless remaining a reliable fixture of Slack when the discourse got weird (which was often). This is a person who had a vape company customize a product at CES that literally read, “bye bitch,” a picture of which she would share at virtually any opportunity, namely and reliably any time anyone would depart this pirate ship for their next great adventure. Cranz is a truly beloved, one-of-a-kind human being who I’m confident will be cherished no matter where she lands next. But for the love of god, do not ask Cranz to show g*f, sweetie.
Yessenia Funes, former senior reporter, Earther
I didn’t think it was possible to be both inspired by and disturbed by the same person. Alex Cranz proved me wrong. We didn’t get many opportunities to work together during my time at Gizmodo, but we got plenty of time to become homies. Cranz’s chaotic Slack messages of the hot dog pickle or other Really Gross Thing were both a highlight and a low point of my days. How she found these images, I’ll never know. Why she shared them, I can only guess. I’m pretty sure bringing us joy and laughter was at the heart of it, though.
And that’s the thing about Alex Cranz. She is fucking hilarious. She loves to make other people laugh. And her humor bleeds into her writing. You can tell she’s having a fun time writing a story just as you’re having a fun time reading it. (Unless you’re the company she’s shitting all over.)
I’ll forever miss reading your Hot Takes on Gizmodo and already miss your barbaric Slack gifs. I’ll cherish our holiday party memories of shooting shots and hitting your vape. Can’t wait to do it all again when we’re all vaccinated!
Brian Kahn, managing editor, Earther
Working with Cranz was a deeply unsettling experience. One reason was her taste in gifs, which she trolledd staff with on the regular in Slack. You never knew when the pickle hot dog would appear, but appear it would. There was also the weird Sonic mask that appeared in the office and creeped me out if I was the last person in the office on a given night. Despite never having watched The Mandalorian, her post about eating baby yoda (in which she described baby yoda as likely having the “texture of mochi”) haunts me to this day.
The other reason was her ability to know everything about seemingly everything. Cranz’s preternatural ability to be able to seamlessly drop knowledge about factory farming, rare Earth mining, cowboy hats and boots, any number of TV shows, books, movies, or video games, and countless other topics meant I could bug her in Slack about just about anything, and she’d have an answer.
Of course, both are the best types of unsettling. Hearing yells of “Cranz!” at random points in the day were both a dreadful reminder to check Slack, and also to find something you love as much as she loves trolling. And her ability for endless recall made her an absolutely brilliant editor and writer.
Mario Aguilar, former deputy editor, Gizmodo
Within a month of working together, Alex Cranz proposed that I be shot with a taser on video.
I feel like I must have refused, but the idea in some form went far enough that we actually ended up communicating with the company about doing a video, and the only reason it didn’t happen was that they were pissed at us. Can you imagine writing that email? “Hello, please shoot my new colleague with a taser.” That’s something Cranz would write with no shame.
More than anything, it says a lot about what the world of consumer tech reporting looked like circa 2016. The enthusiasm that drove the first waves of gadget blogging had lost its charm, and we were all flailing around looking for a way to keep the damn thing going. That Gizmodo is still a potent force in the world of product reviews and commentary is a testament to the dedication and talent that Cranz brought to the team. She became an indispensable leader, editor, and writer. I said this multiple times behind her back: It would’ve been impossible for me to do my job without her, and my biggest fear was that a bigger publication would steal her away. Gizmodo’s loss!
Harrison Weber, former senior news editor, Gizmodo
Cranz and I don’t agree on everything, like flimsy cardboard desk furniture and hurricanic showerheads blessed by Tim Cook. But Cranz is the best, and anyone with a brain should see that by now.
Sam Rutherford, senior reporter, Gizmodo
While Alex is an occasional troll and has questionable taste in movies and TV shows (including ye olde films from the silent era), she was one of the best bosses I’ve ever had. Alex’s passion for tech made her a great resource to bounce ideas off of, or someone to ask when troubleshooting goes south. I still don’t know how things end up like this, but Alex and her creepy collection of pop-culture Halloween masks will be missed. Yub Yub.
Kelly Bourdet, former editor-in-chief, Gizmodo
For whatever reason, many of the staff of Gizmodo, in succession, were obsessively drawn to The Witcher 3, a video game released in 2015. Each person, newly set out on their journey as Geralt of Riveria, would turn to their predecessors in the newsroom for guidance.
Alex Cranz had the misfortune to be the person I turned to, often daily, to discuss my current quests and contemplate my in-game decisions. I recall one time explaining in exacting detail my interactions with Kiera, a powerful witch. “Ah, I don’t really remember that battle,” Cranz said. “It’s been a really long time since I’ve played the game,” she politely hinted. Undeterred by her obvious disinterest, I continued to DM her constantly throughout my 150 hours of gameplay.
Since that time, I have transitioned to constantly DMing her about Valhalla and every interior design choice I make.
She was patient with me, as she was with her staff and her colleagues, in matters work-related and beyond. Under her guidance, the consumer tech team was fun, smart, thoughtful, and very, very busy. I was always impressed by how adept she was at every part of the job—she could review, write, edit, manage—and how deftly she moved from one task to another—one minute she was reviewing an iPhone, the next she was planning literally all of CES coverage. Though some of her obsessions are too nerdy even for me (the e-ink thing…), I appreciate her passion and her depth of knowledge.
She is an excellent journalist, editor, and manager who is free of a place that no longer deserved her.
Marina Galperina, features editor, Gizmodo
Cranz is a friend, a comrade, a hot-dog gif terrorist, a technology genius, and is secretly flourishing in a million different creative directions as we speak. I look up to her and am excited for her future. Cranz has inspired me on a professional and personal level on a daily basis and held us together at our most precarious and strained states. She has ideas, or obsessions perhaps, and an opinion (usually correct or unfathomable) about literally everything, because she knows everything about everything. This too talented motherfucker inspired and terrorized me on a daily basis, primarily like so:
Christina Warren, former senior writer at Gizmodo, now Microsoft
Anyone who knows me knows I have the palette of a five year old, which is to say, I largely subsist on Chicken McNuggets and diet soda. So it’s a true testament to Alex Cranz’s Cranzness that she managed to get me to eat so much weird shit on camera. There was some sort of pumpkin spice beer or cocktail, some weird meat she made in an easy bake oven that cost $600, and of course, she once made me eat a jalapeño on camera (worst day of my life).
On the plus side, she did help me eat like 2lbs of candy corn even though everyone else in the office said it was gross.
Alex and I sat next to each other the year I worked at Giz and as a result, I got to know her deeply hilarious and terrible television choices. Alex Cranz is the only person on the planet who is under 40 and who still watches Grey’s Anatomy. She claims she stopped watching, but something will happen and she’ll be back on her bullshit in the group text. She loves Xena more than any human being should, and has recently become obsessed with 60 Minutes and some show called 911 Lone Star. What I’m saying is that Cranz can never make fun of my love of ER reruns, because she’s just as bad.
Alex Cranz is so Texas in the most unexpected ways. Need to know about the rodeo? Ask Cranz. Need to know what it was like growing up miles away from your neighbors, without Nickelodeon or MTV? Ask Cranz. Need to get into debates about barbecue? Ask Cranz. Cranz is peak Texas and it’s never not hilarious to hear her Texas twang while she tells a story about some shit with birds and treachery and her grandma’s house.
The last day of the world was normal, March 11, 2020, I spent the afternoon with Cranz. We went to Red Lobster (her first time!) and then saw Jagged Little Pill on Broadway (a matinee). She was the only person who I knew would want to see that musical (which we assumed would be terrible) with me. Regrettably, the musical was good.
There is no one else I would be glad to spend that last afternoon of normalcy with, in that way, than Alex Cranz. She’s an amazing editor and writer, and a true friend. Even if she has terrible taste in melodramas. Cranz forever.
Katharine Trendacosta, former managing editor, io9
Cranz is… how to describe it?… a terrorist. I mean this in the best way possible. She loves nothing more than to drop the most horrible thing possible into a text and stand back and watch the emotional fallout. She has an unerring ability to figure out just what will upset a particular person—or many people—and pours time and money into it. For example, my last day at io9 was sad in many ways, but serendipitous in that it meant my last day was the day that Justice League would premiere, saving me from having to engage in the discourse of it or even of having to give my time to it. This was not to be, as my “going away present” from Cranz was… a ticket to Justice League.
I have lost track of the number of texts I have received from Cranz that are just “you’re welcome” and something she knew I would hate. Or links with the text “I can hear Katharine screaming from here.” My cat offers me less disgusting things than Cranz does. I hate it all so much that my phone autocorrects her name to an all-caps “CRANZ” because of the number of times I have yelled at her. This company has brought me many friends with terrifyingly bad takes. Cranz often wins just with sheer volume. Her friendship is a war of attrition, and she WILL win that war.
Her terribleness as a friend is somehow not at all related to her goodness as a colleague. Supportive, endlessly hardworking, and a mentor to many. Willing to expand into whatever gaps exist. Having Cranz on board would improve many a publication, although you will hear endless takes about e-readers that apparently the Wall Street Journal actually paid her for? I do not understand the consumer tech world at all. Godspeed everyone. You CAN work without Cranz, but I speak from experience when I say it’s not as good as working with her.
Emily Lipstein, former social editor, Gizmodo
Leaving Gizmodo last year was hard because it meant I would have to leave the incredible people I worked with every day, including Cranz. Luckily for me, her brother lives nearby and I stole one of her power tools for a good portion of the pandemic. It’s hard to describe why I’m so glad I got to work with and get close to Cranz, but I can probably attribute much of my current confidence in the newsroom to her support (and trolling, of course). It meant a lot to have another queer woman in tech in her role! Even if my ungrateful ass still hasn’t watched Xena… which I will… eventually. The place isn’t gonna be the same without her—it’s hard to figure out what to say in this roast/blog obituary because Cranz leaving just doesn’t feel real. Also thanks and sorry again for dealing with me that one time I barfed on the subway.
Gizmodo forever. GMG Union forever. Cranz forever… ugh.
Eleanor Fye, former video producer, Gizmodo
Only someone as talented and unhinged as Alex Cranz could convince me to shoot multiple videos at her house as her (very cute but very gassy) dog Igloo emitted the most foul chemical-weapon farts I have ever smelled.
In a comment that maybe was meant to be comforting, but definitely was not, Cranz said, “You know why farts smell bad? It’s particles of poop in your nose.”
Cranz can always be counted on to drop something totally batshit in every single Slack channel she’s in. Overhearing someone exclaim, “Cranz!” or sigh “Cranz…” was an hourly event.
I’m sure she’ll be snatched up soon by some great opportunity, but hopefully not before she pens the greatest Xena slashfic opus the world has ever seen. I know you have it in you, you creep.
Joanna Nelius, Gizmodo staff reporter, reviews
Oh Cranz, where do I even begin? I could riff on your weird obsession with posting hotdog-pickle gifs that made everyone in Slack freak out, but it’s not nice to kink shame. Instead, I just want to tell you how happy I am I met you at that one press conference where we were the only two female tech journalists in the room. I snuck a peak at your laptop and saw you writing a blog for Gizmodo and thought “WOW! She writes for Gizmodo!” like a star-struck fan. We got to chatting as we walked back to the L.A. Convention center, you gave me your business card, and to this day I still don’t know what I did with it. (Sorry!) But it all worked out because I’m here now. It sucks that you’re not, because you’re the reason I was able to dig deep into stories and reviews about graphics cards and processors. In a way it feels like I’m flying solo again before I met you at that press conference, but you also introduced me to a crap-ton of other female tech journalists, many of whom I now work alongside, and now I really feel like I belong in this space. That I deserve to be here.
I’m terrible at roasting people, but if I managed to make you cry and you’re mad at me…good. You can text me a hotdog being inserted into other food objects if you wish, but you’re paying for my therapy.
Matt Novak, staff writer and editor, Gizmodo
Alex Cranz isn’t just an extremely talented writer and editor, she’s also just a decent person. Wherever Cranz is heading next will be very lucky to land such a highly ethical editor who always fights for her team. That combination seems exceedingly rare in a brutal industry these days. Sorry this isn’t a roast.
Patrick Lucas Austin, former staff writer, Gizmodo
When asked to write about Alex Cranz, one might struggle to find the correct wording to describe such a magnanimous individual. You could mention Alex’s mastery of her craft, the humor and creativity she expresses as a writer, or kindness as a friend to paint a picture as pleasant as her. I’ll never forget…Oh, she’s not dead? Are you kidding me?
Germain Lussier, staff writer, io9
I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone as well-verse in so many things in pop culture as Cranz. Want to know about the latest iPhone? Cranz. Want to talk about Marvel movies? Cranz. What projector should I get? Cranz. Xena? Like..ALL THE XENA? Cranz. Oh, and Supergirl too.
Having Alex Cranz on the Gizmodo team was one of my most invaluable resources. She was someone I could go to with anything. A writing problem. A tech problem. My dad can’t program his remote. Okay, I didn’t go to Cranz with that last one but she’s so goddamned smart, I know I could have if I needed to.
Crazy is just incredibly personable and approachable and funny and just the best. I truly considered it a privilege to work with her and am glad that, though she doesn’t work here anymore for some reason, I at least know her. Because Dad will mess up his remote, trust me.
She does need to buy posters for a movie that’s not Mulholland Drive though. Too many Mulholland Drive posters.
James Whitbrook, news editor, io9
I don’t know what to say about Cranz that can really capture just what knowing her is like, as a friend as a writer. The depth with which she can either explain the joy of Xena Warrior Princess, whatever’s happening in of the 37 terrible CW shows she’s watching, or some old-internet-dredged shitpost or fic idea she just so happened to want to share, at the drop of a hat, is terrifying. She’s funny as hell, which is in part what makes her chaos agent status so compelling, her ability to just weave into a conversation and disrupt everything—in incredible, disgusting, beautiful ways—both a nightmare and a welcome respite from the humdrum of reality.
It reflected in her work, which gave us some of the most fucking incredible headlines I’ve ever read on the site, even if getting them often took constantly reminding her she owed io9 a blog, while she was pitching at least four others to us in the process. But maybe that is Cranz, really, in her essence: a messy whirlwind of complete, hectic chaos.
I’ll miss the 3am slacks about whatever random thought crosses her mind, except I won’t, because they’re twitter dm’s now. But I will miss the chaos. Mostly.
Ed Cara, science reporter, Gizmodo
My nightmares have never stopped featuring Cranz wearing an oddly realistic Sonic the Hedgehog mask. And for that, I thank her immensely. She’s also one of the chillest people I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside, but that’s way down the list of notable things. Thanks for the blender I still haven’t picked up from the office!
Dharna Noor, reporter, Earther
Cranz, as we’ve established, you don’t care about me, but I will find a way to change that. Meanwhile, I am so looking forward to seeing all the cool things you do!
Shoshana Wodinsky, reporter, Gizmodo
Sure, Cranz was a great editor and had the biggest backlog of absolutely cursed GIFs that any of us have ever seen, but we can’t ignore that she’s also written some awful, awful takes. Like some what-the-hell-were-you-thinking, absolutely galaxy brained shit. Just objectively wrong. On one hand, I’m gonna seriously miss her and that slightly-too-realistic promotional Sonic mask that she kept around the office. On the other, I still don’t know if I can forgive her for dunking on Animal Crossing that one time. Like seriously, siding with Stardew Valley? Seriously???????
Jill Pantozzi, Deputy Editor of io9
With some people, what you see is what you get. Others are varied creatures with many facets to their personality. There are a few sides to Alex Cranz, all of them combine into what I can only describe as an amalgam of DC’s super gross Metamorpho and a Business Voltron. Odd? Yes. But that’s Alex Cranz.
When I first started at io9, I met a professional-looking person that I was introduced to as “Cranz.” I thought to myself, “I’m not calling her that,” but proceeded to do so back and forth for several years despite myself.
You see, this “Alex” person is a true professional, someone who knows the ins and outs of the tech industry, has extremely high journalistic ethics and acumen, and excels at every facet of her job. Even though she worked at Gizmodo Prime, Alex revealed herself to be io9’s type of geek as well. And while she clocked countless hours on making gadget reviews absolutely perfect (even if that meant crowding my desk space with things she was meant to take photos of for weeks at a time) she’d slide into my DMs now and then to pitch me an idea for an io9 blog I had no idea I wanted but absolutely needed. They always had the most unique headlines too, most of which I approved.
Then there’s “Cranz.” Cranz is pure chaos. Cranz would change her Slack avatar just to give us nightmares. Cranz would wear a rubber Sonic the Hedgehog mask at the office. And not a good one either. Cranz would link me to the most horrible fanfic. Cranz would make me say, “Why are you doing this to me?” at least six times a week. Cranz is great (I think she may have been stalking me since 2011 actually). But so is Alex.
My dear, dear Alex, who is now officially dead as per the Blog Bylaws, shared the best and worst of herself with us and I love her for it. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: “I will continue to thirst trap you when you least expect it.”
Autumn Kelly, Gizmodo social media editor
Thanks for consistently writing articles that blow up the comments. Many of our followers know you for hating projectors and want to buy one in spite. One time in a meeting I had to say “The 100 Went in a Butthole” was the top story on social. Thanks for that. But seriously, thanks for being a truly good person and even better teammate. It’s been a pleasure to work with you and I may even be curtsying right now.
Andrew Couts, deputy editor of Gizmodo
Cranz has, without question, the absolute worst opinion about Daylight Saving Time that I’ve ever heard. Her taste in gifs is equally appalling. She is an enemy of using commas after introductory phrases. And her obsession with absurd masks is something I will never understand. But besides that, she’s an absolute gem of a person, a fantastic journalist, and a champion of good doggos everywhere. Can’t say I miss her pickle-dog gifs tho.
Caitlin McGarry, senior editor, consumer tech
I had so many good roasts tee’d up for Cranz but I erased them all because what I actually want to say is a little more earnest. Cranz is a gift. Her mind sometimes works in ways I find disturbing—who collects that many disgusting GIFs? why would a rational person continue to spend hundreds of dollars on off-brand Android tablets?—but it’s also genius. Shortly after I started at Giz, I realized that her ideas often manifested themselves in scrawled Notes app drawings, some of which I can’t unsee. (One of which became the foundation of this incredible blog about sports bra design.)
Cranz is also a foundation of institutional knowledge—both for technology overall and for Gizmodo specifically. She knows the history of everything, and who to talk to about anything. I know these gifts—and maybe even the GIFs, as foul as they may be—will continue to set her apart in tech journalism. Thanks for hiring me, Cranz. We’ll continue to do you proud.
Tom McKay, staff writer, Gizmodo
Alex is a fantastic writer and editor who knows more about chip design and computer components than can possibly be healthy. She is also personally responsible for many abominations and travesties, including the pickle dog gif, raising the question of whether Swamp Thing fucks, the mental image of the Predator eating sushi, reposting the image of Piers Morgan eating Trump’s ass, and the massive pile of external hard drives haphazardly stacked in my closet that will one day catch fire and kill me. I fear that unless someone stops her, one day she will hunt down, cook, and eat Baby Yoda.
Whitney Kimball, staff writer, Gizmodo
To quote a line from Cranz’s final io9 review about Batwoman, Cranz is so good she makes everyone around her better. This is true of her as a hilarious writer, stand-up person, and a nurturer of freaks. Her bullshit detector and ALL-CAPS love of silly shit like pajama jeans is immortal.
It doesn’t mean she shouldn’t be roasted within an inch of HER LIFE.
If you’re about to meet Cranz, buckle up. Cranz never enters a conversation quietly, but busts in, of a CW superheroine to her own theme music, leading me to wonder often Why is this bitch so enthusiastic? She would cheerfully announce any number of deranged observations—maybe there was an office argument about regional Texan cheese dishes? I believe this went on for days, which could totally be my imagination, but it’s the kind of hill Cranz would die on, and she will fight you to the death.