Why I’ve Joined NewCo
Several times in my career I’ve wanted to work with a team that seemed to know where things were going just a little bit ahead of everyone else. That’s why I was desperate to write for WIRED early on, why I was eager to write columns and edit newsletters for The Industry Standard, and why I wanted to test at Federated Media whether content marketing might be something I could be part of without taking a scalding shower afterward.
I’ve been lucky enough to do that with other employees and clients too, but the three places I mentioned up top had one thing in common: my contact there or my contact’s boss was John Battelle. So when I talked over the summer, after a much-too-long break, to my editor at The Standard, Jonathan Weber, to congratulate him on his new gig at Reuters, he told me about the project he was working on before he took the position at Reuters. It sounded like a smart, next-generation mix of an events business and a media business. And then he mentioned he was working on it with Battelle. Of course it was the next thing.
I’ve been helping NewCo in an advisory capacity since the summer, but I knew pretty quickly that I’d want to jump into the deep end with the people there. Their citywide festivals are a canny flip of the usual high-end conference model; the media business we’re building alongside the festivals covers the people, companies, and stories driving what may be the biggest shift in business and business culture since the industrial revolution. We’re getting started with a daily newsletter and a website and — I’m going to say this in public so we have no choice but to deliver — we’ll launch another editorial product before the month is out.
So why is the company called NewCo and what are these organizations called NewCos that we’re celebrating? If we’re right that we’re at an inflection point — that we are transitioning to an economy that is far more networked, far more flexible — someone needs to identify, celebrate, and hold accountable the entities claiming to be part of the change. That’s what the media arm of NewCo is beginning to do.
I don’t necessarily believe that corporations are people, but I do recognize that organizations are made of people; they’re the sum of their employees, partners, and customers. Sometimes intentionally, sometimes by happenstance, a new kind of organization — one that measures its success on more than profit — has emerged. These new organizations, NewCos, are building a new, purpose-driven way of work. Among other things, they’re on a mission, they’re driven by a big idea, they’re filled with people who love their work, they make decisions based on actual evidence, they veer hard toward the open, and they’re embedded deeply in their various communities. They’re trying to change the world by what they produce and how they act. In a nutshell, they’re exactly the kinds of companies generating exactly the kinds of stories this editor wants to spend his time thinking about.
Since the summer, I’ve been knocked out by the quality of the people working at or with NewCo, and it’s also a small enough startup — only 17 people attended a thrilling and actually productive offsite last week — that I don’t feel like I’ve gotten on the train a few stops too late.
So I’m now executive editor at NewCo, hoping to help find and share the most interesting stories about the profound changes in work and business going on around us. You can now reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org and my postings at Twitter and elsewhere are about to become a lot more frequent. Onward!