On Thursday, Storyful’s founder Mark Little announced he was leaving the company, “A sign of the strength of the company I built,” he tweeted.
Little wrote on his blog about the decision to leave the company, which News Corp bought in 2013.
So why would anyone of right mind step away from this kind of turbo-charged business? It’s hard to explain to those who haven’t lived the startup life. There comes a time when your continuing benefit to your company is outweighed by the personal cost of not moving on to the next challenge.
Perhaps the parents out there will understand a secondary reality. I’ve reached that sad but glad understanding that my precious little baby is all growed up and doesn’t need me anymore.
I’m leaving Storyful with no absolute certainty about what I’m doing next. But that’s a pretty wonderful feeling. Back in 2010, there was only one opportunity that excited me. Today, in a golden age of storytelling, the options are endless. I’m more passionate than ever about social journalism, media innovation and the challenges and opportunities that emerge from a revolutionary age.
His decision to leave, he wrote “is proof positive of the strength of the company and its culture.”
On Wednesday, Little wrote a post about Storyful’s model and the four Cs that guide the company: communication, coordination, creep, (“As we make it easier for different ‘tribes’ to talk to each other, we must avoid a lengthening wish list of new features and too few people to make those wishes come true. ‘Like the Law of Raspberry Jam,’ one developer told me. ‘The further you spread it, the thinner it gets!'” he wrote) and culture.
And of all the Cs, the single most important is Culture. Culture is the shared language that describes where Storyful comes from and where it is going. That culture needs to be evenly applied across the team. New recruits must have the same understanding of the company’s values and goals as battle-hardened veterans. Our ability to attract, retain and inspire the most innovative people depends on our ability to speak the same words when speaking about Storyful.
In December of 2013 when News Corp bought Storyful, Craig Silverman wrote for Poynter about why the move mattered.
Storyful’s ability to both surface and get the rights to viral and UGC video, and to drive revenue from this work, is unique. The other two news organizations that do a really good job of surfacing and obtaining permissions on a large scale are Associated Press and BBC, but they do not have as much of a revenue model around this practice. Storyful has that, and the video.
With that in mind, spending $25 million to get into this game at the top level looks very smart for News Corp. Plus, Storyful says it earned its first profit last month, making it a business with a reasonable prospect of helping, rather than hurting, the News Corp bottom line.
In January of 2014, News Corp’s Raju Narisetti spoke with Anna Li for Poynter about the acquisition.
In April of last year, Andrew Beaujon wrote for Poynter about Storyful and Facebook launching FB Newswire.
Very little of the content will come from other news organizations: Mostly it’s coming from newsmakers, witnesses to events or agencies involved in them. Storyful’s curation of the page means newsrooms have an “insurance policy,” Áine Kerr, Storyful’s managing editor, said in a phone call. Storyful verifies content posted on social-media platforms, a process the company’s former managing editor Markham Nolan detailed in a memorable TED talk.