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.