When Expedia founder Rich Barton was secretly building Zillow, it was Seattle tech news site Geekwire that first uncovered and broke the story. Same with the first tests of Amazon foray into the grocery business and numerous other big tech stories. That dogged reporting is why the Seattle-based enterprise has become the preeminent voice of technology in the Northwest – attracting readers from around the world.
“We founded the company – the startup – on the premise that Seattle and the Pacific NW deserved an international tech site,” says co-founder Todd Bishop.
Bishop and staff reporter Taylor Soper share their experiences and insights with host Jim Brisimitzis on the latest edition of Series A – The Podcast.
Their stories offer valuable teachings for any entrepreneur as a startup that emerged successfully from the massive disruption in the media world to become the most influential source of information and community for Northwest tech companies from Microsoft and Amazon to the smallest of startups.
“From the beginning we knew that digital advertising was not going to be enough to fuel the business. I think that was one of the biggest mistakes media companies were making at that time [Geekwire founding} , assuming they could just write enough stories and get enough clicks that they could use advertising networks to pull in enough revenue to sustain the business,” Bishop says.
The company has supplemented its revenue stream with other offerings including up to a dozen events a year from the highly attended Geekwire Summit to small, private dinners bringing top tech execs together.
Bishop and Soper also offer their valuable takes on hot topics such as Seattle’s controversial head tax targeting tech companies like Amazon to tackle growing income inequality and homelessness blamed on massive growth.
“My big take is that technology companies needed to have been engaged on the larger issue this is trying to address much sooner in the process,” Bishop says.
“If you’re having a conversation about your next 20 or 30 or 50 developers and there’s all of a sudden this new tax, you’re maybe rethinking that decision. This is what the CEO’s are saying,” Soper adds.
need for more startup funding if ecosystem is to grow
Bishop and Soper offer expert perspective on the differences between Seattle and Silicon Valley, the challenges facing founders now and in the future. And they provide revealing insights into what it takes to get that all important media coverage companies crave – all too often common sense but overlooked.
“First of all, make sure your product works, make sure your website works, make sure the buttons on your app work,” Soper says.