Jan 19, 2012

notes on pandodaily

I’ve been enjoying PandoDaily this week; kudos to Sarah Lacy. (Disclosure: I’ve enjoyed her chicken[1].) I am seriously impressed with how much great content they’ve produced in these first few days, and it only goes to prove just how wrong Jeremiah Owyang was three weeks ago when he declared the golden age of tech blogging over.

Here’s what I think is working for Pando:

  • Simple site, simple launch. Yep, it’s a blog. Reverse chron, nice author pics, comments, simple sections with simple nav. There was no need to go all Verge-y with v1: get the voice out there, start producing content, see what works, adjust.

  • Smart, fast commentary. In tech blogging, fast used to be a differentiator; it isn’t anymore. And smart usually takes enough time to render the opinion moot[2]. But Sarah’s delivering smart stuff, fast. If she can keep it up, she’ll start to set the context for the broader conversation..

  • The ticker. Not only is it smart to mix short form and long form, but the old school blogger in me loves the sidebar linkblog format. And it’s refreshing to see links! To other sites! With credit!

  • The editorial philosophy. The name may be awkward (“But wait, where’s the cute panda logo?? Oh, PandOOOO…”), but it means something. “What really matters is what happens below,” Sarah writes in her intro blog post. Couldn’t agree more, and even in the saturated land of tech media that kind of coverage will fill a hole and find an audience.

PandoMedia angel investor[3] and board member Andrew Anker (disclosure: I’ve enjoyed his Giants tickets and other forms of largesse, professional and otherwise[1]) writes in his blog post about the Pando launch:

Media sites make for inherently cyclical, constantly transforming businesses where you’re only as good as the last story you pushed out. The people who contribute are the ultimate product — the media are just the messages.

Emphasis mine. We watch The Daily Show for Jon Stewart, The Colbert Report for Colbert, the Late Show for Letterman, etc. We’re watching Pando because it’s Sarah. And to take it all the way around, we’re really watching Pando because it’s Sarah watching us.

[1] Yes, you can consider these awkward jokes on the constant PandDisclosure-ing.

[2] Ahem.

[3] Speaking of investment, for those keeping score at home the $2.5 million Pando raised is equal to 50 Classicals.