The Information turns five today, and I’d like to take this moment to thank you those who have been part of our community and to express some thoughts about the years ahead.
I am very proud of the impact we have had in just five short years.
- We created a new way of covering startups, focusing on business results and the truth behind their financings, as opposed to the charisma of their CEOs. We pointed out major flaws at companies including Jawbone, Snap, Magic Leap and many others. And we alerted readers to important trends, like the rise of scooters, importance of blockchain and the problems with AR/VR, months or years before rivals.
- In the realm of public companies, we reported hundreds of market-moving stories first, including the spinoff of PayPal, Amazon’s acquisition of Twitch and declining engagement on Facebook.
- We took aim at Silicon Valley culture, exposing sexual harassment allegations at firms like Binary Capital and DFJ along with gender disparity across the venture capital industry, forcing both topics into the mainstream conversation.
- We took a new approach to covering the people driving the news, through our Free Agents series and our deeply researched org charts that offer benefits of premium services from LinkedIn and others at a fraction of the cost.
Our reporting has been recognizing by established business journalism organizations, who have handed us prizes. Our product innovations—from conference calls to Slack teams—have been copied by everyone from The New York Times to the Wall Street Journal.
Fast Company named us one of the world’s most innovative companies. But most importantly, our work has resonated with you, our readers, whose number continues to grow at rates we could never have imagined.
A lot has changed since I argued that journalism needed a reboot five years ago. When we launched, Recode, PandoDaily and numerous other websites were vying for scoops and “hot takes.” The incumbent news organizations were sleeping. And while much of the digital competition has gone away or shifted, the incumbents aren’t sleeping now.
But we are seeing a dangerous new threat: agenda journalism. Journalists are playing to public sentiment by becoming pundits, using Twitter to celebrate—not elucidate—companies’ failures. They have forgotten that their job is to inform rather than entertain. Unchecked, this will erode trust in the media and these news organizations’ business. No one pays a news organization year after year to tell him or her things they already believe.
At The Information, we will continue writing the stories—popular or unpopular—based on the facts.
Beyond that, the journalist in me wants to spill all we have planned for the next five years. But Jessica the CEO is telling me to zip it and save it for those who want to join our staff. Needless to say, we have several big bets up our sleeves for 2019 and beyond. I know that working at The Information will be the last job I ever have, and in many ways, I feel like we are just getting started.
Speaking of which, we’re continuing to staff up across all areas. If you are a reporter, editor, engineer or business person who wants to work with us, send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us why.
Thank you for reading this note and I hope you take advantage of today’s special offer to join our community. I look forward to serving you for decades to come.