Startup lessons from now defunct NewsTilt

Lesson: Transparency is tough

It was important to the journalists that we were a very open and transparent company. From the start, we tried to put as much information out there as we possibly could, and the most efficient way was to put every journalist we accepted onto a mailing list. However, this meant that our blunders and critical feedback were visible for all those journalists to see. Lots of them hadn’t started writing, we didn’t know them, and they had simply signed up, so we were always aware that our emails were semi-public. As a result, when we decided to close up shop, our closing down email was “leaked” to Poynter, leading to all sorts of speculation.

It takes a lot of time to be open like this, and a lot of effort to communicate effectively. The lesson here isn’t so much that we did it wrong, but that it’s difficult to do well.

Awesome postmortem. Reminds me that I still need to do a debrief on CoPress.

Author: Daniel Bachhuber

Proud father x2. Principal, Hand Built. Maintainer, WP-CLI.

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