Today’s PandoList marks two milestones for us. The first is it brings us to 100 people profiled since we started the PandoList in March — 100 people you have likely never heard of but who are doing some of the most amazing work in the Valley.
Some of my personal favorite moments have included the awesome Laura Deming, who lasers gonads off of worms; Eric Bieschke, one of Pandora’s first engineers, who talked about the impact the company had on a family’s grief; grandpa entrepreneur Rex Taylor talking about his invention; Schuyler St. Leger the 12-year-old whiz at 3D printing; Fab’s Bradford Shellhammer talking about his fashion icon — the Tin Man — who everyone always knew was gay, the entire viral videos gurus list, and Shane Sweeney of Instagram doing cartwheels in the company’s optimistically large office space they intended to fill with engineers — right before they got bought by Facebook.
If you missed them, I encourage you to go back and check them out. I also encourage you to enjoy our list of Robot geniuses today. Because, sadly, it’s the last PandoList we’ll do.
Part of the reason is that Amanda Schwab who has tirelessly ferreted these people out and begged them to do video interviews week-after-week, has decided to move on from the company. Amanda has been an amazing addition to the team, and we’re incredibly sad to lose her. But her heart has long been in the worlds of athletics and elementary education, and she’s decided to follow her heart and leave journalism. That’s an actual picture of her leaving our office. (I’m not sure why she wore that outfit today or what the fedora is about…)
The silver lining is it gave me a chance to reassess the PandoList, and look at the numbers. I don’t obsess about page views here, particularly on a per story basis, as I think it’s corrosive to quality journalism. But I do look at long term trends. And the truth is the PandoList has just never caught on with readers. While the site has grown tremendously over the time we’ve done it, views on the PandoList have actually declined. No one on staff can really understand why, as it’s long been one our of favorites. I think a lot of it is presentation, and we’re planning a redesign that should solve some of these issues. But, still, it was an unmistakable trend.
It’s one of those hard choices for a CEO who is also the Editor-in-Chief: No matter how much I love it, we can’t continue to invest the resources of almost three full time people for a labor-intensive, multi-media feature that our audience just isn’t into.
We still believe in the mission of honoring unsung heroes in the Valley, and we’re going to retrench and find a better way to do it. Huge thanks to each of the one hundred people we’ve featured over the life of this project. You guys are what makes Silicon Valley and the broader global startup ecosystem work, and we’re glad we got to know you.
Meanwhile, we’re going to miss Amanda tremendously and wish her the best of luck!