Peter Rojas poses with “IdTapThat” sticker after speaking at Em Comm’s event on October 17, 2012.
One of the best parts of working at TipTap is getting to take advantage of opportunities to meet amazing figures within the entrepreneurial community. When I heard Peter Rojas, founder of Gizmodo, Engadget and Joystiq would be speaking at my alma mater, Emerson College, I knew it was something I couldn’t miss. Rojas walked us through his career; how he transitioned from a world where the term blogging was used interchangeably with diary or journal, to a world where people value blogs as a credible source for tech news. All start-ups look to be disruptive, and Peter Rojas shared how he did that.
1. Don’t change industries, create solutions to the problems of the industry
Rojas graduated with a Masters in English and wrote for a venture capital magazine, RedHerring, until lay-offs became inevitable. He explained this lay-off and transition taught him how blogging enables cheap and real-time publishing. Rojas co-founded Gizmodo and insisted on a structure that would become the future of blogging: it consisted of multiple editors, 24-hour posting, and in the early days, Rojas posting 25-35 blog posts a day (without a byline) in order to gain credibility without the public thinking it was all being done by one guy. That’s some serious dedication.
2. Always be one step ahead
Sometimes breaking into the start-up world is tough because there isn’t one right way to do things. Rojas explained the only right way of doing things is to do them a little bit better than your competitors.
“Everyday I would count how many stories [CNET] posted and I’d force myself to write one more,” he said.
Rojas wrote about things he loved, regardless of how specific or niche they may have seemed. He suggested picking a group and writing or producing for that group regardless of how many people can not relate to the content.
3. A lot of it is luck, more of it is hard work
Today, it’s extremely easy to create and share. Start-ups make up an entire industry of passionate individuals working toward the goal of a successful product or idea. While there are a lot of unique ideas, there are usually five other companies working on the same idea at the same time you are. It’s important to recognize a lot of hard work is needed, yet there are also elements beyond your control.
4.Craft a thoughtful experience people can trust
The user’s experience is everything. Users are not there to just react to something; they are there to contribute and be active. Without this opportunity, in today’s age, a start-up will struggle to acquire new users. Rojas emphasized how experience design needs to be active and not just reactive.
“I’d rather have better, fewer discussions [on engadget],” he said. “We’re all passionate about technology, and that’s what unites us at the end of the day.”
5. If it’s not working, quit and try something else
Rojas emphasized the many phases his sites have moved through.
“Look at content as a subset of data, and package it up in different ways.”
Whether through a curated website or through API partners, it’s important to be flexible and responsive to what the consumers or businesses are taking hold of.
Start-up culture can be one of the most exciting experiences to be a part of, whether you’re learning the ropes of a new field or a seasoned professional bringing your expertise to a new idea. Peter Rojas shares insight from his time taking start-ups to changing the way the tech community viewed bloggers, making him the highest paid blogger to date.
Decision making is largely an unconscious process that is simply not open to conscious introspection. Our research, and patent pending technology, exposes the real answers needed for growth.