It’s a good idea - I give it ten months.
An encouraging assessment from one leading tech industry commentator when I briefed them on the plan for diginomica back in 2013.
(Mind you, at the back of my mind I was wondering at 3am if ten weeks was too optimistic…)
Well, here we are. Ten years later. Not weeks, not months, years! Who’d have thunk it?
Looking back, the first roots of diginomica might be found, as so many good ideas are, in a bar late at night. It was 2012, the Dreamforce conference in San Francisco, and the bar was on the ground floor of the Marriott Marquis hotel.
It was the night of the show party, so everyone else was off watching Metallica or The Foo Fighters or whoever the turn was that year. Meanwhile I was sitting in the bar writing up the day’s events when Dennis Howlett turned up. As is inevitable when two old journos get together, attention turned to the appalling state of the world/the tech sector/journalism. How much better would it all be if we were in charge, eh?
A few weeks later, I got a call from Mr H out of the blue with a radical suggestion - why don’t we stop moaning about it all and do something about it? Yeah, I told you it was radical. Stop moaning? Where would that end?
Where it ended was several months of very hard work, particularly on Den’s part, as the diginomica core team was assembled, the platform built, and potential partners in this venture were reached out to.
What we wanted to do
We had grand plans.
First of all, this was going to be content-led. Now, every publishing house in the world attests that they prize editorial above everything else. Equally, every publishing house I’d ever worked for did the same thing as soon as the first sales targets were missed - they cut back on editorial. Unashamedly, diginomica spends an enormous amount of our budget on editorial - and always will.
Equally, we’ve always paid our freelancers within 24-48 hours, not the 6 months that I once - only once! - had to put up with from another publisher. Throughout the COVID crisis, we continued to work with all of our contributors at a time when others were cutting back.
We also invested in expertise. Every one of the core team - and the wider ecosystem of contributors - was someone who, as another commentator put it, had been ‘round the block’ more times than any of us might want to acknowledge. Our content was to be built around enterprise experience and expertise.
There was to be nothing between the reader and that content. No pop-ups, no banner ads, no forms to fill in. Just come to the site and access the articles. Our operating model would be based on content partnerships with industry leaders. That remains the case today. It’s encouraging that, ten years on, we have partners who were with us on day one, as well as an increasing number of new companies coming on board. In terms of accessibility, we’ve also introduced audio versions of our content, as well as the option to access articles in a dyslexia-friendly format.
Our content was to be long form. Everyone - and I mean, EVERYONE - told us that this was a fatal error. Short form content was what people wanted. If you can’t tell the story in 140 characters or less, then don’t bother! Well, everyone was wrong! Our content remains in-depth, analytical and considered. We also wanted the majority of our articles to be unique to diginomica and following our own agenda. As such, you won’t find most of our content on other sites.
We also wanted to take our content above and beyond ‘traditional’ enterprise tech and into extended topics that should be high up on the corporate agenda, topics like diversity, sustainability and ethics. Phil Wainewright defined our thinking here in this article from 2016, Why does a tech media site have a focus on diversity? The principles laid out remain sound today, while all of these subjects have finally found their place in boardroom priorities.
So, that was the first diginomica decade! Now, we are ten! Onwards into the next decade - and much, much more of the same. Our thanks to our contributors, our partners and to you, our readers. Without you all, it wouldn’t be nearly as much fun!
Happy birthday to us! #diginomicaDecade