Why I Left Mashable

A year and four months ago, I was delighted to accept an offer of work from my good friends at Mashable. Today, I announce with some sadness that I have put in my last day at that publication.

In the time I worked there, Mashable experienced growth that was beyond anything I’d ever seen at any other company. Growth in staff, growth in influence, growth in pageviews — the organization is shaping up to be a contender in media, not just in niche tech blogging.

During the course of this growth, I never ceased to acknowledge what a unique opportunity the job was. We had access to tech luminaries as well as genuine celebrities in the world of mainstream entertainment, and it felt good to be part of an organization with that kind of recognition. (Case in point: Sir Mix-A-Lot follows me on Twitter now, and it’s not just because he likes my big butt. You can’t tell me you’re not a wee bit jealous.)

In addition to being part of the world’s largest independent blog (and all the access, invitations, and freebies that entailed), I was also allowed and encouraged to do some great work during my tenure there. I am very, very proud of some of the pieces I wrote at Mashable (I’ll include a few of them below), and I also had some excellent mentorship, particularly over the past few months from Chris Taylor, the San Francisco bureau chief.

However, I was beginning to kick against the pricks, so to speak, about some of the directions Mashable was taking. The posts that have made Mashable the powerhouse it is have been by turns in-depth/insightful and popular/timely. Perhaps because I’m a lifelong cultural contrarian (and certainly because I loved the company enough to want to make substantive positive contributions to its overall tone and character) I was becoming more and more cynical about latter category, regardless of the fact that a large portion of Mashable’s audience very much wanted to read those posts — the celebrity news, the infographics, the current events coverage, et cetera.

But it’s not my place to decide what Mashable is or what it should be. It’s not my place to criticize or cultivate the publication’s audience. And in my role there, it was not up to me to decide what was newsworthy and what was not. Mashable in its current state is a fine and fascinating publication, and it’s staffed by some of the best (and fastest) reporters I’ve worked with. The managing editors and executives have a powerful vision for what the organization is going to become, and if I wasn’t going to wholeheartedly support that vision, I needed to get myself out of the way and let Mashable be what it would.

So, precluding any (more) stunning displays of arrogance or mutiny and because I truly do love the company and the people that constitute it, I got myself out of the way.

I will miss my friends there, our inside jokes, and the experience of working as a finely tuned machine in high gear during times of breaking news. And as a Mash alum, I will always wish all my colleagues there the huge success they have without question worked so hard to earn. As we all follow the rise of Mashable’s star, I do so with particular respect and admiration, having been on the inside and seen firsthand what those extraordinarily bright and self-aware bloggers can accomplish.

If you’re the praying type, I urge you to join me in praying for the continued growth and success of Mashable, especially its San Francisco office, and for the health and happiness of Pete Cashmore, one of the youngest and brightest CEOs I’ve ever had the pleasure of serving.

If you’re the blogging type, I urge you to apply for my job. The SF bureau could use a few good journos, and I know the aforementioned Mr. Taylor to be a most excellent boss — best I’ve ever had, in fact.

Friends, thanks so much for your continued readership and support of my work. To find out where you can read my rantings next, stay tuned for more news tomorrow morning.

Some of My Best Mashable Posts

A video op-ed on the Facebook/privacy hoopla of 2010

A rather stern interview with Foursquare exec Holger Luedorf at the Facebook Places launch

A series of interviews with Richard Stallman, the last true hacker

A rather in-depth piece on the hype surrounding Node.js

A lot of writing about Twitter’s API and third-party ecosystem

A patient explanation of Google’s decision to not open-source Honeycomb

The strategy/revenue wheels in motion behind Google’s +1

Main image was shot by Zat Photo.

70 thoughts on “Why I Left Mashable

  1. This must have been a very hard decision for you, so I’m sure you’ve thought it over, analysed, and re-analysed it. You’re an amazing and inspiring writer, and I’ve always enjoyed your posts. As a fan, I look forward to reading more of your work – wherever you choose to post it.

    Best of luck, Jolie!

  2. Will you continue doing tech journalism or do you eventually plan to move more into development work? There’s probably more money in the latter, but then again it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Best of luck in your next gig!

  3. I’ll miss your writing there, but from what you said, it sounds like congratulations are in order in due-time. I can’t wait to hear your news tomorrow! You have my endorsement any day Jolie!

  4. You don’t know me from Adam and we haven’t ever met (though I think we were at Gnomedex once when I was there I an meant to say hi, but didn’t), however I’ve always enjoyed your work and loved getting your take on things.

    All the best.

  5. Congrats on taking the road less traveled and doing what you feel is right for you as a person. That smacks of incredible integrity. Probably one of the reasons I enjoyed reading your updates so often on Mashable. Best wishes on your future ventures!

  6. You have so much class and sense of purpose. We should all take pause at and inspiration from both. Here’s to your next endeavor and to all that follow. And great best-of list. You rock-et!

  7. What an eloquent post and I admire your conviction. It was also a pleasant surprise to meet you while I was at Drupalcon and then giving you details about a whitehouse.gov contribution to the Drupal community which you ended up covering on Mashable. I really enjoy your writing and look forward to following you to wherever you land next.

  8. Definitely one of the standout tech reporters at the moment. Mashable will miss you, and I’ll miss your posts, but I’m sure you’re onto great things!

  9. Wow Jolie, hopefully you will not disappear from the blogosphere. I specifically read Mashable for your content, for your insight and for your pride and professionalism.

    I’ve run into you a couple times at media events and not only was in awe of your physical presence ๐Ÿ™‚ but also of your character.

    Best of luck in your future endeavors- I’ll be following !

  10. Joles, in working with you I’ve learned several important lessons about myself, both good (to believe in my work) and bad (that I can be wrong about people). Plus, you encouraged me at times when I needed it most, and that encouragement got me through some pretty bleak moments.

    I feel privileged to have worked alongside you and even more so that I can now consider you a dear friend.

    You’re a beautiful human being, an amazing writer and journalist, and one of the hardest working reporters Mashable has ever had. You will be missed greatly.


  11. Hi Jolie,

    Thanks a lot for sharing your thoughts on this. It is very interesting to see how you felt the content shifting and no longer being a great fit for someone like you to be a part of.

    Above all, realising this and making a choice is very admirable. I will continue to follow you along, I am very impressed as how you approach things with such confidence. Hope I might even be able to meet you once here in SF.

    Wishing you all the best! ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. [de-lurking] Aw dang. You were one of my favorite writers there. Best of luck in the big, bright future, then.[/de-lurk]

  13. I admire your honesty and genuine dedication to yourself and following your heart. As a young professional myself, I am inspired and for that, thank you.

    I will miss you at Mashable– you were one of my favorite writers and I always enjoyed your stories. However I cannot wait to hear your news on where you’re heading next. I’ll follow you there! ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. A very eloquent way to bow out. Mashable really seems to have grown exponentially and I imagine this has wide reaching implications on the culture and nature of the job. I enjoy following your work, and I hope there will always be exciting tech projects you will enlighten us about! Good luck for the next chapter.

  15. Some weeks ago I had a strange feeling that something was missing during my daily readings. Now I found the reason =)

    I am looking forward to know what comes next.

    All the best Jolie

  16. I feel there’s more to the story than you just didn’t like the direction mashable is going. If that is the only reason then major props

    • Yep, that’s the whole story. I realized I needed to go during a heartfelt talk with my boss when I blurted out, “What I want Mashable to be and what Mashable wants to be are two different things.”

  17. Have fun with your next endeavour! Just a note: Sir Mix-A-Lot only follows me because of my posterior – so yes, I’m jealous!

  18. Another comment mentioned “class” and took the words right out of my mouth. You and Mashable both have rights and the choice you have made is a harmonic one for both groups. Bravo and god luck.

  19. There is an increasingly large gap (opportunity) opening up in the tech blogosphere.

    Maybe you should start up your own? You have a unique voice without arrogance attached.

    Readers are growing weary of hyperbole and myopia. Growing really tired of the Fox-News-ification of tech reporting (everyone’s at war with everyone else and presenting Quarterly reports or valuations like President polls during an election year).

    It’s great to see someone staying true to themselves.

    Bon chance.

  20. Jolie, I want to wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors! Will keep you and Mashable in prayer in the transition.

    I’ve been an avid follower of your work all the way back to your RWW days. You are an excellent journalist, and in my opinion, was Mashable’s best. I can’t wait to see what’s next for you.

  21. I’ve very much like to learn more about the coverage Mashable was featuring that you objected to, Jolie. You’re not the only one with contrarian viewpoints. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I very much look forward to learning what publication you will be writing for next. And are you going to take time off to pursue a book as well?

    You are a great writer.

  22. Congrats on making a tough decision. I will be sure to follow your path as you continue to rise. Smell the roses for a bit and then get back to it. We will miss you in the meanwhile.

  23. Hi Jolie! I’m sad you’re leaving Mashable. I’ve been reading your articles both on Mashable and here, and I’ve always enjoyed them. At least, you’ll keep on working and I’ll certainly read your articles wherever they are published. I wish you lots of success! ๐Ÿ™‚


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