I have recently started observing startup landscape a bit more closely. For the most part, my normal resolution for content has always been TechJuice, Tech in Asia and Pro Pakistani. But often times I felt disgruntled with the type of stories over there. First, there is way too much focus on substantials (funding, startup weekends etc) in terms of what makes a news. That’s fine because as a news organization you are probably supposed to do that. But that’s only half of the job. You also need to create news. And I don’t mean that in a negative way but rather in a positive way. I was particularly disappointed last week while researching for the article on Patari originals. I was unable to find any material for the article on any site. Which is sad because like I said last week, the initiative is groundbreaking.
By not going after what’s non-obvious, these sites are shooting themselves in the ground. How many lines do you need to disclose that startup x has raised x amount? Not more than two. For that, you don’t actually need a full blown article. You just need a couple of tweets and a Facebook post.
Just to be clear this a generic issue though I am more concerned for outlets from Pakistan. The hundreds of tech news websites are struggling because they don’t have much to say. What they have to say, for the most part, has already been said on Twitter and Facebook. They are just adding a picture, a fancy headline and a couple of banner ads in between them hoping that they have done their job. This is bad for the consumer—for sure. But it’s much worst for the publishers because they are failing to understand that Facebook has taken their job. They now need to find a new job for which customers should be willing to come by. This is also not a one-off trend that you can just pass and hope things will be better in the future. The democratization of the web content is going to increase not decrease in the long run.
What I am looking for is something non-obvious. Something that’s beneath the surface. Something I don’t know. Unfortunately, there isn’t much going on in the ecosystem that I can miss. It’s still small. So horizontal expansion doesn’t make much sense. There is a limit to how much can you stretch a small news piece. What makes sense in this environment is to dive deep.
So, I am not going to stretch and waste your time which you can otherwise spend doing something important. I think Patari is doing a great job showcasing the talent that we otherwise wouldn’t have known. Telenor Velocity is doing a better job than I expected (hint: startups raised funding). And that’s pretty much it what you need to know this week. If you still have time, go read this article. I am sure these will be the most beautiful 20 minutes of your entire day.