Drinking the NewCo Kool-Aid


Pandora presents in Oakland during NewCo Bay Bridge 2015.

This past week I was in London for NewCo’s third London Festival. During the flight over, I wrote down some thoughts about my experience at NewCo so far.

The NewCo movement is gaining momentum. More than 25,000 people have come out to experience our inside-out conferences, where you hear from founders and creators in their own spaces.

I’ve only been with NewCo since October, but I had the chance to attend our festivals in Silicon Valley, San Francisco, and Los Angeles last fall. Each time I came away impressed by the inspiring stories of founders and makers, and it was such a treat to get a glimpse into the spaces where they spend so much of their time– at work.

During our LA festival, I visited Tesloop, a company founded by a 15-year-old high school kid out of his parent’s living room. He’s running a high-end transportation service to underserved markets utilizing a fleet of Teslas. Cool. And smart. And One Fine Stay, which takes advantage of the inventory that becomes available when people go out of town to stage and rent out high-end homes — is a clever way to create a market for an authentic experience.

In every talk that I heard, I was inspired by the vision of the entrepreneurs who conceived of the concept, and then made it happen. That’s what has me hooked on what we’re doing at NewCo. We’re sharing this creativity, this passion, and this inspiration with people like you — people who are curious, and psyched to venture out to see what is out there and connect to this energy.

Experience and authenticity are what it is all about. Our lives are dominated by digital devices, and what I loved about attending NewCo festivals was making connections with people in the real world. I shared an Uber with an Iranian-American from session to session, and learned about her family’s migration to the U.S. On another ride I met a research scientist working with the Department of Defense on artificial intelligence. Fascinating. Such rich connections with inspiring people in their own right — and that was just between sessions.

So that’s what we are doing at NewCo. We’re inviting you in, behind the scenes, to see how big ideas go from concept to reality. And why. What inspires someone to dedicate their lives to birthing a company, staking everything they have on it, and then setting out to realize a mission. These purpose-driven companies have so much to teach us about a new way to work, a new way to do business.

Sign at POD Point office, NewCo London.

I joined NewCo last October to help tell the stories that NewCos inspire — and to give our festival attendees a way to connect to our narrative outside of our events. We started doing this with our email newsletter, the NewCo Daily, last fall. It’s a smart round up of the most interesting stories in the NewCo world.

A couple of weeks ago, we launched NewCo Shift, our new publication, which resides right here on Medium. We’re now publishing a weekly column from John Battelle, our founder and CEO, which illuminates the broader themes we’re seeing as our economy shifts into the next generation of capitalism. Soon we’ll offer a much wider range of voices from people thinking about how business can be a force for positive change and transformation in the world.

With our media efforts we intend to tell stories in all sorts of ways, from long-form articles to short takes to video and podcasts. We’re experimenting with a bunch of ways to bring the story to life. My background is in media­–big media. I spent 10 years at The New York Times and Wired helping writers and editors use technology to their advantage– to reach new and younger audiences on emerging platforms, like social media. And at NewCo, I’m having a great time, because we’re starting something from scratch. We don’t have to fund legacy print products. We’re distributing content where it makes sense– where the readers are today. For example, that means making videos best shared on Facebook. And doing smart roundups delivered via email. And sharing longer stories on Medium, a network built for interaction — with easy ways to highlight points and comment. It’s an efficient way to offer an experience, and leverages technology as the platform for building a community around this groundswell we call the NewCo movement.

So I lucked out. I’m inspired daily by the people and companies we write about, and I get to dip into our festivals for the first-hand experience of hearing from companies like The Dots and Courier who I saw in London last week. Check us out sometime soon. We’ve just wrapped Boston; Austin and Cincinnati are coming up, and we deliver weekly to your inbox.

NewCo: Get out to get in.

Hayley Nelson is general manager for media and product development at NewCo.

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