PandoDaily's Sarah Lacy on Digital Publishing Startups: Like Chewing On Glass
In keynote, talks benefits and misconceptions of entrepreneurial journalism.
New Yorkâ€”PandoDaily founder and CEO Sarah Lacy took to the stage for an afternoon keynote at FOLIO:â€™s MediaMashup event Thursday to explain why entrepreneurial journalism isnâ€™t new, why it would be terrible if all the best journalists started their own media companies and why she could still taste blood in her mouth two years after starting her company.
â€śIf youâ€™re going to start a company, the number-one thing to knowâ€”as hard as journalism itself is, as hard as breaking a big story is, as hard as dealing with editors isâ€”actually building a company around journalism is about a million times harder,â€ť Lacy told the audience.
PandoDaily, founded in January of 2012, offers readers news and analysis of the technology market, as well as commentary on Silicon Valley happenings and the latest startup companies. Her reference to tasting blood comes from a quote by Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk who described starting a business as â€śstaring into the edge of the abyss while chewing glass.â€ť
â€śYou have to be a masochist,â€ť says Lacy of starting a media business in todayâ€™s market.
Despite the early and fast-growing success of PandoDaily, Lacy contends itâ€™s telling how dominant old-media brands still are 15 years after â€śold mediaâ€ť was first proclaimed dead. Lacy says it has to do a lot with brand trust and intentionâ€”something she claims the new media companies have in spades.
â€śWhether itâ€™s us, Vox or BuzzFeedâ€”they have the right intentions, smarter business models and more capital behind them,â€ť says Lacy. â€śWith the last generation of media companies, it was a lot of people who wanted to be entrepreneurs rather than journalists.â€ť
Nevertheless, Lacy claims while founder/CEOs like her are the best bets at running new media companies well, it doesnâ€™t behoove all great journalists to break off from established media brands.
â€śNot everyone has to start their own companyâ€”you can Voltron up,â€ť says Lacy. â€śIf every great journalist peels off and starts their own company, theyâ€™re ultimately not writing very much. Five or six really amazing journalists can band together and be worth so much more.â€ť