This one hurts. There have been many failures in the tech media industry, but the death of Gigaom is one that hurts. The word started filtering out early last week from people such as Mathew Ingram:
This hurts more than I can say: I was just told Gigaom is shutting down -- it has run out of money. We tried our best, but it wasn't enough.— Mathew Ingram (@mathewi) March 10, 2015
And then there were the confirmations from people such as Om himself:
Just walked out of Gigaom for the last time. Thank you everyone. I will miss you all for rest of my life! http://t.co/IBOhRuZ4DZ— Om Malik (@om) March 10, 2015
And the starkly worded message on the main page of Gigaom that said in part:
Gigaom recently became unable to pay its creditors in full at this time. As a result, the company is working with its creditors that have rights to all of the company’s assets as their collateral. All operations have ceased.
"All operations have ceased."
And there it was... the end of this particular dream of Om's. He followed with his own post, ending simply "Goodnight sweetheart, I still love you!"
MUCH has been written in the past two days. Some of the posts:
I struggled about whether to write anything... but I felt I needed to.
The "VoIP Bloggers"
I say that "this one hurts" because I watched Om grow Gigaom from the beginning. Back in the early 2000's when "blogging" was still new, there was this whole cadre of us who wrote about "voice of IP" or "VoIP" and how the Internet was fundamentally changing telecommunications.
There was Andy Abramson with VoIPWatch, Jeff Pulver with his various VON sites, Martin Geddes with Telepocalpse, me here with Disruptive Telephony, Tom Keating with his "VoIP and Gadgets Blog" at TMC, Aswath Rao, Alec Saunders, Stuart Henshall and so many more...
But perhaps the most prolific of all of us was Om with his site simply titled "Om Malik on Broadband." He brought his incisive reporting and his way of helping put news in context of the larger picture.
In those glory days of blogging we read each other's posts... commented on them... excerpted them... trackbacked... pingbacked... learned from each other... and so much more...
But Om had grander ideas...
I was impressed to watch the growth as "Gigaom" was born and soon became about so much more than just one person. Om added more writers... more topic areas... just more content in general.
It was impressive!
And in a sea of so many tech media sites I always enjoyed reading Gigaom. It was one of the "go to" sites I visited when I wanted to learn more about a topic.
In particular I enjoyed the work of Mathew Ingram who gave such great coverage to the way that the Internet is changing the ways in which we communicate - a topic I find so fascinating and write about both here and over on Disruptive Communications. I enjoyed his writing... as I did Stacy Higginbotham and so many of the other writers.
I watched the expansion into events and in particular into research. I was extremely intrigued by the "Gigaom Research" idea of paying a basic fee for the year and getting access to all sorts of research.
And then... suddenly... it ended.
"All operations have ceased."
In the days that have followed, there have been some reflections emerging with more details. A few I found more interesting and useful:
- Mathew Ingram (one of the main Gigaom writers I followed): "Gigaom is dead. Long live Gigaom"
- Michael Wolf (former head of Gigaom Research): "Gigaom: The Life and Death of a Venture Funded Media Startup"
- Peter Kafka at Re/Code: "The Long Story Behind Gigaom’s Sudden Demise"
All really point to some of the financing, and particularly the debt, as the challenge the business faced and in the end couldn't solve.
I do, though, like what Mathew Ingram said in his "exit interview" with the Columbia Journalism Review:
"There’s a sort of barbell effect: If you are super small and super focused and super niche you can succeed, arguably. And if you’re super huge and mass and gigantic and growing quickly, you can succeed. But in the middle, is death. The valley of death. So arguably we got caught in that valley of death."
The whole piece is worth a read!
And now it's gone. Nothing left but to wind down the final operations.
I have to think that most of the writers will land on their feet. They were excellent and have to be receiving job offers ... other media companies would be crazy not to try to snatch them up!
I will miss the site. What I enjoyed most was that Gigaom did NOT try to go after views with click-bait headlines or other gimmicks. They tried to just give us solid news with context.
Thank you, Om, for creating the site - and for aspiring to lead journalism in new and different directions. Thank you Om, Mathew, Stacy and all the others for all the news your wrote.