Hello. You may notice we look a bit different today.
Let’s not call this a “big” redesign. It’s one first step in a lot of changes we want to make around here. But for us, it feels big.
When we launched PandoDaily some ten months ago, we put very little cash, or thought, or effort into the look and feel of the product. That was by design. I felt we needed to focus every ounce of energy on building our editorial voice, as reflected through our reporting, our analysis, our videos, and our events. Making everything look slick could come later.
I wouldn’t say our editorial vision is fully in place — not by a long shot. But the results of our reader survey last month, showed that we’ve made a lot of progress. You told us you read PandoDaily for our long-form journalism, our willingness to call out powerful names in the startup world, and our attention to story telling. We’ve certainly worked hard on all of those things as a team, and I am thrilled those values come across so clearly.
So that means it’s time to start working on two more neglected areas of our company: our business and our product. Our director of operations Keelin Linehan is leading both, and up until she started, my good friend Mike Tatum stepped in on an interim basis. His goal was turning a lot of my angst into a better product.
This new homepage is just a first iteration of where we’re going, but there are a few things I’d like to point out:
- Device awareness: The site scales automatically based on what type of thing you’re viewing it on. This should be “duh” table stakes in a Web world, and yet you see news sites left and right building only for the Web or only for mobile or only for a tablet. We want our site to look good on all three. We’ll focus more on this in the future, but there are a lot of little touches you can see and not see in this version that address our previous weaknesses in that area.
- A new and improved ticker: Unlike a lot of tech blogs, our readers don’t tend to be fanboys checking a blog all day for the latest Apple announcement. They tend to be people working hard to build or invest in companies. That’s why we’ve always had two goals we hold above anything else: respecting the readers’ time and respecting the readers’ intelligence. We do the latter with our original, frequently long-form journalism. We do the former with the PandoTicker. What is it? It used to be that thing on the left hand side of the site. Our editorial staff painstakingly spends up to 12 hours a day scouring thousands of sites on the Web for every bit of news you would need to know as an entrepreneur, and we write a pithy one paragraph update with analysis, so that a day’s news is scannable, reliable, comprehensive, and accurate. We think there’s nothing quite like it in the tech world. If we’ve failed in any way from our original mission, it’s been in really communicating what the PandoTicker is there for, and I think it’s mostly been a product failure. We’ve made the ticker more app-like and dynamic in this version. It constantly updates and “new” flags call out when something is breaking. Toggle between “latest” and “analysis” to see everything on the Web or just our own original posts. We have more that’s coming on the Ticker in the next few weeks. A lot of readers tell me they love our in-depth articles, but feel we lack breadth. If anyone can find a meaningful bit of news on a tech blog that’s not in the Ticker, email me and I’ll send you a free t-shirt. Our team works very hard at this and takes keeping you informed of everything you need to know very, very seriously.
- Reader awareness: In addition to the new Ticker’s awareness of what’s new to you, the site itself has a lot of these touches. Too many blogs have quality articles, interviews, and videos that just fall off the page. If you miss one day, you can miss a lot. We want people who come to the site every hour to have a different mix of content than people who come once a week or once a month. For instance, if you missed our PandoMonthly with Elon Musk, it may show up in your version’s carousel, but not a more regular reader’s. If you missed some of our bigger stories of the week, the weekly recap at the bottom of the page will highlight what you’ve read and what you haven’t. We’ll work more on this as this rolling redesign goes along. But we want everyone to have the best version of PandoDaily for them. We’re also adding a new email newsletter called the PandoDigest. If you prefer to get your news that way, please subscribe. You’ll find links at the top and bottom of the page.
We’ve debated a lot of these changes and torn apart mock-ups for months, so I could go on and on about why we did what we did. But I’d rather you spend less time reading about us, and more time reading about the startups we actually get paid to cover.
I’ll just close by saying, the last few months have given me a huge appreciation for what every entrepreneur goes through working on a new version of a site. The endless tweaks, the details after details to agonize over, deciding between the feedback you should take and the feedback you shouldn’t. A lot of work has gone up to this point, and I really appreciate everything Mike Tatum did for us — essentially for free — and the work our development shops XOXCO and Range put into this. From now on it’s Keelin’s baby, and I know we’ll continue to make the site better and better.
Most of all, thanks to the 700 people or so who filled out our readers survey. The results were staggering in how thoughtful they were and greatly informed this product. We thought the redesign was locked but actually made some pretty substantial changes based on your feedback. So thanks, as always, to our alpha-readers who comment, Tweet, attend events, and generally help keep us in business.
I know our audience isn’t shy, so I look forward to your comments today and in the coming months as we continue to roll out changes on the site.