Ten years ago today, I started a blog called Read/Write Web. It’s the tech blog you now know as ReadWrite.
Over the following decade, I put my heart and soul into the site. With the help of the good people listed below, I grew it into an independent media company that employed over 20 people. I sold ReadWrite at the end of 2011 to a San Francisco company called SAY Media, to enable the blog to have a U.S. base and continue growing. I myself left ReadWrite in October last year, to begin work on my first book.
This week I wrote a guest post for ReadWrite, to help celebrate its 10th anniversary. At the request of the current Editor-in-Chief, that post is focused on the technology trends I’d witnessed and participated in over the past decade. But to quote a popular past definition of the term “Web 2.0,” the Web is made of people! So in this post, I’d like to acknowledge the many people who helped make ReadWrite what it is today.
The Writers & Editors
For the first few years of ReadWrite, known in the beginning as Read/Write Web, I was pretty much on my own. The first writers to join the site, in mid-2006, were budding entrepreneurs who contributed for free, because they saw my blog as a good platform on which to analyze technology trends. Alex Iskold, Emre Sokullu, Bernard Lunn, Sean Ammirati and a number of other guest bloggers went on to write many thoughtful articles for the site – thus helping to consolidate the ReadWrite brand of smart analysis. I have a special fondness for Alex’s posts, all of which were (and still are!) deeply insightful about Web technology.
I hired my first professional writer, Josh Catone, in March 2007. My second hire was Marshall Kirkpatrick, who came from TechCrunch and turned out to be the best hiring decision I ever made. From an editorial point of view, Marshall was the yin to my yang. He drove and developed the news strategy at ReadWrite, while I continued to build up the analysis platform. In July 2008, Marshall became our VP of Content Development. He also got some great scoops as a writer, including being the first person across all media to write about Google+.
Over the years, Marshall and I hired many other extremely talented writers: Sarah Perez, Frederic Lardinois, Jolie O’Dell, Mike Melanson, Audrey Watters, Steve O’Hear, Dan Rowinski, Jon Mitchell – to name just some of them (apologies, it would take too long to list them all and I would probably accidentally miss someone!). ReadWrite has always attracted smart, thoughtful writers and I’m very proud of everyone who has contributed to the site over the years – from the ReadWriteAlumni to the current writing team.
There are two other past members of our editorial leadership team that I want to mention. Abraham Hyatt was Managing Editor over 2011-12. As our writer roster continued to expand, Abraham was the rock who ran editorial operations and helped develop our writers. David Strom ran our business channels during the same period, bringing his vast enterprise knowledge and contacts to the team.
The Business & Tech Teams
For the first half of ReadWrite’s existence, I did most of the business and technical tasks – website design and maintenance, selling the ads, promotional activities, and more. Over time, I was fortunate to hire many brilliant people to take over the non-editorial tasks.
Jared Smith joined us in October 2009 as our webmaster. From then on, Jared was the much-needed operations genius who kept everything running smoothly. I have a special fondness for that role, since I began my own Internet career as a Webmaster. Jared was ably assisted through the years by other tech whizzes, such as Mark Carey and Tyler Gillies.
On the business side, I began selling ads in early 2005. In April 2006, I partnered with FM Publishing to help sell our adverts. My mother joined as Accounts Administrator in 2008, which mercifully took the bookkeeping off my shoulders (thanks Mum!). Then in November 2008 I was able to hand over all of the other business duties to Bernard Lunn, who became ReadWrite’s first COO. When Bernard left in December 2009, Sean Ammirati became the new COO.
Sean was instrumental in ReadWrite’s development over the years, even before he joined officially as COO. He was a guest blogger in the early days and then started a podcast for us in August 2007, called ReadWriteTalk: The People Behind The Web. He went on to conduct some of the earliest interviews with Web pioneers of that time, including the founders of Twitter and Tumblr. When Sean became COO, his incredible business mind was a boon to ReadWrite.
As well as the operations and business roles, ReadWrite employed many other talented people over the years. They included Robyn Tippens (community management), Elyssa Pallai (marketing) and Alex Williams (channels development, in addition to writing).
Back to the Future
Which brings us to the present day. After I sold the site to SAY Media in December 2011, ReadWrite finally established a home base – and a physical office! – in San Francisco. In October of last year, SAY Media made the name change and launched a re-design. I left the site at that point, in order to start work on a book about health technology. I’m about 4 chapters into that project.
Earlier this month, Owen Thomas became Editor-in-Chief of ReadWrite. He and Managing Editor Fredric Paul have an amazing crew of talented writers – Dan Rowinski, Taylor Hatmaker, John Paul Titlow, and others (again, apologies for not mentioning everyone!). I know the site is in great hands with Owen, because his vision not only matches the original vision of ReadWrite – forward-thinking, passionate and original analysis of Web technology – but he is taking it into the future with his own ideas.
The Web of 2013 is no longer just about what’s happening on your computer’s browser, as it was in 2003. The Internet is everywhere today – in our pockets, on our bodies, in the physical world. Indeed, the Internet on our bodies is the topic of the book I’m writing.
I’m thrilled that the blog I founded will chronicle this new era of the Read/Write Web – a world where everything is read/write. I’m certain the next decade will bring many more exciting innovations and Web developments.