Posts tagged startups

At one point Andreessen offered up the “most obvious 8 business models for news now & in the future.” After listing today’s staples, (1) advertising and (2) subscriptions, he continued with (3) premium content (that is, “a paid tier on top of a free, ad-supported one”); (4) conferences and events; (5) cross-media (meaning that your news operation also generates books, movies, and the like); (6) crowd-funding; (7) micropayments, using Bitcoin; and (8) philanthropy. Nicholas Thompson, the editor of The New Yorker’s Web site and a co-founder of the digital sort-of-magazine The Atavist, chimed in with two more: (9) “while building product you’re passionate about, create software you then license widely!”—The Atavist’s approach—and (10) “fund investigative business stories + then short stocks before publishing,” a reference to the billionaire Mark Cuban’s controversial relationship with Sharesleuth.

Justin Fox, via Felix Salmon, Why I’m Joining Fusion.

So here, in a nutshell, are your news media business models.

Bonus: Om Malik, in an interview with the Italian version of Wired, talks about successful digital strategies.

Well, Project X may now be called Vox, but the great VC-backed media blitz of 2014 is staffed up and soft-launching, and it looks a lot more like Projects XY. Indeed, it’s impossible not to notice that in the Bitcoin rush to revolutionize journalism, the protagonists are almost exclusively – and increasingly – male and white.

To be sure, the internet has presented journalists with an extraordinary opportunity to remake their own profession. And the rhetoric of the new wave of creativity in journalism is spattered with words that denote transformation. But the new micro-institutions of journalism already bear the hallmarks of the restrictive heritage they abandoned with such glee. At the risk of being the old bat in the back, allow me to quote Faye Dunaway’s character from Network: “Look, all I’m saying is if you’re going to hustle, at least do it right.”

Nate Silver Talks Plans for Moving FiveThirtyEight to ESPN

Nate Silver, the stats-driven political forecasting superstar, has left the New York Times to set up shop with ESPN. In this video, he and Grantland’s Bill Simmons discuss what goes into starting a new publication, from people hired, to creating an editorial voice to eventually standing on your own two feet.

UPS to Test 3D Printing Service

Starting in San Diego stores, the UPS Store will conduct its first test for 3D printing services. With Stratasys printers and production systems, UPS will offer the service to startups, small businesses, and other retail customers. Daniel Remba, small business technology leader at UPS, talked to Forbes about the service:

We conducted a poll using in our Small Business Panel (which consists of 86 businesses in and around San Diego) to gauge their interest in 3D printing. They listed multiple reasons for using the technology from artistic rendering to making prototypes. In addition, we found that many customers interested in 3D printing did not have skills or software to produce 3D files. So, we decided to test the service as a complete package from design to printing.

[…]Depending on the physical size and complexity of the object being printed, 3D print jobs can take anything from a few hours for simple projects to more than 24 hours to for large and complex projects. Similarly, we are also testing design services for customers. Our experience is that designing objects also depends on the mode and nature of interaction between customers and the designer. At our first test store in San Diego, the designer works with customers over phone, video conference, and in person.

Video: Youtube, The UPS Store’s 3D Printing service announcement (Runtime - 1:51)

Related: The fashion industry’s 3D printing experimentation and the 3D Burritobot prototype, which burrito connoisseur Jihii deems as “genius.”

I’m a journalist. I believe in journalism, and I believe in our communities. I believe in holding those in power accountable. I believe in building civic knowledge. I believe in celebrating the good and trying to understand and solve the bad. But mostly I believe in storytelling.
Rediscovering Tumblr with Tumby
Last fall I began talking with Robert Buckley about a startup he founded called Tumby.
At a high level, this is a Tumblr discoverability platform to help Users sift and sort through topics of interest with greater precision than, say, Tumblr’s “ Explore Page”. Buckley believes that Tumblr is a “treasure trove of awesome content” and his goal is to innovate and deliver tools that help Users “discover, enjoy, and share” it quickly and easily.
While the Explore Page works for posts chosen by editors tagged within a category (eg., LOL, Art, Food, Vintage, etc.), Tumby shifts the control back to you. Tumby lets you create lists of Tumblrs who create content specific to your interests and put them in one or more topic categories you choose. This helps with your focus, as well as making sure you don’t miss posts that might be important to you but passed you on your Tumblr dashboard. You get control of topics and post types with built-in filtering mechanisms too.
You can do this two ways: as curated list called a “TumbyLand” (here’s one for /r/tumblr on reddit) or with a personalized list called a “myTumbyLand”. In both cases, they are wired to a “Tumby Page” (here’s ours) which displays snapshots of the latest posts from the associated Tumblr and more.
The TumbyLands aggregate Tumblrs, their content and include various useful discoverability widgets. You can get a Tumby Page for any Tumblr on the planet — you just need its name. The TumbyLand lists can be public, private, or shared among users you authorize. Lists can have multiple collaborators too.
While the site’s currently in invitation mode, you can take a look and get your invite by visiting Tumby.me. If you’re interested in curating a TumbyLand, email info@tumby.me.
Tumby Search adds another level of discoverability by integrating full-text search capability to your Tumblr. Tumblr’s standard search bar searches through blog tags, not through blog content. And in Buckley’s view, tagging is a limited, manual and subjective process. Full-text search, he says, is the opposite and its indexing is automatic. This ensures that readers don’t miss posts you made about specific topics.
For example, we’ve integrated Tumby search on The FJP Tumblr. Here’s what a search for “newsroom disruption” looks like. The results, in our opinion, are richer than what would have been returned with Tumblr’s native search.
Buckley, a software veteran who’s been involved in the introduction of advanced technologies with companies such as Sun Microsystems, IBM’s ILOG, and Kodak, recognized an opportunity to do what he’d always done, but this time with Tumblr. He’s been working and thinking about Tumby and Tumblr discoverability for about a year now, and is rolling out what he considers a “final beta” for public view.
Over on theFJP.org is a Q&A where Buckley explains what Tumby is, how it came about, and while not quite revealing the secret sauce about how it all works, he does explain what it’s like working with Tumblr as a platform and issues of discoverability in general. — Michael

Rediscovering Tumblr with Tumby

Last fall I began talking with Robert Buckley about a startup he founded called Tumby.

At a high level, this is a Tumblr discoverability platform to help Users sift and sort through topics of interest with greater precision than, say, Tumblr’s “ Explore Page”. Buckley believes that Tumblr is a “treasure trove of awesome content” and his goal is to innovate and deliver tools that help Users “discover, enjoy, and share” it quickly and easily.

While the Explore Page works for posts chosen by editors tagged within a category (eg., LOL, Art, Food, Vintage, etc.), Tumby shifts the control back to you. Tumby lets you create lists of Tumblrs who create content specific to your interests and put them in one or more topic categories you choose. This helps with your focus, as well as making sure you don’t miss posts that might be important to you but passed you on your Tumblr dashboard. You get control of topics and post types with built-in filtering mechanisms too.

You can do this two ways: as curated list called a “TumbyLand” (here’s one for /r/tumblr on reddit) or with a personalized list called a “myTumbyLand”. In both cases, they are wired to a “Tumby Page” (here’s ours) which displays snapshots of the latest posts from the associated Tumblr and more.

The TumbyLands aggregate Tumblrs, their content and include various useful discoverability widgets. You can get a Tumby Page for any Tumblr on the planet — you just need its name. The TumbyLand lists can be public, private, or shared among users you authorize. Lists can have multiple collaborators too.

While the site’s currently in invitation mode, you can take a look and get your invite by visiting Tumby.me. If you’re interested in curating a TumbyLand, email info@tumby.me.

Tumby Search adds another level of discoverability by integrating full-text search capability to your Tumblr. Tumblr’s standard search bar searches through blog tags, not through blog content. And in Buckley’s view, tagging is a limited, manual and subjective process. Full-text search, he says, is the opposite and its indexing is automatic. This ensures that readers don’t miss posts you made about specific topics.

For example, we’ve integrated Tumby search on The FJP Tumblr. Here’s what a search for “newsroom disruption” looks like. The results, in our opinion, are richer than what would have been returned with Tumblr’s native search.

Buckley, a software veteran who’s been involved in the introduction of advanced technologies with companies such as Sun Microsystems, IBM’s ILOG, and Kodak, recognized an opportunity to do what he’d always done, but this time with Tumblr. He’s been working and thinking about Tumby and Tumblr discoverability for about a year now, and is rolling out what he considers a “final beta” for public view.

Over on theFJP.org is a Q&A where Buckley explains what Tumby is, how it came about, and while not quite revealing the secret sauce about how it all works, he does explain what it’s like working with Tumblr as a platform and issues of discoverability in general. — Michael

Anthony De Rosa: Why Newsrooms Should Poach Tech and Startup Talent

Anthony De Rosa is Reuters’ Social Media Editor, where he’s also a columnist and host at ReutersTV. We sat down with him to discuss where the tech and news communities meet and, increasingly, overlap.

Being that the news industry has more than a few business problems these days, Anthony suggests hiring outside help. By choosing Craigslist, Groupon and Facebook as examples of places from which to steal employees, De Rosa makes a solid point: go where the success is, and learn from the people that have done smart things in the more turbulent and burgeoning media landscapes.

Anthony also discusses what news life is like at Reuters, which we’ll dive into in more detail over the coming weeks. Stay tuned!

And for more FJP videos, see our new site, theFJP.org.

Longform Startups, New York and Beer

Last week I contributed a photo essay to a startup called Narratively.

The images are from a project I’m working on about urban decay and renewal. Above are a few of them and you can read my thoughts about the how and why of it all by visiting the site.

Below is an email Q&A with Noah Rosenberg, Narratively’s founder, about what Narratively is, where he hopes it goes and why an editorial meeting can be thought of more as a soiree and less as a formal gathering. — Michael


FJP: What is Narratively? Why did you start it?

Narratively is a digital platform devoted to original, true, in-depth and untold stories. We avoid the 24/7 news cycle—and all the politics, gossip, entertainment and breaking news therein—in favor of the rich, multidimensional narratives that capture the spirit of a city. All too often those human interest stories are overlooked, especially in a bustling place like New York, where we launched our first edition in early September.

Each week Narratively explores a different theme about New York and publishes just one story a day, told in the most appropriate medium for each piece. So, Monday might yield a longform essay, followed by a short documentary film on Tuesday, a photo essay on Wednesday, and an animation on Thursday. Fridays, we run a section called the “Park Bench” where we curate meaningful responses we’ve generated from our audience throughout the week, and we publish behind-the-scenes elements from our stories; the “Park Bench” is all about featuring different perspectives on each week’s theme.

Our digital presence at www.narrative.ly, a mobile- and tablet-friendly website, is just the beginning. We’ll enrich the storytelling experience through monthly e-books, apps and events that feature live storytelling by our subjects and contributors, panel discussions, and film screenings. We’re also considering publishing a very high quality print edition.

FJP: What’s your future goal? I hear you want to expand into different cities?

The big-picture goal is to have a network of Narratively editions in cities across the world. We’re learning that people thousands of miles from New York are interested in our stories—in part because New York is a one-of-a-kind town, but also because Narratively stories are timeless in a way, and they resonate regardless of geography.

Our vision is to be able to cross-promote stories between our editions so that, say, someone in New York can read a really colorful tale about an 80-year-old tugboat captain in Beirut, while someone in Beirut might be presented with a similarly engaging and high-quality narrative about that captain’s NYC counterpart.

FJP: Do you consider it a “local news” endeavor?

On the face of it, Narratively is devoted to local stories, though I wouldn’t say they’re “news.” There are so many outlets devoted to covering the next big headline, and there’s some interesting longform innovation happening on the national and international stage, but not enough happening on the local, city-by-city level—and that’s where we figure in. But while Narratively produces stories that have some geographic connection, they’re bigger than just local news; we’re crafting stories that have a very long shelf life, stories that you can pluck from our archive a year or three years from now and still find meaning and value in.

FJP: What’s been the hardest thing to do as a startup?

The startup process has been exhausting but also incredibly fulfilling. Discovering that there are people out there, and lots of them, who believe in what we’re doing has been a validation of all of our hard work and “crazy” ideas. But it’s also a slow process, especially as we get off the ground and need to ensure that everything is running smoothly. There are so many possibilities for us—I just wish there were more hours in the day. But I’m confident that, with time, we’ll continue to push Narratively further and further.

FJP: The easiest?

We’ve been very fortunate to have a big, active network of supporters—from our generous backers on Kickstarter to the bloggers and journalists who’ve covered us along our journey. It’s so exciting and rewarding to receive the emails and tweets of encouragement that we’ve been getting from all over the world. The startup process would be a lot more tiring if we’d been doing this all alone. But social media and Kickstarter have turned it into a communal effort.

FJP: The most unexpected?

We’ve been pleasantly surprised by Narratively’s appeal beyond New York City. Our dream has always been to create a network of editions across the world and we’d imagined and hoped that we’d someday generate a global appeal, but the fact that it’s happened so quickly and so soon is a tremendous relief and a huge encouragement.

FJP: When I met you for your weekly editorial meeting you held it at an outdoor bar in Brooklyn. How does beer lubricate the editorial process?

We like to refer to our weekly editorial gatherings as more “soiree” and less “meeting.” They’re very informal affairs that are as much about story-generation and feedback as they are about forming bonds within our passionate group of contributors. I’ve always loved bringing new people together and it’s been so rewarding to help foster friendships and connections all in the name of good times and great storytelling. The beer and the bar snacks are just a backdrop to some energizing discussions about important stories that would otherwise remain untold.

Images: Selected photos from Built to Rust, by Michael Cervieri, via Narratively. Select to embiggen.

fjp-latinamerica:

MEXODUS wins ONA 2012 award(!)
We are thrilled to see Mexodus, a student journalism project focused on border issues, listed among the winners of the 2012 Online Journalism Awards, in the category of Non-English Projects, Small/Medium. Well deserved!
Here is a part of an introductory statement by Director Zita Arocha:

Mexodus is an unprecedented bilingual student-reporting project that documents the flight of middle class families, professionals and businesses to the U.S. and safer areas of México because of soaring drug cartel violence and widespread petty crime in cities such as Ciudad Juárez.
We believe Mexodus sets the bar for future collaborate investigative journalism that builds bridges across academic, national and language borders, in this case English and Spanish, the U.S. and Mexico. The web and digital technology facilitated the collaboration, as well as expertise from professional trainers from Investigative Reporters and Editors and research by Fundación MEPI in México City. The project received funding from Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.
The result is more than 20 stories in two languages, videos, slideshows, photos, info graphics and charts produced by participation from nearly 100 student journalists from four universities, University of Texas El Paso, California State University Northridge, and Tecnológico de Monterrey in Chihuahua and México City.

FJP: According to a press release made available by the UTEP, Mexodus launched in 2010 by a $25,000 grant from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.
Bonus: A collection of congratulatory messages on Twitter. Two samples:

Big props to the student staff of Borderzine for its amazing Mexodus series, which won in the Non-English projects category @ona awards.
— UTEP (@utepnews) September 24, 2012

Mexodus, a project by Mepi and mexican students won an Online Journalism Award. Here is the story. bit.ly/n7TxMy
— Fundación MEPI (@FMEPI) September 24, 2012

Fantastic.

fjp-latinamerica:

MEXODUS wins ONA 2012 award(!)

We are thrilled to see Mexodus, a student journalism project focused on border issues, listed among the winners of the 2012 Online Journalism Awards, in the category of Non-English Projects, Small/Medium. Well deserved!

Here is a part of an introductory statement by Director Zita Arocha:

Mexodus is an unprecedented bilingual student-reporting project that documents the flight of middle class families, professionals and businesses to the U.S. and safer areas of México because of soaring drug cartel violence and widespread petty crime in cities such as Ciudad Juárez.

We believe Mexodus sets the bar for future collaborate investigative journalism that builds bridges across academic, national and language borders, in this case English and Spanish, the U.S. and Mexico. The web and digital technology facilitated the collaboration, as well as expertise from professional trainers from Investigative Reporters and Editors and research by Fundación MEPI in México City. The project received funding from Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.

The result is more than 20 stories in two languages, videos, slideshows, photos, info graphics and charts produced by participation from nearly 100 student journalists from four universities, University of Texas El Paso, California State University Northridge, and Tecnológico de Monterrey in Chihuahua and México City.

FJP: According to a press release made available by the UTEP, Mexodus launched in 2010 by a $25,000 grant from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.

Bonus: A collection of congratulatory messages on Twitter. Two samples:

Fantastic.

Celebrating Failure

  • Kevin Galligan: Everyone has a launch party. Nobody does the last-stage-of-grief thing.
  • Chris Siragusa: I don't talk about it that much. It's one of the greatest failures of all time, and it's never had a proper eulogy.
  • FJP: New York Magazine has a story called "The Final Pivot: A Funeral for Failed Start-ups" about an event that was organized to help budding entrepreneurs learn from those that tried but failed before them. Kevin Galligan was an organizer. Chris Siragusa, one of the event's speakers, is the former CTO of Kozmo.com which flamed out after raising $280 million. http://bit.ly/UMb94L

Lady Business

We recently partnered with two talented writers and performers to create Lady Business, a satirical look at women in the news. Or, as Rebecca says, “It’s like the Daily Show, but with boobs.”

The Web series splits between actual broadcasts and episodes that show how the program — and the Lady Business empire — is being made.

Here’s a sneak behind-the-scenes peek for episode one.

For Lady Business updates, follow the show on Facebook.

More coming (very, very) soon.

The South American startup scene is representative of a global startup culture that had its start in San Francisco and the Silicon Valley. A culture that has its roots in free thinking about what the world can be is not something that is just solely the enjoyment of tight community in California. It’s something people across the globe embrace.

The challenge for the region is not about getting people excited about startups. It’s more so in the development of the ecosystem and the infrastructure. That’s the challenge of any developing country. But more so than ever before, it’s a chance for South America to take a leapfrog ahead and establish itself as a leader on the world startup stage.

TechCrunch’s Alex Williams, on the thriving South American entrepreneurial community. The Rise Of The TechnoLatinas: A Full-Fledged Startup Movement Emerges In South America.

Via TechCrunch:

We see a full-fledged movement with an ecosystem that is creating new connections for the economies of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and the rest of the world. These entrepreneurs represent a movement now.

A growing number of angel investors are starting to invest in South American startups and the venture capital community is growing.

Entrepreneurship is becoming the preferred career option for a sizeable share of the top talent emerging from business and engineering universities in the region. This is partly because of the tremendous opportunity for upside, but it is also more in the image of a younger generation that identifies with the Internet and a connected world.

Increased broadband availability and the emergence of cloud services has broken down the costs to set up and run an online business. The information gap is narrowing. More people have Internet access, and governments are getting more actively involved in developing startup ecosystems. 

And the infrastructure is emerging, too. Amazon Web Services opened a data center in Sao Paulo last December. Microsoft BizSpark opened a number of innovation centers in Brazil to connect developers with businesses. Google is now building a data center in Chile.

Bonus: What can Latin America learn from the Mexican startup ecosystem?

(via fjp-latinamerica)

It’s become almost a cliche: A small company builds its entire product on the back of a larger company’s data. Big company pulls the plug, startup gets screwed. I know I should feel sympathy for the startup in those situations but the truth is, I rarely do. if your entire offering is dependent on data from, say, Twitter then you’re not really a company — you’re a feature. And free data isn’t a basic human right. Business is business, etc, etc, etc.

But then — very, very occasionally — a big company behaves in a way that misses business entirely and instead crashes straight into stupid. And that’s precisely what just happened with Amazon’s decision to ban social reading startup Findings from reposting extracts imported by Kindle users.

Paul Carr, PandoDaily. A “Moment of Temporary Insanity”? Amazon Orders Findings To Stop Importing Highlights.

Findings, as Carr describes it, promotes social reading by being “a kind of Tumblr for word-nerds, an easy way to share inspiring, provoking, stimulating, and otherwise fascinating little snippets of text, whether they be found on webpages, in magazines, or deep inside books.”

What can Latin America learn from the Mexican startup ecosystem?

fjp-latinamerica:

Mexico will be the first Latin American country to set up a startup pavilion at the annual TechCrunch Disrupt event, to take place this weekend in San Francisco. Seen unthinkable a couple of years ago, why is this now being possible? Let’s see.

Via TechCrunch:

Mexico’s economy is growing 40% faster than Brazil’s, over twice as fast as the United States, and is already the world’s 14th largest economy (on a GDP based scale). With an ever growing professional middle class, the market is well poised for innovative companies… Some indicators for this are: the massive market potential across industries, especially in mobile (1 out of 5 mexicans owns a smartphone, Google calculated that by 2015 the market will have grown 70%); the quickly growing internet-connected population (40 million Mexicans are connected to the Internet. It’s the third most internet-connected OECD member), and the rapid growth of e-commerce sites (43% just last year)

The startup ecosystem is proliferating in this environment. Mexico holds the largest Startup Weekend presence outside of the United States (Mexico and the UK were the first countries to establish Startup Weekend offices). 

Universities are also taking an active role in shifting towards “the entrepreneurial mindset” and away from cultural conservatism by financing “knowledge bridges” between Mexico and Silicon Valley. Entrepreneurial centers are becoming more and more popular at universities nationwide, as well as graduate programs that focus on enticing innovation and entrepreneurship as a career path.

The government is also becoming increasingly aware of the need to advocate for local talent. Last month the official announcement came from NAFIN (Mexico’s National Financial institution) and the Secretary of Economy: there is now a public seed capital fund, which will amount to almost 30 million USD and will have two lines of investment: a seed capital fund and as a co-investor in startups.