The Verge will turn five years old on November 1st, 2016.
If you’ve been with us since the beginning, I’d bet that number is just as strange to you as it is for me — it feels at once like The Verge has been around forever, and also like it’s only just beginning. Five years ago, we didn’t have any audience at all; last month 36 million people read The Verge and millions more viewed our videos. Five years ago our staff of just under a dozen was largely in New York; today it’s nearly 70 people around the world. Five years ago we were a group of bloggers with a hazy idea about the next generation of technology coverage; now we operate teams that cover technology, culture, science, and transportation across a huge range of formats from blog posts to videos to art-directed features.
Five years ago, we built a desktop website — we can’t do that again in 2016
Most importantly, in 2011 we all joined a company called SB Nation to start its second website — and we launched a beautiful desktop website with a limited m-dot mobile view and a raw enthusiasm for making video that never connected with a serious strategy. Now, in 2016, our company is called Vox Media and runs eight media brands across every platform from the web to television and everything in between. And the future of the media is almost entirely dominated by the dynamics of mobile platforms and explosive growth opportunities in video.
To me, The Verge feels most mature in the depth of our editorial mission and the scope of our ambition: we are more committed than ever to investigating how technology changes culture for a massive mainstream audience. But it feels like we’re just getting started in really understanding how our audience will find and return to us in a world dominated by platforms, and that gives us an enormous opportunity to take everything we’ve learned over the past five years and refresh and refocus The Verge for the next weird future.
Yes, there’s even a merch plan
So over the next few weeks, I’m going to be posting a series of pieces in collaboration with the various people and teams at Vox Media working on The Verge’s refresh project, which is scheduled to ship — when else? — on November 1st. We’re evolving almost everything: our mission statement, our visual design system, our growth and revenue strategies, and even our merch plans.
And yes, we will be updating the look and feel of The Verge’s website — but that’s just one component of what it means to update a media brand inside a company like Vox Media in 2016. What The Verge is, what it stands for, and how it makes money is a bigger project than simply redesigning a web page — especially when millions of people consuming The Verge may never see one of our web pages at all.
But we’ll get into that. For now, I’m curious: what do you all want to know? What do you love about The Verge? What do you want to change? How do you think it works, and how should it work? This series is going to be an all-access pass behind the scenes of The Verge’s refresh process, so fire away, and we’ll answer as much as we can.