Josh Topolsky on why Bustle Media Group and The Outline make strange (but good) bedfellows


Walk to the digital podcast. I'm Brian Marcy this week. I'm joined by Josh Topolski. Who is the editor in chief of the Culture and Innovation in Group at Bustle Digital Group? That includes the outline which Topolski founded and bustle bought almost a year ago as well as titles wake input put Mike and Inverse. Josh discuss what seemed like a strange marriage with bustle why the world needs yet. Another tack publication with input and the current turns state of blandness and digital media. Join Josh Welcome back to the PODCAST. I'm happy to be here so three years years ago. You're on here. It was Kinda early days. I guess of the outlet very early okay and you were talking to me about About why the outline should exist exist and I wanNA use this as sort of an entree into what you're doing now and you said everything in digital media is insanely boring now. Everything looks the same. Everything sounds the same hm three years on where are we well I think that's still. It's still a problem. Sameness Sameness by the way a side note on that When I remember this vividly when you put the podcast up the I think the headline for the post was too much sameness and digital media. And then you know there's a thousand bots that read tweet digital and it was like this wall all on twitter of there's too much sameness and digital media repeated by all of these like digital may not like spam bonds that you employ the Brady thing but there were a lot. There's a lot of things that just like take news sources and re tweet headlines or whatever I think no I I did a screen grab of tweeted it because I thought it was a funny part of the you know piece of the post There's there's still too much sameness bit. Actually say I mean a lot of that sameness has been Camin. Some of it has been extinguished by that kind of calamity of the media industry. I think one of the things that's happened over the last three years since we launched the outline is you've seen I talked about this. I wrote this manifesto before we actually even got funding for the outline about like the kind of I read this thing. A medium called your your media. Business will not be saved or something like that. I can not remember the title town so long. Yeah but you know It was about this idea that there's a lot of people making a lot. Love sort of cheap recycled recycled a repeatable. Stuff in that's like at some point you have to draw a line somewhere so I think that I mean it's unfortunate the way it has happened that a lot of people in media lost jobs a lot of companies have gone under But I do think it's part of a calling of saying like what is the audience. What is a real audience for all of this stuff? How many of them are there for each site that wants to have you know the same version of the same story? told in exactly the same way. Is there a real. Is that a real business or is it. Are we starting to realize that. There's only certain parts of this that are going to work and not work for audience. Yeah what was your big takeaway from the outline experience. I mean because you are always I think I feel like during your. I don't know if it'll work. Yeah get I want to see if it's GonNa work still working by the way getting. It's working different dependent company. As an independent the my big takeaway sameness big takeaway is in terms of the business. There are so many things that have to be perfect for something as small mall but as ambitious as the outline to work on its own. We didn't hit every one of those things you know we didn't get. I don't think we not. I think we had an amazing product and amazing ad product brands. That we've worked with continue to work with it loved it. We didn't have the scale to go out to everybody we needed to talk to and say. Hey we're doing this thing. Hey we've got this great valuable audience audience. We're not the biggest in the world but we're doing something that really adds value and find all of those advertisers that we should be working with. I think one of the big lessons was Even in in essence area we do everything right and we certainly didn't you still. There's always that question of is there an apparatus around it that can support what you need to do. That has the the scale or the The connections necessary to make it all work right so I mean it's one piece of it I think it's also was interesting to see To Watch what it's like when you're not in the news by the way we launched like a month after trump got elected and I we were launched by when we talked And and that and trump has changed the whole media landscape and and I mean not just because of this fake news shed and you know The you know the way. Hey that he attacks the media but the media landscape has has so much information now that his new every day and every week that that there's an APP there's less of of an appetite I think for the curiosities for the more. Some of them were creative stuff and you know those that stuff is harder to get a word in edgewise. Because you've got so much complexity in the General News Cycle. Now yeah takes all the oxygen out of the room. Yeah and people are exhausted by the end of the day. You know. I remember when we were launching the outline before four trump. I mean obviously. This was all happening but you felt like at the end of the day. You want it to get you sit down with something or at lunchtime. You'd want to sit down with a bigger piece or something. That wasn't necessarily topical. That wasn't about what is happening in DC Or some you know horrible thing. That trump is symmetric. Now it's like you feel exhaustion at the at on your when you get a break vacation start earlier. Have you noticed this. I mean this is real. I mean people start revving up for a vacation like a week earlier than they used to. Now we have I see people. They're just gone on. You know it's like a week before the week that everybody takes off and people are gone. You're desperate to get away from the kind of crush of news that we have every day so i WanNa talk about that when when you decided that the Elian was going to work as an independent business but that the brand should continue deal if there are ways that it could work as an independent business but they weren't don't waste that we could keep doing the best stuff I mean we. There are scenarios where it could continue to be independent but two things happened one is one is we wanted to do more not less churns like something like input which is something. We started talking about When the outline was still an independent brand And I started talking to Brian Goldberg. which is a conversation? Did Not envision. Having I did not envision having ever and it turned out to be like a pretty interesting conversation so but you know I think that there are ways that we could have kept being independent. But it wasn't. We couldn't have done a lot of ambitious. You had to be part of a larger organization. Yeah I I think so. Why why was I don't WanNa dwell too much on a Ba- Y was bustle? The right place but we were talking to some other folks and in fact. We're very far along with another the conversation But the conversation I started with Brian was became a lot. More interesting. And and the the Y.. Bustle I think is has a lot in in common with the conversation that I had with Jim Bank off that Marty Mohan I had when we were talking about getting the team out of. AOL Albion Gadget team and going and building the verge. which didn't exist And we were talking to different people saying where could this work and the conversation with. Jim was very much like the conversation with Brian in that. Here's a business that exists. But it's not you know it's a it's a healthy business. It's a growing business but is there something that can be added onto something built That that helps it kind of accelerated growth and accelerate some of the ideas that the core business has and that was so that. When I started talking to Brian it was very much similar surprising? ISING explain why there was a lineman because I think from the outside. You Know Brian Goldberg. I I mentioned before we started this. He holds the record for the number of digital podcast. CAST and I want to try to get Brian back on. If he's listening. Brian Stop dodging. Wow but I know it's a chance of threat as a threat slash jobs out there but I would think. It's like opposites right. I mean because like you know on the surface right because you know. Brian founded founder of bleacher. Report bleacher got a lot of like arose for doing a lot of the sameness. You seem to be talking about the airline being opposite to explain why there was a meeting of the minds. Well I think that what the the opposite things actually part of the attraction And why it makes sense You're right I mean I think we come from very different places aces We see we've made very different things historically when I talk to Brian the conversation what he what. He was demonstrating showing to me. You know when you look across the women's lifestyle brands like report early daily or or bustle. They're they're different in different audiences in different audiences and some of them a really big and some of them are not that big and we had this conversation about could should media businesses exist where everything is in trying to get to forty million. You know unique niks and trying to be the the monolithic piece and I think a place where we really connected and I think a place where Brian wants. The company to grow was excited about growing was. Let's figure figure out what those different brands are and build them to the right size and find the right brands that one. You know advertise on them. Find the right audiences that want to come and visit them and the collection of those the things makes the business the overall business stronger that that was the thing that was most surprising when I I talked to him was that even though our strategies for building businesses were totally. Different our alignment on this idea. That businesses shouldn't be one-size-fits-all and that there's room in a healthy business for smaller sites like the outline and and really big sites like bustle and everything in between if you run the business right. And that was a place where I felt like we could align have aligned on on building something. That's that's pretty new based on on what they have built on what we have built. So is that something more complicated than having lake. You know some kind of like sexy You know high minded stuff but then having the SEO driven recaps of name name the name the show that is trending at that moment. Yeah you know. There's there's a large look every publication. Does that should've sometimes. It's in the back of the House operation every publication every no. I'm agreeing with you. Know everybody does a new pope Recap I haven't but I want to but but you understand this is and this is something that to me I think one of the I believe somewhat unfortunate Product of where we are in terms of the model the business this model for media right now but the reality is even the Times The Times even the New York magazine. The cut people love the. I love the cut. Amazing from the most important journalism in the world. But they're also doing you know. Seo Friendly searchable content that gets lot high high volume a AH of of clicks and is done for that express purpose and they need because they need to sell ads against it. Because then you'd have a certain amount of volume two ads against because Social Networks have forced the media industry into very uncomfortable and relatively Difficult Position Right now and I think that That's that's reality but also we're trying to reclaim some of that space and doing the things that we were doing it. The outline and combining those with a skit with such a scale of something like beat each e is part of the way we try to reclaim some of that ground so your portfolio is the culture and innovation and I wanNA talk about what exactly it is. It's the outline in its inverse Input input and then my mic naughtily. Daily didn't get no Daily is firmly. The women's lifestyle character. I said give me Zo report. All right one last minute report So explain what that is and do you. Are you look like yield you both in this urges like no I just do the high minded stuff. It's very crafted. It's very we're so I will say just there's also questions question just on that point about the the two levels were saying like there's the lower quality and then the higher quality there's actually a way to bring up the quality of everything and I would say that across the company you know e- on both sides of that in both the culture and Innovation Group and On the women's lifestyle where everybody's working really hard to make sure that everything is good. You know I didn't mean to like actually 'cause I do that's actually a good point because it it isn't like bifurcated another like longtime guest. Neil Vogel is actually done a really good job of succeeding in upping the quality of you know the SEO that We all knew about DOT COM for. Yeah Yeah well I mean Jeanette Nicer Sir and one of the things. I've learned watching inverse. Do what it does is that. There's there's a there are huge audiences that are looking for you. Know They WanNa understand like the star wars universe science in versus science. It's really entertainment Science we do some innovation stuff like the future of energy space travel. It's you And and you know huge part of of the inverse audiences looking for entertainment coverage particularly around phantoms. Right so rick. And morty or the marvel movies or game of thrones that kind of stuff and one of the things that's interesting about their models they write these great stories which I love it turns it turns out I'm actually somewhat addicted to that are in a lot of people looking visited like okay. I understand what happened in the New Star Wars movie. I want to go like ten levels. Deeper on like some weirdness. About like the backstory of like where like how Ray got the you know this gold colored lightsaber or whatever and there are people all over the Internet talking about this and there's only a few places where people are really intelligently only putting that together it's a really interesting form of journalism they kind of didn't exist up until like probably this last decade which is something like not recaps and not the actual like you know? These aren't like fact-based reports. They're almost like collecting ideas into something that makes sense for like an average reader or even be above average reader. WHO's interested in that stuff but sorry that's a little bit of a tangent but that's like the kind of stuff that works really well in the Seo world because people are actually looking forward but also is pretty damn interesting and pretty pretty well done So so just in terms of getting back to that question quality me I'm doing. I'm doing everything that we that that I can do and helping everywhere I can to make great things for people to see and read and experience on the Internet With all of those brands so there's inverse we talked about that. Yeah okay then. There's the outline of the outlines mission is as remained keeping it weird to be. Yeah that'd be though is that the the New Yorker for millennials. Yeah yeah which I am I am which is a you know. It's funny because the New Yorker is something totally different Than Yorker is like. I mean still does the New Yorker stuff. Then you're also has to play sure the news game and the SEO. Oh Games are now. They blog a lot about trump. And and you know the end of democracy as we know it and you know the coming apocalypse that we're all living in But yeah I mean I thought Oughta what we're we're we're here I don't know we'll see it's twenty twenty I think can happen But outline keeps is not. We're not chasing news. News the outlines telling big Thoughtful thought provoking sometimes Controversial Stories And I would say that you know Mike Mike is also in. The group is doing more of that. You know one of the interesting. What is Mike's lane now? With so Mike Actually Mike has many ways going back to some of its core. What would really work for it at its core? You know there was a period where I think in the outline even wrote about this period of Micra got a little bit out of control with you know what size is it should be where its focus should be. And it's sort of like a one-size-fits-all for everything I think you know where it's focusing. Now focusing on the senator of interaction between culture her and and politics and Society how we how we treat each other and how we treat ourselves What's happening in society? And how it impacts you and what you can do to impact. What's happening in society? I think there's a lot more of that happened. So it's still millennial focus. Yeah and it's still in there still a polit. Politics are a big part of it. Yeah Social Justice is a big part of it. But it's a question of like how you come at that and what stories you tell and I think a good example of that in in in in talking about all of this is you know There's an editor at Mike Guidance Jaffa who was one of the writers who were the outline in the early days and now he's editing culture stuff for for Mike and I think he's bringing something there that that Mike previously didn't have as you said kind of different viewpoint. A different voice and and that whole team is kind of rethinking. What are the cause? If everybody's you know Mike had the right idea which is news. News and What's happening in this world? Like really communicated for a younger audience for an audience. That wasn't raised reading the newspaper. What changed is that? A lot of everybody else started doing the exact same thing including the the big sites right including the post and and the times and so you have to kind of evolve that and I think they're they're much more focused now in terms of what stories they choose to talk about when they choose to talk about them and as a result they have more impact so input. I mean yes you sort of went back to your roots a little bit. Yes like with starting tech site and I think probably I think he came out of the gates sort of trying to answer. Answer the questions that people would have which is why in the world. Another tech site at this point for technology is is. It's a horizontal not vertical. Oh yeah well you know. People always say why people always say why you'd launch anything. Why now why this another one of those? I mean they said the same ending we win. Watch the Verger they did. I mean I mean people were like we have then gadget and we have Gizmodo and we have seen that and we have to business insider and whatever the list goes on and on on. And it's like well it's different. It covers things differently covers. Different things has a different perspective and different attitude a different way of telling stories. You know for me. Input was very much Spending time away from gave me a perspective on it where you know I was able to see more what was working. What wasn't what I liked what I did? And what made me board Lord. When I was starting outline I felt like I had kind of gotten bored with what technology coverage was doing? What made me board and what I didn't like and wait? Start to think about ways of how do something new. What's the Lens? The Lens is to your point about the heart. The the horizontal nature of the point is that The things that we used to think were for specialized and and and For a small segment of the audience have become mainstream and the mainstreaming of that has made those stories way way less interesting even though people still cover them over and over again in addition thing people like the New York Times or covering technology as good if not better than almost anybody else like the the same stories right Nazis on twitter or what's happening on instagram. They hired Taylor Lorenzo. Who's an amazing writer? Who knows more about teens doing than any human being on the planet today podcast podcast guests And and so and so you have to look elsewhere and so I think there's there's places where one I think we can be more a little more like we can be more efficient just with the way you tell l. a. story like things that are important to us are still important. But you don't need to do a thousand words on every story so we're playing around with like the way we actually write the stories themselves yourselves. I we see a big connection between Design and fashion and style. And where. That's all going And Technology and there's a lot of crossover there. There's also also a lot of crossover with gaming and I think exploring that sort of cultural intersection of design. Fashion and technology is really interesting. So we're doing more of that and one of the things that I read this is more about like you have to do it over and over again to really understand it. There's just a lot of bullshit in the way people people talk about what is going on out there. Like what is what they put value in terms of like the most important part of the story. We're trying to find ways to kind of cut through some of that noise and everybody says that it was. What's an example? You know the guy I. This is what I think about all the time. How there's been like how many versions is the next? iphone is with the twelve k but there have been also these like plus versions. And there's been a lot of iphones you know dozens of iphones. If you read an iphone phone review somewhere it's like three thousand words about like the Basil or whatever you know about like the the elegant glass whatever bullshit is like about how. It's took really beautiful phone. I think people are get it you know. Everybody has a pretty beautiful phone in their pocket. There's things you don't have to say anymore. There's things you really do need to say. And how can you make that more efficient and More like how can you say more modern way. How can you do it and not? Maybe a text wall. Maybe it's something that's more like instagram story. You know which we've been doing packaging the packaging and the way it's worded. I mean what you say what you choose to say what you choose to not say but from the approach is different starting attack publication Shen now versus in gadget when Lake. We're in this sort of tech lash. Yeah sort of thing. Where a lot of the beforehand we were talking about the iphone and whether the iphone on whether we'll look back on the iphone being like or horrific development unity? Because when you you know look technology coverage particularly when it came to quote unquote gadgets. was a lot of like. Oh my God. This stuff's amazing now. All of a sudden it's this stuff is killing us so in and that is actually. It's part of what with input that we wanted to kind of. We're trying to address which is like yes. There is a lot of night there are many negative things happening And there are the things that are in technology There is a point where it's like really well. That's a well covered topic and there may be something else to say which is one of the things that we're we're we're looking for every day I mean there's a dozens and maybe hundreds of stories every day that we won't cover because it's just like this is well handled? I do think yes I mean but okay sorry all right. So we're talking about is the IPHONE. We're GONNA look back in twenty years and say this thing was a disaster. Why do we make this Is the current state of reporting warning about technology. The only story to tell and I don't think it is You know is the only story to tell about Amazon. How how bad Amazon is I do? Think there's a lot to say there But I don't think it's the only one and so we're trying to find like what are those other stories like. And what are those other places to look not even about. Is it true we keep looking at Amazon. But I mean we did this story early on We have this at their Alvarez. Who came over from gadget? who is a genius when it comes to? He's a true like sneaker head But also get total nerd and he did the story about like you know the technology that's being used in sneaker production and Connie went into this. He's making an algae shoe or whatever. There's really interesting stuff happening there. which is an intersection? That almost you know most tech sites aren't even thinking about are talking about. Is there a story. Sorry there so that's the type of store you want to tell part of partly. Yeah Yeah Yeah for sure and also there are stories that I want to tell there are things that we some of them that. We're trying to figure out how to tell you don't no yet. You're sort of developing in real time you know We want to be critical of twitter or facebook. We have a writer who pitched us some stories of the day and it was stories stories about Subscription Services and it was an all four of the pitches were really negative and I was like. Is there anything here are any of these good and if there are like can we explain. Meanwhile they are good news food subscriptions or whatever and I'm trying to figure out like where are the pockets of innovation still happening. And where are the things that we need to be really critical of that that haven't yet been fully addressed. But you don't WanNa go overboard with the 'cause like everyone goes from one side of the soccer field to the other side and I feel like now it's it's like all about the negatives of tech will you right and that's an the talking about. We did we just did a bunch of reporting around Sonos this really weird. It's like recycle program grabbed like killed products and they were doing these killing these software updates and it was you know we were very critical of the company. I'm also a guy who's I love Sonos and I've invested a lot of money and time back. Check people backtrack people have forgotten. All righty right. Well you know so. We think it's worthwhile to talk about it and to be really unvarnished in talking about it I think there is a there is a in in technology. Generally there's a lot of people kind of taking companies at their word now one of the problems with the technology that you're talking about companies and their word for a really long time is that we and I've had I've had people lied effort. Pr People at the largest tech companies in the world. Just lied to my face. You know and I don't think anybody at input and hopefully you know at some of the other great tax obligations that exist. I think a lot of people are not taking that at face value at this point. You know they're not GonNa just say repeat the PR. But I think we're trying to figure out where the where the right place is to be critical isn't where the right place to be to. Praise is because those do still exist and they may not be the same pocket that we've been looking at for so long so when we talk about differentiation. I think one of the things that we talked about. When you're on the PODCASTS? Like three years ago was part of the Sameness. How everything looks on the web and how it behaves and you were clearly trying you were doing something very different with the outline as far as the design and the technology platform now? That's been ported over far as I can tell from the outside to these these new sites Yeah I would say is probably not trying to correct your grammar here it is probably less. It's more like we took the best of a of of what BG of doing the hip hop platform called typeset which is now are kind of like like parent platform for everything What we were doing it the outline with cms that we had bill which was a completely custom cms for doing content it was just very visually different and built different than than most things on the Internet and parts of the inverse? CMS which were also really robust. There's some really interesting stuff there So you still a believer in this because I mean I guess what I was trying to get at was that I think we went through this period where everyone was just doing wordpress sites because what does it matter because it's just being sucked up by platform forms. The scale ability of a very basic site was trumped. Any sort of differentiation. Bump that so you would get right. Well we seen the limitations to throwing everything into someone else's platform inviting crossing our fingers and hoping that they'll do the best things for us. And by the way Ah I feel strongly about this amp is still while it is a great can. Be Great in some situations is still a A perform in a format that that reduces. What is possible Apple News while I it is a tremendous platform for to get new eyeballs on your content and it is a place that reduces streamlines diminishes what publishers create and what the Writers and editors hope to put into the world? It's it's lowest common denominator and yes and this is ongoing. You know when people talk about the duopoly of facebook and Google. They need to address. The duopoly has it's has its basis not just in their size but in their ability to manipulate the technology that we use to tell our stories and when you can manipulate it and force publishers into something you it becomes very easy for you to tell them what to do and how to do it the way we play the SEO game in the industry. is a direct result of Google. Making decisions ends about content They've made decisions about how they wanna see the content how they want us to structure the content. What can be successful or unsuccessful? There's a price that it's exacted and we have to the push back against it. In the one of the ways we push back is by owning our platforms and owning the way we tell stories as much as humanly possible. Even if it means that we're still GONNA use and we're still gonNA use Apple News and recognize that they will bring traffic and audience and we have to think about them but we we need to have somewhere that home base where we can express the right story in in the right way but I also say that we should be much more universally critical across the media. Landscape of this I've seen interviews with editors that I that I respect people that I love talking about how much their traffic comes from amp. You shouldn't celebrate it. You should be scared When I see when I walk into any newsroom and they show Xiaomi traffic and they say we've got sixty percent of our traffic coming from Apple News or whatever which you see in newsrooms all the time and I would imagine? I don't know the digit numbers are but I bet a lot of people people in the industry are like. Wow look at all the traffic apple news ascending. He can make money off so with that but people talk about audience is and they talk about engagement and all but the reality is like be scared. If you're getting a huge amount of traffic from some source that you don't control and don't have any say in while there's a history at this point right there's a history but this is why but this is why when you talk about the clash and all that stuff this is why where you get into that the regulation conversation and you get into like where the real stakes here and. How do we fix some of the things that we broke? I'm I'm I tend to be sorry if I'm rambling. I can stop but I'll just make this one last point. I tend to be optimistic back as much as it seems insane in our current predicament in media and like the world. I tend to be optimistic. The we can fix what is broken or at least make it better in in in small ways and that will inform what are some smallest. Why think one one I think we can all just strive to to push back on the stuff like collectively? Not just you know people talk about everybody's really fired up about Bernie and the idea of the collective and ah sort of socialist sort of concept I think we can all in the P. publisher should be collectively pushing back on the tech companies. Not just writing articles about them but really really having conversations I think now is the time right right because there's regulators circling and governments and stuff like this. Where whether it's for PR PR or genuineness? I mean there's some leverage that to be exacted on the platform regulations real. I mean that's a real thing that can happen happen to Microsoft. It can happen to other publishers but but You know pushing back collective. Liza is a big deal but also I think trying to push the envelope and see what what the audience it's wants me. That's getting back to your platform questions about the if I still believed in the idea of building a different platform and differentiated and trying to tell stories at different way I do believe in it because I think that one. There's an audience that wants it and appreciates it and really like picks it up and it's Catnip to them that they see something that feels like of this moment in that's a lar- growing audience every day There's a reason why Google created APP stories about a year after that you know six months after year after the outline launched they announced announced this amp stories thing. I'm not saying they ripped us off although certainly there developers were aware of what we were doing. But there's a reason why they would if there was a web version of instagram stories. That could exist this that publishers be able to use The that's real and instead of US waiting for tech companies to make the next move we should be cribbing what we can from them learning from it building something new hopefully building something better and trying to own that as much as possible so I think it's really important. I think it works. You know so you guys have started start. New Brands have acquired new brands. What is the plan going forward more acquisition or is it more towards organic growth? Just focus on the existing portfolio. I mean we have a lot of brands in the portfolio right. Now we've added. I mean in the last you know year BG's added a lot and the sea. And I didn't exist a a year ago right And now it does I mean Bryant you know. Look I can't speak from Ryan and Brian is obviously. He has his eye on. If there's something that's out there that makes sense and he's been challenged to come on here taste. Yeah no I mean he should come and time we talked and this stuff comes up and there are conversations about it but I think right now. The focus is on building the brand building. The technology scaling-up brands brands. That are smaller. Input just launched a month and a half ago scaling that you know Inverse is is tens of millions of people to inverse every month. That can be alarmed. But I think a much larger audience as we just relaunched Sort of new design with the new tools that we built for in verse. That's GonNa go spread across the company as well right so the technology that we build is going into hit every brand in the portfolio. And that's going to have Implications both in terms of editorial and on the on the on the advertising side. And so I think right now. It's like a focus on we've pretty big collectively. BG's pretty huge. Especially now with the new brands I mean and and It's interesting if you look at the set the scale and you look at like you know you can go and look at the investment levels of what companies have taken if you look at the boxes you know or the the buzzfeed's of the world whoever you know the level of investment to get to that scale was enormous you know. I think that one of the things. I've been impressed by you know. Sometimes Brian I kind of you know argue over is the. He's the way he runs. The business is like it's very smart. It's very but it's also very like self critical you know and it's constantly. It's like looking at like month to month to month. Are we doing the right things to make this a business that can be profitable and be sustainable. That's another thing by the way that we connected on this idea that you're not it's not endless investment from VC's or the support this business we have to make it profitable sustainable. And that's you know so. I think there's a big push right now. Just obviously industry-wide you heard me suddenly talking about got it You know when are we going to see the new Gawker. Gawker is on the shelf for now gawkers pause and I think it's going to remain through peanut a super bowls can't go no not like Mr Peanut Super Bowl campaign No it's you know when the time is right if the time is right. If there's the right team in the ideas is there you know there will be a conversation about that. But I think everybody right now is focused. On these brands that we have that are vibrant and vital and thriving and growing. I mean and you know we've had even with the outline you know there's there's a world where the outline doesn't exist there's a world where it just goes out of business right because WHO's going to support Something so really truly a strange and different as the outlet. I mean I I. I think it'd be hard pressed to look across the landscape now and say. Oh there's a lot of sites like the outline the to do with the online does the outline is growing and thriving right now and is being supported by the company in a way that you know Brian of course in our I said Yeah. I love the outlet. I want to support right. And you're kind of like okay. Well let's see you know here here we are you know I mean we joined the company went in. I think there's Marcher April and it's feels like they have more investment as far as the number of people devoted to creating content because I mean the the best argument for Lake AAC Bustle Digital Group. Is that look. There's a lot of inefficiencies for subscale media companies as far as platform Thomas far as overhead. As far as you know counting your sales. There's a lot to be said about being larger legal fees like when you're a small startup legal fees are real. Oh you're like wow can we afford this to fight this copyright claim or whatever you know YEAH THERE'S A ton of efficiencies they're like how many people you have working across these brands across the group. Yeah Fifty F- fourth. Is You know something like fifty six. I don't know the exact you can be a lot more efficient thousands in dozens of people and we're hiring towards content. Yeah right yeah and well we have an I mean one of the things. That's interesting is you know we have our CTO Eve of our Who joined obviously joined the engineering team and now we have a great centralized engineering team but it's also were we run the business enough like a startup that like? I'm you know I'm interfacing with Tyler. Love who's the CTO were having conversations about like what should we build hatch rebuild it. How do we make better stuff editorial? How do we make better stuff or advertisers? So it's still let's start up mentality that feeling of like you can affect change here much more so than any company. I think that I've seen it kind of scale that the entire organizations that but yeah I mean there's there's huge efficiencies there and you can focus on on doing things that are going to move the needle and I would say just on the product side one of the things that I think. Everybody's nobody's excited about with the outline was the product built and you know when companies come together. You always here. There's always this thing where it's like. Oh we love the technology they bill like like like when you know CNN acquired beamed Stats social APP. We'd love the technology. We love the ideas you know. And it's like they couldn't make it work work. We're making it actually work like I didn't. I didn't think we'd have built what we built as rapidly as we build it. You know I mean. We've launched new brand. We built this kind of new hybrid hybrid platform we relaunch inverse. I mean it. It's all moving pretty rapidly but it's happening. Which is very exciting to me? So on differentiated media brands. Give me give me a couple of your favorites right now. That you think are doing a good job within the family brands across the across the space. Yeah I really putting me on the spot There were some weird things like. It's nice that you know that. So they kind of design nine An art site I think is fun. I think it's consistently interesting. I find stuff on there all the time that I love You know the intercept I think continues used to do really important coverage I think the information has been doing just in terms of pure scoops. Yup I think they've been doing really really well And they've they're breaking stories that matter and getting pushback from the right people which you always like to see And you know axios is a brand that I I. I like a lot. I don't know that I love their content all the time like it's not. It's not really fruity like well. I like I think that they were trying something. I like the ambition Shen of saying like a- and actually like I will openly admit like their ideas that we're kind of borrowing from axios about how we're doing things with input where we're like. I like how they're kind of trying trying to keep these stories to kind of the core stuff and not asking me to go. They're not doing a thousand word story about an eight hundred wording time. They had a good point about that. Yeah and and it remains a good point and then off after like four years it being told he does it. I think they should be extreme. I think it's a little bit too extreme and a little bit too single. Oh minded in its approach but one of the things I was like this is so interesting. But what if you kind of blew this up a little bit what if it was also became visual. What if it didn't have to be one-size-fits-all and so we started thinking about the the I like like that's what we should be doing in this industry not just from competitors I consider an act axios a competitor exactly but not just from people that we liked but also from the tech companies like? What are the good ideas? And how can we Borrow those Alter them you know. Mutate them exploit them in a way that is going to be good for the audience and good for what we WANNA do Few there are definitely more. If I sat here for long enough I could come up with a list of ten other sites next time Josh. Yeah maybe knowing you Brian on I'll stop I and my list all right. Thanks so much for combat. Thank you thank you for listening. If you like this episode of happy do please do leave essay review. We always like to get those. If it's a nice review we'll even read it here and also Race because that helps people find this podcast. Apparently we you look back next week with new absorb before I go. I WanNa tell you about this year's digital content marketing awards. It's which honor the best in. Yes condom marketing over the years. These awards have honoured leading work from brands agencies publishers and technology providers like Verizon Isan refinery twenty nine Volvo and many more this year we've introduced for new categories including best influenced or generated content most original use of social media and the best use of data. You can check out the full list at digital dot com slash awards. We are now accepting entries so be sure to submit before the final deadline which is February twenty first.

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