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@edwkim Great comment -- totally agree!
3 days, 18 hours ago on The Facebook content game: Who will win and who will lose?
I'm not sure that the criticisms against Upworthy are valid. There is nothing wrong with writing engaging headlines. There is nothing wrong with being hyper-attentive to curation. I think people are just jealous.
Now, whether they are a fad/gimmick or whether they last... that's another question.
But I don't see any reason to give them a hard time. Cynics can blame Facebook or Mankind for Upworthy's success, but not Upworthy.
5 days, 10 hours ago on Upworthy hits 87M monthly uniques, says “Don’t call us clickbait”
5 days, 11 hours ago on The Facebook content game: Who will win and who will lose?
This is a very one-sided Pando House Rock.
I think that you need to point out a few things:
1) Many of the neighborhoods that are being 'gentrified' were absolute shitholes before the "Twitters" moved in. Mid-market is still pretty bad, but it's headed in the right direction. What is the percentage decrease in needles on the street??
2) You can have a city of just rich people -- look at most of Manhattan. The good news is that the increased rents in prime Manhattan have lead to the improvement of Brooklyn, Harlem, and Queens. The same thing is happening now to Oakland.
3) Rents can only go up when the local economy is creating high-paying jobs. That is happening. I do feel bad for those who are not employed in such lines of work, but the jobs ARE being created.
4) There is no solution to increased rents. None. Rent control is a dangerous myth and will only hurt the city while creating arbitrary winners/losers.
5) The Ellis Act is perfectly fair. This is America. People own their property and can do what they want with it.
1 week, 4 days ago on Pandohouse Rock: Income inequality in San Francisco
@@chrisamccoy Lots of good thoughts here, thanks for the thoughtful response.
3 months ago on Great entrepreneurs do not know their audiences
@Alyssa Royse I'm open to speak on this topic with you after the flurry dies down a little bit here. I have advised a lot of men and women in media on how to raise venture capital... it's something I put a lot of time into and talk about very little.
3 months, 3 weeks ago on Take Two
@JoshuaBolin Thanks. There were a lot of mistakes. One of them is that I was speaking to the Pando audience in the blog post, and assumed that they would be the readers. That was a mistake upon which many other poor judgements were layered.
@drewreidkerr Yes, the people who have run the publishing industry over the last twenty years have managed to destroy it. That is why the biggest-name publications are selling for small fractions of their value, and the rest are going out of business quickly. There are exceptions, but not many.
3 months, 4 weeks ago on I’ve raised $6.5 million to build and grow my new company: Bustle.com
UPDATE: After a lot of comment thread discussions, I now have a better sense of why some people have taken exception to my fundraise announcement...
Indeed, there are a lot of successful feminist publications — xojane and thehairpin are two that have built great followings. I regret not referencing them in my announcement, and the launch of Bustle, and my excitement about it, were not meant to convey that these sites don't exist. Nor was I trying to suggest that we are the first-ever website to cover this specific array of topics. I should have discussed some of these successful sites.
Bustle is a very different company from xojane or thehairpin. I would like for Bustle to be one of the fifty largest sites on the internet within this decade, and I would like to see it generate $100 million in revenue by that point. That's not to say that it is impossible for a feminist site like thehairpin to also achieve this, but I think that we are approaching things differently. Raising a large round of venture capital is one such difference in approach. Partnering with a major media company like Time Warner is another.
I appreciate the feedback and criticism, and I really intend to take it all in. I appreciate Anna and Rachel taking the time to elaborate on their reactions to this post and their patience in helping me to better understand the specific point.
@annaholmes @bgoldberg @ElizabethSpiers1 @rachelsklar There are many great feminist publications out there. I am agreeing with that, and acknowledging that I should have mentioned that more clearly in my post.
I do not believe that those websites are in a position to become Top 50 websites, or achieve the scale necessary to generate substantial advertising revenue on their own. In many cases, I do not believe that to be their aim.
The entire fundraise announcement was wrapped in the context of trying to build a highly mainstream, large-scale publication with a feminist voice. After looking at the competitive landscape, i do not believe that any of them achieve that. Jezebel is a great site, but it is one part of Gawker Media (which reaches mostly men), just as xojane is one part of Say Media.
I think that a lot of people are reading my post to suggest that I discount existing feminist blogs. That was not my intention, and after re-reading my post with an eye towards that context, I see why that sentiment is conveyed.
There are dozens of women who are working hard to make Bustle great, and I am proud of every one of them. They are not responsible for any contextual shortcomings in my fundraise announcement, nor do they justify such shortcomings.
A great part of starting Bustle is gaining a greater understanding of women's publishing and the feminist landscape. I bring a lot of value to the table for this company, but there is no question that there are challenges ahead for me and many things to learn. Constructive feedback like this is helpful.
Bustle is a really great site that is going to keep getting better. If people were turned off by my fundraise announcement, then I am convinced that our editors will win them back. I will try to do so as well.
@annaholmes @bgoldberg @ElizabethSpiers1 It wasn't a straw man, because this article was precisely about me raising the money, hiring talented women, and enthusiastically entering a market. Most of the criticism has been from people inferring things that I did not say.
In hindsight, I regret that I did not highlight that there ARE many great feminist publications out there. There are a ton of them. But creating a great feminist publication that generates substantial revenue is a different challenge, and one that I am excited to embrace.
The article was predicated on the idea that my team and I are trying to build a large/mainstream publication that can be a Top 50 website on the internet. A billion dollar company. And one that has a feminist voice from day one. I'm not sure that Rookie Mag or TheHairpin are currently on such trajectory. I don't know if it's their goal. That's not a criticism, it's just an observation.
This was a business publication, and I would be happy to write a guest post on a different publication that is a more appropriate forum for discussing feminism. I am happy to go into great detail about how we differ from, say, xojane. I discussed that with Jane herself last week, and am happy to do it publicly.
@Cynthia Schames @bgoldberg @tbauckhage @AmyWillardCross I think that a lot of people, yourself included, were inclined to dislike Bustle, because the founder was a man. There may now be other reasons as well, though I think my comments on this article have been thoughtful, and (unlike your comment here), respectful.
@annaholmes @bgoldberg @ElizabethSpiers1 I'm sorry if it came across that way. Most of the people who are talking about Bustle today in the Twittersphere are analyzing it from a strictly editorial perspective, and that's totally ok. But there a lot of other forces in play when we look at what constitutes a "highly successful" publication, and unfortunately, a lot of very quality publications have failed to achieve large-scale financial success.
There are many great female-focused websites out there, and some great explicitly feminist ones too. Very few have raised venture capital. Very few attract eight-figure advertising revenue. Very few have been acquired for $100,000,000's.
My goal is for this to be massive. An easier path would have been to create another tabloid. That's not what my team and I wanted to do.
Creating a publication that can reach a wide audience, advance a great message, and be profitable... well, that's a big challenge. There are very few that have done it. Gawker Media is very successful, and according to the statistics, has mostly reached a male audience. Jezebel is an exception under that umbrella, and I have never said bad things about it, privately or publicly. I have done many interviews in advance of this announcement, and in many of them, I said great things about Jezebel.
To be honest, I think that a lot of people who are raising skepticism (or flat out trashing) Bustle are as perturbed by the messenger as they are the message.
If it's a bad thing for a man to go out and raise millions of dollars, hire a ton of women, provide paid work opportunities to young/talented female writers, and enthusiastically discuss it on a business publication... then I don't know what to tell you.
I was hoping that a lot of great feminist bloggers would welcome a 'different type' of entrant into this space... clearly that isn't happening. Doesn't change the mission, nor does it change that we are creating something valuable and different. I am no stranger to positive and negative criticism, and I far prefer the latter. We will grow from it. My last website received no shortage of hate, and we grew from it... and then sold it for a lot of money, because we embraced that feedback.
I am always happy to talk about Bustle's mission, and why we are different. And also where we overlap with existing sites.
@rachelsklar @bgoldberg @annaholmes @ElizabethSpiers1 All very good feedback. The "mascara, concealer, and eye-liner" quote was tongue-in-cheek, clearly did not come across that way.
There are few people working harder to support and advance female entrepreneurs than you. But, believe me, I am putting a LOT of my time into supporting women in tech, and I hope that some of them will crawl out of the woodwork in coming weeks.
You and I both know that a fundraise announcement is a time for celebration, and it is a time to explain how you plan to approach a market. It is not a time to lament that other (very talented people) are not able to raise cash. There are a lot of great women's sites out there, and I recognized some in this post. There are many that I did not mention.
On the whole, I am disappointed that the reaction to Bustle has been one of "he fails to recognize that others, like me, are already doing this..." and not one of "welcome to the party, let's continue to change things."
I am no stranger to criticism, and I will listen to all of it, and it will make Bustle better.
There are a lot of women who have worked hard to build Bustle, and they will eventually convince the skeptics that we are doing something valuable and different. We are not totally different, but our approach is unique in many ways.
Thanks for taking the time to write such smart comments. As mentioned, I have heard nothing but amazing things about you, and I am sure that we agree on 90% of matters. :)
@tbauckhage @AmyWillardCross Smartest thing that I've read all day. Not sure that a lot of these bloggers see it that way, though.
@rachelsklar @bgoldberg @annaholmes @ElizabethSpiers1 Rachel, everyone here at Bustle has a high opinion of you, and we've written positive things about you in the past. Nobody here is trying to set back the clock.
Not sure I get why someone as highly regarded as you needs to react to this with such snark and anger on day one of our announcement...
There's no way to write a fundraise announcement that will perfectly articulate the site's mission, and clearly this feedback would have been instructive a day ago. So things go...
I'm working very hard to support female editors and entrepreneurs here in New York — there are few people here working harder for that mission — and Bustle is a project that I believe in. I'm confident that our mission is on target, and that we will succeed in fusing feminist publishing and mainstream appeal. Not super interested in knee-jerk criticism, but always happy to discuss thoughtfully.
@annaholmes @ElizabethSpiers1 *complements*
@annaholmes @bgoldberg @ElizabethSpiers1 For starters, I specifically cited Gawker in my article, and I said nice things about Jezebel in the copy I submitted for publication, which (believe it or not) were edited out for some reason. No idea why, I don't own Pando.
The lens for this post was about how I want Bustle to be different from mainstream publishers, most of whom are magazines that have been around for decades. Jezebel is an outstanding site, but I think that the voice and content mix is pretty different from what we are aiming to do at Bustle.
Furthermore, the Gawker sites are part of a media company that takes pride in being 'alternative' in its voice. That's fine. But it's not what Bustle is trying to do. We are aiming to reach people across this country who are still reading Cosmo, and are not used to seeing the Egyptian Revolution side-by-side with Fashion tips.
I'm aware that many people on Twitter are expressing concerns (and anger) at Bustle and me, but I'm just not sure I understand why. This company has four men and about forty women working at it, and it's disappointing that all these great women's publications are picking fights.
I had a long meeting with Jane Pratt last week, and I think the world of her site, but it is VERY different from what I am doing, and she agreed with that assessment.
You ask how this will be mainstream? Well, building a huge publication is not easy, and one of the main things that hold publications back is a lack of resources. Raising a lot of capital to hire talented women as editors and writers is part of that. Yes, we will also cover a lot of topics, including some things that you may write off as "crap". There will be a lot of Miley and Amanda Bynes articles. Personally, I don't like how women are made to feel ashamed for reading about celebrities in the news. Men don't get mocked for reading about Alex Rodriguez's latest gossip.
On the whole, I think you will find that Bustle is going to prove a lot of skeptics wrong, by doing one thing... producing a lot of really good content and winning over readers, especially ones who might not otherwise think of themselves in a feminist context.
I'm totally open to criticism, and a lot of people don't like me or Bleacher Report, etc. At the same time, I am confident that we are doing a good thing here, and building a site that compliments the existing ecosystem.
@ElizabethSpiers1 @bgoldberg What are you really perturbed about here, Elizabeth? That my team and I are throwing our hats in the ring? That we want to bring smart content for women into the mainstream (where it currently does not exist)?
There are a lot of great women's publications out there — but the FACT is that very few of them are garnering the 10 million+ visitors and tens of millions in revenue that many of these male-oriented sites bring in. I'm trying to change that.
I applaud all of the niche women's sites that are trying to build large audience. I wish them the best of luck. I'm not saying anything bad about them, nor am I discounting them. But I think that my team and I can build one too, and grow it to be quite large.
Appreciate you taking the time to discuss this stuff -- I have always been a fan of Gawker, as mentioned in my article.
@ElizabethSpiers1Those *are* the publications that are attracting big advertising dollars. There are a lot of great/niche sites out there that reach women. Not arguing that. Have they tried to enter the mainstream and bring great feminist content to TENS of millions of readers? Probably not. Are they making $50 million per year in revenue? Nope. Most are making less than 1/20th of that.
Any suggestion that Bustle or I are demeaning other women's sites is ridiculous, and in no way a reasonable take-away from what was in my announcement.