David Chen, a first-year Film and Physics student, attended last week’s Welcome Week site visit to Mashable. Below is his account of the visit and the “mashed” tech and journalism outlet that is “the next evolution of tech media”:
Everybody knows The New York Times. It is a Goliath of an organization – with almost 8,000 employees producing approx. 900,000 issues a day that are consumed by many Americans: it is a news force that only a few can rival.
But many also know Mashable. In fact, they are ‘liked’ by 3.4 million Facebook and Google Plus users, followed by almost 3.5 million Twitter users, and attract countless views on their homepage everyday from all over the world. Using the connectivity and networking of the Internet, Mashable has grown into an influential ‘frontpage’ of the news world. In just eight years, it has attracted virtually 8 times the readership of the NYT. But compared to the Times, Mashable is a diminutive David; its total employment numbers just 115.
As a student interested in journalism and multimedia, I jumped at the opportunity to tour its headquarters organized by the staff at The Wasserman Center.
How does such a small company amass such an incredible readership? What makes Mashable different and why does it work?
Stepping into the Mashable headquarters on Park Avenue, I immediately sensed something was very wrong. The cutest dog I’ve ever seen was rolling on the carpeted floor playing with its kibbles, begging for belly rubs. Blue jeans, attractive hairstyles, and Boho fashion dotted the room. No cubicles. Macs and PCs living in coexistence. This office has a personality.
Kamilla greeted our group at the door. Her immediate hospitality, candid answers, and frequent reference and praise to her colleagues created an aura that Mashable wasn’t a company composed of individual entities, but an eccentric family dedicated to constantly evolve the company into something greater. Its collective and collaborative infrastructure allows an open forum for fresh ideas to be discussed, suggested by both the most senior employee to the greenest intern. Mashable is company where the person sitting next to you is not just a co-worker, but a friend who admires your work and values your contributions.
This unique work model breaks from the traditional bureaucracy of large news companies where hierarchy and obedience is imperative. Its open nature combined with its extensive online presence allows for an immediate, fast, and reactive handle over various news sources – it’s maneuverable. While Mashable continues to grow at an exponential pace, far larger corporate media companies are scrambling to replace the dying print form with a fresh online presence, copying many techniques that close knit startups, such as Mashable, have pioneered. Already it seems that Mashable is the next evolution of news media.
For more information, give Mashable a Twitter follow: @Mashable